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Author Topic:   Does Atheism = No beliefs?
lyx2no
Member (Idle past 2550 days)
Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008


Message 121 of 414 (551730)
03-23-2010 11:48 PM
Reply to: Message 113 by marc9000
03-23-2010 9:02 PM


RIP Jesus
Non stamp collectors don't spend a sizable portion of their time criticizing and trying to eradicate stamp collecting, like Dawkins, Harris, and millions of atheists who buy their books spend time trying to eradicate religion.

You need to broaden your horizons a mite. When you write "trying to eradicate religion" you mean "my religion". Religion A is just fine at eradicating religions X, Y and Z, but you don't seem to go on about that. (Against your protests of not being religious I hold your pious deceit. Reader's Digest wouldn't send you a check to print your "true" OP in Life in These United States and they couldn't be more desperate. If it took place at all it was with another of the imaginary atheist in your head.)

I surely would like to eradicate religion because religions, generally, try to eradicate thoughts other than their own. I guess that makes sense of some kind. People tend to feel less stupid when everyone has the same stupid ideas.

As an atheist I'm not required to have stupid ideas. Not that I don't, but they are not required. I have no sacred cows. I can happily walk up and down the street pronouncing Charles Darlose missed the boat, Carnot rode a tricycle and I don't give a fig about Newton.

Maybe that's your answer to "Does Atheism has [sic] any beliefs which are unique to Atheism?" Atheist believe it is safe to question anything so long as there are no theists in the room.

AbE: Opps! Sorry m9k.

"I was looking at you, but talking to him." Polly Sherman, Fawlty Towers

Edited by lyx2no, : Clarity.

Edited by lyx2no, : Grammar.

Edited by lyx2no, : No reason given.


You are now a million miles away from where you were in space-time when you started reading this sentence.
This message is a reply to:
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AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 3456
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 2.0


(1)
Message 122 of 414 (551731)
03-23-2010 11:52 PM
Reply to: Message 107 by marc9000
03-23-2010 8:17 PM


Re: Differences Differ
I don't "need" to see it, I just see it!

You make my point for me and not realize it.

I'm just saying that atheism tends to organize its people in certain ways, with beliefs about how the world works or how society should function.

Being atheist does no such thing. The philosophies non-believers adopt does this. We're counted among Democrats, Republicans, conservatives, liberals, Stamp Collectors (both left and right-wing). And there are a whole slew of atheists who defy classification because they really don't give a damn one way or the other. And they all vary form and content from person to person.

There are respected polls that clearly show a correlation between science and atheism.

Good god I should hope so. The requirement for objective evidence should not be an on-the-job-only thing. When you work in these fields and find no evidence for any supernatural anything anywhere then there is really nothing religious in which to believe, is there.

One doesn't need to be atheist to be a scientist but to be otherwise is a bit hypocritical, don't you think?

I agree that Christians are fragmented. Hence the many descriptive terms, like "mainstream Christians", "fundie Christians", "theistic evolutionists" that are often found on message boards such as these.

No, no, no, Marc. I mean fragmented!

38,000 Christian denominations, different bibles, different creeds, different rituals, different interpretations, different philosophies all professing to be the one TRUE faith in Christ.

Now atheists are the same way. We have different everything but without any claim to truth or faith or evolution or pink unicorns or anything else. We're talking some 60 million different atheist views in the USA alone!

That is what I mean by fragmented.

Any label you want to put on groups of atheists, any box you try to fit us into for identification, will be wrong.

Unlike the "Old Order German Baptist Brethren" or the "Apostolic Assemblies of God" there is no philosophy common to Atheist. An acceptance of the Theory of Evolution, the Germ Theory of Disease and Far-Right Anarchic Monarchy do not make an atheist. They are incidental to his non-belief in your specific brand of god, or any other brand of god.

Edited by AZPaul3, : No reason given.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16028
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 123 of 414 (551732)
03-23-2010 11:59 PM
Reply to: Message 107 by marc9000
03-23-2010 8:17 PM


Re: Differences Differ
There are respected polls that clearly show a correlation between science and atheism.

