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Author Topic:   Does Atheism = No beliefs?
ringo
Member
Posts: 15127
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 241 of 414 (774667)
12-20-2015 1:27 PM
Reply to: Message 240 by Tangle
12-20-2015 1:21 PM


Tangle writes:

You may well think that but would you understand if one came your way?


The point is that I DO have an active disbelief. You didn't comment on that.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 240 by Tangle, posted 12-20-2015 1:21 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 242 by Tangle, posted 12-20-2015 1:54 PM ringo has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 6084
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 242 of 414 (774669)
12-20-2015 1:54 PM
Reply to: Message 241 by ringo
12-20-2015 1:27 PM


As you wish - I'll stick with this:

ringo writes:

I personally don't believe that any gods exist...

That makes you an atheist

... but I don't self-identify as an atheist.

Tough, you are one. Denial of a fact, leaves the fact in place.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 241 by ringo, posted 12-20-2015 1:27 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 243 by ringo, posted 12-20-2015 2:00 PM Tangle has responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 15127
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 243 of 414 (774670)
12-20-2015 2:00 PM
Reply to: Message 242 by Tangle
12-20-2015 1:54 PM


Tangle writes:

ringo writes:

... but I don't self-identify as an atheist.


Tough, you are one.

You evangelicals are funny.

I don't self-identify as "tall". I don't self-identify as a shoe-wearer. I don't have to acknowledge every single fact.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 242 by Tangle, posted 12-20-2015 1:54 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 250 by Tangle, posted 12-20-2015 6:17 PM ringo has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16035
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 244 of 414 (774671)
12-20-2015 2:01 PM
Reply to: Message 235 by Tangle
12-20-2015 11:33 AM


If someone says that, we know that what they actually mean is that they don't know which it is.

And if someone says "I don't know whether there's a god or not", we know that what they actually mean is that they don't know whether there's a god or not.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 235 by Tangle, posted 12-20-2015 11:33 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 245 by Tangle, posted 12-20-2015 2:29 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 6084
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 245 of 414 (774673)
12-20-2015 2:29 PM
Reply to: Message 244 by Dr Adequate
12-20-2015 2:01 PM


Dr A writes:

And if someone says "I don't know whether there's a god or not", we know that what they actually mean is that they don't know whether there's a god or not.

Yup, but we don't know whether they believe in a god or not either. Which is what we're trying to get at.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 244 by Dr Adequate, posted 12-20-2015 2:01 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 274 by Dr Adequate, posted 12-23-2015 10:24 PM Tangle has responded

  
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 26 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 246 of 414 (774675)
12-20-2015 3:07 PM
Reply to: Message 232 by Tanypteryx
12-20-2015 11:19 AM


Tany writes:

In my own case, I don't need to "believe" anything. I try to reach conclusions based on evidence or the lack of it.


Yes, of course. I believe that the tooth fairy does not exist. This is based on lack of evidence in the tooth fairy, and evidence for a simpler alternative explanation.

I believe in the law of gravity. This is based on my own experience as well as evidence and experiment.

It is as if people who take things on faith cannot imagine a thought process that does not.

Rather, I think that atheists want to overly restrict the meaning of the word "believe". To "believe" something does NOT necessarily mean to take it on "blind faith". Many of our beliefs (like the ones mentioned above) are based on evidence.

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." Albert Einstein

I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously. Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 232 by Tanypteryx, posted 12-20-2015 11:19 AM Tanypteryx has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 248 by Tanypteryx, posted 12-20-2015 4:04 PM kbertsche has not yet responded

    
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 26 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 247 of 414 (774677)
12-20-2015 3:20 PM
Reply to: Message 234 by Diomedes
12-20-2015 11:25 AM


Diomedes writes:

But therein lies the problem: can you claim with absolute certainty that the tooth fairy does not exist?


No, of course not. No one can PROVE the non-existence of the tooth fairy.

But does this mean that I waffle on the question of the tooth fairy's existence? That I have no belief one way or the other? No.

Based on the evidence, I not only disbelieve in the tooth fairy, I have the belief that the tooth fairy does NOT exist.


