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Author Topic:   Questions for Atheists
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 821 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 76 of 110 (481665)
09-12-2008 2:41 AM
Reply to: Message 71 by Straggler
09-11-2008 2:36 PM


Re: real atheists!
Straggler writes:

Additionally I don't think there is much that American conservatives (who make up a large portion of the religious right) hate more than perceived intellectual elitism.

Ironically, I'm currently arguing on another board with a guy who's criticising Dawkins for not covering sophisticated modern (liberal) theology (wankery that isn't even about "God") in "The God Delusion". The book is actually very populist and accessible, and Dawkins tends to use the word "God" in a way that the religious right would understand, which upsets my opponent, who insists that God is "ineffable" a great word to describe something non-existent, IMO :laugh:.

Write a book implying that the majority of the population is delusional, and the criticism is bound to pile in from all angles!

Speaking of wankery and criticism, have you seen the fleas? Scroll down page for a laugh!


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Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 674 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008


Message 77 of 110 (481668)
09-12-2008 3:13 AM
Reply to: Message 74 by Open MInd
09-11-2008 6:58 PM


Re: Have Fun
Open MInd:

I'm not completely familiar with materialism, and in any case, I'm not sure I would judge it by the definition you gave. But there is certainly nothing in atheism that would inherently deny things like free will, purpose, ethics, charity, love, and other "emergent properties" of a self-aware and social species.

Open MInd writes:

... it is possible for me to put the chemical that you call yourself into a different environment in order to change your opinions.

Changes of opinions do happen as a result of environmental influence -- perhaps more often for atheists than for theists, but that probably depends on the topic -- and this in itself is not a bad thing. In many situations, it indicates a useful ability to adapt. But don't forget that, even while I'm changing my opinions, I will be asserting my own changes to affect the environment that I happen to be in.

Theoretically speaking, with chemicals and properly chosen language, anyone can manipulate your brain into thinking whatever they want.

And it should be the case that this works both ways: I can manipulate others as well (unless they're just really obstinate). We're all on fairly equal footing when it comes to influencing and being influenced. Do you consider yourself to be different from the rest of us in this regard? If so, then that's where you are going wrong (maybe you're just being obstinate), and it's diminishing the worth of your own opinions.


autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

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bluegenes
Member (Idle past 821 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 78 of 110 (481674)
09-12-2008 3:38 AM


Atheists are not necessarily what theists desire them to be!
Just a helping hand to open the minds of young Open Mind and anyone else who wishes to make up things about what atheists do and don't believe. My emphasis.

quote:

Atheism, as an explicit position, can be either the affirmation of the nonexistence of gods, or the rejection of theism. It is also defined more broadly as synonymous with any form of nontheism, including the simple absence of belief in deities.

Many self-described atheists are skeptical of all supernatural beings and cite a lack of empirical evidence for the existence of deities. Others argue for atheism on philosophical, social or historical grounds. Although many self-described atheists tend toward secular philosophies such as humanism and naturalism, there is no one ideology or set of behaviors to which all atheists adhere; and some religions, such as Jainism and Buddhism, do not require belief in a personal god.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism

Please note the broad definition including: "absence of belief in deities". Babies are atheists. ;)


  
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6841
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 6.1


Message 79 of 110 (481742)
09-12-2008 10:28 AM
Reply to: Message 74 by Open MInd
09-11-2008 6:58 PM


Re: Have Fun
If you are an atheist than you must also believe in materialism.

Well, I don't think so. Some atheists seem to believe in some of the "New Age" woo, so I don't think this is a necessary conclusion.

But I do believe this, so let's have at this.

-

Therefore, it is possible for me to put the chemical that you call yourself into a different environment in order to change your opinions.

Which people do. Some drugs, and some of which have beneficial therapeutic value, do just this. Physical injury to the brain also does this, as does some forms of surgery. What is the problem here?

-

Theoretically speaking, with chemicals and properly chosen language, anyone can manipulate your brain into thinking whatever they want.

I doubt it. Thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and so forth are not due to chemical reactions as much as they are due to how the neurons are physically connected. And some connections get used in several different patterns; it's not as if individual thoughts, memories, beliefs, and habits have their own separate compartment -- they are intertwined and intermixed so trying to change one belief into another belief is going to cause other beliefs to also change, perhaps in unpredictable ways.

Taking this into account, we can change peoples beliefs and behavior through drugs -- psychiatry and psychology actually do this. I suspect, though, that precise control of actual specific beliefs and thoughts may very well be impossible since there may be a limit to how many different ways the interneural connections can be configured, and so some combinations of beliefs may be impossible to realize even theoretically.


Speaking personally, I find few things more awesome than contemplating this vast and majestic process of evolution, the ebb and flow of successive biotas through geological time. Creationists and others who cannot for ideological or religious reasons accept the fact of evolution miss out a great deal, and are left with a claustrophobic little universe in which nothing happens and nothing changes.
-- M. Alan Kazlev

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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6841
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 6.1


Message 80 of 110 (481749)
09-12-2008 11:53 AM
Reply to: Message 74 by Open MInd
09-11-2008 6:58 PM


I forgot to add this:
If you do believe this, why do you consider your opinion to be worth much to begin with.