We own the soft impeachment.

Could you also produce a poll showing that we're good at math?

Thanks.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 107 by marc9000, posted 03-23-2010 8:17 PM marc9000 has not yet responded

  
Pauline
Member (Idle past 1570 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008


Message 124 of 414 (551733)
03-24-2010 12:13 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by bluegenes
03-22-2010 7:48 AM


Re: Belief is active, and disbelief the default.
bluegenes writes:

quote:
Den writes:

Once you commit to Atheism doesn't ruling out a possibility disable you from continuously objectively investigating it?


Commit? I was born an atheist, and so were you. If you come to believe in any supernatural beings for whose existence you have no evidence, then that is a commitment of sorts.

So all humans are born atheists, according to you. Everyone is born a with a innate lack of belief in the supernatural. I've got some questions,

1. What genetic changes do I have to have in order to acquire a belief in the supernatural?

2. If belief, or lack of it is based on genetics, then why do people often switch from one viewpoint to another i.e naturalism to supernaturalism and vice versa? Wouldn't inherited traits remain lifelong?

3. From an evolutionary standpoint, does the fact that more people believe in some type of supernatural being and a very small % do not imply that lack of belief is inferior and therefore, a thing "unfit"?

4. If genes and natural selection decide whether or not I will be an atheist or theist, then I have absolutely no say whatsoever. So, form a geneticist's standpoint, can we predict what % of a couple's offspring will be supernaturalist and what % naturalist will be using genetics?

Edited by Dr. Sing, : spelling


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Replies to this message:
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Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1021 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 125 of 414 (551734)
03-24-2010 12:26 AM
Reply to: Message 124 by Pauline
03-24-2010 12:13 AM


Re: Belief is active, and disbelief the default.
So all humans are born atheists, according to you. Everyone is born a with a innate lack of belief in the supernatural. I've got some questions,

1. What genetic changes do I have to have in order to acquire a belief in the supernatural?

2. If belief, or lack of it is based on genetics, then why do people often switch from one viewpoint to another i.e naturalism to supernaturalism and vice versa? Wouldn't inherited traits remain lifelong?

3. From an evolutionary standpoint, does the fact that more people believe in some type of supernatural being and a very small % do not imply that lack of belief is inferior and therefore, a thing "unfit"?

4. If genes and natural selection decide whether or not I will be an atheist or theist, then I have absolutely no say whatsoever. So, form a geneticist's standpoint, can we predict what % of a couple's offspring will be supernaturalist and what % naturalist will be using genetics?

Whoa, there, Doc. You misunderstand. It has nothign to do with genetics.

A newborn baby does not yet believe in God. The word is meaningless to a child until the concept is explained.

If you raise a child without ever telling him/her about Jesus, for example, the child will grow up not believing in Jesus, because he/she will have no idea what Jesus is in the first place.

In this way, we are all born Atheists. We don't know what "Gods" are, let alone believe in them, when we're born.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 124 by Pauline, posted 03-24-2010 12:13 AM Pauline has responded

Replies to this message:
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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 532 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 126 of 414 (551736)
03-24-2010 12:43 AM
Reply to: Message 43 by Granny Magda
03-22-2010 4:04 PM


Hi, Granny.

I certainly don't think atheism is a religion, but I do need to ask a question in response to this:

Granny Magda writes:

The only idea that unites all atheists is a lack of belief in deities.

Is unitedness a requirement for things to be called "religions"?
Would atheism become a religion if it consisted of two unifying ideas? Or three? Personally, I don't think so. That would mean all ideologies and all philosophies are also religions.

I think it's obvious that atheism is just a single concept, and I think it's equally obvious that religions don't ever comprise only a single concept*. It would be the equivalent of saying that faith is a religion, or that Last Thursdayism is a religion, or that belief in the Fall is a religion.

*I have now made it my personal mission to invent a religion that consists of only one single concept. I will incoporate it into a short story somehow.

