Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 85 (8936 total)
29 online now:
Diomedes, jar (2 members, 27 visitors)
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: ssope
Upcoming Birthdays: AdminPhat
Post Volume: Total: 861,637 Year: 16,673/19,786 Month: 798/2,598 Week: 44/251 Day: 21/23 Hour: 0/0


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   Percy is a Deist - Now what's the difference between a deist and an atheist?
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20111
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 121 of 375 (499171)
02-17-2009 12:21 AM
Reply to: Message 116 by Modulous
02-16-2009 6:44 AM


Why indeed?
Hi Mod, we've been over this issue before, and reached no conclusion then.

You done this several times, I think it is rather inflammatory. ...
Why the need for the undercurrent of general hostility towards atheists over this matter, rather than certain atheists you may have disagreement with?

Curiously I have not called anyone deluded, silly, irrational nor suggested that they suffering hallucinations, etc.

The atheist position is simple:

1. I don't believe in things for which I can find no reason to believe.
2. I find no reason to believe in any proposed deity.
3. Therefore: I do not believe in any proposed deity.

How does this really differ from:

quote:
Would you say that the atheist position is that the existence of god(s) is, for all intents and purposes, unknowable, and therefore they don't exist?

1 (I don't believe in things for which I can find no reason to believe) + 2 (I find no reason to believe in any proposed deity) = "the existence of god(s) is, for all intents and purposes, unknowable"

3 (Therefore: I do not believe in any proposed deity) = "therefore (I believe) they don't exist"

You say it's not your position, and then you essentially say exactly the same thing.

You commented about cognitive dissonance with regards to atheists "rejecting the concept of a reasonable god"

Yes, it is in response to comments that (certain) atheists don't necessarily reject god/s, while the evidence is that they do. It's pretense.

... you think there is some reason behind believing in the god you believe in. I don't. That's the difference between us.

And the consequence is that I believe and you don't

Message 4

quote:
The atheist believes there is no evidence of god/s and that the absence of evidence is evidence of absence (all A is B, B therefore A logical fallacy).

The deist believes that god/s is/are essentially unknowable, that all evidence points to the way the natural world functions as created, and all we can understand is how it works.


The deist believes and the atheist doesn't. Back to square one once again.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 116 by Modulous, posted 02-16-2009 6:44 AM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 123 by Straggler, posted 02-17-2009 12:05 PM RAZD has responded
 Message 124 by Modulous, posted 02-17-2009 12:49 PM RAZD has responded

  
dronestar
Member (Idle past 595 days)
Posts: 1379
From: usa
Joined: 11-19-2008


Message 122 of 375 (499195)
02-17-2009 7:20 AM
Reply to: Message 91 by Blue Jay
02-14-2009 1:56 AM


the distinction between theist, deist, and atheist . . .
Hi Bluejay,

I think you may have not considered my entire reply (message 67) to Percy, and missed Rahvins replies soon after. I think we are all already in agreement, but I'll try to recap. Please note the boldface following quote:

dronester writes:

Doesn't mean there isn't a god(s). Only evidence of not a caring/personal/higher purpose god(s).

THEISM: It is rational to believe a parent wouldn't want any harm to their children. So, using your list, yes, a parent would want to keep poisonous spiders, forest fires, and running noses (colds/sickness) AWAY from their children. A parent would consider those things "bad" for their children. By extension, it is logical/natural to project that a personal, loving god wouldn't want harm to its creations also . . .

In my original post, I mentioned malaria, and starvation. Recently, in a different thread, there was a brief discussion about a parasitic worm's raison detreā€”it burrows into the eyes of its human host. Another thread discussed how illogical an "intelligent" designer would be to produce creations with major/fatal defects (cleft palate, spina bifida, congenital defects, etc, etc, etc).

This is just one area where a theist's position breaks down. With the above evidence, it is NOT rational to believe a LOVING, PERSONAL god exists.

Which leads to DEISM . . .

Bluejay writes:

. . . why would a "higher power" want to create something boring and meaningless?

Yes, you are correct . . . IF there is a higher power/higher purpose, one can infinitely speculate that a non-loving, non-personal god might NOT want to create something boring and meaningless. It may even enjoy all the above "bad" things. I think Rahvin even wrote it is POSSIBLE god is an asshole. (Sure, why not also speculate about the flying spaghetti monster's crusty sidekick, "garlicbread-boy"?)

Yet, some part of this belief system moves Percy to be a deist (something he himself admits is IRRATIONAL and won't expand in discussion/clarification).

By originally presenting my list of "bad" factors to Percy, I hoped to highlight already lingering dissonance in a DIEST mindset. However, I still admit, it is POSSIBLE that seemingly "good" or "bad" or "boring" or "exciting" intentions could serve some bizarre higher purpose at the remains of the day. But, as Percy wrote, it becomes an irrational proposition quickly.

HOWEVER, the greatest point of this discussion is that the above arguments are moot, . . .

As Rahvin (message 78) had clarified, because there is no evidence that supports any god or even a higher purpose, parsimony rejects both Percy's appeal to "purposefullness" and my appeal to consequences. ATHEISM is then left standing alone.

I think this shows one facet of the distinction between theist, deist and atheist.

regards

Edited by dronester, : clarity


Cogito, ergo Deus non est
This message is a reply to:
 Message 91 by Blue Jay, posted 02-14-2009 1:56 AM Blue Jay has not yet responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 123 of 375 (499213)
02-17-2009 12:05 PM
Reply to: Message 121 by RAZD
02-17-2009 12:21 AM


Moving The Debate Forward?
Yes, it is in response to comments that (certain) atheists don't necessarily reject god/s, while the evidence is that they do. It's pretense.

I suspect that I am one of those who you perceive to be guilty of this.

It is not a pretense to say that I accept the strict logical and philosophical possibility of gods. In the absence of proof certainty is not an option.

But, as I have stated, I do conclude that the probability of any individual god actually existing is so negligible as to be all but non-existent in practical terms.

The question that this begs is whether or not this dismissal on my part is actually reasonably and rationally justified. Or not.

You say no and repeat your logical fallacy argument. You also assert that our complete ignorance regarding anything that is both undetectable and which contradicts no actual evidence makes any measure of probability impossible and thus unjustified.

In response I have presented to you an example that meets the criteria for agnosticism as defined by your strict logical argument but which you seem to agree is "silly" and "ridiculous" in terms of the actual practical likelihood of the existence of the being in question (and thus presumably not worthy of genuine agnosticism as a conclusion).

This strongly suggests that the dismissal of the existence of particular beings as improbable is, in practical terms, reliant on something other than your strict logical argument. Your strict logical argument is incapable of incorporating any factor that relates to the relative likelihood of different claims.

Therefore it seems that your claim that atheism is the product of a logical fallacy is based on an incomplete analysis and that it is thus unfounded.

Do you agree?

Secondly this raises the question of what it is that is missing from your strict logical argument such that some unevidenced claims that contradict no evidence seem reasonable whilst others seem "ridiculous" and "silly".

