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Definition of Atheism

Rational_Thinker9119
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3/1/2013 4:28:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I think that "the belief that God doesn't exist", should be what is known as Atheism strictly (the weak Atheism subset seems confusing and necessary). If you are like me, and don't hold the belief that God exists, but also don't hold the belief that he doesn't exist either, then you are an Agnostic in my eyes. While it may be true that there is no compelling evidence for the notion that God exists, there is none for the notion that he does not either.

Basically, when you call yourself an Atheist, most people will assume that you believe God doesn't exist. So, I believe it's easier to call yourself an Agnostic to avoid confusion. Tell me where I'm wrong...
likespeace
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3/1/2013 4:59:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 4:28:02 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:

Basically, when you call yourself an Atheist, most people will assume that you believe God doesn't exist. So, I believe it's easier to call yourself an Agnostic to avoid confusion. Tell me where I'm wrong...

Here's the top-rated answer on Yahoo! Answers as to what "agnostic" means--"Agnostics say: There's something - I'm not sure what - but there IS definitely something...Here are a few ideas I have about it..." If your beliefs are really as you say, you're not avoiding confusion by calling yourself an agnostic.

For people who consider theology, agnostic atheist roughly defines my position. For those who rarely consider such things, it tells them there's some depth to my position and invites further discussion, which I'm happy to oblige.
likespeace
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3/1/2013 5:06:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
From Wikipedia--

Agnostic atheism, also called atheistic agnosticism, is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact. The agnostic atheist may be contrasted with the agnostic theist, who believes that one or more deities exist but claims that the existence or nonexistence of such is unknown or cannot be known
.
dylancatlow
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3/1/2013 5:07:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
My definition of an atheist is one who claims "I don't believe in God or Gods." It doesn't necessarily mean "I believe no Gods exist." (although this applies to me). Agnosticism is a sham, and a stupid position -- you don't have to be 100% positive to have a belief. "Do you believe in God" -- it's a simple question. Do YOU believe in him? It really is a yes or no question. If you are unsure, you don't believe in him.
tkubok
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3/1/2013 5:09:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 4:28:02 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I think that "the belief that God doesn't exist", should be what is known as Atheism strictly (the weak Atheism subset seems confusing and necessary). If you are like me, and don't hold the belief that God exists, but also don't hold the belief that he doesn't exist either, then you are an Agnostic in my eyes. While it may be true that there is no compelling evidence for the notion that God exists, there is none for the notion that he does not either.

Basically, when you call yourself an Atheist, most people will assume that you believe God doesn't exist. So, I believe it's easier to call yourself an Agnostic to avoid confusion. Tell me where I'm wrong...

Agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive. Sounds like youre an agnostic atheist.

Atheism/theism goes to what you believe, and Agnosticism/gnosticism go to what you know.

People assume that you believe God doesnt exist when you call yourself an atheist. But those people are wrong.
Apeiron
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3/1/2013 5:15:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 4:28:02 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I think that "the belief that God doesn't exist", should be what is known as Atheism strictly (the weak Atheism subset seems confusing and necessary). If you are like me, and don't hold the belief that God exists, but also don't hold the belief that he doesn't exist either, then you are an Agnostic in my eyes. While it may be true that there is no compelling evidence for the notion that God exists, there is none for the notion that he does not either.

Basically, when you call yourself an Atheist, most people will assume that you believe God doesn't exist. So, I believe it's easier to call yourself an Agnostic to avoid confusion. Tell me where I'm wrong...

I actually think you're perfectly right Rational, note the difference between:

1) I believe not-X [Atheism]

and,

2) I not-believe X (I DIS-believe X) [Re-defined 'Atheism']

It's subtle but it makes all the difference in meaning where you place the negation.

#1 entails a claim to reality and so demands justification.

#2 is just a personal description of ones psychology... which is irrelevant in a debating context- for we're still left wondering if God exists! (Which would land us in agnosticism at best, as you rightly observe).

