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Author Topic:   Problems with being an Atheist (or Evolutionist)
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16101
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 256 of 276 (587821)
10-21-2010 1:42 AM
Reply to: Message 255 by Damouse
10-20-2010 9:33 PM


That the video refers to people that believe there are no gods as "strong" atheists is a telling point. If the word atheist had no connotations that related to believing there is no god(s), then a strong atheist would simply be an atheist that decidedly has no belief, not one with a counter belief. Instead, a strong atheist has a decidedly pronounced rejection of gods. This is part of the word, as evidenced by the conflicting definitions.

Well this is nonsense. Think about it for a moment.

The reason that it is necessary to call some atheists "strong" atheists is precisely because not all of them are.

Is the existence of the phrase green hat a "telling point" on the side of the argument that all hats are green?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 255 by Damouse, posted 10-20-2010 9:33 PM Damouse has not yet responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16101
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 257 of 276 (587822)
10-21-2010 1:44 AM
Reply to: Message 253 by Damouse
10-20-2010 8:20 PM


I again state that this a silly conversation about semantics.

In which you are peculiarly eager to participate.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 253 by Damouse, posted 10-20-2010 8:20 PM Damouse has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 258 by Damouse, posted 10-21-2010 1:58 AM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Damouse
Member (Idle past 3161 days)
Posts: 215
From: Brookfield, Wisconsin
Joined: 12-18-2005


Message 258 of 276 (587824)
10-21-2010 1:58 AM
Reply to: Message 257 by Dr Adequate
10-21-2010 1:44 AM


Is the existence of the phrase green hat a "telling point" on the side of the argument that all hats are green?

It proves that a hat can be green.

In the conversation at hand, it would show that one can be an atheist and have a specific belief that there is no god, gods, or deities.

In which you are peculiarly eager to participate.

Yes, i am. If you were to try to convince me i was a white giraffe, i would tell you you are being silly. That wouldnt prevent me from engaging in debate about my anthropomorphic qualities.

Im not trying to be radical or abrasive, and i feel like my comments are being received as such. Apologies if they came out like that.

My position is simple. I know what i believe. I understand my own philosophy. I believe atheists know what they think, and i believe they are confident and justified in whatever brand of vodka they adhere to. This particular train of conversation began when a theist declared what it meant to be an atheist, and that's the part i find silly.

Edited by Damouse, : Speeling is hard.


This statement is false.

Tell the blunt, honest truth in the starkest, darkest way. And what will be, will be. What will be, should be.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 257 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-21-2010 1:44 AM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 259 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-21-2010 2:35 AM Damouse has responded
 Message 265 by Panda, posted 10-21-2010 8:06 AM Damouse has not yet responded

    
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16101
Joined: 07-20-2006


(1)
Message 259 of 276 (587831)
10-21-2010 2:35 AM
Reply to: Message 258 by Damouse
10-21-2010 1:58 AM


Im not trying to be radical or abrasive, and i feel like my comments are being received as such. Apologies if they came out like that.

It's not a matter of being abrasive, it's just that a lot of people think you're wrong. Not every atheist is a strong atheist.

And the difference is not semantic.

A "weak" atheist regards the proposition that a god exists the same way that he regards the proposition that unicorns exist. There is no evidence for it, but it has not been falsified.

A "strong" atheist regards the proposition that a god exists the same way that he regards the proposition that there are unicorns everywhere, and that you can't go anywhere without tripping over one. There is no evidence for it, and it has been falsified.

There is a difference.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 258 by Damouse, posted 10-21-2010 1:58 AM Damouse has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 260 by Damouse, posted 10-21-2010 2:44 AM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Damouse
Member (Idle past 3161 days)
Posts: 215
From: Brookfield, Wisconsin
Joined: 12-18-2005


Message 260 of 276 (587833)
10-21-2010 2:44 AM
Reply to: Message 259 by Dr Adequate
10-21-2010 2:35 AM


There is a difference.