EXAMPLES
1) The proposal that alien life of some sort is likely to exist somewhere in the universe, I think most would agree is a rational conclusion that is both itself strictly unevidenced but which also contradicts no known evidence (I don't want to drag this thread down the "aliens exist" route however so let's not get too caught up in the specifics)

2) The proposal that a supernatural undetectable god called Wagwah is responsible for all the PC freezes, crashes and bluescreens that have not been accounted for by conventional explanations, I think most would agree is an irrational conclusion that is both itself strictly unevidenced but which also contradicts no known evidence.

So what is the difference between the two claims that allows us to justifiably consider one of them to be reasonable and rational and one of them to be obviously and evidently ridiculous?

Raz writes:

The deist believes and the atheist doesn't. Back to square one once again.

Well not necessarily.

If we accept that your strict logical argument is an insufficient basis upon which to conclude the relative likelihood of specific cases then we can move things forward.

We could try and examine the real basis on which unevidenced claims that do not actually contradict any evidence are really evaluated with regard to their relative plausibility and likelihood.

We can then determine whether these factors are indeed reasonable and rational or whether such judgements are wholly subjective.

What do you think?

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 121 by RAZD, posted 02-17-2009 12:21 AM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 126 by RAZD, posted 02-17-2009 11:37 PM Straggler has responded

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 359 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 124 of 375 (499217)
02-17-2009 12:49 PM
Reply to: Message 121 by RAZD
02-17-2009 12:21 AM


Fixed false beliefs resistant to confrontation with actual fact
Hi Mod, we've been over this issue before, and reached no conclusion then.

That's what we like to do around here, isn't it? However, I don't remember the thread you are referring to - could you dig it up and link to if for me? Thanks.

Curiously I have not called anyone deluded, silly, irrational nor suggested that they suffering hallucinations, etc.

What does that matter? Does it make your position correct? Do the perceived shortcomings of your opponents make it less inflammatory when you engage in generalisations? Does the perceived hostility coming from your opponents seem like an adequate explanation to you for engaging in an undercurrent of hostility towards the whole group to which your opponents happen to belong? And besides, you don't have any trouble characterising people as being under delusion, suffering hallucinations, or pointing out silliness - though you may well have avoided doing this in this topic. Instead you have erected a strawman and made sweeping generalisations about a significantly broad category of people.

I pointed out that I objected to some element of your behaviour. Either say that you don't find the behaviour objectionable, apologise for it, ignore me or stop doing it but the, "But he started it", response is hardly becoming of an esteemed poster like yourself RAZD.

Yes, I know that wasn't exactly what you said and that I was engaging in some element of rhetoric designed to maximise how foolish your response appears. In case you want to get pedantic:- I pointed out a problem that I had with some things that you said, and in response you pointed to a problem of someone else. There is a disconnect between these two actions that is akin to a child trying to distract an adult to avoid castigation.


The atheist position is simple:
1. I don't believe in things for which I can find no reason to believe.
2. I find no reason to believe in any proposed deity.
3. Therefore: I do not believe in any proposed deity.

How does this really differ from:

quote:

Would you say that the atheist position is that the existence of god(s) is, for all intents and purposes, unknowable, and therefore they don't exist?

1 (I don't believe in things for which I can find no reason to believe) + 2 (I find no reason to believe in any proposed deity) = "the existence of god(s) is, for all intents and purposes, unknowable"

3 (Therefore: I do not believe in any proposed deity) = "therefore (I believe) they don't exist"

You say it's not your position, and then you essentially say exactly the same thing.

If you think they are exactly the same thing - then we have a major obstacle to coming to an agreement. First off the bat - your rewording is different than your original - but that's not too important right now. The fact remain that the atheist position is definitely not 'The existence of god(s) is unknowable therefore they don't exist'. I've not seen a single atheist espouse this position. I asked if you could name any that did, you didn't. Is this because you couldn't, or is there some other reason?

I've seen the logical positivist position of 'The existence of certain god(s) is unfalsifiable, and therefore "This certain god or that certain god exists" is a meaningless proposition.'.

I've seen a similar probabilistic argument of 'of all the unfalsifiable/unverifiable entities that could exist it is highly improbable that any specific person happens to have stumbled upon one that actually does exist', and then there is the Dawkins probabilistic argument against creators.

I've not seen, "Since we can't know if they exist, they therefore don't", that is exactly as poor as logic as you suggest. However since I've not seen it - I suggest you are criticizing a strawman...or at the very least you've found a minority opinion and having identified it as weak you have defeated the weakest part of an army and declared victory in the war, so to speak.

Most atheists I've seen express their views don't even go as far as your less strong reworded mischaracterisation of my position. Do you see no difference between "I don't hold the belief that X exists" and "I hold the belief that X does not exist"? As I indicated with the Bertrand Russell quote earlier in the thread - for practical everyday communication, it makes it generally easier to conflate the two positions - but a pragmatic shortcut doesn't give you the excuse to mischaracterise the atheist's position in the face of being told, by atheists, that you have it wrong.

As described above, some atheists will go on to say that not only is there no sufficient reason to believe in god(s), but there exist sufficient reason(s) to disbelieve in god(s) (and those reasons aren't necessarily because such entities are 'unknowable'). Such atheists do hold an active disbelief - but such an active disbelief is not necessary for being described as an atheist. Further - those reasons for disbelieving in god(s) are contingent upon the god(s) under discussion and some formulations of the god(s) entit(ies)y are so vague and nebulous it might be impossible to formulate a coherent definitive argument for disbelief in certain constructs.

All that said - it was nowhere near what you said the atheist's position is. Indeed - your characterisation may apply to some atheists, but I would suggest that it doesn't apply to the majority of atheists and that the rational thing to do, in light of this evidence pouring in from multiple sources all converging towards this conclusion, is to update your ideas.

You commented about cognitive dissonance with regards to atheists "rejecting the concept of a reasonable god"

Yes, it is in response to comments that (certain) atheists don't necessarily reject god/s, while the evidence is that they do. It's pretense.

... you think there is some reason behind believing in the god you believe in. I don't. That's the difference between us.

And the consequence is that I believe and you don't

Isn't it nice when somebody characterises your position accurately? By what criteria are deciding that your God is reasonable and other unfalsifiable/unverifiable entities are (presumably) unreasonable (I think Straggler has been asking this question for a while now - I'm not so sure I'll fare any better). This leads me nicely to my next point:

Your cognitive dissonance comment was in response to RDK's "rejection by ridicule", which was actually a reductio ad absurdum. Personally I don't see the problem, during a philosophy debate, of engaging in reductio ad absurdums to argue that an opponent's argument, on its face, can lead to absurdities.

