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View Poll Results: You are a...
firm believer 157 28.19%
Deist 18 3.23%
Theist 21 3.77%
Agnostic 119 21.36%
Atheist 242 43.45%
Voters: 557. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-10-2009, 04:09 PM   #706
brianL
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Nobody can absolutely prove or disprove the existence of any god. If you say you believe in god, I ask "Which one?". Why should a god who started as the localised god of a middle-eastern tribe of desert nomads come to be regarded as the Supreme Creator of the entire Universe? Why him and not Odin or Zeus or The Dagda? Why he? Goddess worship predates that of male gods. Read "The White Goddess" by Robert Graves.
 
Old 02-10-2009, 04:25 PM   #707
ErV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XavierP View Post
Erv old bean, you are an Agnostic.
Only if being Agnostic doesn't include anything besides "I don't know" attitude. As I said before, I read/heard about agnosticism, and I said that it is closest to my point of view, but I didn't study it, I don't know details, so I'm not sure if I'm one of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brianL View Post
Nobody can absolutely prove or disprove the existence of any god.
That's why I put atheism and theism together - belief/faith is used when "absolute proof" is impossible.
 
Old 02-10-2009, 07:35 PM   #708
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That's why I put atheism and theism together - belief/faith is used when "absolute proof" is impossible.
Yes indeed, however because you cant prove god's existence doesnt mean that the probability of his existence should automatically be 50/50 or something like that. The fact that there is no real empirical evidence for his existence should place him squarely in the "very unlikely" category, just like anything else we have no evidence for (like perpetual motion machines and little green martians).

And "belief" and "faith" are not the same thing. Faith is belief despite a lack of evidence, or despite evidence to the contrary.
I cant see how you can still lump atheists and theists together. Even though atheists cant know for sure either, we can know with a much higher degree of certainty than the theist can, and therefore our disbelief in god is NOT faith based.
Hell, NOTHING can be known 100% (except in the realm of mathematics...), but we can come close (very close) to the truth by weeding out the things that are unlikely to be true.

Last edited by easuter; 02-10-2009 at 07:38 PM.
 
Old 02-10-2009, 09:20 PM   #709
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Quote:
like perpetual motion machines and little green martians
IMHO that is a poor comparison; all of your examples are physical. A proper comparison would be to compare God to, say, mathematics, which has no physical dimensions either (although, of course, it can be applied to physical objects). You would then have to prove that the number one exists in an empirical sense and is not merely a mental construct; and if the latter, whether that means that it is real in a metaphysical sense or simply a convenient lie or, to quote Wittgenstein, a convention or part of a language game.

Quote:
And "belief" and "faith" are not the same thing. Faith is belief despite a lack of evidence, or despite evidence to the contrary.
According to which dictionary? Yes, they have different connotations, only not the ones you are suggesting.

Quote:
therefore our disbelief in god is NOT faith based.
Again, prove that mathematics is not merely mental etc.; as it forms the basis of all science, the implications are wide. Good luck, this issue has been raging at least since the medieval scholastic debates over universals.

Quote:
we can know with a much higher degree of certainty than the theist can
No you can't. I can feel hot although the room is(?) actually cold. This I would know for sure - and not matter how many thermoters you produce would make me change my mind. Similarly, people with a deep religious sense have a direct experience of the divine; as direct experiences go, they cannot be disproved and thus have far greater certainty than any science could ever produce. Criticism does not enter the stage until those people start articulating their experiences in the shape of cosmologies, ethical systems, etc - for the very simple reason that other people's direct experiences may be - and often are - radically different. But that will not in any sense affect the experience itself.
 
Old 02-11-2009, 01:48 AM   #710
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I like to keep an open mind so I can't subscribe to the concept of atheism as a belief, it's more like a condition of show me. Perhaps, atheists are from Missouri? Or closer still, a lack of belief as in total absence of belief. I don't think I've ever talked to or read of an atheist who would deny the existence of a god if there was sufficient provable evidence of such existence. I have a tendency to think of religion as a form of mental illness or a deep-seated need to be cared for and told what to do. Perhaps an inadequate parent in ones past? An insecurity issue? Got dropped on the head as a baby? However, from time to time the arguments presented in this forum can truly be thought-provoking. A few repeaters have really worked at presenting damn-good articles and research. Obviously the thread did not stick to the original theme, but what thread ever does?
 
