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firm believer 168 28.77%
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Old 07-18-2011, 02:37 PM   #2071
MensaWater
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dugan View Post
Agee with SL00B. It's also impossible to prove that dragon's don't exist. That doesn't mean that intellectual honesty requires you to "keep an open mind" about the possible existence of dragons.

The "atheists KNOW WITH CERTAINTLY that God does not exist" position is a strawman that has not been taken by any atheist here.
I agree that it is not possible to prove dragons don't exist. However, your comment about intellectual honesty is bogus as it presupposes that the "evidence" people use to posit that there is a God is akin to the "evidence" there is to posit that there are dragons. That is to say that there are many things that I can't explain that make me understand why people believe in God even if I don't. However, if people told me they believed in dragons as devoutly as they do in God then I'd assume they have even less reason to do so and would quietly tiptoe away while they weren't looking.

(However, even on the point of dragons one might argue that a) There is a living creature called a komodo "dragon" and b) that dragon myths abound owing to the one time existence of dinosaurs which other than not being able to breathe fire [which is an assumption we make about dinosaurs] would equate nicely with dragons.)

Saying that atheism doesn't involve denying the existence of god rather than simply disbelieving in god is not entirely accurate. The word has both meanings. I've met many an atheist that actively argues that God doesn't exist and can't understand how their own "proof" is as meaningless as that of "true believers". In fact years ago I looked for and found that there are communities of people that don't cotton to religion and call themselves "free thinkers". I thought it might be a good way to socialize but I found much of what these "free thinkers" wrote about how it was important to not only disbelieve themselves but actually spend effort trying to dissuade others from their beliefs. Therefore I submit "atheist strawman" is itself an attempt at being disingenuous.
 
Old 07-18-2011, 02:42 PM   #2072
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MensaWater View Post
However, your comment about intellectual honesty is bogus as it presupposes that the "evidence" people use to posit that there is a God is akin to the "evidence" there is to posit that there are dragons.
It's not bogus, because the point that I was responding to acknowledges that no evidence for the existence of God exists! No evidence that has an alternative non-God explanation anyway. This is what you wrote:

Quote:
1) The data might suggests several possibilities (including that God exists) but doesn't conclusively "prove" any of those possibilities.
2) It is impossible to prove a negative (i.e. that God does NOT exist) so won't deny he does even if they see no evidence that he does.
(The "deny it" is the part that's the strawman, btw. No atheist I've seen here or elsewhere has taken a position that can be described as "denial").

Quote:
However, your comment about intellectual honesty is bogus as it presupposes that the "evidence" people use to posit that there is a God is akin to the "evidence" there is to posit that there are dragons.
You mean it isn't? Tell us more.

(And no, I didn't "presuppose" anything).

Last edited by dugan; 07-18-2011 at 03:38 PM.
 
Old 07-18-2011, 03:28 PM   #2073
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Originally Posted by littlejoe5 View Post
So I tearfully ask God for help ion finding that wayword arrow. - And found it in short order! God in fact was listening to my prayers, and answering. He was paying attention to the simple prayers of a child about a toy!
That's worse than the monkey poem! God helps some kid find an arrow, but he apparently can't be bothered answering prayers by or for people who are genuinely suffering?
 
Old 07-18-2011, 03:36 PM   #2074
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dugan View Post
It's not bogus, because the point that I was responding to acknowledges that no evidence for the existence of God exists! No evidence that has an alternative non-God explanation anyway. This is what you wrote:



(The "deny it" is the part that's the strawman, btw. No atheist I've seen here or elsewhere has taken a position that can be described as "denial").



You mean it isn't? Tell us more.

(And no, I didn't "presuppose" anything).
I fear you're purposely misconstruing my posts to indicate that I'm in the camp that believes there is a God when I've made it clear that I don't. Therefore I'm not going to give "evidence" for positing (rather than actually believing in) because you'll simply take that as an attempt to actually prove there is one which is NOT at all what I was posting.

Last edited by MensaWater; 07-18-2011 at 03:38 PM.
 
Old 07-18-2011, 03:46 PM   #2075
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MensaWater View Post
2) It is impossible to prove a negative (i.e. that God does NOT exist) so won't deny he does even if they see no evidence that he does.
Incorrect. It is possible to prove a negative. If you disagree, then you have to prove that "it is impossible to prove a negative", because so far no person in this thread have explained WHY it is impossible to prove a negative (which leads me to believe that this argument is based on blind faith and not on actual logic). If I remember correcly, proving an impossibility of something is a basis of many theorems in algebra, plus it is easy to prove that something does not exist if you have limited space and strictly defined object. If I gave you an empty carton box, you can prove that there is no cat within a box by opening it. In other words, you can prove that something does not exist, or you can prove that something isn't here if an object in quesrtion is strictly defined and the space where this object could exist is limited.