Thus your general argument, to paraphrase, 'By not believing god(s) exists just because it is unfalsifiable/unverifiable atheists are committing a logical fallacy' on its face leads to the logical absurdity of replacing 'god' with any other unfalsifiable/unverifiable entity. Unless you can give some reason why the god entity is sufficiently unique so as to avoid any charges of special pleading or you accept that it is equally logically fallacious to not believe in a face-raping squid monster, FSMs, IPUs or (and let me quote you, RAZD, here) "little green goblins, techno gnomes, insectoid ferris wheels, or friendly rabbit-like pookas.", as long as those entities are framed in such a way as to be unfalsifiable/unverifiable.

The atheist believes there is no evidence of god/s and that the absence of evidence is evidence of absence (all A is B, B therefore A logical fallacy).
The deist believes that god/s is/are essentially unknowable, that all evidence points to the way the natural world functions as created, and all we can understand is how it works.

The deist believes and the atheist doesn't. Back to square one once again.

It's not really square one. It is by definition that the deist believes and the atheist doesn't, the issue is that your characterisation of the atheist position is erroneous and you seem incapable of modifying your view of the atheist position even as atheists are telling you that it is incorrect. What is it that you would say to a creationist who insists on arguing against a strawman version of Evolution even as Evolutionary biologists have told that same creationist precisely why their characterisation of the 'evolutionist' position is incorrect?

Given the number of times atheists have tried to correct your strawman you continue to put it forward as if it was true. It is almost as if your belief is fixed. It is demonstrably false (ask an atheist if you accurately reflect their position and they say 'no'). And despite the the evidence that contradicts your fixed false belief, you resist changing that belief. What was it that RAZD calls a fixed false belief that is resistant to confrontation with reason or actual fact?

Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 121 by RAZD, posted 02-17-2009 12:21 AM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 125 by RAZD, posted 02-17-2009 10:36 PM Modulous has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20111
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 125 of 375 (499268)
02-17-2009 10:36 PM
Reply to: Message 124 by Modulous
02-17-2009 12:49 PM


Re: Fixed false beliefs resistant to confrontation with actual fact
Hi Mod

That's what we like to do around here, isn't it? However, I don't remember the thread you are referring to - could you dig it up and link to if for me? Thanks.

Game - Battleground God, see Message 1

I pointed out that I objected to some element of your behaviour. Either say that you don't find the behaviour objectionable, apologise for it, ignore me or stop doing it but the, "But he started it", response is hardly becoming of an esteemed poster like yourself RAZD.

Perhaps what you are seeing is frustration in being attacked like this while not dealing with the issue, the difference between atheist and deist. Can you explain why you used the definition of clinical delusion for your subtitle?

If you think they are exactly the same thing - then we have a major obstacle to coming to an agreement.

I find them close enough that the difference is irrelevant to the issue. Do you believe in a god?

3. Therefore: I do not believe in any proposed deity.

Not believing in a god vs not believing in the existence of a god is really the same thing is it not? Didn't we cover this with Nessie?

I asked if you could name any that did, you didn't. Is this because you couldn't, or is there some other reason?

If I don't see any difference in your argument and my version, then you qualify - I thought that was evident in my response.

Let's go back to Message 4, the original statement (square one):
[quote]The atheist believes there is no evidence of god/s and that the absence of evidence is evidence of absence (all A is B, B therefore A logical fallacy).[/qs]

And compare that to your syllogism

The atheist position is simple:
1. I don't believe in things for which I can find no reason to believe.
2. I find no reason to believe in any proposed deity.
3. Therefore: I do not believe in any proposed deity.

Versus
1. I don't believe in things for which there is an absence of evidence.
2. I find no evidence for belief in any proposed deity.
3. Therefore: I do not believe in any proposed deity.

It's not really square one. It is by definition that the deist believes and the atheist doesn't, ...

Which is what I said in Message 4.

Given the number of times atheists have tried to correct your strawman you continue to put it forward as if it was true. It is almost as if your belief is fixed. It is demonstrably false (ask an atheist if you accurately reflect their position and they say 'no'). And despite the the evidence that contradicts your fixed false belief, you resist changing that belief. What was it that RAZD calls a fixed false belief that is resistant to confrontation with reason or actual fact?

It amuses me that every "correction" keep repeating the same basic position:

1. I don't believe in things for which there is an absence of evidence.
2. I find no evidence for belief in any proposed deity.
3. Therefore: I do not believe in any proposed deity.

Can you show me how this contradicts my original argument in Message 4?

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 124 by Modulous, posted 02-17-2009 12:49 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 129 by Modulous, posted 02-18-2009 8:29 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply
 Message 130 by mark24, posted 02-18-2009 8:40 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20111
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 126 of 375 (499275)
02-17-2009 11:37 PM
Reply to: Message 123 by Straggler
02-17-2009 12:05 PM


Re: Moving The Debate Forward?
Hi Straggler,

But, as I have stated, I do conclude that the probability of any individual god actually existing is so negligible as to be all but non-existent in practical terms.

How is this different from the absence of evidence being evidence for absence?

This strongly suggests that the dismissal of the existence of particular beings as improbable is, in practical terms, reliant on something other than your strict logical argument. Your strict logical argument is incapable of incorporating any factor that relates to the relative likelihood of different claims.

It is based on your world view first, and logic second. This is the basis of cognitive dissonance, yes? For someone of faith the existence of a god is not unreasonable, particularly when the majority of people around you believe in a god of some kind.

Therefore it seems that your claim that atheism is the product of a logical fallacy is based on an incomplete analysis and that it is thus unfounded.

Whoa, back the bus up. Is this what has you guys\gals in a !NOT!?

Sorry, but I never said it was the product of a logical fallacy. For my part I know that faith comes first, belief comes first, based on your world view: then you figure out "logical" reasons for it. Sometimes those do hold up to good logic, sometimes they don't.

There are psychological studies that show this applys to people in general.

So what is the difference between the two claims that allows us to justifiably consider one of them to be reasonable and rational and one of them to be obviously and evidently ridiculous?

Experience with the concepts. Consider Heisenberg uncertainty. It seems so silly at first, but then you become accustomed to it.

We have all most likely heard and talked about and hypothesized on the existence of aliens, watched the "X files" read science fiction, known some UFOlogists, etc. The UFO skeptic and the UFOlogist will have different views based on their individual world views.

Wagwah comes across as an ad hoc argument invented purely for the sake of the argument to be unbelievable, and with no intention of being serious about it.

This difference in experience means they relate to our world view in different ways: the first is familiar, with known responses, the second is seen as being ridicule rather than serious argument, the ad lapidem attack.

If we accept that your strict logical argument is an insufficient basis upon which to conclude the relative likelihood of specific cases then we can move things forward.

I accept that my faith is not based on logic or evidence. So I recognize that having a strict logical basis does not always apply, particularly when there is no conclusive yea or nay evidence.

In these situations we will base conclusions on world view. This explains the severe lack of agnostics, especially in our culture, eh?

We can then determine whether these factors are indeed reasonable and rational or whether such judgements are wholly subjective.