Thus #2 just a redefinition of agnosticism married to a psychological state in order to avoid claiming #1... which would entail a burden of prove that the atheist wants to avoid. It"s a clever debate strategy but it is ultimately intellectually dishonest.
Apeiron
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3/1/2013 5:16:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I don't care how many wiki articles, dictionary.com references there are saying otherwise. Logically, it's all where you place that negation. It completely changes the meaning.
bladerunner060
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3/1/2013 5:19:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 5:15:46 PM, Apeiron wrote:
At 3/1/2013 4:28:02 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I think that "the belief that God doesn't exist", should be what is known as Atheism strictly (the weak Atheism subset seems confusing and necessary). If you are like me, and don't hold the belief that God exists, but also don't hold the belief that he doesn't exist either, then you are an Agnostic in my eyes. While it may be true that there is no compelling evidence for the notion that God exists, there is none for the notion that he does not either.

Basically, when you call yourself an Atheist, most people will assume that you believe God doesn't exist. So, I believe it's easier to call yourself an Agnostic to avoid confusion. Tell me where I'm wrong...

I actually think you're perfectly right Rational, note the difference between:

1) I believe not-X [Atheism]

and,

2) I not-believe X (I DIS-believe X) [Re-defined 'Atheism']

It's subtle but it makes all the difference in meaning where you place the negation.

#1 entails a claim to reality and so demands justification.

#2 is just a personal description of ones psychology... which is irrelevant in a debating context- for we're still left wondering if God exists! (Which would land us in agnosticism at best, as you rightly observe).

Thus #2 just a redefinition of agnosticism married to a psychological state in order to avoid claiming #1... which would entail a burden of prove that the atheist wants to avoid. It"s a clever debate strategy but it is ultimately intellectually dishonest.

Apeiron: If someone says "I do not feel that you have met the burden of establishing your case, and therefore assume the null position until you do so", what do you consider that in your numerical system?
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phantom
Posts: 6,774
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3/1/2013 5:20:11 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Fully agreed. It particularly annoys me how Dawkins says he's not an atheist.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
muzebreak
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3/1/2013 5:23:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I believe, with good reason and evidence, that atheism is defined as the lack of belief or disbelief in a deity or god. If anyone here can provide etymological backing for a different definition, then I would happily take it into account.
"Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact." - Carl Sagan

This is the response of the defenders of Sparta to the Commander of the Roman Army: "If you are a god, you will not hurt those who have never injured you. If you are a man, advance - you will find men equal to yourself. And women.
muzebreak
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3/1/2013 5:24:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 5:20:11 PM, phantom wrote:
Fully agreed. It particularly annoys me how Dawkins says he's not an atheist.

When does he say that????
"Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact." - Carl Sagan

This is the response of the defenders of Sparta to the Commander of the Roman Army: "If you are a god, you will not hurt those who have never injured you. If you are a man, advance - you will find men equal to yourself. And women.
dylancatlow
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3/1/2013 5:24:53 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I change my mind, if you don't believe in God, you believe no Gods exist ( for if you did believe one existed, you would believe in it). Now don't get this confused with certainty and belief, because they are two very different things. You can believe no God or Gods exist without claiming that you know it for a fact.
likespeace
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3/1/2013 5:29:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 5:24:53 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I change my mind, if you don't believe in God, you believe no Gods exist

Sorry mate, that's a non-sequitor. Many Pagans don't believe in God but do believe in Gods. ;)
dylancatlow
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3/1/2013 5:32:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 5:29:13 PM, likespeace wrote:
At 3/1/2013 5:24:53 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I change my mind, if you don't believe in God, you believe no Gods exist

Sorry mate, that's a non-sequitor. Many Pagans don't believe in God but do believe in Gods. ;)

If you believe in multiple Gods you would still believe in "God." You like all colors? Do you like red? OFC you do.
phantom
Posts: 6,774
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3/1/2013 5:35:48 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 5:24:26 PM, muzebreak wrote:
At 3/1/2013 5:20:11 PM, phantom wrote:
Fully agreed. It particularly annoys me how Dawkins says he's not an atheist.

When does he say that????

Not the best vid but it suffices.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
Apeiron
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3/1/2013 5:42:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 5:19:08 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/1/2013 5:15:46 PM, Apeiron wrote:
At 3/1/2013 4:28:02 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I think that "the belief that God doesn't exist", should be what is known as Atheism strictly (the weak Atheism subset seems confusing and necessary). If you are like me, and don't hold the belief that God exists, but also don't hold the belief that he doesn't exist either, then you are an Agnostic in my eyes. While it may be true that there is no compelling evidence for the notion that God exists, there is none for the notion that he does not either.

