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Author Topic:   Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
Straggler
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Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 1 of 262 (618480)
06-02-2011 3:15 PM


Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
Are atheists “philosophically limited”…..?

Over in the thread discussing the reasons for diminished creationist participation Has the bias made this forum essentially irrelevant? Phat says the following:

Phat writes:

This forum has seen a diminished response from Biblical Creationists who limit themselves philosophically, as well as an increase from many atheists who in my opinion also limit themselves philosophically in regards to considering a Creator, never mind creationism.

I don’t want to single out Phat in particular because this charge of being “philosophically limited” is one that I have seen aimed at atheists before (doesn’t Karen Armstrong say something similar?) but I am not sure what it means exactly. Can anyone elaborate?

Obviously I don’t see atheism as “philosophically limited” but until I know what is meant by that exactly it is difficult to say. Maybe it is philosophically limited in a way that I have not yet considered.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


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AdminSlev
Member (Idle past 3658 days)
Posts: 113
Joined: 03-28-2010


Message 2 of 262 (618482)
06-03-2011 12:55 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
Taq
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Posts: 8488
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 7.4


(1)
Message 3 of 262 (618490)
06-03-2011 1:21 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Straggler
06-02-2011 3:15 PM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
From a pragmatic position, it is a very good idea to limit your philosophy. That is the entire purpose of any epistemology, to start with a set number of axioms that are necessarily fewer than all possible axioms.

As an example, a crime scene investigator comes across a body with a hole in it, and a bullet lodged in a wall nearby. Should we limit ourselves and only consider the idea that a bullet passed through the body and lodged in the wall, or should we delimit ourselves and equally consider the possibility that the world was created 2 microseconds ago with the dead body and lodged bullet already in place? Most would lean towards the epistemology that would assume that the past is not faked, and that we can trust what we see.

Also, the conclusion of a creator can be separate from the epistemology. It's not that atheists can not consider the existence of a creator. Rather, the evidence for a creator fails within the epistemology held by that atheist. So, in fact, atheists do consider a creator but find the evidence lacking.

Compare this to the creationist epistemology where the conclusion is considered an axiom. A universe without a creator can not be considered. Creationists have adopted an epistemology that is quite different from that of atheists, and quite different from the epistemology that we use in our regular day to day lives (e.g. the murder scene analogy above).

I would agree that we are all limited by the epistemology that we adopt. The argument comes down to which epistemology is the best. Creationists have largerly answered this question for us. By arguing that creationism is science, the "atheist" epistemology, they are trying to increase the persuasiveness of creationism by adopting the better epistemology, or at least pretending to. If the faith based epistemology of christianity were truly better then they would not feel the need to adopt the banner of science. Rather, they would tout the benefits of the faith based epistemology.

To put it in simpler terms, if faith based beliefs (creationism) are superior to scientific claims ("atheist" claims) then why do creationists fight so hard to have creationism called science? Why the need to have ID/creationism taught in science class? You don't see a widespread movement by scientists to have evolution presented as a religious, faith based belief, do you?


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tesla
Member (Idle past 611 days)
Posts: 1199
Joined: 12-22-2007


(1)
Message 4 of 262 (618520)
06-03-2011 5:27 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Straggler
06-02-2011 3:15 PM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
I would interpret the phrase to mean that close-mindedness of the atheistic position makes it impossible for the atheist to entertain possibilities they may be correct under the position "God created the universe"

To an atheist, this isn't a bad thing. But in truth: Evidence that this universe does exist without any understood reason or cause, nor lack of cause, but simply the mystery to exist ; means a creator is still potential. And that is where an atheist is limited. An atheist chooses to accept only what they can believe relative to current technologically enhanced observation of the five senses. These same five senses lie to mankind all the time. Because: interpretation of events, are as events 'appear' to be. As defined by individual understanding.

There is a better understanding of philosophies, and greater ability to muse philosophically: If potential truths--concerning existing--are not ruled out just because it is impossible for our limited senses (and abilities) to unravel the nature of how existing is even possible.

But that is just my opinion... *shrug*


keep your mind from this way of enquiry, for never will you show that not-being is
~parmenides

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frako
Member (Idle past 27 days)
Posts: 2931
From: slovenija
Joined: 09-04-2010


(2)
Message 5 of 262 (618523)
06-03-2011 6:03 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by tesla
06-03-2011 5:27 PM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
Well most atheists actualy do allow the possibility of god its just that that possibility given the evidence is so miniscule it can be discarded.