If people agree with your stated reasoning as to why im wrong, i shan't lose any sleep over it. You're either being willfully obstinate or just misreading what im saying.

...justified in whatever brand of vodka they adhere to.

From message 258, where i said that each atheist is entitled to their own subtleties and (non-exclusively) the label atheist.

In message 255, i admitted that i missed the subtlety in the video posted by hooah differentiating between the mentioned flavors of atheism, as posted in that video.

There is a difference when you include the modifier out front, yes. When you say the word "atheist" and nothing else, as i assume most people are inclined to do when asked, there is a bit of discrepancy.

Only relatively recently in this thread have the modifier words been used with the word atheist. The majority of the usage was just the one word label.

Im assuming an atheist to introduce himself as just an atheist solely based on my personal experience and a touch of social etiquette. By no means do i think that a rule.

That discrepancy, and the root of this argument, is a semantic difference.

Edited by Damouse, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 259 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-21-2010 2:35 AM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 261 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-21-2010 3:17 AM Damouse has responded
 Message 263 by Nij, posted 10-21-2010 3:40 AM Damouse has responded

    
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16101
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 261 of 276 (587845)
10-21-2010 3:17 AM
Reply to: Message 260 by Damouse
10-21-2010 2:44 AM


If people agree with your stated reasoning as to why im wrong, i shan't lose any sleep over it. You're either being willfully obstinate ...

Yeah, I can do that.

But so, I think, can you.

Im assuming an atheist to introduce himself as just an atheist solely based on my personal experience and a touch of social etiquette. By no means do i think that a rule.

Well, yes they do. But if a "weak" atheist introduces himself as an atheist and then a theist starts arguing with him as though he was a "strong" atheist, the cry of "STRAWMAN" will be so loud that you'll be able to hear it in the next country.

There's not much content in atheism, but what there is we can manage to disagree about. How fortunate it is that we do not burn one another at the stake.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 260 by Damouse, posted 10-21-2010 2:44 AM Damouse has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 262 by Damouse, posted 10-21-2010 3:33 AM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
Damouse
Member (Idle past 3161 days)
Posts: 215
From: Brookfield, Wisconsin
Joined: 12-18-2005


Message 262 of 276 (587850)
10-21-2010 3:33 AM
Reply to: Message 261 by Dr Adequate
10-21-2010 3:17 AM


Well, yes they do. But if a "weak" atheist introduces himself as an atheist and then a theist starts arguing with him as though he was a "strong" atheist, the cry of "STRAWMAN" will be so loud that you'll be able to hear it in the next country.

Ah, well. We're all agnostics anyway.

There's not much content in atheism, but what there is we can manage to disagree about. How fortunate it is that we do not burn one another at the stake.

I think were at the point of agreement. Arguing about the name with atheists doesn't really raise my blood pressure, its more when theists tell atheists what the atheist believes that my hackles rise.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 261 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-21-2010 3:17 AM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

    
Nij
Member (Idle past 3145 days)
Posts: 239
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-20-2010


Message 263 of 276 (587853)
10-21-2010 3:40 AM
Reply to: Message 260 by Damouse
10-21-2010 2:44 AM


People are and have been saying that strong atheists are not the only atheists around. Dr Adequate has provided multiple reasonings already to demonstrate that fact.

You have effectively been telling people the opposite: from what I can see, you have stated that all atheists are strong atheists or that equivalently atheism requires positive belief in the nonexistence of gods. For example:

[quote=Damouse]By not having a belief in a god of any flavor, you form a belief pertaining to a lack of god.[/qs]

An atheist holds to the belief that theistic conclusions are wrong, and therefor holds to the belief that there is no god.

  • I believe there is no god.
  • I do not believe in god.

    These are all ideas an atheist may have, and none of them are exclusive, even thought the first two express disbelief and belief about the same topic in equal measures.