Basically, when you call yourself an Atheist, most people will assume that you believe God doesn't exist. So, I believe it's easier to call yourself an Agnostic to avoid confusion. Tell me where I'm wrong...

I actually think you're perfectly right Rational, note the difference between:

1) I believe not-X [Atheism]

and,

2) I not-believe X (I DIS-believe X) [Re-defined 'Atheism']

It's subtle but it makes all the difference in meaning where you place the negation.

#1 entails a claim to reality and so demands justification.

#2 is just a personal description of ones psychology... which is irrelevant in a debating context- for we're still left wondering if God exists! (Which would land us in agnosticism at best, as you rightly observe).

Thus #2 just a redefinition of agnosticism married to a psychological state in order to avoid claiming #1... which would entail a burden of prove that the atheist wants to avoid. It"s a clever debate strategy but it is ultimately intellectually dishonest.

Apeiron: If someone says "I do not feel that you have met the burden of establishing your case, and therefore assume the null position until you do so", what do you consider that in your numerical system?

What do you mean by 'null position'? Does absence of evidence = evidence of absence?

... It does if you're in a position to say that you would have more evidence than you otherwise do have if the thing in question existed. Which of course places a BoP on the atheist who claims that God doesn't exist.

But now if you think you're not in a position to say that you would have more evidence than you otherwise do have if the thing in question existed, then you can make no probability judgements either way, we're epistemically limited in such an endeavor and therefore at best ignorant on the matter. Which the best position here is agnosticism.

Of course the 'null position' in terms of psychology is atheism, babies are born atheists, so are trees, lamp posts and cats, etc. But, as mature adults, when you're confronted with the question of theism or not, and after consideration (which is what EVERY non-theist in this thread has done since EVERY one has debated the issue), your answer is either I don't know or no or yes. There is no "lack of belief" on the matter and even if there were, it'd be an irrelevant psychological description, not a real answer to the question.

This is the issue that got Hitch-Slap (RIP) all in a tizzy at 1h:19m in the video up there.

https://www.youtube.com...
muzebreak
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3/1/2013 5:44:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 5:35:48 PM, phantom wrote:
At 3/1/2013 5:24:26 PM, muzebreak wrote:
At 3/1/2013 5:20:11 PM, phantom wrote:
Fully agreed. It particularly annoys me how Dawkins says he's not an atheist.

When does he say that????



Not the best vid but it suffices.

Interesting. I had heard of the scale, and that he called himself a 6. but i thought that meant he was an agnostic, or if you prefer weak, atheist.
"Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact." - Carl Sagan

This is the response of the defenders of Sparta to the Commander of the Roman Army: "If you are a god, you will not hurt those who have never injured you. If you are a man, advance - you will find men equal to yourself. And women.
Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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3/1/2013 5:51:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 5:15:46 PM, Apeiron wrote:
At 3/1/2013 4:28:02 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I think that "the belief that God doesn't exist", should be what is known as Atheism strictly (the weak Atheism subset seems confusing and necessary). If you are like me, and don't hold the belief that God exists, but also don't hold the belief that he doesn't exist either, then you are an Agnostic in my eyes. While it may be true that there is no compelling evidence for the notion that God exists, there is none for the notion that he does not either.

Basically, when you call yourself an Atheist, most people will assume that you believe God doesn't exist. So, I believe it's easier to call yourself an Agnostic to avoid confusion. Tell me where I'm wrong...

I actually think you're perfectly right Rational, note the difference between:

1) I believe not-X [Atheism]

and,

2) I not-believe X (I DIS-believe X) [Re-defined 'Atheism']

It's subtle but it makes all the difference in meaning where you place the negation.

#1 entails a claim to reality and so demands justification.

#2 is just a personal description of ones psychology... which is irrelevant in a debating context- for we're still left wondering if God exists! (Which would land us in agnosticism at best, as you rightly observe).

How is what you believe not a personal description of ones psychology, but what you don't believe is? It seems like you are special pleading here. A belief in God attained due to being convinced by the arguments for God's existence, is no less psychologically based than the lack of belief in in God due to not being convinced by the arguments for God's existence.


Thus #2 just a redefinition of agnosticism married to a psychological state in order to avoid claiming #1... which would entail a burden of prove that the atheist wants to avoid. It"s a clever debate strategy but it is ultimately intellectually dishonest.
likespeace
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3/1/2013 6:04:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 5:32:26 PM, dylancatlow wrote:

If you believe in multiple Gods you would still believe in "God." You like all colors? Do you like red? OFC you do.