If you take philosophy from Greek philoshophia, witch means love of wisdom i think atheists excel in that because we always want to know more and we know that we do not know everything. Core structures of wisdom.

Where most theists differ they KNOW how everything began its purpose, And they think one does not need to know more then what their scripture says the opposite of wisdom.


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GDR
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Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 6 of 262 (618529)
06-03-2011 6:49 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by frako
06-03-2011 6:03 PM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
frako writes:

Where most theists differ they KNOW how everything began its purpose, And they think one does not need to know more then what their scripture says the opposite of wisdom.

I have no doubt that there are some that think like that, but IMHO even if they weren't theists they wouldn't be bothered worrying about how things all got started anyway. Personally, and it is my belief that I am in the majority of theists, I am very interested as to just how it was that God created and I the only place that we have to look is science. The Bible says that God created we look to creation itself to see how it was done.


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frako
Member (Idle past 27 days)
Posts: 2931
From: slovenija
Joined: 09-04-2010


Message 7 of 262 (618534)
06-03-2011 7:09 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by GDR
06-03-2011 6:49 PM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
Lets say one day science finds irrefutable evidence (and about half the amount we have for evolution) for god most atheists would say damm we where wrong praise zeus, or whoever the god would be.

On the other hand we can see what is happening with theists when science finds anwsers for questions like why do rainbows appear, the procces of how life began and evolved.... Theists tend to either take a step back and use the god of the gaps argument, or they tend to discredit scientific claims (poorly i might add)
Doesn't look like a love of wisdom to me.

Now dont get me wrong you haveto question everything that's how science works that is how humanity gains knowledge, that is how we are able to stand on the shoulders of giants because every block of our knowlage is tested to scrutiny and every generation can see farther.

The difference is admitting one is wrong hawking was wrong on one of his theories his flaw was pointed out by a plumber and hawking admitted he was wrong. When has a creationist admitted he was wrong.


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GDR
Member
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 8 of 262 (618544)
06-03-2011 9:20 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by frako
06-03-2011 7:09 PM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
frako writes:

On the other hand we can see what is happening with theists when science finds anwsers for questions like why do rainbows appear, the procces of how life began and evolved.... Theists tend to either take a step back and use the god of the gaps argument, or they tend to discredit scientific claims (poorly i might add)
Doesn't look like a love of wisdom to me.

I can only speak for myself, but I think that my views on this are relatively mainstream other than for fundalmentalists of any faith. As a Christian I view science as a second scripture. I love reading what Christian or secular scientists have to say. As I said, I am really interested in seeing how God did it and I don't have fixed views on the answers.

frako writes:

Now dont get me wrong you haveto question everything that's how science works that is how humanity gains knowledge, that is how we are able to stand on the shoulders of giants because every block of our knowlage is tested to scrutiny and every generation can see farther.

I have a hunch you'll find this hard to believe but I contend that the same is true of theology. My favourite theologian is N T Wright as I have pointed out more than a few times. When I read his texts, (the one I'm on now is nearly 700 pages long), he continually references other writers from the earliest writings to today. What he writes today is building on the foundation of work of those who have gone before, and the theologians of the future will build further on what Wright has done.

frako writes:

The difference is admitting one is wrong hawking was wrong on one of his theories his flaw was pointed out by a plumber and hawking admitted he was wrong. When has a creationist admitted he was wrong.

I don't know about creationists, (I dislike that term because in the true sense I'm a creationist that isn't about to suggest that I know how, where or when God did it.) I can say this though. The more I read the more, the more I learn, and as I learn my views change. There are any number of things about my faith that I believed 10 years ago that I don't believe now. In addition there are things I believe now that I had no understanding of 10 years ago.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)

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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 3207 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 9 of 262 (618567)
06-04-2011 1:22 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by GDR
06-03-2011 9:20 PM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
The more I read the more, the more I learn, and as I learn my views change. There are any number of things about my faith that I believed 10 years ago that I don't believe now. In addition there are things I believe now that I had no understanding of 10 years ago.

If other creationists held your philosophy, we might get somewhere.
Most creationists, that I know, would call you a hypocrite.


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969

Since Evolution is only ~90% correct it should be thrown out and replaced by Creation which has even a lower % of correctness. W T Young, 2008


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GDR
Member
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 10 of 262 (618573)
06-04-2011 2:45 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by bluescat48
06-04-2011 1:22 AM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
bluescat48 writes:

Most creationists, that I know, would call you a hypocrite.