I just think this whole argument raises questions about what, exactly, "religion" is. As it stands, it seems that most of us think religions are belief systems or philosophies that incorporate some sort of devotion or observance, as well as a belief in something that could be described as "supernatural."

If we can agree on that definition of "religion," I think we can conclude that atheism is not a religion.

Edited by Bluejay, : In normal English, attributive verbs are created with the suffix, "-ing," whereas, in American English, the suffix is sometimes shortened to "-in"


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by Granny Magda, posted 03-22-2010 4:04 PM Granny Magda has responded

Replies to this message:
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Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 22 days)
Posts: 2372
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 127 of 414 (551739)
03-24-2010 12:56 AM
Reply to: Message 126 by Blue Jay
03-24-2010 12:43 AM


Hi Bluejay,

Firstly, I more or less agree with your definition of religion. I'd probably emphasize more the value of faith that religions share. I think we all recognise a religion when we see them though.

Is unitedness a requirement for things to be called "religions"?

I would say that yes, for a cluster of related ideas to qualify as a religion, there should be some unifying concepts that all (or almost all) of its adherents ascribe to. I think most religions have such core statements of faith, with differing amounts of importance being placed on the importance of accepting these core beliefs. There may be hundreds of other ideas associated with a religion, but I think that most religions identify themselves by their core shared beliefs, also differentiating themselves from other (related) religious groups by those beliefs they do not share.

Would atheism become a religion if it consisted of two unifyin ideas? Or three? Personally, I don't think so. That would mean all ideologies and all philosophies are also religions.

I agree. All religions have unifying ideas, but not all philosophies with unifying ideas are religions.

Mutate and Survive


This message is a reply to:
 Message 126 by Blue Jay, posted 03-24-2010 12:43 AM Blue Jay has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 146 by Blue Jay, posted 03-24-2010 2:56 PM Granny Magda has responded

    
ZenMonkey
Member (Idle past 2345 days)
Posts: 428
From: Portland, OR USA
Joined: 09-25-2009


(1)
Message 128 of 414 (551742)
03-24-2010 1:17 AM
Reply to: Message 126 by Blue Jay
03-24-2010 12:43 AM


Bluejay writes:

I just think this whole argument raises questions about what, exactly, "religion" is. As it stands, it seems that most of us think religions are belief systems or philosophies that incorporate some sort of devotion or observance, as well as a belief in something that could be described as "supernatural."

That's the meat in the burrito, so to speak. Religion, by definition, revolves around the existence of the supernatural and the relationship human beings have to the supernatural. Science, by definition, is a systematic investigation of the natural world. It rejects the supernatural because the supernatural, by definition, exists outside the scope of natural laws. Atheists, by definition, lack belief in the supernatural, at least insofar as the supernatural relates to deities. (Whether atheists are equally agnostic or skeptical of other supernatural claims, such as poltergeists or channeling spirits, is another topic.)

Considering that science doesn't deal with the supernatural, and atheists reject the existence of the supernatural, is it so surprising that scientists are far more likely than the general public to be atheists? There's your overlap.

To my mind, this also rules out the possibility that atheism can be considered a religion. I would also say that non-theistic practices such as Buddhism or Taoism are essentially non-religious and atheistic as well. (Both Buddhism and Taoism have taken on the trappings of cultural religious practices, but these are more incidental than essential.) It's pointless to talk about atheistic "beliefs" as being somehow equivalent to religious beliefs. No matter how many times creationists repeat the falsehood that "evolution is just as much a belief as creationism", that doesn't make it true. Atheists may accept certain well-evidenced propositions as true - such as the diversity of life not requiring the intervention of a deity - but that doesn't mean that they "believe in" them.


I have no time for lies and fantasy, and neither should you. Enjoy or die.
-John Lydon
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Pauline
Member (Idle past 1570 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008


Message 129 of 414 (551743)
03-24-2010 1:23 AM
Reply to: Message 125 by Rahvin
03-24-2010 12:26 AM


Re: Belief is active, and disbelief the default.
Hello Rahvin,

Rahvin writes:

Whoa, there, Doc. You misunderstand. It has nothign to do with genetics.

