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Author Topic:   Does Athiesm = no beliefs?
Den
Member (Idle past 2542 days)
Posts: 36
From: Australia
Joined: 03-21-2010


Message 1 of 348 (551224)
03-22-2010 12:11 AM


I recently had a conversation regarding Atheism with an old Athiest friend who is a 67 year old engineer and a mathematic wiz.

I asked him whether Atheism has any beliefs which are unique to Atheism? - before making any comments remember the question pertains to "unique beliefs".

His aswer was "we do not believe in a God or Supernatural being".

I responded : Well that is not a belief, that is a dis-belief of someone elses belief.

So I ask again, what beliefs are unique to Atheism?

His next answer "We accept Evolution as fact"

My response: Well you dont have to be an athiest to hold that belief, religious, agnostics anyone can hold that belief, it is not unique to Atheism.

So I ask you all:

1. Does Atheism has any beliefs which are unique to Atheism?

2. Is the so called "freedom" of Atheism just the illusion given by an endless empty space that traps and imprisions the intellect?


Replies to this message:
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 Message 6 by Larni, posted 03-22-2010 6:19 AM Den has not yet responded
 Message 16 by hooah212002, posted 03-22-2010 10:20 AM Den has not yet responded
 Message 20 by Dr Adequate, posted 03-22-2010 10:51 AM Den has not yet responded
 Message 30 by Taq, posted 03-22-2010 12:44 PM Den has not yet responded
 Message 157 by Sparcz1978, posted 03-27-2010 2:03 PM Den has not yet responded
 Message 158 by Sparcz1978, posted 03-27-2010 2:08 PM Den has not yet responded
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Message 2 of 348 (551241)
03-22-2010 2:35 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Does Athiesm = no beliefs? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Huntard
Member
Posts: 2857
From: Limburg, The Netherlands
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 3 of 348 (551246)
03-22-2010 2:43 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Den
03-22-2010 12:11 AM


Den writes:

So I ask you all:

1. Does Atheism has any beliefs which are unique to Atheism?


The only thing required for being an atheist is a lack of belief in gods. That's it. Everything else is wholly independent of that.

2. Is the so called "freedom" of Atheism just the illusion given by an endless empty space that traps and imprisions the intellect?

I'm sorry, I don't understand your question. I'm pretty sure no intellect is trapped because of atheism. Some of the greatest thinkers were atheists.
This message is a reply to:
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Modulous
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Posts: 7407
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 4 of 348 (551248)
03-22-2010 3:30 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Den
03-22-2010 12:11 AM


1. Does Atheism has any beliefs which are unique to Atheism?

No, atheism isn't a belief system - it contains no beliefs. One doesn't have to evolution as fact to get included in the club.

Is the so called "freedom" of Atheism just the illusion given by an endless empty space that traps and imprisions the intellect?

Freedom of atheism?

The only thing an atheist is free of is the belief in god. This may be liberating I suppose. As to whether it is a trap of the intellect - how would one come to know an answer to such a question? Why would one think it is true? It sounds like a question that isn't a question but an opinion that is given a modern media type spin to make it sound like journalism. We ask - you decide and all that.

To answer the question: Atheism is no more necessarily an intellectual trap than a-santaism, a-domavoisim or a-fairyism. Make of that what you will.


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Replies to this message:
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Dr Jack
Member
Posts: 3500
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 5 of 348 (551258)
03-22-2010 5:46 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Den
03-22-2010 12:11 AM


1. Does Atheism has any beliefs which are unique to Atheism?

Atheism is general doesn't, no. That's because it's not a belief system. The particular strand of atheism I agree with holds that the universe is an entirely naturalistic one which we can only learn truths about by empirical investigation. I guess you could describe that as a belief unique to Atheism if you really wanted?

2. Is the so called "freedom" of Atheism just the illusion given by an endless empty space that traps and imprisions the intellect?

I'm more interested in reality than intellectual freedom.


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 Message 1 by Den, posted 03-22-2010 12:11 AM Den has not yet responded

  
Larni
Member
Posts: 3942
From: UK
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 6 of 348 (551260)
03-22-2010 6:19 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Den
03-22-2010 12:11 AM


Atheism is all about taking a positive position that there are no supernatural beings: that's pretty much it.

In terms of intellectual freedom I assume you mean the notion that these beings are ruled out by default.

But how less intellectual freedom is that than ruling in a supernatural being from the outset?

Surely, it's more intellectually free to be agnostic and say "I would believe in the supernatural if only there wa some decent evidence".


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Replies to this message:
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Dr Jack
Member
Posts: 3500
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 7 of 348 (551261)
03-22-2010 6:37 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Larni
03-22-2010 6:19 AM


Atheism is all about taking a positive position that there are no supernatural beings: that's pretty much it.

I quibble on two counts: firstly, while most atheists would agree there are no supernatural beings, one can be atheist whilst holding there are supernatural beings just no Gods. Secondly, I don't hold the positive belief that there are no supernatural beings, that follows from the belief that you can determine how the world actually is by investigation and the fact that we find no trace of supernatural beings.


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Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by Larni, posted 03-22-2010 8:13 AM Dr Jack has responded
 Message 17 by CosmicChimp, posted 03-22-2010 10:31 AM Dr Jack has responded

  
Den
Member (Idle past 2542 days)
Posts: 36
From: Australia
Joined: 03-21-2010


Message 8 of 348 (551262)
03-22-2010 6:40 AM


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

or less likely due to human ego to look outside the limiting boundaries of a committed belief? or in this case a dis-belief.