This seems to be an odd statement. Suppose that I agreed that it is possible, at least in principle, that one can manipulate another person's beliefs and thinking, and suppose that I agreed that one can do this to any desired precision, to make a person believe and think whatever one wants them to.

Why do you think that should call the "worth of my opinions" into doubt?


Speaking personally, I find few things more awesome than contemplating this vast and majestic process of evolution, the ebb and flow of successive biotas through geological time. Creationists and others who cannot for ideological or religious reasons accept the fact of evolution miss out a great deal, and are left with a claustrophobic little universe in which nothing happens and nothing changes.
-- M. Alan Kazlev

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kuresu
Member (Idle past 856 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 81 of 110 (481782)
09-12-2008 2:29 PM
Reply to: Message 74 by Open MInd
09-11-2008 6:58 PM


Re: Have Fun
You know what's really fun? Riling you up. My one post has gotten you into such a rage here, it's actually really funny to see just how fucked up your sense of reality is. I wonder, have I pissed off a troll?

Ooh, I better run away or else that great big empty mind is going to come chasing after me!


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Admin
Director
Posts: 12653
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 82 of 110 (481794)
09-12-2008 4:04 PM
Reply to: Message 81 by kuresu
09-12-2008 2:29 PM


Re: Have Fun
kuresu writes:

Ooh, I better run away or else that great big empty mind is going to come chasing after me!

I won't command about moderator's minds or whether we'd chase after you, but right now we're not real happy with you. If you think you see a discussion problem or a troll, please take it to the Windsor castle thread. Please leave moderation issues to the moderators. Thanks.


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kuresu
Member (Idle past 856 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 83 of 110 (481796)
09-12-2008 4:29 PM
Reply to: Message 82 by Admin
09-12-2008 4:04 PM


Re: Have Fun
Take it easy Percy. That "great big empty mind" is an allusion to Open Mind, not to you moderators (especially since you all tend to be more knowledgable than I, so empty-head is hardly an apt depiction).

I have no issues with moderation, nor am I attempting to moderate, this thread. I saw Open Mind continuing in his childlike behavior, and decided to pounce. I tried to rile him and he fell for it. I responded to his seeming rage with sarcasm (the 'running away before I'm chased' bit).

I guess my sarcasm doesn't exactly come through online.


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mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4662
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 84 of 110 (481808)
09-12-2008 6:16 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by Modulous
09-10-2008 7:44 PM


Re: On the necessity of God as an explanatory entity
Which is true. There is an ever increasing amount of things that we garner explanations about, time and again naturalistic explanations are ultimately the successful ones and the supernatural ones are time and again the ones that don't help at all. As Dawkins also puts forward, this kind of track record that science keeps racking up 'boosts our confidence' in its ability to tackle future questions.

Thanks for the quote from Dawkins, which matches what I have previously said more or less - that he states God is "unparsimonious".

It is not true because no one can establish whether physical causes alone present enough "purpose". There are two assumptions.

1. Physical purpose, contingencies following naturally.
2. Motives behind construction.

Number 2 is still far more likely than number one. Don't forget, the claim is that everything we see, in all i's obvious brilliance, is just a chance consequent of a physical self-acting cause. This is a big claim.

God CAN be parsimonious because you have to assume that everything in existence has no motive behind it which contradicts the truism of design.

As for natural causes, it is a natural universe, so they themselves become painfully predictable, and self-fulfilling.


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Replies to this message:
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mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4662
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 85 of 110 (481813)
09-12-2008 6:27 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by Percy
09-10-2008 6:39 PM


Re: Fictional atheists!
I'm often accused of not being accurate, because I usually assume people can read between the lines.

For example, the problem I mentioned pertaining to cause and motive, infact doesn't change as a refutation, even if Dawkins' claim was minutely different.

I.e. My objections are still sound, and therefore should either be probed as incorrect or remain as correct by default.

My hypothetic with the washing machine is that I am not present within the system and the washing of socks can be deemed as irrelevant. It's a small logical point because God is also not recognized within natural processes and therefore atheists can deem the unfolding of life as irrelevant.

We can't establish whether physical causes FROM motivational causes because we have the same facts. I hope you agree.

If I am a bit harsh on Dawkins, forgive me, he just seems to be an arrogant pompous atheist who can't see past his own beliefs, or disbeliefs.

Sorry I can't post more, regards Mike. (sorry to those I didn't respond to).


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Rrhain
Member (Idle past 216 days)
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 86 of 110 (481820)
09-12-2008 7:45 PM
Reply to: Message 84 by mike the wiz
09-12-2008 6:16 PM


mike the wiz writes:

quote:
no one can establish whether physical causes alone present enough "purpose"

This assumes the existence of "purpose," which is what you're trying to prove. Logical error.

quote:
Physical purpose

What is this "purpose"?

quote:
Motives behind construction.

Again, you're assuming what you're trying to prove. Logical error.

quote:
Don't forget, the claim is that everything we see, in all i's obvious brilliance, is just a chance consequent of a physical self-acting cause.