God: the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe.
gods: one of several deities, especially a male deity, presiding over some portion of worldly affairs.

Note the distinction in the definitions. "God" refers to a monotheistic being that created and rules the universe. So no, a belief in gods does not imply a belief in God, even if that seems somewhat counter-intuitive.
dylancatlow
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3/1/2013 6:10:10 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 6:04:50 PM, likespeace wrote:
At 3/1/2013 5:32:26 PM, dylancatlow wrote:

If you believe in multiple Gods you would still believe in "God." You like all colors? Do you like red? OFC you do.

God: the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe.
gods: one of several deities, especially a male deity, presiding over some portion of worldly affairs.


False. One of the "Gods" can be described as a "God."
Apeiron
Posts: 2,446
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3/1/2013 6:11:48 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 5:51:37 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 3/1/2013 5:15:46 PM, Apeiron wrote:
At 3/1/2013 4:28:02 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I think that "the belief that God doesn't exist", should be what is known as Atheism strictly (the weak Atheism subset seems confusing and necessary). If you are like me, and don't hold the belief that God exists, but also don't hold the belief that he doesn't exist either, then you are an Agnostic in my eyes. While it may be true that there is no compelling evidence for the notion that God exists, there is none for the notion that he does not either.

Basically, when you call yourself an Atheist, most people will assume that you believe God doesn't exist. So, I believe it's easier to call yourself an Agnostic to avoid confusion. Tell me where I'm wrong...

I actually think you're perfectly right Rational, note the difference between:

1) I believe not-X [Atheism]

and,

2) I not-believe X (I DIS-believe X) [Re-defined 'Atheism']

It's subtle but it makes all the difference in meaning where you place the negation.

#1 entails a claim to reality and so demands justification.

#2 is just a personal description of ones psychology... which is irrelevant in a debating context- for we're still left wondering if God exists! (Which would land us in agnosticism at best, as you rightly observe).

How is what you believe not a personal description of ones psychology, but what you don't believe is? It seems like you are special pleading here.

The term "special pleading" I've noticed is thrown around all too often on this site. lol. But no there's nothing like that going on here. The content of what you belief is a truth bearer and if it's true than it will have a connection with a truth maker, facts or states of affairs.

Whereas with a psychological description, there is no content on the matter of God's existence or nonexistence, rather the only content is a profession of mental states of affairs, beliefs aren't a truth-bearer, only sentences/statements expressing mental states can be true or false. Folks have true or false mental states without thinking in language, but mental states themselves don"t have truth or meaning, but the content does.

Thus what you're doing as an atheist that believes God doesn't exist is giving forth a proposition, that has content which is either true or false, which can be accepted or rejected based on evidence.

But what you're doing as an A-theist, the non-belief one, is giving forth propositional content, not about theism, but about your mental states. Which is of course wholly irrelevant to the question, "is the content, 'God exists' true or false"?

So there's no special pleading man, just a subtle epistemological difference.

A belief in God attained due to being convinced by the arguments for God's existence, is no less psychologically based than the lack of belief in in God due to not being convinced by the arguments for God's existence.

You're right in that we can have beliefs about the content of a proposition, but ultimately it's the content that's true or false, not the mental states about that content. Again it's a subtle epistemological distinction. But it all revolves around the truth bearer truth maker relation.

There are three options for a bearer of truth, first let's see about the linguistic option of sentences & statements: A sentence is merely a linguistic type (token)- a sensed string of markings formed by culturally arbitrary syntactical rules, etc. And a statement is merely a sequence of sounds / body motions employed to assert a sentence on a specific occasion. And so neither sentences no statements are good candidates for being truth bearer.

Next are mental state options: thoughts & beliefs, which is what you want to propose as an adequate bearer of truth when you say non-beleif is a relevant position on the theist-atheist debate. But only sentences/statements expressing mental states can be t/f. Like I said before, folks have t/f mental states without thinking in language whereas mental states themselves don"t have truth or meaning, only the content does OF those beliefs do.

Therefore, the third option for truth bearer, propositions, P contain content as the basic truth-bearer. P isn"t located in space/time or physical; and so isn"t sensed. P isn"t identical to linguistic entities used to express it. P can be in more than one mind at once. P needn"t be grasped by any finite person to exist and be what it is. P may itself be an object of thought; when one"s thinking about the content of one"s own thought processes. Thus propositional content is the perfect candidate for truth bearer.