  • Not so for any of these. Belief does not follow the law of excluded middle; that is, absence of one property does not and cannot conclude the presence of the opposite property. You are arguing that not being positive requires being negative; you completely ignore the neutral position.

    This is why you are getting the flak.

    Atheism only requires lack of belief in the existence of gods. Without any other modifier, one cannot tell whether they also believe in the nonexistence of gods or not.

    Only relatively recently in this thread have the modifier words been used with the word atheist. The majority of the usage was just the one word label.

    Because previously nobody was discussing the difference between strong and weak atheism. You brought up the subject -- again, after I thought the good Dr A had reasonably demonstrated to riVeRaT that it was not viable -- so people used the correct words to describe the ideas you were talking about to make what they were talking about unambiguous.

    Im assuming an atheist to introduce himself as just an atheist solely based on my personal experience and a touch of social etiquette. By no means do i think that a rule.

    And nobody has said otherwise. An atheist is an atheist regardless of whether they're 'strong' or 'weak', and most don't even consider the difference for the same reason they don't consider their atheism; they just don't need to.
    But you have tried to argue that by introducing themselves as atheists, they must also believe that no god exists, a position which is obviously deficit in etiquette: they could easily not believe that no god exists too.
    This message is a reply to:
     Message 260 by Damouse, posted 10-21-2010 2:44 AM Damouse has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 264 by Damouse, posted 10-21-2010 4:02 AM Nij has not yet responded

      
    Damouse
    Member (Idle past 3161 days)
    Posts: 215
    From: Brookfield, Wisconsin
    Joined: 12-18-2005


    Message 264 of 276 (587860)
    10-21-2010 4:02 AM
    Reply to: Message 263 by Nij
    10-21-2010 3:40 AM


    You have effectively been telling people the opposite: from what I can see, you have stated that all atheists are strong atheists or that equivalently atheism requires positive belief in the nonexistence of gods. For example:

    This is what i posted, what you quoted, which i am reposting for the sake of clarity.

    - I believe there is no god.
    - I do not believe in god.

    These are all ideas an atheist may have, and none of them are exclusive, even thought the first two express disbelief and belief about the same topic in equal measures.

    To which you said "Not so." And then moved to say that i am ignoring the neutral.

    I think you may have misread me, or i misspoke. The way this thread is going, it's likely the latter.

    It is possible for multiple atheists to hold the following two beliefs to be true at the same time and still be an atheist:
    -I BELIEVE there is NO god
    -Among my beliefs there lie no beliefs about god.

    Thats what i said in the comment you quoted. By saying that the two premises are not exclusive to atheism and can both or either be held valid at the same time, i am clearly acknowledging the middle ground.

    The quotes you posted before that was before i realized my error. Everything after that, including the clarified point above, was along a different line of thought.

    Edited by Damouse, : No reason given.

    Edited by Damouse, : No reason given.

    Edited by Damouse, : No reason given.

    Edited by Damouse, : No reason given.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 263 by Nij, posted 10-21-2010 3:40 AM Nij has not yet responded

        
    Panda
    Member (Idle past 1968 days)
    Posts: 2688
    From: UK
    Joined: 10-04-2010


    Message 265 of 276 (587880)
    10-21-2010 8:06 AM
    Reply to: Message 258 by Damouse
    10-21-2010 1:58 AM


    Damouse writes:

    Im not trying to be radical or abrasive, and i feel like my comments are being received as such. Apologies if they came out like that.


    It is very hard to communicate (via text) with any kind of assurity without appearing abrasive, etc. So my default position is to expect the best intentions from people.

    I will skip over most of the points in your reply, as I feel that they have been accurately expanded upon by others. I think it has been discussed in other threads too.
    (I would also like to avoid giving you the feeling that you are being outnumbered.)

    Instead I would like to focus on an aside you made:

    Damouse writes:

    If a theist were to challenge either of us based on that, our conversation with him/her would have no impact on our belief or our current religious debate. It is, again, a semantic argument.