Incorrect. Think about what the claim actually is. The point behind parsimony is that if you don't need to add the chocolate sprinkles, then there is no justification to insist upon them.

quote:
the truism of design.

Doesn't exist. So far, nothing that has ever been brought forward as "irreducibly complex" has ever managed to withstand scrutiny.

You are assuming that which you are trying to prove. Design can never be assumed. It must always be demonstrated. To declare it to be a "truism" to engage in the logical error of affirming the consequent.


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.

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Replies to this message:
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obvious Child
Member (Idle past 2459 days)
Posts: 661
Joined: 08-17-2006


Message 87 of 110 (481822)
09-12-2008 8:24 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by onifre
09-11-2008 5:31 PM


Re: Fictional atheists!
The very concept of God and to a lesser extent which Gods if any. There's no way we can be sure if a God exists, much less which Gods exist. Soft Atheism is the most logical position as long as it's agnostic on the very idea of God.

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Granny Magda
Member
Posts: 2381
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 88 of 110 (481835)
09-12-2008 10:20 PM
Reply to: Message 84 by mike the wiz
09-12-2008 6:16 PM


Re: On the necessity of God as an explanatory entity
Thanks for the quote from Dawkins, which matches what I have previously said more or less - that he states God is "unparsimonious".

With respect Mike, I think Dawkins puts it a bit better than you did.

It is not true because no one can establish whether physical causes alone present enough "purpose".

Don't you see? It's your injection of "purpose" into the discussion that lies at the heart of the lack of parsimony Dawkins complains of. Why should there be a purpose to something like, for example, planetary formation? Mindless physical forces seem to be doing an admirable job of explaining this phenomenon. Injecting talk of "purpose" tells us nothing new, is unverifiable and just clutters up the explanation.

There are two assumptions.

1. Physical purpose, contingencies following naturally.
2. Motives behind construction.

Number 2 is still far more likely than number one.

Physical purpose? I think that's something you just invented. It could certainly be better phrased, but assuming you mean something like "physical forces", then why exactly is explanation 2 more likely? You don't say.

Don't forget, the claim is that everything we see, in all i's obvious brilliance, is just a chance consequent of a physical self-acting cause. This is a big claim.

Any claim about the origins of everything that is will be pretty big don't you think? Besides, "just a chance consequent"? Who claimed that?

God CAN be parsimonious because you have to assume that everything in existence has no motive behind it which contradicts the truism of design.

Who said motive was an important consideration? Why do we need to consider motive in something like planetary formation? Once again, you are adding unnecessary entities to the explanation. And truism? If design were as much of a truism as you seem to think, this forum would not exist.

Mutate and Survive


"The Bible is like a person, and if you torture it long enough, you can get it to say almost anything you'd like it to say." -- Rev. Dr. Francis H. Wade

This message is a reply to:
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onifre
Member (Idle past 1294 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 89 of 110 (481884)
09-13-2008 9:51 AM
Reply to: Message 87 by obvious Child
09-12-2008 8:24 PM


Re: Fictional atheists!
The very concept of God and to a lesser extent which Gods if any. There's no way we can be sure if a God exists, much less which Gods exist. Soft Atheism is the most logical position as long as it's agnostic on the very idea of God.

Yeah, I agree. Which, this truly seems to be the position of most atheist, at least the one's I know. The only true absolutism that is out there is a true faith that a god exists. Atheist for the most part are humble to te existance of a god simply because one never knows unless one has evidence to the contrary. However, this should be the same position people of faith should take, IMO.


"All great truths begin as blasphemies"

"I smoke pot. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your mouth."--Bill Hicks

"I never knew there was another option other than to question everything"--Noam Chomsky


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mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4662
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 90 of 110 (481922)
09-13-2008 2:30 PM
Reply to: Message 86 by Rrhain
09-12-2008 7:45 PM


Purpose is proven how I defined it.

You haven't read properly into what I am saying.

Purpose of motive has been proven to exist in the physical universe. I refer to a "extra cause" being present within an event.

If Jack the ripper had no reason to kill his victims, he wouldn't have killed them. This means that it is possible to get no physical cause and effect, without a motivational cause.

The attempt to drag me into the semantics over "purpose" has failed, because I do not require the term "purpose" for my argument, I merely require one proof of motivational cause being a reality. I have many.

Example in syllogism;

If NO X then no cause Y and effect Z.

This is logically correct because physical causes and effects can't NECESSARILY happen without a motivation. This doesn't prove the universe has motivational cause but for all we know, the universe might not be able to happen without motivational cause.

An example of physical causes alone would be thunder and lightning.

Parsimony isn't obstructed if we say that Jack had a motivation for ripping.

You don't know if the universe has a motivational cause or not.

Instead of stating that I am incorrect, first understand what I am saying.

It is clear that I am correct. Nobody knows whether the universe requires a creator. Dawkins' position is ultimately argumentum ad ignorantiam.

Edited by mike the wiz, : No reason given.

Edited by mike the wiz, : No reason given.


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