Thus #2 just a redefinition of agnosticism married to a psychological state in order to avoid claiming #1... which would entail a burden of prove that the atheist wants to avoid. It"s a clever debate strategy but it is ultimately intellectually dishonest.
likespeace
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3/1/2013 6:27:22 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 6:10:10 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
if you don't believe in God, you believe no Gods exist

God: the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe.
gods: one of several deities, especially a male deity, presiding over some portion of worldly affairs.

False. One of the "Gods" can be described as a "God."

You'd describe one of the gods as "a god" not "God". I repeat, many pagans don't believe in God but do believe gods exist. I will bow out of this side discussion is it's not making progress nor as interesting as the main topic.
dylancatlow
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3/1/2013 6:35:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 6:27:22 PM, likespeace wrote:
At 3/1/2013 6:10:10 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
if you don't believe in God, you believe no Gods exist

God: the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe.
gods: one of several deities, especially a male deity, presiding over some portion of worldly affairs.

False. One of the "Gods" can be described as a "God."

You'd describe one of the gods as "a god" not "God". I repeat, many pagans don't believe in God but do believe gods exist. I will bow out of this side discussion is it's not making progress nor as interesting as the main topic.

It's also sort of irrelevant, even going back to the first post of this side discussion, because it was obvious what I meant :P If someone who believes in multiple Gods was asked 'Do you believe in God,' the answers would vary if it were a yes or no question, so I guess you're right to some extent.
bladerunner060
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3/1/2013 7:24:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 5:15:46 PM, Apeiron wrote:

What do you mean by 'null position'? Does absence of evidence = evidence of absence?

We are talking about the very existence of something. So I would say yes, unless you're saying that anyone who doesn't believe in invisible pink unicorns has a burden of proof.

It's generally impossible to proof a negative (or at least, one of this type).

... It does if you're in a position to say that you would have more evidence than you otherwise do have if the thing in question existed. Which of course places a BoP on the atheist who claims that God doesn't exist.

So what you're saying is that the theist can claim the world is exactly the same as it would be if God doesn't exist, but that God exists, and atheists have the burden to prove somehow that he doesn't?

But now if you think you're not in a position to say that you would have more evidence than you otherwise do have if the thing in question existed, then you can make no probability judgements either way, we're epistemically limited in such an endeavor and therefore at best ignorant on the matter. Which the best position here is agnosticism.

Of course the 'null position' in terms of psychology is atheism, babies are born atheists, so are trees, lamp posts and cats, etc. But, as mature adults, when you're confronted with the question of theism or not, and after consideration (which is what EVERY non-theist in this thread has done since EVERY one has debated the issue), your answer is either I don't know or no or yes. There is no "lack of belief" on the matter and even if there were, it'd be an irrelevant psychological description, not a real answer to the question.

It seems that you believe that if someone says, in response to "Do you believe in god": "No one has given me adequate reason to believe in God, so therefore I do NOT believe in God", that they have a burden of proof to prove that God doesn't exist? That seems patently absurd, to me, so clearly I must be misunderstanding, because otherwise you'd be advocating that you have the burden of proof to show that I can't fly.
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malcolmxy
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3/1/2013 7:34:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 4:28:02 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I think that "the belief that God doesn't exist", should be what is known as Atheism strictly (the weak Atheism subset seems confusing and necessary). If you are like me, and don't hold the belief that God exists, but also don't hold the belief that he doesn't exist either, then you are an Agnostic in my eyes. While it may be true that there is no compelling evidence for the notion that God exists, there is none for the notion that he does not either.

Basically, when you call yourself an Atheist, most people will assume that you believe God doesn't exist. So, I believe it's easier to call yourself an Agnostic to avoid confusion. Tell me where I'm wrong...

A theist has faith in a deity. An atheist has no faith.

That's it.

What others believe is irrelevant. I believe they should buy a f*cking dictionary.
War is over, if you want it.

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Apeiron
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3/1/2013 7:50:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 7:24:39 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/1/2013 5:15:46 PM, Apeiron wrote:

What do you mean by 'null position'? Does absence of evidence = evidence of absence?