    This was touched upon in Hooah's video.
    I think many religious people think atheism is a belief because that is how their mind works. They are looking at an atheist's world from a theist's PoV. This is not the best way to understand the other side of the discussion.

    There is also the aspect of:

    quote:
    When religious theists attack atheism, they prefer to attack strong atheism, the denial of the existence of gods, because it's a positive claim which can be evaluated and critiqued. They don't like dealing with weak atheism, the absence of belief in gods, because they forces them to defend and support their own claims. (Link)

    If an atheist says:
    "You can't prove there is a god. Why do you believe he exists?",
    then a theist can reply:
    "You can't prove there is NOT a god. Why do believe he doesn't exist?"
    This reply only works if atheism is a belief.

    Also, belief is often incorrectly conflated with faith.
    Atheists have no belief in god => Athiests believe god doesn't exist => Athiests have faith that god doesn't exist => Athiests have faith in something without evidence.
    "We've won!" cries the equivocating thiest.

    Edited by Panda, : ytpo


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 258 by Damouse, posted 10-21-2010 1:58 AM Damouse has not yet responded

      
    Theodoric
    Member
    Posts: 6554
    From: Northwest, WI, USA
    Joined: 08-15-2005
    Member Rating: 4.1


    Message 266 of 276 (588118)
    10-22-2010 10:34 AM
    Reply to: Message 253 by Damouse
    10-20-2010 8:20 PM


    As an atheist let me say this
    -I believe there is no god.

    Wrong. I have no belief there is a god. I do NOT believe there is no god. In order to have that belief there have to be some reason for me to even consider whether there is a god. There is no reason for me to consider that premise.
    -I no not believe in god

    I have no belief that there is a god. Even if there was some god to believe in what one am I supposed to believe in. Remember you and I are the same, except I am atheistic to one more god than you.
    -I do not believe in theistic conclusions

    Why should I have such a belief there are?
    I believe only the physical world exist

    You need to define this more if you expect people to agree or disagree. This seems to me to be a fundy set up here more than anything else.

    These are all ideas an atheist may have, and none of them are exclusive, even thought the first two express disbelief and belief about the same topic in equal measures.

    You have shown that you have no idea of the ideas an atheist may have. Maybe you should quit telling us what we think and listen to what we tell you we think.


    Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts
    This message is a reply to:
     Message 253 by Damouse, posted 10-20-2010 8:20 PM Damouse has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 267 by Damouse, posted 10-22-2010 3:43 PM Theodoric has responded

        
    Damouse
    Member (Idle past 3161 days)
    Posts: 215
    From: Brookfield, Wisconsin
    Joined: 12-18-2005


    Message 267 of 276 (588164)
    10-22-2010 3:43 PM
    Reply to: Message 266 by Theodoric
    10-22-2010 10:34 AM


    Re: As an atheist let me say this
    Wrong. I have no belief there is a god. I do NOT believe there is no god. In order to have that belief there have to be some reason for me to even consider whether there is a god. There is no reason for me to consider that premise.

    Are you literate? The section quoted is from possible beliefs an atheist may have, you and responded with "wrong." I have this particular belief, and im an atheist. What is "wrong?" You treat every quote as an attack against you.

    You need to define this more if you expect people to agree or disagree. This seems to me to be a fundy set up here more than anything else.

    No, i dont. What i posted was a belief of mine; i didn't hold it up to be argued. I dont have to defend it and i dont have to phrase it nicely for you, its a statement of fact about me.

    A fundy setup? Yet another reason to believe you haven't bothered to read the last page of the thread; i openly state i am atheist.


    You have shown that you have no idea of the ideas an atheist may have. Maybe you should quit telling us what we think and listen to what we tell you we think.

    Maybe you should learn to read the whole thread. Dont be an ass.

    If you could read the whole thread, you'd see that i am an atheist and have every right to talk about the ideas an atheist may have. You have no more right to supposedly tell me what i think than i have to tell you what you think, according to your logic.