See, this is where I have that basic problem, of saying it is "reasonable and rational," when I cannot apply those terms.

When we have "unevidenced claims that do not actually contradict any evidence" the subjective conclusions that different people have cannot be based on "reasonable and rational" processes because you have no basis to make such decisions. You rely on your world view, and it is purely subjective.

We know at least ONE is subjective when two different people look at the same evidence and see different things, yes? It is the "other guy" that is being subjective while we are "reasonable and rational" ...

My conclusion is "reasonable and rational" to me because it fits my world view.

Your conclusion is "reasonable and rational" to you because it fits your world view.

This is universal.

When you say that I am NOT being "reasonable and rational" you are applying your world view to me, and when it comes to "unevidenced claims that do not actually contradict any evidence" we cannot really determine who is right or wrong.

By and large all we can do is compare world views, and see how they agree. Perhaps we can assume that the more people agree with our world view regarding something that is an "unevidenced claim that does not actually contradict any evidence" the more we can tentatively accept that this is a possibility.

But this is a process that is not able to measure up to the scientific process, and one person asking another for scientific evidence for their world view on some "unevidenced claim that does not actually contradict any evidence" is really not productive.

As long as your personal world view is not contradicted by any known evidence of reality, it is "reasonable and rational" ... and as long as there are other people that agree with your world view, it is "reasonable and rational" ... and that's about the best you can do.

What do you think?

That god/s exist, but are unknowable. That nature is what it is, and we can understand some of how it works, each in our own limited way.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : silly addition


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 123 by Straggler, posted 02-17-2009 12:05 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 127 by bluegenes, posted 02-18-2009 5:53 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply
 Message 131 by Straggler, posted 02-18-2009 12:05 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 732 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 127 of 375 (499289)
02-18-2009 5:53 AM
Reply to: Message 126 by RAZD
02-17-2009 11:37 PM


Re: Moving The Debate Forward?
RAZD writes:

Straggler writes:

But, as I have stated, I do conclude that the probability of any individual god actually existing is so negligible as to be all but non-existent in practical terms.

How is this different from the absence of evidence being evidence for absence?

In a way, different, although the view is partially based on absence of evidence, it also involves probability. But perhaps Straggler could have said something like "any particular described god" to make his meaning clearer to you. This means that a specific "god proposition" like "the universe was created by a racist god who particularly favours one middle-eastern tribe and who selects prophets exclusively from that tribe" is extremely unlikely on a probability assessment, because the absence of evidence makes all competing defined god propositions equally likely, even if there is a god.

So, going by some of the things you've been saying in this thread, it's something you should agree with. That's because even if deities or a deity exist, as soon as you start defining one as anything other than unknowable, they start to have Russell's teapot level of likelihood because of all the other (essentially infinite) possibilities. It is common for deists to be just as dismissive of the gods of "revealed" religions as atheists tend to be.

Getting back to the topic of differences between deism and atheism. Deism is an Intelligent Design movement. It may be, RAZD, that you are not very representative of deism in much of what you are saying here. Many deists would claim that their belief in God (it seems to be invariably singular) is based on evidence, rather than faith.

It is I.D.

The designs and laws of nature are the evidence for god. Not religious experiences, or prophets.

I think that all of us participating in this discussion should trawl around this site.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 126 by RAZD, posted 02-17-2009 11:37 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20111
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 128 of 375 (499294)
02-18-2009 7:32 AM
Reply to: Message 119 by RDK
02-16-2009 4:25 PM


Re: Back to Basics: is the distinction correct or not? That is the question.
Hey RDK

As you can see, "silly" and "ridiculous" are subjective. What is silly to you may be 100% serious to another person. That's why we employ objective reasoning.

Therefore your example of the silly vision jellyfish is not representative of my faith in god/s, thank you for showing that your argument was a false straw man from the start.

Curiously all these types of arguments, by exaggeration to the point of being ridiculous, also fail the same logic test of all A is B:

Your argument is like this argument
This argument is ridiculous\silly\delusional\etc
Therefore your argument is ridiculous\silly\delusional\etc

No, I do not agree with it, basically because it's a loaded question. The atheist standpoint is not fallacious and I've already explained why.

Um, I missed that. What I see is arguments of the type:

1. In my world view I don't believe in god
2. In my world view I believe my conclusions are based on logic and reason
∴ Therefore my belief there is no god is based on logic and reason.

Humor me--in practice, how does the deist position differ from the atheist position? To my understanding, not at all. The only difference is that the deist likes to keep an air of open-mindedness that is essentially shared by the atheist, just not as loudly and publicly.

Simple: deists believe in god/s, atheists don't. Do you?

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 119 by RDK, posted 02-16-2009 4:25 PM RDK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 134 by RDK, posted 02-18-2009 3:02 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 359 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 129 of 375 (499304)
02-18-2009 8:29 AM
Reply to: Message 125 by RAZD
02-17-2009 10:36 PM


Re: Fixed false beliefs resistant to confrontation with actual fact
Hi Mod

Hello RAZD!

That's what we like to do around here, isn't it? However, I don't remember the thread you are referring to - could you dig it up and link to if for me? Thanks.

...see Message 9

Thanks again. Though flicking through that debate it seems quite different than this one - for the most part it was a question about whether it was more natural to read a set of statements one way or another centred around whether a rational belief is one of faith or not. I don't think we're discussing 'faith' here - so this is a sufficiently different topic, with sufficiently different objectives that I think we can proceed quite happily with little or no overlap.

Perhaps what you are seeing is frustration in being attacked like this while not dealing with the issue, the difference between atheist and deist. Can you explain why you used the definition of clinical delusion for your subtitle?

I explained my use of that phrase in the last paragraphs of my previous post. It is a rhetorical technique, I'll use it again in this post. It is a method I'm going to use in an attempt to drive my point forwards in as persuasive a fashion as I can...or at least entertain the peanut gallery in the process. It is the 'hoist by your own petard' technique, if we're going to deconstruct it. Since you have posted responses to people for the various definitions of delusion, and proceeded to tell them that they are holding fixed false beliefs that are resistant to facts, I was hoisting you on that very petard. For details see Message 16(Simple and RAZD)[/color])< !--UE-->(Simple and RAZD)[/color])< !--UE-->, "It is dismissal of reality that conflicts with your fixed false beliefs. It is not reasoned. " or Message 27, "The test to distinguish ignorance (being deluded, a false belief, the state of being deluded) and insanity (fixed false belief resistant to reason or confrontation with fact) is the response to evidence that contradicts the belief in question. ". To really 'break the spell', or ruin the rhetoric by explaining it, what I then did was use your own previous framing of the issue (one you have used on numerous occasions) by claiming that you are holding a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with fact.

Of course, I think you probably knew that was what I was doing since you aren't a stupid guy. I think this kind of request is generally the rhetorical technique of 'playing dumb', in a good Socratic sense of the phrasing, so that you can expose some flaw in your opponent's own rhetorical gambit. Let us see if I still managed to blindly step into the trap ;)

I find them close enough that the difference is irrelevant to the issue. Do you believe in a god?