Old 02-11-2009, 04:12 AM   #711
ErV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by easuter View Post
Yes indeed, however because you cant prove god's existence doesnt mean that the probability of his existence should automatically be 50/50 or something like that.
No evidence - you can't calculate probability. I never said anything about 50/50, by the way. Got might or might not exist, but you don't know even probability of his/her/its' existence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by easuter View Post
(like perpetual motion machines and little green martians).
Different story. There was multiple attempts to build perpetual motion machines or discover martians. Besides in those cases it would be wiser to dismiss theories that doesn't work for perpetual motion machines and say where martians were not found. For perpetual motion machine I think that building machine that appears to be generating energy from nothing but instead consumes it from seemingly endless external source is possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by easuter View Post
And "belief" and "faith" are not the same thing. Faith is belief despite a lack of evidence, or despite evidence to the contrary.
Nope. Belief is synonym of faith.
http://dico.isc.cnrs.fr/dico/en/sear...end=Look+it+up

Quote:
Originally Posted by easuter View Post
I cant see how you can still lump atheists and theists together.
Both believe despite the lack of evidence and despite evidence to the contrary. In short - I just can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by easuter View Post
Even though atheists cant know for sure either, we can know with a much higher degree of certainty than the theist can, and therefore our disbelief in god is NOT faith based.
Nope, you are wrong here.
You believe that you are closer to the truth then they are. They believe in the same thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by easuter View Post
Hell, NOTHING can be known 100% (except in the realm of mathematics...), but we can come close (very close) to the truth by weeding out the things that are unlikely to be true.
The number of things that we can be sure about is limited by small portion of our planet. Everything outside of area where people has access is questionable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yonnieboy View Post
I like to keep an open mind so I can't subscribe to the concept of atheism as a belief, it's more like a condition of show me. Perhaps, atheists are from Missouri? Or closer still, a lack of belief as in total absence of belief.
I wrote explanation in previous post and I'm not going to do this again. Read previous post.

Last edited by ErV; 02-11-2009 at 04:16 AM.
 
Old 02-11-2009, 07:17 AM   #712
easuter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jay73 View Post
IMHO that is a poor comparison; all of your examples are physical. A proper comparison would be to compare God to, say, mathematics, which has no physical dimensions either (although, of course, it can be applied to physical objects). You would then have to prove that the number one exists in an empirical sense and is not merely a mental construct; and if the latter, whether that means that it is real in a metaphysical sense or simply a convenient lie or, to quote Wittgenstein, a convention or part of a language game.
Oh my, compare god to mathematics?
Sure mathematics is a mental construct, not a physical one. But just look around you and see its real-world applications! You are typing your message using a machine that would not exist without mathematics! So how do I distinguish math from a deity? Well, math, although not physical HAS observable applications.

If it were mere conjecture, then none of us would be flaming each other using powerful math-machines connected over a massive network modeled using mathematics.

Now as for god, its pretty easy to test if he is there or if he is just bullshit conjecture.

Open on Matthew 7 for an example:

Quote:
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Now according to that, all I need to do is ask god and he will answer. I've lost count of the number of times when I was younger that I begged god to answer me or give me some form of unmistakable sign.
And all I heard was deafening silence.

The fact that that passage seems to have so many different outcomes for different people means that there is something wrong with it: either the authors of the "good" book lied, or god lied, or god changed his mind. Who knows?

Logic seems to indicate that at least the christian version of god is incorrect because whats written in the bible doesnt manifest itself in the real world as its supposed to.

Quote:
Again, prove that mathematics is not merely mental etc.; as it forms the basis of all science, the implications are wide. Good luck, this issue has been raging at least since the medieval scholastic debates over universals.
Read above.

Quote:
No you can't. I can feel hot although the room is(?) actually cold. This I would know for sure - and not matter how many thermometers you produce would make me change my mind.
Your idea of whether the room feels hot or not is merely the result of electrical impulses interpreted by your brain.
Having a thermometer telling you that the room is cold should at least be indicative that something is not right: either you are wrong or the thermometers are.

How about if more people tell you that they feel the room is cold and not hot. And then they point out to you that perhaps you are feeling a bit hot thanks to the vodka you ingested (who doesnt like vodka ). Given evidence to the contrary, are you still going to persist that the room is not cold?

BTW, drinkning vodka to warm up is usually a bad idea for this very reason: your perception of your environment's temperature is not accurate and careless people can die from exposure.

Quote:
Similarly, people with a deep religious sense have a direct experience of the divine; as direct experiences go, they cannot be disproved and thus have far greater certainty than any science could ever produce.
Excuse me? Where did you pull that conclusion out of? A scientific theory is about as certain as you can get given the evidence, and in mathematics it IS certain. You can therefore demonstrate to everyone else why they should believe you.