    Secondly, you would be able to see that i was wrong and was summarily informed about the nuances of strong v. weak atheism, a distinction i had not been making previously.

    This is the reason i debate on these forums in the first place; to increase my own understanding and knowledge about what i believe. That should be the reason everyone should argue, imo. You seem to have made this post just to be snarky, with no contribution to the general conversation at all. You dont even seem to have read the posts following the one you quoted because if you had, you would have seen me admit being wrong and understanding the middle ground.


    This statement is false.

    Tell the blunt, honest truth in the starkest, darkest way. And what will be, will be. What will be, should be.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 266 by Theodoric, posted 10-22-2010 10:34 AM Theodoric has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 268 by Theodoric, posted 10-22-2010 4:49 PM Damouse has responded

        
    Theodoric
    Member
    Posts: 6554
    From: Northwest, WI, USA
    Joined: 08-15-2005
    Member Rating: 4.1


    Message 268 of 276 (588170)
    10-22-2010 4:49 PM
    Reply to: Message 267 by Damouse
    10-22-2010 3:43 PM


    Re: As an atheist let me say this
    No, i dont. What i posted was a belief of mine; i didn't hold it up to be argued. I dont have to defend it and i dont have to phrase it nicely for you, its a statement of fact about me.

    Why bother posting something if you are not willing to explain what it means?

    Maybe you should learn to read the whole thread. Dont be an ass.

    You make a comment that this is an argument about semantics. I am telling you that it is not an argument about semantics. Maybe to you it is, but to many atheists(me and others) it is not an argument about semantics. My post was an attempt to show that you are incorrect in stating it is a semantic point.

    Are you literate? The section quoted is from possible beliefs an atheist may have, you and responded with "wrong." I have this particular belief, and im an atheist. What is "wrong?" You treat every quote as an attack against you.

    I agree I misread your post. I read it as ayou saying what atheists believe. We have very different ideas about atheism. This should put to rest any idea that atheism is a structured belief system.

    All that said.

    -I believe only the physical world exists

    Sounds very much like a fundy setup. As you will not define what this statement means all it is is word salad. As I said before, it seems a waste of pixels if you are going to make a statement and then refuse to explain what it means.

    I disagree with your interpretation of atheism so I am an ass? If you are not willing to defend your comments don't post.

    ABE

    You seem to have made this post just to be snarky, with no contribution to the general conversation at all. You dont even seem to have read the posts following the one you quoted because if you had, you would have seen me admit being wrong and understanding the middle ground.

    I post replies as I read. I do not finish the thread and go back. Maybe you feel I was piling on, it was not meant to be. No matter what you said later, I still feel it was necessary and proper for me to reply. I do not feel that your later changes fully expressed what I felt.

    Edited by Theodoric, : No reason given.


    Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts
    This message is a reply to:
     Message 267 by Damouse, posted 10-22-2010 3:43 PM Damouse has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 269 by Damouse, posted 10-22-2010 5:17 PM Theodoric has not yet responded

        
    Damouse
    Member (Idle past 3161 days)
    Posts: 215
    From: Brookfield, Wisconsin
    Joined: 12-18-2005


    Message 269 of 276 (588175)
    10-22-2010 5:17 PM
    Reply to: Message 268 by Theodoric
    10-22-2010 4:49 PM


    Re: As an atheist let me say this
    Why bother posting something if you are not willing to explain what it means?

    Because it wasn't relevant to the argument. It was me identifying with the atheists as being on the same side, arguing about semantics; not being on the opposite side, attempting to fill someone else's mouth with my ideas.

    You make a comment that this is an argument about semantics. I am telling you that it is not an argument about semantics. Maybe to you it is, but to many atheists(me and others) it is not an argument about semantics. My post was an attempt to show that you are incorrect in stating it is a semantic point.