Clearly you do see them as close enough, and it seems that atheists don't. Naturally, if you aren't interested in accurately outlining what position the atheist commonly takes I can't force you - but if you want to address the topic in completeness it might be an idea to listen to the atheists and adjust your understanding of their position. At the very least, if you think there is no difference between the two stated positions - you could save a lot of hassle by using the atheist's preferred wording?

One way to test if they are identical is to see if your 'logical fallacy' argument works when you are using ONLY my wording. So take what I am saying and tell me how it is a logical fallacy of suggesting "all A is B, B therefore A". When I look at my construct it simply says "If A then B. A, therefore B". (If I don't have reason to believe in an entity (A) then I don't believe in that entity(B). I don't have reason to believe in god(s) (A) therefore I don't believe in god(s) (B)).

No, I have no belief that a god exists. This is not because there is evidence for its absence, though I'm willing to entertain that notion. I do not believe that a god exists because I have yet to find sufficient reason to believe that a god exists. Now - certain constructions of certain god(s) would render 'absence of evidence' suitable grounds to actively believe that the god(s) doesn't exist. For example: Let's say that one conception of god(s) is that of a god(s) that appears to a person burning bush whenever the name 'YHWH' is cried out by that person. There is a distinct absence of evidence of this happening, so we might conclude that this is evidence that this concept of god(s) doesn't refer to any entity that actually exists. On the other hand, some constructs of god(s) are vague ("The ground of all being", or "God(s) is real but doesn't exist since existence is what god(s) gives to things, not a state that god(s) have.") or obviously unfalsifiable (God(s) made sure there was no evidence of its existence anywhere within the universe and has the power to do this perfectly). In these constructs it should be obvious that 'absence of evidence' cannot lead to 'evidence of absence'. Since I am aware of this, and yet I still don't believe that such a god(s) exist - the absence of evidence cannot be why I don't believe in such god(s). I have explained why I don't believe in god(s) in general. If you have a specific god or gods construction in mind, I might be able to explain if there is any reason I disbelieve in that god(s).

The point is - that there are too many entities which different people call 'god(s)'. To date: there is no 'god entity' that seems to fit what I would call a 'god entity' for which I have found sufficient reason to believe exists. I mean you could define god(s) as being an entity that has flat top and four legs that homo sapiens use to eat dinner off. I would believe in that entity, though I would be hesitant to call it a god.

That is the difference: I have not encountered any reason I find sufficient to cause me to believe in any god(s) by any commonly used meaning of that term.
You have found what you would say is sufficient reason to believe in god(s)
Theists have found what they would say is sufficient reason to believe in a very specific (usually interventionist) god(s).

Not believing in a god vs not believing in the existence of a god is really the same thing is it not? Didn't we cover this with Nessie?

Not believing in a god can be quite different to believing that a god does not exist. But rather than getting into the details of that - if you think they are the same thing, why insist on wording them in the way that is most disagreeable to your opponents?

I asked if you could name any that did, you didn't. Is this because you couldn't, or is there some other reason?

If I don't see any difference in your argument and my version, then you qualify - I thought that was evident in my response.

So despite the fact that I am telling you that the reason I do not believe that a god(s) exist is because I lack sufficient reason to do so, and despite the fact that I am telling you in as explicit a way as I possibly can that I do not lack belief in a god(s) because a god(s) is unknowable you still believe that I lack belief in a god(s) because a god(s) is unknowable? Unbelievable! I see your fixed false belief remains resistant to change when in confrontation with actual fact. Maybe you can take this as an opportunity to savour the sensation of cognitive dissonance?

It's not really square one. It is by definition that the deist believes and the atheist doesn't, ...

Which is what I said in Message 4.

That isn't only what you said in message 4, and it isn't all that you have said since. In message 4 you specifically said "The atheist believes there is no evidence of god/s and that the absence of evidence is evidence of absence". That is a different thing that "the deist believes and the atheist doesn't", since your version attempts to explain why the atheist doesn't believe and then to subsequently conclude that the atheist's reasoning is logically fallacious. What I said doesn't do any of this. Further: Your version is a strawman. While some atheists might not believe for the reason you have stated, I do not think your position is a necessary condition for someone to hold the atheist position, I don't even think it is all that common.

You have also said that atheists do not believe in a god(s) because they think it is logically sound to conclude that since the existence of god(s) is unknowable it can be concluded that god(s) don't exist. This is also a mischaracterisation, it should be easy to clear up, but your fixed and false beliefs are proving resistant to change when in confrontation with actual facts.

It amuses me that every "correction" keep repeating the same basic position:

1. I don't believe in things for which there is an absence of evidence.
2. I find no evidence for belief in any proposed deity.
3. Therefore: I do not believe in any proposed deity.

Can you show me how this contradicts my original argument in Message 4?

You really can't tell the difference? The difference is simple and, I though, obvious: nowhere in the basic position do I claim there is any evidence in favour of the claim 'God does not exist', and message 4 you claim that the basic position is that there is evidence for this proposition (ie., there is evidence of absence).

I also note that you have changed the position from

1. I don't believe in things for which I can find no reason to believe.
2. I find no reason to believe in any proposed deity.
3. Therefore: I do not believe in any proposed deity.

to

1. I don't believe in things for which there is an absence of evidence.
2. I find no evidence for belief in any proposed deity.
3. Therefore: I do not believe in any proposed deity.

I've highlighted the changes you made.

Are you really so determined to maintain your fixed and false beliefs that you have to change the words of my argument? I appreciate that you are just saying 'the same basic position', but I have given the position as is with good reason: It is more general than the variant you have created. I think your version is a little too vague and is centred too strongly around empiricism (it could be argued it could devolve into naive realism or some such).

I am a sort of rational empiricist - that is to say that rationalism combined with empiricism, in a certain special mixture, is the methodology towards giving reason to believe any given proposition. It isn't just a lack of evidence (strictly speaking there is lots of evidence of god(s)), that means I do not believe in god(s). It is lack of what I would deem to be sufficient reason to believe in god(s). That means that the kinds of evidence and reasoning that would convince me that a proposition is true is lacking in the case of the proposition "God(s) exists". I have shortened this down to 'I can find no reason to believe' for convenience.

Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.

Edited by Modulous, : I read through the debate RAZD referred to added a brief comment about it.

Edited by Modulous, : hmm lots of edits. Just clarifying why I think that changing the wording of the argument in the way RAZD did is problematic enough to merit pointing it out.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 125 by RAZD, posted 02-17-2009 10:36 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
mark24
Member (Idle past 3450 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 130 of 375 (499305)
02-18-2009 8:40 AM
Reply to: Message 125 by RAZD
02-17-2009 10:36 PM


Re: Fixed false beliefs resistant to confrontation with actual fact
RAZD,

In message 4 you said:

The atheist believes there is no evidence of god/s and that the absence of evidence is evidence of absence (all A is B, B therefore A logical fallacy).