A person having a religious experience can do nothing of the sort. They can be "certain" within their own minds, but not much more. People of different religions have vastly different religious experiences, that ALWAYS seem to reinforce their own particular belief system.

You would expect some sort of coherent data binding all these different experiences from all these different religions if you want to think that your experience was indeed "real".



Quote:
Criticism does not enter the stage until those people start articulating their experiences in the shape of cosmologies, ethical systems, etc - for the very simple reason that other people's direct experiences may be - and often are - radically different. But that will not in any sense affect the experience itself.
And thats why we have sooo many preachers, gurus and new-agers peddling their snake oil to the masses, because nobody stops to ask questions.

---------

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErV
No evidence - you can't calculate probability. I never said anything about 50/50, by the way. Got might or might not exist, but you don't know even probability of his/her/its' existence.
I didnt say I calculated the probability. By use of logic you can conclude that if there is no evidence for something, then it either doesnt exists or is unlikely to exist.


Quote:
Different story. There was multiple attempts to build perpetual motion machines or discover martians. Besides in those cases it would be wiser to dismiss theories that doesn't work for perpetual motion machines and say where martians were not found. For perpetual motion machine I think that building machine that appears to be generating energy from nothing but instead consumes it from seemingly endless external source is possible.
No, its not a different story. People made positive claims regarding the existence of martians and perpetual motion machines, but upon further inspection they turned out to be bullshit. And a perpetual motion machine that consumes fuel from an external source and does not generate its own self-sustaining power is not a perpetual motion machine.
Its just a power generator like any other, and claiming otherwise is disingenuous. But thats what independent review is for


Quote:
Both believe despite the lack of evidence and despite evidence to the contrary. In short - I just can.
I've already covered this in a previous post, I dont know how else I can put...

Last edited by easuter; 02-11-2009 at 07:21 AM.
 
Old 02-11-2009, 08:22 AM   #713
ErV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by easuter View Post
Open on Matthew 7 for an example:



Now according to that, all I need to do is ask god and he will answer. I've lost count of the number of times when I was younger that I begged god to answer me or give me some form of unmistakable sign.
And all I heard was deafening silence.
You are confusing god with christian god. This is mistake normally made ba atheists.
Those are different problems. It should be easier to prove that christian beliefs are false than to prove that god(s) doesn't exist.
However, even proving that there is no Christian god will not prove that there is no god(s), so it won't prove that your belief is true.
Besides, you are doing same mistake as many christians - you ripped one random line out of context from the very huge, complicated material called "holy bible" only to support your argument. This is an error. Bible is rather confusing, might suffer from (few thousands of) mistranslations from original language, so I wouldn't think that this particular phrase means exactly what you think it means, or that there is no another phrase that nullifies statement you picked from text.
To use Bible to support any argument, you should probably be a lawyer and have spent at least few years studying this book. It is full of conflicting statements, after all (love everyone, do not kill, but stone to death everyone who breaks certain rule).

Quote:
Originally Posted by easuter View Post
By use of logic you can conclude that if there is no evidence for something, then it either doesnt exists or is unlikely to exist.
No "likely" or "unlikely" - this is guessing which is intended to shift value of "unknown" (again, without evidence) in your favor to prove you are right after all. I accept only "yes", "no" or "unknown". "yes" or "no" require proof. Until there is a proof, state is "unknown". This means that by use of logic you can conclude that if there is no evidence for something, then it means that it is unknown if this something exists. Maybe you just didn't find the evidence yet or didn't search hard enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by easuter View Post
I've already covered this in a previous post, I dont know how else I can put...
If you don't know "how to put it", then don't bother. I explained why to me atheists and believers are the same, I don't see any error here.
If you have another opinion, this doesn't mean you must change mine. I provided my arguments, and if you don't accept them - well, then I just don't really care and your beliefs is your business.

Last edited by ErV; 02-11-2009 at 08:39 AM.
 
Old 02-11-2009, 10:27 AM   #714
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I agree with Erv about atheism being a faith.

And, Erv? An agnostic says: "I don't know the nature of god, and I don't believe you do either". Thus, you are agnostic. Obviously, one attribute of "nature" is "existence", so part of the statement that you don't know the nature of god means that you don't know if god exists.
 