Quote:
Originally Posted by littlejoe5 View Post
Then I'd hunt, and hunt, and hunt. First time it happened, after an hour or two of hunting (that seemed much longer) it occurred to me that God was in a position to see where that arrow was, By this time I was frustrated to the point of tears. So I tearfully ask God for help ion finding that wayword arrow. - And found it in short order!
It is called anecdotal evidence. There is no proof that a God was involved in any way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by littlejoe5 View Post
Over the course of that summer, this exact scenario occurred with me several times - until at last I weighed it up in my childish mind, and recognized that this could not be mere coincidence. God in fact was listening to my prayers, and answering. He was paying attention to the simple prayers of a child about a toy!
Russel's Chicken:
Quote:
On a farm, there was a flock of chickens. One chicken started talking with another, remarking "How good our farmer has been to us. I think he is an awfully nice man, because he comes every morning to feed us." The other chicken nodded in agreement, adding "and he has been feeding each and everyone of us here every day like clockwork, every day without fail since we were all just little baby chicks." Indeed, when queried, most of the other chickens clucked in agreement about how benevolent their farmer was.

But there was one chicken, intelligent but eccentric, who countered saying "How do you know he is all that good? I remember, not too long ago, that there were some older chickens who were taken away, and I haven't seen them since. What ever happened to them?"

Some of the chickens may have slept a little uneasy that night, but in the morning the farmer came as usual, this time scattering even more corn around. The chickens ate this with gusto, and this dispelled any remaining doubts about the benevolence of the farmer. "You see, there is nothing to worry about. Our farmer had a little extra food, so he gave it to us because he likes us! He is a good man," remarked one chicken to the others, and they all nodded in agreement, all of them, that is, except one.

The intelligent but eccentric chicken became even more agitated. "He is just fattening us up! We are going to be slaughtered in a weeks time!" he squawked in alarm. But nobody listened. All the other chickens just thought he was a troublemaker.

A week later, all the chickens were placed into cages, loaded onto a truck, and driven to the slaughterhouse.

The End

Moral of the story: You cannot always induce the truth from past experience!
 
Old 07-18-2011, 04:01 PM   #2076
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlejoe5 View Post
The poem about the monkeys was not intended as a serious argument. Rather as a rather silly one. In fact this whole discussion is rather silly. You all seem to be experts on both "Science" and the "holy books". I was once an expert on science and the constitution of the United states - when I was 10! I well remember winning lot's of arguments I (in my own mind at least) with such statements as "Science says...." or "You can't do that! it's against the constitution!" Pretty silly - don't you think?.
Did you just equate years of adult studies to being 10?
 
Old 07-18-2011, 04:03 PM   #2077
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SL00b View Post
Did you just equate years of adult studies to being 10?
Yeah, seriously. Pointing out that something is either against the constitution of your country or inconsistent with current scientific knowledge isn't silly at all.
 
Old 07-18-2011, 04:08 PM   #2078
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
It is called anecdotal evidence. There is no proof that a God was involved in any way.
And it's a perfect example of the post hoc, ergo propter hoc (Latin for after this, therefore because of this) fallacy besides. "I prayed, and then I found an arrow, therefore I found the arrow BECAUSE I prayed."

This particular fallacy is responsible for an untold number of personal superstitions, so I like to call it the Fallacy of the Lucky Socks.
 
Old 07-18-2011, 04:15 PM   #2079
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
It is possible to prove a negative.
Are you sure you want to link to this? He's arguing that if no evidence has been found for the existence of something, then its nonexistence has been proven "at least as much as you can prove anything at all." It would be perfectly consistent with his (excellent) argument if that "something" were God.

I agree with him completely.

Last edited by dugan; 07-18-2011 at 04:18 PM.
 
Old 07-18-2011, 04:30 PM   #2080
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Originally Posted by dugan View Post
Are you sure you want to link to this? He's arguing that if no evidence has been found for the existence of something, then its nonexistence has been proven "at least as much as you can prove anything at all." It would be perfectly consistent with his (excellent) argument if that "something" were God.

I agree with him completely.
The first 2..3 pages are dedicated to logic, last one represents personal opinion. I see no problem. (THe page has been linked to address "you can't prove a negative" problem. If a person makes one reasonable argument, it doesn't mean you automatically agree with everything that person ever said, you know).

Last edited by SigTerm; 07-18-2011 at 04:33 PM.
 
Old 07-18-2011, 11:08 PM   #2081
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sycamorex View Post
I don't have children but I talked to some of my atheist/agnostic friends. Some of them still decided to raise the children in some kind of 'faith'. They did it for fear of alienating and potentially exposing their loved ones to bullying at school. I'm not sure that was the right choice, but then again, it's their business how they want to raise their children.


Of course being highly educated doesn't automatically implies atheism. It would be a big overgeneralisation to claim that. It would be hard to research it as I guess it may differ across the countries. Again from my experience (looking at people I've met in my life), the rule of thumb would be the higher education a person has, the more likely they are to be an atheist/agnostic.

My point in the previous post wasn't actually about education in general. It was merely about the fact that ironically atheists tend to know more about religion than a big percentage of religious people. Most of religious people I know don't think about their believes. They inherited them from their parents and are most likely to pass them on to their children. They are happy like that so I don't have a problem with that. My point is that sometimes they might not know much about what they actually believe in. Once I discussed religion with one of my religious colleagues. It was clear that he hadn't really thought about or let alone openly discussed his beliefs before. When I asked him some questions, he got a bit upset and replied something along the lines: "My father believed in God, his father believed in God. If it was good enough for them, it's good enough for me. Who are you to question the faith of my ancestors?!" I didn't mean to upset him because normally it's a very nice person. It was clear that he really knew very little about the bible and christianity. Obviously, faith is not a competition who can recite a bigger part of the bible, but if I were a believer, I'd definitely research what my holy book says.