We are talking about the very existence of something. So I would say yes, unless you're saying that anyone who doesn't believe in invisible pink unicorns has a burden of proof.

It's generally impossible to proof a negative (or at least, one of this type).

It's not impossible to DISPROVE a negative (which is what I think you meant), you can show that concept of God to be incoherent like a round square, that would disprove God. Or you can cite certain arguments like the problem of evil or the argument from non-belief. Again this all goes back to what I've already said, does absence of evidence in this case = evidence of absence? If so then those arguments are useful, if not then we're ignorant in the matter.

... It does if you're in a position to say that you would have more evidence than you otherwise do have if the thing in question existed. Which of course places a BoP on the atheist who claims that God doesn't exist.

So what you're saying is that the theist can claim the world is exactly the same as it would be if God doesn't exist, but that God exists, and atheists have the burden to prove somehow that he doesn't?

Nah I mean exactly what I said above. The question is when does the absence of evidence become evidence of absence? Sometimes the former implies the latter. For example,

1) Elephants in the Room (Absence of Evidence = Evidence of Absence)

Someone asks, "Are there any elephants in the room?" After looking about and seeing none, I say, "No, I see none. There are no elephants in the room."The inference from "I see none" to "There are none" in this example is justified. With respect to elephants in this room, I"m not agnostic; rather, I positively affirm: There are no elephants in the room. In this case, absence of elephants in the room is evidence of their absence. But this inference doesn"t hold for 2.

2. The Grand Canyon Fly (Absence of Evidence ≠ Evidence of Absence)

We"re standing atop the Grand Canyon and someone asks, "Is there a fly way down there?" After a quick glance I say, "No, I see none. There is no fly down there."As in the last example we move from "I see none" to "There is none""but unlike the last example the conclusion is unjustified. Agnosticism regarding the fly is the appropriate response here. So in the Elephant Example we don"t have to be agnostics, but in the Grand Canyon Fly Example we do. Why? Notice that it is not the relative size of the object which creates the difference (The zookeeper might have asked you on your zoo trip, "Do you think an elephant is in the cage in the next room?" to which your reply might be agnosticism: "I have no idea. Maybe.")

The salient difference between these two examples has entirely to do with your epistemic situation " which is, roughly, the extent and limits of your ability to know something through your primary sources of knowing (i.e. perception, memory, introspection, testimony, etc.) " and the fact that only in one situation (Elephants in the Room) do we expect to have knowledge which we lack. My epistemic situation regarding knowing whether an elephant is in the room is quite good, while my epistemic situation regarding knowing whether a fly resides at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is quite poor. Why? When are we in an epistemically good situation in order to say, "There is no X"? What conditions have to be met? At least two.

In the absence of evidence of an object O you may deny that O exists only if these Criteria are met:Evidence Expectation Criterion. If an object O existed, then we would expect there to be evidence for it. Knowledge Expectation Criterion. If there were evidence of object O, then we would expect to have knowledge of the evidence.In short, in the absence of evidence, we can deny the existence of something O only if we should expect to possess evidence sufficient to know that O exists but in fact lack it.

To prove his position the atheist has his task cut out for himself: What he must do is show that (a) the epistemic situation in which we find ourselves with respect to belief in God"s existence satisfies the above Criteria; and (b) demonstrate that we lack sufficient evidence for knowing that God exists. Equivalently, he must show that all the arguments for God are unsound and then argue that if God existed then we would expect to be in a position to know whether God exists. But as we"ll see, there is good reason to think (a) is false because our epistemic situation in which we find ourselves with respect to belief in God"s existence does not satisfy the above Criteria.

But now if you think you're not in a position to say that you would have more evidence than you otherwise do have if the thing in question existed, then you can make no probability judgements either way, we're epistemically limited in such an endeavor and therefore at best ignorant on the matter. Which the best position here is agnosticism.

Of course the 'null position' in terms of psychology is atheism, babies are born atheists, so are trees, lamp posts and cats, etc. But, as mature adults, when you're confronted with the question of theism or not, and after consideration (which is what EVERY non-theist in this thread has done since EVERY one has debated the issue), your answer is either I don't know or no or yes. There is no "lack of belief" on the matter and even if there were, it'd be an irrelevant psychological description, not a real answer to the question.