Old 02-11-2009, 12:20 PM   #715
easuter
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You are confusing god with christian god. This is mistake normally made ba atheists.
Those are different problems. It should be easier to prove that christian beliefs are false than to prove that god(s) doesn't exist.
However, even proving that there is no Christian god will not prove that there is no god(s), so it won't prove that your belief is true.
Yes, I will concede that. Generally when I talk about "god" I talk about the god I was brought up to worship, ie the Christian god.

Quote:
you ripped one random line out of context
Then please enlighten me as to its true context.

Quote:
It is full of conflicting statements, after all (love everyone, do not kill, but stone to death everyone who breaks certain rule).
More reason to believe that it was not divinely inspired.

Last edited by easuter; 02-11-2009 at 12:23 PM.
 
Old 02-11-2009, 01:09 PM   #716
ErV
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Originally Posted by easuter View Post
Then please enlighten me as to its true context.
Ask a Bible specialist instead. This book was used too many times to prove anything, so it is really hard to say what it is really about.
 
Old 02-11-2009, 01:27 PM   #717
easuter
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Originally Posted by ErV View Post
Ask a Bible specialist instead. This book was used too many times to prove anything, so it is really hard to say what it is really about.
So if you dont know, then how can you tell me thats the quote was out of context?
 
Old 02-11-2009, 02:55 PM   #718
ErV
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Originally Posted by easuter View Post
So if you dont know, then how can you tell me thats the quote was out of context?
And how do you know that you know what it means? DId you read the whole book? I doubt it.

Anyway, Because quotes from bible are often used out of context, and I have no warranty that your interpretation is right. And when one sentence is taken, there is no warranty that there is no sentence in other place that tells otherwise.

Here is a list of bible contradictions for you:
http://www.infidels.org/library/mode...istencies.html

Let's take your quote again:
Quote:
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
And your interpretation.
Quote:
all I need to do is ask god and he will answer.
Where did you get that idea?
It is hard to say what this text is about, but I really don't see a word "God" here. More looks like "never give up" advice here. Especially if you take into account style of previous statements - 7:1 .. 7:6. Looks like it isn't even about god, but about morals.
I'd recommend to read Leviticus, 19, for some entertainment, or search for statement that support your idea in plain text. The interesting thing is that Old Testament doesn't seem to have similar text.

Personally I wouldn't use that book to support any argument. It more looks like history book that lists events that happened, than something that lists ultimate truths.

Anyway, interpreting bible isn't really interesting to me. Ask christians - what exactly this sentence mean, and why god doesn't answer to you.

P.S. This quickly gets boring. You are attempting to prove non-existence of christian god and even if you are successful, that won't prove existence of any other god is impossible. If you are interested in christian god, then you should ask christians about their sacred book, not me. I just can say book is full of contradictions and conflicting statements, thus one random sentence from it doesn't look trustworth to prove something.

Last edited by ErV; 02-11-2009 at 03:02 PM.
 
Old 02-11-2009, 03:22 PM   #719
easuter
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Although I think it is implied in that passage that god does listen to a person's prayers.
Mind you I did go to church when I was younger so I do remember sermons that included these passages.

But fair enough, and your interpretation does appear to be equally valid (maybe more so).

Quote:
You are attempting to prove non-existence of christian god and even if you are successful, that won't prove existence of any other god is impossible.
Im not interested in proving that the existence in god is impossible. Of course its possible, but unless the theist (the person making the positive claim) can give me evidence for "him", i'll dissmiss the claims about that particular god and the religion.

Quote:
This quickly gets boring.
Yes but it was interesting nonetheless .
 
Old 02-11-2009, 03:41 PM   #720
ErV
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Originally Posted by easuter View Post
Mind you I did go to church when I was younger so I do remember sermons that included these passages.
Well, you have your point then. I didn't go to church.

Quote:
Originally Posted by easuter View Post
But fair enough, and your interpretation does appear to be equally valid (maybe more so).
Nice to hear that. Anyway - bible is not mine holy book, so I'm not in position to explain its' meaning. I simply wanted to point out that book is a bit too complicated, has certain problems, and meaning isn't necessarily obvious - I was a bit surprised when I first found passages in old testament that resembled famous "10 commandments", but also included additional details about making sacrifices, stoning people, etc. That's why I'm suspicious about any "bible quotes".

Quote:
Originally Posted by easuter View Post
Im not interested in proving that the existence in god is impossible. Of course its possible,
Fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by easuter View Post
but unless the theist (the person making the positive claim) can give me evidence for "him", i'll dissmiss the claims about that particular god and the religion.
Which is pretty close to my position.

Quote:
Originally Posted by easuter View Post
Yes but it was interesting nonetheless .
I agree with that.
 
  


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