As I think I made clear I'm not a creationist in the way it is normally understood on this forum. I'm a creationist in the sense that I believe that all of creation is the work of the God of the Bible. I'm not concerned from a theological perspective how God did it and I'm quite prepared to accept that He created all of present day life utilizing an evolutionary process. I am interested in how it was done as a scientific question.

In the end I think that most creationists, (as the term is used around here), would think that I hold too low a view of scripture. In my view it is actually the Christian who tries to read the Bible as a science book or newspaper that holds too low a view of the scriptures, but that is another discussion.

To get back to the OP I would have to think that atheists are philosophically limited. Presumably, and correct me if I'm wrong, an atheist would be by definition a materialist. If that is the case then they would have no use for philosophy and would thus be limited in that department.

Wouldn't an atheist reject philsophy altogether making the whole question moot?


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)

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tesla
Member (Idle past 611 days)
Posts: 1199
Joined: 12-22-2007


Message 11 of 262 (618576)
06-04-2011 3:02 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by frako
06-03-2011 6:03 PM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
Well most atheists actually do allow the possibility of god it’s just that that possibility given the evidence is so miniscule it can be discarded.
If you take philosophy from Greek philoshophia, witch means love of wisdom i think atheists excel in that because we always want to know more and we know that we do not know everything. Core structures of wisdom.

Where most theists differ they KNOW how everything began its purpose, and they think one does not need to know more then what their scripture says the opposite of wisdom.

Theist and atheist all have almost original beliefs. I’ve noticed in churches (Even a single denomination in the same building) carry many different belief structures.

But I can agree with your assessment as a whole.

Wisdom is something everyone could always use more of. It's dogmatism I think I detest the most.

Is dogmatism wise? Position aside?


keep your mind from this way of enquiry, for never will you show that not-being is
~parmenides

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PaulK
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Posts: 17008
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 12 of 262 (618577)
06-04-2011 3:05 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by GDR
06-04-2011 2:45 AM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
quote:

To get back to the OP I would have to think that atheists are philosophically limited. Presumably, and correct me if I'm wrong, an atheist would be by definition a materialist. If that is the case then they would have no use for philosophy and would thus be limited in that department.

Wouldn't an atheist reject philsophy altogether making the whole question moot?


There are two errors there. Firstly it is false to say that the definition of atheism entails materialism. But far worse is the assertion that materialises have no use for philosophy. The materialism referred to is, in fact, a philosophical position - and of course there are atheist philosophers.


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Trae
Member (Idle past 3324 days)
Posts: 442
From: Fremont, CA, USA
Joined: 06-18-2004


Message 13 of 262 (618582)
06-04-2011 4:44 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Straggler
06-02-2011 3:15 PM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
The theist viewpoint seems to hold that atheists are more restrictive in that they reject one possible explanation theists do not. What theists fail to grasp is that the atheist view permits for an unknown number of possible answers replacing the theist’s single answer.

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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 3207 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 14 of 262 (618615)
06-04-2011 10:25 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by GDR
06-04-2011 2:45 AM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
Wouldn't an atheist reject philsophy altogether making the whole question moot?

It would be more at what one's definition of philosophy was.

Wikipedia writes:

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. It is distinguished from other ways of addressing fundamental questions (such as mysticism, myth, or the arts) by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument. The word "philosophy" comes from the Greek φιλοσοφία (philosophia), which literally means "love of wisdom".

Love of Wisdom is what I would consider and that matters not whether a person is a Theist, Deist, Agnostic or Atheist.
The point is that science is knowledge and art is science being put to use. The 2 are intertwined and that is what philosophy is. Knowledge yields wisdom.

Edited by bluescat48, : incorrect verb


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969

Since Evolution is only ~90% correct it should be thrown out and replaced by Creation which has even a lower % of correctness. W T Young, 2008


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fearandloathing
Member (Idle past 3163 days)
Posts: 990
From: Burlington, NC, USA
Joined: 02-24-2011


Message 15 of 262 (618621)
06-04-2011 11:11 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by GDR
06-04-2011 2:45 AM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
GDR writes:

To get back to the OP I would have to think that atheists are philosophically limited. Presumably, and correct me if I'm wrong, an atheist would be by definition a materialist. If that is the case then they would have no use for philosophy and would thus be limited in that department.

Positivism
Materialism
Physicalism
Physical ontology
Naturalistic pantheism
Empiricism
Sociological naturalism

I think all of the above could be considered by an Atheist, there are probably more, but here are ones I found that seem to fit the bill.


"I hate to advocate the use of drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they always worked for me." - Hunter S. Thompson

Ad astra per aspera

Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione.


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