Why not? If morality, an equally abstract concept, has everything to do with genetics, why not belief/disbelief? Where do you draw the line?

Perhaps you'll respond with "well, morality is not abstract, I can see electrochemical reactions that manifest themselves as emotions externally."

Still, the question remains. What part of man is the source of physically un-detectable ideas and concepts? If you agree that there is such a "abstract" center of thought, you are kind of compelled to believe in a thing which you can't see or touch.....

A newborn baby does not yet believe in God. The word is meaningless to a child until the concept is explained.

If you raise a child without ever telling him/her about Jesus, for example, the child will grow up not believing in Jesus, because he/she will have no idea what Jesus is in the first place.

Well, when you can have genes that influence (or give rise to?) morality, why can't you have genes that determine your position irrespective of your external circumstances/exposure/knowledge? Do you rule out the possibility of finding this to be fact pretty dogmatically?

My point is, you can never see the chemical basis (I don't think there is) for a person's belief/disbelief. Does this bother the naturalist who holds that nature is all there is? IS he comfortable with allowing a certain aspect of man that not tangible?


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Replies to this message:
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 Message 132 by Dr Adequate, posted 03-24-2010 2:44 AM Pauline has responded

    
Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1021 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 130 of 414 (551745)
03-24-2010 1:54 AM
Reply to: Message 129 by Pauline
03-24-2010 1:23 AM


Re: Belief is active, and disbelief the default.
Why not? If morality, an equally abstract concept, has everything to do with genetics, why not belief/disbelief? Where do you draw the line?

Perhaps you'll respond with "well, morality is not abstract, I can see electrochemical reactions that manifest themselves as emotions externally."

Still, the question remains. What part of man is the source of physically un-detectable ideas and concepts? If you agree that there is such a "abstract" center of thought, you are kind of compelled to believe in a thing which you can't see or touch.....

Morality is not genetic per se. You aren't born with the concepts of "property" and "theft." Kids don't even immediately understand the concept of "death." Specific concepts of morality are rationally derived concepts, not instinctual or genetic. When we say that morality is a logical product of evolution, we simply mean that the benefits to a population as a whole from even basic "moral" instincts like compassion, philanthropy, not committing murder, etc are sufficient to give a selection bias in their favor.

In any case, a child is still born without any beliefs at all. A newborn doesn;t believe in anything; babies don;t believe in Gods any more than they believe in fish or cars or airplanes. how could they believe in those things, when they've never seen them, and don;t even yet possess the capacity to understand language such that the concepts can be explained to them?

Well, when you can have genes that influence (or give rise to?) morality, why can't you have genes that determine your position irrespective of your external circumstances/exposure/knowledge? Do you rule out the possibility of finding this to be fact pretty dogmatically?

I rule it out by knowing that kids are basically blank slates at first. If you ask a newborn, "do you believe in God," the response will be either "babababthpppppp," crying, silence, or something else unintelligible. The baby doesn't understand the question, or the concept the question addresses; how can the child possess a belief yet not have the faintest idea what it is he/she believes in?

My point is, you can never see the chemical basis (I don't think there is) for a person's belief/disbelief. Does this bother the naturalist who holds that nature is all there is? IS he comfortable with allowing a certain aspect of man that not tangible?

Every thought in your mind is nothing more than a series of complex electrochemical reactions between neurons. In that sense, everything you think, believe, feel, etc has a "chemical basis." We can watch the thoughts form on an MRI.

But this doesn't address the point of children. If a child doesn't have any idea what "god" is, how can the child believe in it?


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Den
Member (Idle past 2935 days)
Posts: 36
From: Australia
Joined: 03-21-2010


Message 131 of 414 (551748)
03-24-2010 2:24 AM
Reply to: Message 102 by Peepul
03-23-2010 2:10 PM


quote:
Right, so the arthritis in my mother's hands is perfect? Whales who get the bends are perfect? The death of many animals in pain or by starvation is perfect? Disease and parasitism are perfect? Have a look at an encyclopedia of tropical human diseases.