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." Albert Einstein

I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously. Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 234 by Diomedes, posted 12-20-2015 11:25 AM Diomedes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 249 by Diomedes, posted 12-20-2015 4:10 PM kbertsche has responded

    
Tanypteryx
Member
Posts: 1700
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 248 of 414 (774678)
12-20-2015 4:04 PM
Reply to: Message 246 by kbertsche
12-20-2015 3:07 PM


Tany writes:

In my own case, I don't need to "believe" anything. I try to reach conclusions based on evidence or the lack of it.


Yes, of course. I believe that the tooth fairy does not exist. This is based on lack of evidence in the tooth fairy, and evidence for a simpler alternative explanation.
I believe in the law of gravity. This is based on my own experience as well as evidence and experiment.

OK good, It is great that you have a worldview, inner vision, position that is consistent and that gives you a sense of inner satisfaction.

My path to a sense of inner satisfaction, is different from yours. I have changed and refined my vision of myself and the Universe over the years, but for a long time now I have made a conscious effort to not think about things in terms of belief.

By the same token, I do not use the term theorize to mean "wild ass guess" instead I use the term "wild ass guess."

I use hypothesize when I am trying to frame questions about observations that I want to understand.

I use theory in the way it is used in science; a compilation of all the observations, discoveries, facts, and evidence into a self-consistent and coherent description of a phenomena, such as evolution, general relativity or quantum mechanics.

I have intentionally arranged my personal way of thinking about these things in this particular way because it perfectly fits my sense of inner satisfaction. I don't know that I can make my position any clearer than that.


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 246 by kbertsche, posted 12-20-2015 3:07 PM kbertsche has not yet responded

    
Diomedes
Member
Posts: 719
From: Central Florida, USA
Joined: 09-13-2013
Member Rating: 3.2


(2)
Message 249 of 414 (774681)
12-20-2015 4:10 PM
Reply to: Message 247 by kbertsche
12-20-2015 3:20 PM


No, of course not. No one can PROVE the non-existence of the tooth fairy.

Precisely. Because as I stated, it is difficult to nigh impossible to prove a negative. Now we are getting somewhere.

But does this mean that I waffle on the question of the tooth fairy's existence? That I have no belief one way or the other? No.

In actuality, you just did. By stating that no one can prove the non-existence of the tooth fairy, you have, for all intents and purposes, acknowledged that attempting to quantify a non-belief is invalid.

The main issue is that the word 'belief' is being overloaded. And that is precisely what I am attempting to convey.

In order for a belief to exist, as per our dialog and your statements thus far, it needs to be associated with a tangible construct. The tooth fairy. Bigfoot. Angels. Demons. God. Werewolves. Vampires. Pixies. Leprechauns. Dragons. Etc. Etc.

All of the above have one thing in common: they are referencing a tangible 'something', real or perceived, metaphysical or otherwise. A belief must be associated with 'something'.

Now flip that around. What does a non-belief in werewolves look like? Or vampires? Or pixies? Or leprechauns. This is the issue. You are taking the word 'belief' and attempting to ascribe it to a non-entity and then also attempting to equate equivalency in that circumstance.

It is not in any way 'waffling'. It is simply how logical arguments function. The reason that many theists consider it waffling or dodging is they have difficulty perceiving the notion that their view is inaccurate. 'God' in their view, is already proven and that disagreeing with that assertion requires a belief of some sort and evidence brought forth as some kind of counterclaim. But as I indicated, this can be understood more easily if one simply starts attempting similar arguments and instead referencing other mythological or folkloric concept.

Richard Dawkins discusses this in detail and perhaps does a better job of explaining it than I do. But to summarize: you cannot ascribe a belief to a non-belief in something that has not been proven. If I attempted to write a computer 'if' statement to quantify what I just typed, my program would likely throw an error or hang.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 247 by kbertsche, posted 12-20-2015 3:20 PM kbertsche has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 251 by kbertsche, posted 12-21-2015 1:19 AM Diomedes has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 6084
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 250 of 414 (774688)
12-20-2015 6:17 PM
Reply to: Message 243 by ringo
12-20-2015 2:00 PM


ringo writes:

I don't self-identify as "tall". I don't self-identify as a shoe-wearer. I don't have to acknowledge every single fact.