The deist believes that god/s is/are essentially unknowable, that all evidence points to the way the natural world functions as created, and all we can understand is how it works.

In message 125 you said:

It amuses me that every "correction" keep repeating the same basic position:

1. I don't believe in things for which there is an absence of evidence.
2. I find no evidence for belief in any proposed deity.
3. Therefore: I do not believe in any proposed deity.

Can you show me how this contradicts my original argument in Message 4?

The two propositions are different.

On one hand you correctly point out that evidence of absence isn't absence of evidence, but in post 125 this is missing.

Post 4 proposition is a strawman of most atheists positions anyway, & post 125 is correct. I believe this your opponents have repeatedly pointed out to you your strawman.

I'd caution you not to confuse rejection with non-acceptance. Rejection includes non-acceptance, obviously, but non-acceptance does not necessarily include rejection. As I pointed out in message 115 (which you failed to respond to) the correct thing to do with things that we have no evidence for is to hold them as possibilities, & place it in that part of our heads that contains all the other things that we have non-acceptance for, like the flying spaghetti monster, wotan, little green men.

As you agree, absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence, so failure to do this for deism renders us intellectual hypocrites, inconsistent & therefore illogical. Unless of course you believe there are little green men, zeus exists at the same time as the flying spaghetti monster, & all the other trillions of potential propositions we also have no evidence for?

Mark

Edited by mark24, : No reason given.


There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those that understand binary, & those that don't
This message is a reply to:
 Message 125 by RAZD, posted 02-17-2009 10:36 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

    
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 131 of 375 (499348)
02-18-2009 12:05 PM
Reply to: Message 126 by RAZD
02-17-2009 11:37 PM


Re: Moving The Debate Forward?
Straggler writes:

But, as I have stated, I do conclude that the probability of any individual god actually existing is so negligible as to be all but non-existent in practical terms.

How is this different from the absence of evidence being evidence for absence?

Because there is evidence that we can apply when assessing the relative likelihood of opposing possibilities.

There are two possibilities in the context of this debate:

A) Individual gods actually exist.
B) Individual gods do not actually exist and are the product of human imagination.

We have vast quantities of evidence in favour of the fact that human beings are exceptionally able and incredibly willing to use their imaginations to form explanations and create specific concepts that are demonstrably false. I am sure that we can both think of many many examples of such beliefs without even needing to encroach on the more contentious and far less falsifiable 'gods vs. no-gods' issue at hand.

If we are evaluating the relative likelihood of a specific proposed undetectable unevidenced deity either actually existing or being the product of human imagination, then it is ridiculous to claim that the evidenced fact that humans are deeply prone to making things up should just be swept aside as wholly irrelevant.

There are other factors that can be applied in assessing relative plausibility but this is a key one and the most obvious example of the sort of thing that your logical argument fails to incorporate.

Straggler writes:

This strongly suggests that the dismissal of the existence of particular beings as improbable is, in practical terms, reliant on something other than your strict logical argument. Your strict logical argument is incapable of incorporating any factor that relates to the relative likelihood of different claims.

It is based on your world view first, and logic second.

We hear the same argument from creationist regarding scientific evidence all the time. Is it really more justified here?

Is your disbelief in Wagwah really just the result of your world view? Or is there inherently something unreasonable and irrational about the proposed existence of Wagwah? What precisely is it that makes Wagwah's proposed existence "stupid" and "ridiculous"?

Is it just world view bias?

You seem very reluctant to explain your position with regard to this head on and I don't really understand why.

This is the basis of cognitive dissonance, yes?

If you say so. But is this not exactly what you are doing here by refusing to consider possibilities in terms of their relative likelihood?

For someone of faith the existence of a god is not unreasonable, particularly when the majority of people around you believe in a god of some kind.

It may not be unreasonable in the sense that it is perfectly understandable as to why people have faith. But it is unreasoned in the sense that at root such beliefs are not derived from rational thought or reasoned argument.

Any ridicule that I may be guilty of was aimed at demonstrating the absurd possibilities that your logical argument fails to preclude rather than poking fun at all forms of unevidenced belief per se.

Straggler writes:

Therefore it seems that your claim that atheism is the product of a logical fallacy is based on an incomplete analysis and that it is thus unfounded.

Whoa, back the bus up. Is this what has you guys\gals in a !NOT!?

Sorry, but I never said it was the product of a logical fallacy.

Then can you explicitly explain where the logical fallacy that you keep relentlessly referring to does arise?

Raz writes:

For my part I know that faith comes first, belief comes first, based on your world view: then you figure out "logical" reasons for it. Sometimes those do hold up to good logic, sometimes they don't.

If all we ever did was confirm our preconcieved world views then there would have been little scientific or indeed human progress.

At some point we must have allowed evidence and reason and not preconceived world view to lead the way.

Straggler writes:

EXAMPLES
1) The proposal that alien life of some sort is likely to exist somewhere in the universe, I think most would agree is a rational conclusion that is both itself strictly unevidenced but which also contradicts no known evidence (I don't want to drag this thread down the "aliens exist" route however so let's not get too caught up in the specifics)

2) The proposal that a supernatural undetectable god called Wagwah is responsible for all the PC freezes, crashes and bluescreens that have not been accounted for by conventional explanations, I think most would agree is an irrational conclusion that is both itself strictly unevidenced but which also contradicts no known evidence.

So what is the difference between the two claims that allows us to justifiably consider one of them to be reasonable and rational and one of them to be obviously and evidently ridiculous?

RAZD writes:

Experience with the concepts. Consider Heisenberg uncertainty. It seems so silly at first, but then you become accustomed to it.

We have all most likely heard and talked about and hypothesized on the existence of aliens, watched the "X files" read science fiction, known some UFOlogists, etc. The UFO skeptic and the UFOlogist will have different views based on their individual world views.

Really? You don't think that the perceived likelihood of alien life elsewhere in the universe is derived from the logical extrapololation of what we currently do know about the conditions required for life and the nature of the universe? Things that are known as a result of evidence based investigation.

Wagwah comes across as an ad hoc argument invented purely for the sake of the argument to be unbelievable, and with no intention of being serious about it.

Your disbelief in Wagwah is based on presentation as opposed to conceptual inadequacies?

Wow! Are you sure?

Could it be that Wagwah does actually exist and that I am unconsciously misinterpreting his divine revelation out of atheistic world view bias?

Does incorporating your "world view" argument honestly make Wagwah any more plausible? Is there not something inherently unbelievable about the concept, as opposed to just my presentation, of the mighty god Wagwah?

Is it not the case that your disbelief in Wagwah is a result of the logical extrapolation of the evidence we have regarding the innate ability and inclination for humans to invent false concepts? Sometimes for conscious reasons (e.g. the willful desire to invent something for the purposes of debate) and sometimes less conscious reasons (e.g. the need to invest in a being that gives us a higher purpose or everlasting life).