A diseased or dead and decaying body to you apears imperfect, however it is perfect to the microbes and other fauna which inhabit and exploit the decaying tissues. A broken birds nest is imperfect to the bird, however its perfect to the fungi which attack its decaying sticks.

This is why I accept that perfection is completely subjective to the individual, either man or animal. I cant make it any clearer simpler than that.

-------------------------------------------

I think this thread has too many off topic discussions going on, its a bit confusing for me to follow or work towards any meaningful outcomes from the original discusion.


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Replies to this message:
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16028
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


(2)
Message 132 of 414 (551752)
03-24-2010 2:44 AM
Reply to: Message 129 by Pauline
03-24-2010 1:23 AM


Re: Belief is active, and disbelief the default.
Still, the question remains. What part of man is the source of physically un-detectable ideas and concepts?

The brain.

Interesting fact: the word "brain" does not appear even once in the Bible. The folks who wrote it seem to have been under the delusion that people thought with their hearts.

My point is, you can never see the chemical basis (I don't think there is) for a person's belief/disbelief.

As a matter of fact, you can see the physical basis for religious beliefs using brain scanning technology.

If you ask someone what they believe personally, they use one part of their brain. If you ask them to think about what someone else might believe, they use another part of the brain.

Now, guess which part of the brain they use when you ask them what God thinks.

Go on, have a guess.

Yes, that's right. When people think about what God's opinions are, their brain activity looks exactly the same as when they think about what their own opinions are.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 129 by Pauline, posted 03-24-2010 1:23 AM Pauline has responded

Replies to this message:
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Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 22 days)
Posts: 2372
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 133 of 414 (551757)
03-24-2010 3:20 AM
Reply to: Message 131 by Den
03-24-2010 2:24 AM


Perfectly Irrelevant
Hi Den,

Hmm...

Den writes:

This is why I accept that perfection is completely subjective to the individual, either man or animal. I cant make it any clearer simpler than that.

So why did you bring it up then? If perfection is, as you say, an entirely subjective concern, why did you say this;

Den writes:

You say Nature as stupid,wasteful and cruel?

Thats just your perception of reality. Everything is perfect, take that new pencil on your desk, break it, its now a perfect broken pencil. Nothing is wasted in nature, nothing is wrong or imperfect, Nature is a perfect cycle of transformation, from the sun which transforms Hydrogen to Helium, to the plants that transform light into plant matter, to the tiger which transforms antelopes into baby tigers. Nothing is wasted, Nature in all its forms is perfect.

in Message 89?

If perfection is wholly subjective, a wholly personal judgement, why bring it up? You say nature is perfect. I say it's not. According to your logic neither, neither opinion matters because they are both equally subjective and thus equally valid. So why mention it?

Instead of undermining your own arguments, perhaps you should start afresh and explain, if you can, just why you think atheism and morality should be mutually exclusive.

Mutate and Survive


"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it." - Jacques Monod
This message is a reply to:
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Pauline
Member (Idle past 1570 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008


Message 134 of 414 (551760)
03-24-2010 3:39 AM
Reply to: Message 132 by Dr Adequate
03-24-2010 2:44 AM


Re: Belief is active, and disbelief the default.
As a matter of fact, you can see the physical basis for religious beliefs using brain scanning technology.

If you ask someone what they believe personally, they use one part of their brain. If you ask them to think about what someone else might believe, they use another part of the brain.

Now, guess which part of the brain they use when you ask them what God thinks.

Go on, have a guess.

Yes, that's right. When people think about what God's opinions are, their brain activity looks exactly the same as when they think about what their own opinions are.

So whats the name if this technology?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 132 by Dr Adequate, posted 03-24-2010 2:44 AM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16028
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 135 of 414 (551762)
03-24-2010 3:57 AM
Reply to: Message 134 by Pauline
03-24-2010 3:39 AM


Re: Belief is active, and disbelief the default.
So whats the name if this technology?

It's called functional MRI.

You can read the entire paper here for free. Enjoy.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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