<lol>On a LESS serious note, perhaps some believers aren't keen on reading the bible because if they actually read what stories it contains, they'd have no choice but to abandon the faith.</lol>
You are right. In fact I was a Christian some years of my live. I have read the whole book (as it was given to us as holy book from some people in what was it, 4th century?) I actually believed that stuff, and if you believe that you automatically become a missionary (I want to save you). But knowing the whole of this book makes you questioning it. And I doubt that many of the so called believers have read the whole of their holy book. After that I thought about other religions, and in my little world all of the religions are the same. It is up to believe something that someone says or have written down. Now imagine that you are in the 100th century BC, and you want the people to behave right in your kingdom. Write a book, but not that they obey you, we know mankind, they won't. You have to write books about pretended gods that will punish you afterlife, if you don't obey. Much better effect.

Long story short: Give me evidence (and no,one of these books isn't an evidence) and I will know. Or give me evidence that there is no god (I think that god has not to be capitalized) and I will know. In both cases if you have evidence (in the real definition of this word) you can PM me. I will have a critical look on that. Otherwise call me agnostic. In fact, I don't care.
 
Old 07-19-2011, 09:22 AM   #2082
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My parents were regular church-goers (Church Of England), but I don't know whether it was because of any strong belief or the socially accepted thing to do. I turned atheist in my mid to late teens, not through studying science, but from an interest in mythology. All gods are made in man's image, all have human failings. None deserve worship. And one of the least worthy is the god of the Bible, the Old Testament one especially.
P.S.
Hail Eris!

Last edited by brianL; 07-19-2011 at 09:24 AM.
 
Old 07-19-2011, 10:58 AM   #2083
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianL View Post
My parents were regular church-goers (Church Of England)...
It is morning here, and I almost read it as "Church of The Subgenius" .

Quote:
Originally Posted by brianL View Post
I turned atheist in my mid to late teens, not through studying science, but from an interest in mythology. All gods are made in man's image, all have human failings. None deserve worship. And one of the least worthy is the god of the Bible, the Old Testament one especially.
P.S.
Hail Eris!
Thats just it, why would a god also have such human weaknesses? I never understood why a god would easily lose control of his own faculties. Surely an all powerful omnipotent being that oversees the entire existence of the universe could never suddenly blow a fuse, and have a child-like temper tantrum!

That to me pretty much punches a wide hole in the whole god bit. I always would have thought that such a being although could obviously show concern about other beings, at least at the same time would be indifferent to whether or not someone would choose to worship said 'god' or not, it wouldn't really matter to that god rather than going on a killing spree because some guy below just happened to not want to acknowledge said god's existence.

Like George Carlin also said:

Quote:
He's all powerful, all perfect all knowing and all wise, somehow just can't handle money!
To add to that:

And his own emotions apparently

Last edited by Jeebizz; 07-19-2011 at 10:59 AM.
 
Old 07-19-2011, 11:09 AM   #2084
brianL
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Originally Posted by Jeebizz View Post
It is morning here, and I almost read it as "Church of The Subgenius" .
LOL. They missed out on that, never knowing the wisdom of "Bob". Poor souls...
 
Old 07-19-2011, 11:16 AM   #2085
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Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
You are right. In fact I was a Christian some years of my live. I have read the whole book (as it was given to us as holy book from some people in what was it, 4th century?) I actually believed that stuff, and if you believe that you automatically become a missionary (I want to save you). But knowing the whole of this book makes you questioning it. And I doubt that many of the so called believers have read the whole of their holy book.
That's probably how I started. I was raised an unchurched Catholic (mom got divorced, was no longer allowed in church... WTF?), so I was left to my own devices, and as a teenager I picked up the Bible and resolved to read it cover to cover (I made it to the prophets before skipping ahead to the NT).

Having read it on my own and formed my own opinion on the nature of the god it depicts, it used to baffle me when people would say things like, "God is love." Which god? Because the one I read about was a being to be FEARED. The Old Testament couldn't emphasize this point enough.

What's interesting is how much cognitive dissonance you allow yourself in the reading process when you still believe, because I'd basically decided to ignore some severely obvious problems with the text. Later on, when I came across the mention of there being two separate, distinct creation stories in Genesis, I didn't believe it. When I came across information of this all-knowing god playing hide-and-seek in the Garden of Eden, I didn't believe it. When I came across information of this all-powerful god being defeated by iron chariots, I didn't believe it. I had to go check again, because there was NO WAY this stuff actually happened. And yet, I'd read all this before. But the power of belief basically shoved all this aside before I could really think about it.

After all, Christianity has a built-in defense mechanism... if you don't believe, the problem is you.

Last edited by SL00b; 07-19-2011 at 11:23 AM.
 
  


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