If you're tall, you're tall. If you wear shoes, you wear shoes. It's only an issue if you say you don't wear shoes and I can see them on your feet.

And whilst you claim not to have to self-identify, it was you that did.

ringo writes:


I personally don't believe that any gods exist but I don't self-identify as an atheist. I self-identify as an agnostic.

I can see your shoes.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 243 by ringo, posted 12-20-2015 2:00 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 252 by ringo, posted 12-21-2015 10:57 AM Tangle has responded

  
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 26 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 251 of 414 (774697)
12-21-2015 1:19 AM
Reply to: Message 249 by Diomedes
12-20-2015 4:10 PM


Diomedes writes:

kbertsche writes:

But does this mean that I waffle on the question of the tooth fairy's existence? That I have no belief one way or the other? No.


In actuality, you just did. By stating that no one can prove the non-existence of the tooth fairy, you have, for all intents and purposes, acknowledged that attempting to quantify a non-belief is invalid.

I dont follow you.

I do not believe in the tooth fairy. Further, I believe that the tooth fairy does not exist. I cannot absolutely prove that the tooth fairy does not exist, but I am convinced of it on the basis of evidence.

I don't see how these statements imply anything about "attempting to quantify a non-belief"?

Diomedes writes:

The main issue is that the word 'belief' is being overloaded. And that is precisely what I am attempting to convey.

In order for a belief to exist, as per our dialog and your statements thus far, it needs to be associated with a tangible construct. The tooth fairy. Bigfoot. Angels. Demons. God. Werewolves. Vampires. Pixies. Leprechauns. Dragons. Etc. Etc.


I don't think this is necessarily true. The word "believe" is commonly used in a number of different ways. The phrase "I do not believe in the tooth fairy" is associated with a "tangible construct", as you say. But the phrase "I believe that the tooth fairy does not exist" is a truth-claim about an alleged fact. I don't see why such an alleged fact must be associated with a "tangible construct". We can believe facts about intangible concepts as well as tangible objects, can't we?

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." Albert Einstein

I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously. Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 249 by Diomedes, posted 12-20-2015 4:10 PM Diomedes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 253 by Diomedes, posted 12-21-2015 11:05 AM kbertsche has responded

    
ringo
Member
Posts: 15127
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 252 of 414 (774703)
12-21-2015 10:57 AM
Reply to: Message 250 by Tangle
12-20-2015 6:17 PM


Tangle writes:

And whilst you claim not to have to self-identify, it was you that did.


I self-identify as agnostic while you insist on labelling me as atheist.

I don't self-identify as atheist because not everybody agrees with your definition of atheist. If I self-identified as atheist, too many people would assume that I believe no god exists. It's better communication.

If I self-identify as agnostic, I only have a handful of True Unbelievers like you to deal with.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 250 by Tangle, posted 12-20-2015 6:17 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 254 by Tangle, posted 12-21-2015 11:38 AM ringo has responded

  
Diomedes
Member
Posts: 719
From: Central Florida, USA
Joined: 09-13-2013
Member Rating: 3.2


(1)
Message 253 of 414 (774707)
12-21-2015 11:05 AM
Reply to: Message 251 by kbertsche
12-21-2015 1:19 AM


I dont follow you.
I do not believe in the tooth fairy. Further, I believe that the tooth fairy does not exist. I cannot absolutely prove that the tooth fairy does not exist, but I am convinced of it on the basis of evidence.

I don't see how these statements imply anything about "attempting to quantify a non-belief"?

Read your statement:

quote:
I do not believe in the tooth fairy. Further, I believe that the tooth fairy does not exist.

You have actually stated two things here from a logical perspective:

In the first sentence is you are stating you do not believe in the tooth fairy. In other words, someone has made a claim regarding the existence of the tooth fairy, which you have rejected.