What positive purpose is there to committing to Atheism? I just do not get it, I prefer to look at things from both sides and keep my options open.

From where I stand I think there's good arguements on both sides that are getting us no where!


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Larni
Member
Posts: 3942
From: UK
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 9 of 348 (551265)
03-22-2010 7:10 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Den
03-22-2010 6:40 AM


In a way I agree with you that to rule some thing out with out a reason to do so is not really logical. I'm agnostic about supernaturals but the important point is that I still believe that the balance of probability (I.e that we have no evidence for the supernatural) means that the logial position is that the supernatural does not exist.

I have to say that the tone of some of your posts seem to imply that not believing in some form of the supernatural is tantamount to becoming a first class bastard.

I used to believe in Yahweh as a kid and now I don't but I'm still the same person in terms of morality as I once was.


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bluegenes
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Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007
Member Rating: 3.5


(1)
Message 10 of 348 (551269)
03-22-2010 7:48 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Den
03-22-2010 6:40 AM


Belief is active, and disbelief the default.
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.

Objectively investigating the question of whether or not vampires exist would involve asking yourself the question "Do I see any positive evidence to support the existence of such beings?" If not, then it is wise to remain in a state of disbelief that there are beings who can transform themselves into bats unless or until some evidence for such a phenomenon presents itself.

Many atheists take this attitude towards gods. It's easy, and does not require an active belief that gods (or vampires) are impossible.

Den writes:

I just do not get it, I prefer to look at things from both sides and keep my options open.

And why not? Either vampires exist or they don't, so there are two sides to that question, and you can remain open minded by not believing in them unless you have evidence for their existence, and believing if and when that evidence crops up. You have no obligation to a permanent state of disbelief.

If you examine the way in which you sort out reality, you will probably find that you pursue this course in relation to most propositions for which you have no evidential support (the Prime Minister of Australia is a werewolf, for example).

So, why not do the same thing for gods?


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Larni
Member
Posts: 3942
From: UK
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 11 of 348 (551272)
03-22-2010 8:13 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Dr Jack
03-22-2010 6:37 AM


I don't hold the positive belief that there are no supernatural beings, that follows from the belief that you can determine how the world actually is by investigation and the fact that we find no trace of supernatural beings.

Isn't that agnosticism?


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Replies to this message:
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 Message 14 by Dr Jack, posted 03-22-2010 8:44 AM Larni has not yet responded

    
Modulous
Member
Posts: 7407
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 12 of 348 (551273)
03-22-2010 8:14 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Den
03-22-2010 6:40 AM


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

1. I haven't ruled out a god just because I have not found a reason to believe it exists and have reason for acting as if it doesn't (or they don't).

2. Being human disables you from objectively investigating something.

What positive purpose is there to committing to Atheism?

The same positive purpose to committing to not believing in Santa or the lumineferous aether.

I just do not get it, I prefer to look at things from both sides and keep my options open.

Same here. I don't go around saying there will never be any evidence for the existence of Santa, the tooth fairy, the Garage Dragon or Yahweh or any deity like entity nor do I say there will never be a reason to consider that they do in fact exist.

Right now - I've made the decision to be epistemologically consistent which means if I decide to not believe in the Garage Dragon I should treat all other entities with the same level of support in a similar fashion.

From where I stand I think there's good arguements on both sides that are getting us no where!

I have yet to come across an argument for the existence of a god that is remotely as compelling as say, the argument for the existence of dark matter.


This message is a reply to:
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Modulous
Member
Posts: 7407
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 13 of 348 (551275)
03-22-2010 8:18 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Larni
03-22-2010 8:13 AM


I don't hold the positive belief that there are no supernatural beings, that follows from the belief that you can determine how the world actually is by investigation and the fact that we find no trace of supernatural beings.

Isn't that agnosticism?

No - the position that there is no supernatural is called naturalism. The method seemingly used to derive Mr Jack's position here is rational empiricism (or perhaps a form of logical positivism). Not being committed to supernaturalism is just not being a supernaturalist (though that doesn't necessarily imply being a naturalist, either).

Agnosticism is the position that one either can't know or simply doesn't as of yet know whether there is a god or gods (not necessarily god, but unless specified the convention is that it is god being discussed) usually justified by referring to the impossibility of deriving a metaphysical position from an epistemological one or arguing that it is circular since the epistemological position is derived from a hidden metaphysical position.

One can both be agnostic and not be a supernaturalist.

Edited by Modulous, : kept missing important bits.


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Dr Jack
Member
Posts: 3500
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 14 of 348 (551280)
03-22-2010 8:44 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Larni
03-22-2010 8:13 AM


Isn't that agnosticism?

No, agnosticism is either the position that you don't know whether there's a god or not or that you can't know whether there's a god or not.

I know there isn't a god, but this isn't a positive belief, it's a deduction from other beliefs combined with evidence.


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Larni
Member
Posts: 3942
From: UK
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 15 of 348 (551282)
03-22-2010 8:48 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Modulous
03-22-2010 8:18 AM


No - the position that there is no supernatural is called naturalism.

Guess I'm not so up on my philosophy as I thought

Thanks for clearing that up for me, Mod

Just goes to show that there is no atheist party line if some of us don't even know the correct usage of terms, eh?


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