    I think we reached agreement that the issue with introducing yourself as an "atheist" and then arguing about what the means is a semantic argument. How can it not be? The difference in what that means is an argument about what the word means.

    The alternative is introducing yourself as a "strong" or "weak" atheist to further detail what exactly it is that you believe.

    Sounds very much like a fundy setup. As you will not define what this statement means all it is is word salad. As I said before, it seems a waste of pixels if you are going to make a statement and then refuse to explain what it means.

    At best its an out of context, irrelevant distraction.

    At worse, its off topic and detrimental to the thread.

    So again, why does it matter? Its a statement of belief of mine. I fail to see how you cant understand it.

    I disagree with your interpretation of atheism so I am an ass? If you are not willing to defend your comments don't post.

    You're an ass because you came after me for the sake of drawing blood, after the argument was mostly settled.

    Its like having negotiations, agreeing on a decision, and then inviting a third party to come and get back into it. It seemed unnecessary after i had already admitted my ignorant comments.


    This statement is false.

    Tell the blunt, honest truth in the starkest, darkest way. And what will be, will be. What will be, should be.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 268 by Theodoric, posted 10-22-2010 4:49 PM Theodoric has not yet responded

        
    Rrhain
    Member (Idle past 128 days)
    Posts: 6349
    From: San Diego, CA, USA
    Joined: 05-03-2003


    (3)
    Message 270 of 276 (589386)
    11-02-2010 12:30 AM
    Reply to: Message 251 by Damouse
    10-20-2010 7:18 PM


    Damouse responds to me:

    quote:
    You are twisting examples to sure your own point.

    Logical error: Shifting the goalposts.

    The fact that you don't like that I proved your claim to be false doesn't mean it's "twisting examples." It simply means that you didn't think through your claim.

    And notice: I just did it again. And this time, without using math. You made a claim. I provided a counterexample that proves it false, thus proving another negative. It doesn't require math to prove a negative. In fact, that's how most of science works: You spend all your time in the lab with failure after failure after failure until you finally find something that shows some promise. All of those failures are negative proofs: X does not cause effect Y.

    In fact, rather than "You can't prove a negative" being the case, it is the exact opposite that is the problem in science: You can't prove a positive. Science by its very nature is an observational process and it is impossible to observe absolutely everything about a phenomenon. You can set up all the controls you wish, but there are always factors that you haven't thought about or sensitivities in the instrument that are too gross to pick up on subtle effects.

    It's why we shifted from Aristotelian to Newtonian to Einsteinian mechanics: We proved the previous kinematic framework to be false. The fact that Newtonian mechanics was more accurate than Aristotelian mechanics didn't make the Newtonian version right. It simply made it more accurate. As we soon learned, the instruments we had available for measuring tiny discrepancies were insufficient to see the error terms that are always present at every level of Newtonian theory. Einsteinian mechanics provides more accuracy but again, that doesn't make it right: Just more accurate. There may be something else involved that we need to take into account for which we don't have instruments sufficiently sensitive enough to detect.

    But notice, every time we move from a less accurate to a more accurate model, we still need to take into account all of the observations that came before. When I slide a book along the table, it comes to a stop. Aristotle would claim that is because "rest" is the "natural state" of the book and all objects return to their natural state. With Newton, we learned better: Instead, that book would have kept on going were it not for friction: An object in motion remains in motion until acted upon by an outside force. In the case of a book sliding along a table, it is the force of friction that bleeds off the kinematic energy of the book and brings it to a stop.

    But even then, that doesn't tell the entire picture. Because "stop" is not well-defined. It only makes sense within the frame of reference of the table. The book has stopped moving with respect to the table but if the table is on a train that is trundling down the tracks, then it is still moving with respect to the tracks. There is no such thing as "rest."

    Does that make any sense to you at all? We prove negatives all the time in science. It's one of the grandest things ever: To overturn a dominant paradigm. You do that and they award you the Nobel Prize and the world beats a path to your door begging you to join their team or hoping to join yours.