Does not the fact that I am obviously willing and more than able to invent Wagwah add a huge amount of weight to the claim that Wagwah is in fact 'made-up' and thus does not actually exist?

Isn't it the likelihood of this that makes Wagwah "silly" and "ridiculous" as a concept rather than some sort of preconceived anti-Wagwah world-view?

Honestly?

This difference in experience means they relate to our world view in different ways: the first is familiar, with known responses, the second is seen as being ridicule rather than serious argument, the ad lapidem attack.

I absolutely disagree that either an acceptance of alien life as potentially plausible or a dismissal of Wagwah as wholly unbelievable are derived from subjective world views made in a vacuum of evidence.

I would suggest that both are unevidenced claims which can be rendered more or less plausible based on other evidence that we do have available to us regarding the logically possible alternatives.

Question: Is it likely, based on the evidence that we do have, that the conditions we think are conducive to life exist nowhere else in the universe?
Answer: No. Thus alien life elsewhere in the universe is deemed highly plausible.

Question: Is it likely, based on the human ability and strong inclination to invent false concepts for both rational and irrational reasons, that Wagwah is the result of human imagination dreamt up purely for the purposes of making a point in a debate.
Answer: Yes it is. Thus the actual existence of Wagwah is deemed highly implausible.

My conclusion is "reasonable and rational" to me because it fits my world view.
Your conclusion is "reasonable and rational" to you because it fits your world view.
This is universal.
When you say that I am NOT being "reasonable and rational" you are applying your world view to me, and when it comes to "unevidenced claims that do not actually contradict any evidence" we cannot really determine who is right or wrong.

No. I deny that I am simply applying a world view in a vacuum of evidence. I am considering the relative likelihood of the possible alternatives based on the objective evidence available for and against all of the logical possibilities.

Very few, if any, claims can be considered in a complete vacuum of evidence when all the logical alternatives are considered. Thus a rational evaluation of the relative probabilities is almost always possible to some degree.

"Enjoy" back at ya.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 126 by RAZD, posted 02-17-2009 11:37 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
cavediver
Member (Idle past 1898 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 132 of 375 (499372)
02-18-2009 1:03 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by RAZD
02-09-2009 8:51 PM


the absence of evidence is evidence of absence (all A is B, B therefore A logical fallacy).

This, of course, is nonsense :) You are trying to equate an immensely complex probablistic logical construct (absence of evidence is evidence of absence) with a very simplistic statement of predicate logic. What we reallly have is NOT EVI(A)-> EVI(NOT A). Can you give me a definition of EVI()?

I think it is obvious that absence of evidence is evidence of absence for all "reasonable" definitions of "evidence". This may be extremely weak evidence, but it is evidence none-the-less. We are essentially performing a search of a parameter space for a particular target. Null-results simply reduce the available parameter space for our target. The confidence in a declaration of absence will depend upon the known parametric extent of the target, and the remaining available parameter space. Ever played battleships? What is the probability of finding a battleship in an unsearched 4x4 grid, that is surrounded by null results?

And whilst we may be only generating *evidence* of absence, we are gaining knowledge of the constraints of target...


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by RAZD, posted 02-09-2009 8:51 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 133 of 375 (499379)
02-18-2009 1:16 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by RAZD
02-10-2009 8:40 PM


Re: tidy bowl goblins are not the issue
quote:
There are more fine lines than that, becasue atheism isn't a very specific position ...

Neither is deism, it's only as you move away from the line that the distinction becomes more clear - either theistic or antitheistic. It is more of a spectrum than a quantum phenomena.

I would place myself very close to agnosticism, but still define myself as an atheist. I do not claim knowledge, I simply have no reason to believe various assertions when those assertions are not backed by evidence.

quote:
I (and many others around here) am what you'd probably call an "agnostic atheist." I see no reason to believe in a deity, and so I don't.

I have a friend that describes himself as an apatheist - he just doesn't care whether there is or is not god/s.

Given the apparent lack of divine interventions in the world and the utter apathy nature seems to display towards us, I would say that any deity that does exist must be apathetic towards our existence, as well.

quote:
Technically speaking we have no evidence one way or the other - we don't know that they don't exist.

Technically speaking we have evidence of religious beliefs in all cultures. We don't have evidence of faith in invisible pink unicorns or tiny green toilet goblins in any cultures (although one might wonder when watching TV ads)

The pink unicorns and toilet goblins still establish the point. Belief is irrelevant - that people believe a thing to be true, regardless of how universal, has nothing to do with whether that thing is true or not. It's an Appeal to Popularity, and thus fallacious reasoning. The pink unicorns and toilet goblins were intended to be unsupported assertions in the same manner that claiming the existence of a given deity without evidence is an unsupported assertion.

Further, the religious beliefs present in "all cultures" are very frequently mutually exclusive, and many have absolutely nothing in common whatsoever beyond claiming the existence of "something" supernatural. Comparing animists to deists, or atheistic ancestor worshippers to believers in the Greek pantheon, or Buddhists to Christians seems rather disingenuous to me. Each of those beliefs is a "spiritual" one, but they are so vastly different that lumping them together as "universal spiritual experience" doesn't make sense.

This is similar to the Creationsit claim that the "universality" of flood myths is evidence that the Great Flood of the Bible actually took place. Once again, this is an appeal to popularity, but it's also a poor appeal to popularity. Flood myths are not universal, and many of them are so wildly different from each other that lumping them together demonstrates ignorance bordering on dishonesty.

In the case of the Flood, we typically say that the near universality of myths involving floods is likely due to the near universality of local floods, and not a global flood like several of the myths claim. The extraordinary, supernatural claim is typically the result of an exaggerated mundane event. In cases where such extraordinary claims bear significant similarity across multiple geologically distant cultures, the "universality" is best explained by the fact that those mundane events are common globally, in the absence of evidence supporting a global Flood.

As always, claims are not evidence.

quote:
If I look for a pen on my desk and find no evidence suggesting there is a pen, the absence of evidence is itself evidence of the absence of the pen.

And yet this does not mean that your pen has disappeared from the haunts of men, carted off by invisible pink unicorns or tidy-bowl goblins. This just means that the pen is not in the area of {A} that you have confirmed is {B}.

Hence the tentativity. My atheism is extremely tentative - all I require is evidence to change my position. I've made a reasonable search myself and found none; if anyone would like to make a claim regarding a deity and back it up with actual evidence, then I will alter my position.

quote:
If you look thoroughly for something and find no evidence of it, the absence of evidence is supporting evidence that the thing does not exist - it's simply not proof that the thing doesn't exist.

Splitting hairs? Sure - but the rationale behind different flavors of atheism is all about hair-thin distinctions, an absence of faith versus faith in absence.


The confidence you can have is proportional to the confidence you have that you know all {A} and all {B}.