Your second sentence however is the opposite. You state that you believe that the tooth fairy does not exist. You have just stated a belief in a non-belief.

'believe' in 'non-existence of tooth fairy'.

Is this clarifying things a little better?

To compound the problem, your third statement:

quote:
I cannot absolutely prove that the tooth fairy does not exist, but I am convinced of it on the basis of evidence.

This actually contradicts your second statement and is inherently self-contradictory in its own right.

The statement in wholesale is referencing a non-belief, made in the preceding statement. i.e. 'I believe the tooth fairy does not exist'.
As indicated, you are 'believing' in the 'non-existence' of the tooth fairy. You follow that by indicating you cannot 'absolutely prove' in the non-existence of the tooth fairy, but you are convinced of it based on the 'evidence'.

The leading portion of the paragraph is the correct assertion: i.e. you reject the claim of the tooth fairy. But the remaining portions reverse the logic of your view from a 'dis-belief' in a claim to a 'belief' in a 'non-belief'; or rather, the 'non-existence' of a unproven entity.

I don't think this is necessarily true. The word "believe" is commonly used in a number of different ways. The phrase "I do not believe in the tooth fairy" is associated with a "tangible construct", as you say. But the phrase "I believe that the tooth fairy does not exist" is a truth-claim about an alleged fact. I don't see why such an alleged fact must be associated with a "tangible construct". We can believe facts about intangible concepts as well as tangible objects, can't we?

Part of the issue is the usage of the word 'believe'. As I mentioned earlier, it is being somewhat overloaded. Additionally, the notion of 'belief' is commonly attributed to discussions regarding more mythological or folklore based claims. However, in our common vernacular, it is used in scenarios where it is not very applicable.

What actually works more effectively is the usage of a different word. Consider the following:

"I am confident that a god exists."

A positive affirmation of a specific claim.

"I am not confident that a god exists."

A rejection of a specific claim.

Now try the reverse:

"I am confident that a god does not exist."

A positive affirmation to a negative claim. i.e., trying to prove a negative.

The main conclusion to draw is that deductive logical arguments are meant to function in reference to a specific premise. And that validation of that premise leads to a specific conclusion. In order for that to function, the premise must be something that is a tangible from which one can conduct further testing in order to perform validity.

If the premise is referencing a 'non-something'; i.e. the validation of the non-existence of something, the mechanism breaks down.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 251 by kbertsche, posted 12-21-2015 1:19 AM kbertsche has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 259 by kbertsche, posted 12-21-2015 1:50 PM Diomedes has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 6084
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 254 of 414 (774711)
12-21-2015 11:38 AM
Reply to: Message 252 by ringo
12-21-2015 10:57 AM


ringo writes:

I self-identify as agnostic while you insist on labelling me as atheist

Yeh, I'm weird like that:

ringo writes:

I personally don't believe that any gods exist

atheist
noun
a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.

ringo writes:

If I self-identified as atheist, too many people would assume that I believe no god exists......If I self-identify as agnostic, I only have a handful of True Unbelievers like you to deal with.

It's probably an American thing - this fear of coming out. Too many people would apparently hate you - it's all a bit mediaeval. Not something that's a problem here so it's hard to understand.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 252 by ringo, posted 12-21-2015 10:57 AM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 255 by ringo, posted 12-21-2015 11:56 AM Tangle has responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 15127
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 255 of 414 (774713)
12-21-2015 11:56 AM
Reply to: Message 254 by Tangle
12-21-2015 11:38 AM


Tangle writes:

It's probably an American thing - this fear of coming out.


It's not about "coming out". The religious people I know are equally horrified by agnosticism and by atheism.

It's about communication. If people think "atheist" means "believes there is no God" then identifying myself as an atheist gives them the wrong idea. I don't care what people think of me but I'd rather they form their opinions on accurate information.

As for fear of coming out, some atheists seem to be afraid to admit that they don't know.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 254 by Tangle, posted 12-21-2015 11:38 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 256 by Tangle, posted 12-21-2015 12:18 PM ringo has responded

  
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