It seems that you believe that if someone says, in response to "Do you believe in God": "No one has given me adequate reason to believe in God, so therefore I do NOT believe in God", that they have a burden of proof to prove that God doesn't exist? That seems patently absurd, to me, so clearly I must be misunderstanding, because otherwise you'd be advocating that you have the burden of proof to show that I can't fly.

This ignores the logical structure I gave and goes right for the colloquial sense of things. Which is absurd of itself. And also reminds me of who you are. I now recall you violating the principle of charity with me three times in a row and so I discontinued communication with you for that reason.

I've stated my position here, and hopefully it's helped, but I think you're just interested in rhetoric rather than seriously understanding the issue at hand. So I bid you fair well.

http://debate.org...
Apeiron
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3/1/2013 7:51:22 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 7:34:18 PM, malcolmxy wrote:
At 3/1/2013 4:28:02 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I think that "the belief that God doesn't exist", should be what is known as Atheism strictly (the weak Atheism subset seems confusing and necessary). If you are like me, and don't hold the belief that God exists, but also don't hold the belief that he doesn't exist either, then you are an Agnostic in my eyes. While it may be true that there is no compelling evidence for the notion that God exists, there is none for the notion that he does not either.

Basically, when you call yourself an Atheist, most people will assume that you believe God doesn't exist. So, I believe it's easier to call yourself an Agnostic to avoid confusion. Tell me where I'm wrong...

A theist has faith in a deity. An atheist has no faith.

That's it.

What others believe is irrelevant. I believe they should buy a f*cking dictionary.

Seems too emotionally compromised to discuss this.
malcolmxy
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3/1/2013 7:55:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 7:51:22 PM, Apeiron wrote:
At 3/1/2013 7:34:18 PM, malcolmxy wrote:
At 3/1/2013 4:28:02 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I think that "the belief that God doesn't exist", should be what is known as Atheism strictly (the weak Atheism subset seems confusing and necessary). If you are like me, and don't hold the belief that God exists, but also don't hold the belief that he doesn't exist either, then you are an Agnostic in my eyes. While it may be true that there is no compelling evidence for the notion that God exists, there is none for the notion that he does not either.

Basically, when you call yourself an Atheist, most people will assume that you believe God doesn't exist. So, I believe it's easier to call yourself an Agnostic to avoid confusion. Tell me where I'm wrong...

A theist has faith in a deity. An atheist has no faith.

That's it.

What others believe is irrelevant. I believe they should buy a f*cking dictionary.

Seems too emotionally compromised to discuss this.

There is no discussion. There are those who know how to use the proper reference material, that material being a dictionary, and there are a bunch of f*cking idiots who BELIEVE that their atheism means something that it doesn't.

Let's look at that for just a moment - rather than looking up the definition of atheism, these people, who self-identify as atheists, or at least non-theists (which is what atheists are), take ON FAITH what the definition of atheism is.

They're f*cking stupid, and I say that devoid of any emotion except, perhaps, a modicum of disgust.
War is over, if you want it.

Meet Dr. Stupid and his assistants - http://www.debate.org...
muzebreak
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3/1/2013 8:05:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 7:34:18 PM, malcolmxy wrote:
At 3/1/2013 4:28:02 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I think that "the belief that God doesn't exist", should be what is known as Atheism strictly (the weak Atheism subset seems confusing and necessary). If you are like me, and don't hold the belief that God exists, but also don't hold the belief that he doesn't exist either, then you are an Agnostic in my eyes. While it may be true that there is no compelling evidence for the notion that God exists, there is none for the notion that he does not either.

Basically, when you call yourself an Atheist, most people will assume that you believe God doesn't exist. So, I believe it's easier to call yourself an Agnostic to avoid confusion. Tell me where I'm wrong...

A theist has faith in a deity. An atheist has no faith.

Not necessarily true.


That's it.

What others believe is irrelevant. I believe they should buy a f*cking dictionary.
"Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact." - Carl Sagan

This is the response of the defenders of Sparta to the Commander of the Roman Army: "If you are a god, you will not hurt those who have never injured you. If you are a man, advance - you will find men equal to yourself. And women.
THEVIRUS
Posts: 1,321
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3/1/2013 8:13:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I usually use the title "skeptic". I don't believe because there is no proof. If it is (scientifically) proven, then I will believe. until then... forever skeptic
"So you want me to go to the judge with 'unit, corps, God, country'?" - A Few Good Men

"And the hits just keep on comin'." -A Few Good Men