    And it doesn't require "math." It simply requires logic: Well-defined objects behaving in well-defined ways.

    quote:
    As it pertains to the discussion, you cannot prove the lack of existence of am omnipotent entity. Done.

    I most certainly can.

    However, it is up to you to provide the definition of "an omnipotent entity." If you leave it up to me, I doubt you'll like the definition I put forward.

    Of course, if your definition is vague and incapable of being examined, then I will handily admit that it will be difficult if not impossible to disprove its existence, but that is more due to failure of the description of the entity, not failure of the process.

    For example, if the definition of the "supernatural entity" includes the claim that it created a world-wide flood that wiped out all human existence save for 8 individuals upon a single wooden craft approximately 4500 years ago and that this entity does not lie or obfuscate, then that can be easily disproven by examining the earth for the signs of this flood. If they are not there, then the flood did not happen. If the flood did not happen, then the entity that necessarily created the flood does not exist for the two go together.

    That is something specific: A well-defined object behaving in a well-defined way.

    If the defintion is vague and without specificity such as the "primal cause," then of course it will be difficult to disprove the exidstence of such an object precisely because there is no way to say anything about such an object, positive or negative. The definition doesn't actually define anything but rather shifts things to other, undefined terms: What is meant by "primal"? How does one determine what a "cause" is?

    This, given no actual definition that is of any use, we are left with the null hypothesis: The object doesn't exist. It doesn't have a definition, therefore how can it possibly exist?

    Here's another example that might help you understand:

    Suppose I told you that I'm thinking of an object that is sitting on my bathroom counter. Well, there's a glaringly obvious method to determine if that object actually exists: Go look at my bathroom counter. But there are a couple problems with this:

    The first is that you don't know anything about the object other than its location. You could examine and prod my bathroom counter all you like but you'll never be able to say if the object is there or not because the definition of the object is so vague as to be of no use.

    But there's a subtler point: It is a huge assumption that there is a bathroom counter to examine in the first place. What if I don't actually have a counter? Suppose I only have a pedestal sink and a medicine chest? Then no matter how well I define the object, it still doesn't exist because the location in which it is supposed to exist doesn't exist.

    This is what I mean by "well-defined objects behaving in well-defined ways." It doesn't require any math at all. It simply requires logic and definitions sufficiently powerful enough to be able to make distinctions.

    quote:
    There is no logical, philosophical way to do it. If you choose to argue against this, you're not of a different opinion, you are WRONG.

    And yet, I just did what you claimed was impossible.

    I guess I proved yet another negative.

    quote:
    Because you believe there is no omnipotent entity.

    I haven't said anything about what I believe. I challenge you to show anywhere where I have done so. Chapter and verse, please. I am very careful to leave my personal feelings out of these discussions precisely because of your reaction: You are responding as if I were an atheist, ignoring what I actually say in favor of the pretended words you wish I would say. I respectfully request that you stop.

    quote:
    By not having a belief in a god of any flavor, you form a belief pertaining to a lack of god.

    That makes no sense. How can "not having a belief" suddenly become "a belief"? You just said no belief is held, so how can there be a belief? How can the lack of belief be a belief?

    By your logic, you are a massive polytheist for there are many things you do not have a belief in: The object on my bathroom counter (you've got your doubts, don't you?), a diet soda that tastes just as good as the real thing, the Cubs ever winning the World Series. If you are going to claim that the lack of belief is actually a belief, then just how many things do you believe in?

    quote:
    You are arguing silly semantics.

    Said the person who still hasn't provided a definition of an "omnipotent entity" that might be examined for existence. I hereby make a formal request. What is your definition of "god"?

    quote:
    An atheist holds to the belief that theistic conclusions are wrong

    Incorrect. An atheist holds to the conclusion that the claims made by theists have not borne any fruit.

    You do understand that a conclusion is different from a belief, yes? All you need to do is provide more evidence and the conclusion will change. It is not up to the atheist to take on your burden. The burden of proof is always on the one making the claim: Those who claim the existence of god are always the ones who need to provide the evidence to support that claim.