I have very little confidence in much of anything. That's what we've been trying to tell you for quite some time now: I am not confident at all that no god/s exist. I am simply also not confident at all that they do exist. That second statement means that I do not believe in any deities, which defines me as an atheist. The first statement means that I'm awfully close to agnosticism.

I leave the confidence of belief to those who accept faith as a valid basis for drawing conclusions. Since I have found faith to be an inaccurate basis for drawing conclusions at best, I do not have the luxury of confidence.

Your arguments seem to focus on the confidence of atheists - you claim that atheism requires confidence that no god/s exist. I have no such confidence, because I cannot disprove an unfalsifiable speculation. I similarly have no confidence that invisible pink unicorns or toilet gremlins or fairies do not exist. I simply have no confidence that they do exist, and so I can be said to not beleive in them. This means that your argument targets a strawman - you are not arguing against my position.

quote:
I find perpetual neutrality about every imagined entity to be untenable ...

Which, curiously, explains why you, and many people, make the choice you do, not that the choice is one based purely on reason.

Please explain how my position, as described above, is not based on reason.

quote:
Why believe in any deities at all, though? What prompts your belief that even an "unknowable" supernatural entity exists?

Because I am open-minded about spirituality, I've had spiritual experiences, and I remain skeptical of all claims of positive knowledge in this area.

I remain skeptical and open-minded as well. Whenever I am presented with a new extraordinary claim, my default response is "why should I believe you?" If the claim is not backed by evidence, I cannot be confident that the claim is true, and so I cannot "believe" the claim. If the claim is backed by evidence, I can have a degree of confidence proportional to the strength of the supporting evidence that the claim is true, and I would "believe" the claim.

I have had "spiritual experiences" as well, but these have consitently been wholly subjective and therefore not evidence of anything. Subjective experiences do not give me confidence in any given objective conclusion - no matter what I "feel," my feelings do not necessarily have anything to do with the objective existence of a real entity. I can "feel" my dead grandmother's presence, for example, but that subjective feeling is not evidence of the objective existence of my dead grandmother's spirit.

As of right now, I have no reason to be confident in the existence of a deity. Until I uncover or am presented with evidence that gives me that confidence, I remain an atheist, and I find that tentative position to be entirely rational. If you disagree, please demonstrate how, and be specific. My goal is not to uncover subjective "truth," but rather to maintain rational consistency with objective facts as they are known to me.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 39 by RAZD, posted 02-10-2009 8:40 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
RDK
Junior Member (Idle past 3525 days)
Posts: 26
From: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Joined: 11-23-2008


Message 134 of 375 (499421)
02-18-2009 3:02 PM
Reply to: Message 128 by RAZD
02-18-2009 7:32 AM


Re: Back to Basics: is the distinction correct or not? That is the question.
Hay RAZD.

Therefore your example of the silly vision jellyfish is not representative of my faith in god/s, thank you for showing that your argument was a false straw man from the start.

From this response, I'm getting the feeling that you purposely skipped over the meaning of my post to declare false victory.

The whole point of the above response was to show you that what you believe to be silly and ridiculous may not be silly and ridiculous to another person. This is solely because the probability and likelihood of the concepts we're discussing (deities) are, on the part of theists and deists, based on nothing more than subjectivity. Instead of looking objectively at whether or not you actually have sufficient reasoning to believe in such a thing, you make a mental leap and assume that since the existence of god(s) is essentially unknowable, to do anything but believe in one (or at least the possibility of one) is fallacious reasoning (which, as I've shown before, is not).

It's okay to keep an open mind about things. To do otherwise is to display a fundamentalist, even fanatical point of view. But to assume that god(s) must exist based on the mere possibility that one might ignores reason.

Silly or not, my jellyfish example still applies. Do I or do I not have just as much sufficient reasoning to believe in such a deity as I do to believe in any other given deity?

Curiously all these types of arguments, by exaggeration to the point of being ridiculous, also fail the same logic test of all A is B:

Your argument is like this argument
This argument is ridiculous\silly\delusional\etc
Therefore your argument is ridiculous\silly\delusional\etc

My argument was nothing more than reductio ad absurdum, an attempt to show you that your argument is unacceptable even by its own standards. If you employ the logic used in your reasoning for believing in a deity that one has no reason to believe in, then said reasoning can readily stretch to any other deity imaginable. Hence the jellyfish.

Um, I missed that. What I see is arguments of the type:

1. In my world view I don't believe in god
2. In my world view I believe my conclusions are based on logic and reason
∴ Therefore my belief there is no god is based on logic and reason.

Oddly enough, this response seems eerily like the death cry of many Creationists concerning the body of scientific evidence supporting evolution. Are you honestly purporting that my world view causes me to hold a biased eye to the possibility of a god(s)?

I can't speak for everyone here, but the correct assumption would be that since my world view rests on logic, it would be safe to assume that everything else that follows is indeed logical. However, there can be exceptions to the case, as this is only a general rule of thumb (the same can be said about arguments from authority; look at what the person has said, not who is saying it). Therefore logic and reasoning should always take precedence over any other view bias that may arise.

This is not to rule out probability when other evidence is considered. Which brings us back to square one: I have no reason to believe in such a deity. Do you?

Simple: deists believe in god/s, atheists don't. Do you?

Enjoy.

No.

Edited by RDK, : No reason given.

Edited by RDK, : No reason given.

Edited by RDK, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 128 by RAZD, posted 02-18-2009 7:32 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 135 by New Cat's Eye, posted 02-18-2009 4:36 PM RDK has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 135 of 375 (499436)
02-18-2009 4:36 PM
Reply to: Message 134 by RDK
02-18-2009 3:02 PM


Re: Back to Basics: is the distinction correct or not? That is the question.
Silly or not, my jellyfish example still applies. Do I or do I not have just as much sufficient reasoning to believe in such a deity as I do to believe in any other given deity?

You do not. A random made-up entity doesn't have the same weight behind it as the idea of a god put forth by deists.

That so many people have similiar experiences in regards to some kind of god is more reason to believe in a god than the complete lack of reason to believe in your silly jellyfish. For individuals, their own subjective experiences can be reasons to believe in god that they don't have for your jellyfish.

If you employ the logic used in your reasoning for believing in a deity that one has no reason to believe in, then said reasoning can readily stretch to any other deity imaginable.

But its not true that there are no reasons to believe in god.

I can't speak for everyone here, but the correct assumption would be that since my world view rests on logic, it would be safe to assume that everything else that follows is indeed logical.

Don't you know that logic cannot determine veracity? If the premises of your worldview are false, then your worldview, itself, would be false all the while being very logical.

I have no reason to believe in such a deity. Do you?

Of course. I don't think anyone believes in god with no reason to do so.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 134 by RDK, posted 02-18-2009 3:02 PM RDK has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 136 by Straggler, posted 02-18-2009 5:09 PM New Cat's Eye has responded
 Message 138 by bluegenes, posted 02-18-2009 5:42 PM New Cat's Eye has responded
 Message 139 by onifre, posted 02-18-2009 6:32 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2019