    Oh, it would be awfully nice if atheists could come up with a logical pathway such that the existence of "god" could be done away with, but there are two problems with that:

    First, there is no agreed-upon definition of "god." Just because the atheist can claim that Zeus doesn't exist doesn't mean that Thor sulks off to join him. This is the source of the joke:

    What's the difference between a believer and an atheist?

    The believer claims that of the 1000 gods out there, 999 of them are false.

    The atheist doesn't make an exception for that last one.

    There are plenty of gods that you claim don't exist. You don't describe yourself as an a-Mayan or an a-Aboriginal. It would take way too long to run through all the equivalent "beliefs" of lack. Instead, you are defined by what you actually believe in. So why are you so hung up about others applying the exact same process to yours? Why is it that you don't have beliefs regarding all those other gods but anybody who manages to reduce the circle to nothingness doesn't make it vanish?

    The other problem is that it is not necessary to prove something true in order to prove something else is false. I know this example is mathematical in nature, but it is simple and easily understandable:

    I don't have to prove that 2 + 2 = 4 in order to show that 2 + 2 <> 5. Oh, it would certainly be nice if I did and it would shut down all the other claimaints who are going to insist that they equal 3 or 6 or pipe up with "for large values of '2' and small values of '5,' they are." In terms of logic, it would be "sufficient" but not "necessary."

    quote:
    and therefor holds to the belief that there is no god.

    Incorrect. Atheists do not "believe" anything about god for there is nothing to "believe" about.

    quote:
    The definition does not detail this, but this must follow from the definition.

    Except it doesn't.

    Or don't atheists get to be the final authority on their own philosophy? Are you so powerful that you can read people's minds and delve their souls?

    quote:
    You cannot have an opinion about something and not have a belief about it.

    Except I just showed that you can.

    I guess I proved another negative.

    quote:
    ABE: from dictionary.com

    Argumentum ad dictionary? Really? That's your final defense?

    You do realize that dictionaries are descriptive, not proscriptive, yes? That is, they indicate how words are used, but they do not indicate that the definitions provided are the only ways in which the words can be used.

    One way to notice this is that words often have multiple meanings. Take "inflammable," for example. One definition of it is, "capable of catching fire." Another definition of it is, "incapable of catching fire."

    So which is it? If I say something is "inflammable," am I saying you should worry about keeping it near the water heater in case there's a gas leak and the pilot light causes a spark? Or am I saying it's what you should coat your kids pajamas in to protect them fire?

    Well, context will tell you. The way in which I use the word will tell you which definition I am actually intending.

    You see, the logical error you just committed is called "equivocation." It's when you use a word that has multiple meanings and insist upon a secondary, inappropriate meaning instead of the one that actually makes sense.

    Take "theory," for example. One definition of a "theory" is "an educated guess." Another definition of a "theory" is "an analysis of a set of facts in relation to one another." I would hope you would not be surprised to learn that creationists often claim that evolution is "just a theory," as if the word "theory" meant the former definition rather than the latter.

    Given that the vast majority of people who are using the word "atheist" and "atheism" are not actually atheists due to their sheer number, would it not be surprising to find that the common definitions of atheism and atheist don't really describe how actual atheists view the world? Isn't the fact that you are getting tremendous push-back from actual atheists over your definition of atheism telling you that perhaps you shouldn't be looking to dictionaries for answers?

    Or are atheists incapable of correctly describing their own philosophy? You are so powerful that you can read other people's minds and delve their souls?

    If the atheist tells you that your description of atheism is faulty, who are you to claim otherwise?


    Rrhain

    Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

    Minds are like parachutes. Just because you've lost yours doesn't mean you can use mine.
    This message is a reply to:
     Message 251 by Damouse, posted 10-20-2010 7:18 PM Damouse has not yet responded

        
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