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Problems with Atheism

 
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 10:25 pm
@Setanta,
Well, sure.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 10:31 pm
@Setanta,
Quote:
In fact, this is precisely the point which theists don't get, or want to ignore for propagandistic purposes. Atheism is also irreligion, and any creed or belief set is completely antithetical. It makes religionists nervous because it inferentially casts them in the light of fanatics. They want to brand atheists as religionists in another guise so as to suggest that belief such as their own is the natural condition of man, rather than the codified fanaticism which it really is.


Everyone has a creed and a belief set, a large part of which is based on unproven and unprovable assertions. This is part of the human experience. Whether this is "religion" or not depends on what definition of "religion" you are using.

The idea that one world view is better than another based solely on the number of gods it has is has no logical basis. It is subjective. These subjective arguments about which world view is better always tend to devolve to name calling.



ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 10:39 pm
@Diest TKO,
Deist, pretty much every religious person I know would react to your trivial bicycle example the same way you would (I know fundamentalist Christians who ride and maintain their bicycles just fine).

There are significant parts of your world view that are based on things that can not be proven. A sense of the value of human life can't be proven. Convictions about human rights can't be proven. Fundamentals of morality can't be proven.

Unprovable assertions are key to any meaningful idea of what it means to be human and what it means to be good.

Your term "variables we know are real" is an interesting one.

There is a scientific definition of real that is based on observation, experiment and measurable facts and strives to be free of cultural/religious influence. But the scope of the provable facts are limited-- there is a huge part of human experience that is out of their reach.

I don't see a significant difference between a world view based on unprovable beliefs with gods, and one without gods. Either one is based on subjective beliefs in a Universe that is really beyond our comprehension.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 10:48 pm
@ebrown p,
Everyone has a belief set? who told you that?
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 10:50 pm
@ossobuco,
Quote:
Everyone has a belief set? who told you that?


It seems obvious. Don't you have a set of things you believe?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 10:54 pm
@ebrown p,
I have some matters I am interested in, and they might not be the same as yours.

Do you want to write me a rule book?
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 11:02 pm
@ebrown p,
You mean things that have not been proven, not can not be proven. I'm not claiming that the value of human life is a provable physical construct, I'm saying that it is a testable social construct. We each can decide what that value is. You are asserting that Atheism makes some absolute claim as to what this value is.

Morality doesn't need to be proven as a governing physical force in the universe. Saying that fundamentals of morality can't be proven is a red herring. In fact the idea at all about "what it means to be human" is totally non sequitur for Atheists. "Meaning" implies something antithetical to what Atheists belive about the universe in the first place. What Atheists are trying to figure out a universal answer to "why bad things happen to good people?"

As for the "trivial" bicycle example. The reasons why a religious person would react the same way I would, it think, are very meaningful. It seems that you believe (perfectly reasonably, I might add) that a religious person may not find a grand architect in falling off their bike. When you subscribe to a supernatural universe, you seem to still want the natural universe for those other times. I'm simply not picking and choosing. It's all natural, all the time. Theists that tailor their arguments on what others can't prove (argument from ignorance) are being dishonest. If you don't have evidence to support your beliefs, then you argue that evidence itself is trivial. Your religious friends that see no divine meaning in falling off their bike when they hit a stone, seem to find plenty of meaning in lots of other things.

The belief in the supernatural is inconsistent.
K
O
0 Replies
 
Eorl
 
  3  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 11:37 pm
Your "average" religious person would thank "God" during their Oscars acceptance speech, but assure you that He had no role in causing the Haiti earthquake. That was an entirely "natural" disaster. However, He certainly must be responsible for the many miraculous stories of survival in the days that followed.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 02:43 am
@Eorl,
Inconsistency is indeed the point! I am always amused by the claims of religionists that they operate in the same league as atheists with respect to "logicality" and "rationality". Faced with that achilles heel all they can resort to is "faith", which is the equivalent of Achilles embedding his foot in concrete and brandishing his sword at at "enemies" who ignore him.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 04:20 am
@ebrown p,
That everyone has a belief set is a reasonable proposition. That any such belief set is based on "unproven or unprovable" assertions is nothing but self-serving palaver on your part. My belief set is based, as much as possible, on human nature, as revealed by consistent social behavior, often revealed by history or the journalistic reporting of social behavior. Anything in the realm of belief which deals with "extra-social" behavior is idle speculation, and nothing which is essential either to my world view or self-image.

I am also not concerned with whether or not mine or anyone else's world view is "superior." That's the kind of thing you get from the fanaticism inherent in ideological or religious devotion. There is certainly no reason to assume, as you do, that my world view proceeds from a lack of a belief in an imaginary friend who allegedly created the cosmos.

All you have to base your argument on is a set of unsubstantiated allegations on your part. You don't even rely on the bad underpinning of "logical" argument. You certainly have no proof for your silly assertions.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 06:32 am
@fresco,
Quote:
I am always amused by the claims of religionists that they operate in the same league as atheists with respect to "logicality" and "rationality".


I am claiming exactly that, and I am not a "religionist".

An appeal to "logicality" and "rationality" to questions of meaning or morality only works if there is some absolute, testable universal truth. Logic and reason must be based on set of core assumptions which are simply untestable.

There is a very fine line indeed between belief in an untestable universal truth with gods and an untestable universal truth without gods.

ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 06:42 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
That any such belief set is based on "unproven or unprovable" assertions is nothing but self-serving palaver on your part. My belief set is based, as much as possible, on human nature, as revealed by consistent social behavior, often revealed by history or the journalistic reporting of social behavior.


I am challenging any idea that there is any universal belief set, particularly when it comes to questions of meaning or morality, that exists outside of a cultural context.

A person's belief set is based on their personal experiences; their upbringing, the people around them, the core assumptions they accept with proof, and their culture.

This being so, the fact that your belief set has no gods is really a minor point. Other then this detail it has all of the traits of any other belief set (include that of people who believe in god). You have a set of core assumptions that you accept without proof. Then you have build your sense of identity, meaning and morality on top of that.

If you are not concerned about whether your world view is better, then there is no point to this discussion-- on that point we really agree.


Diest TKO
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 06:42 am
@ebrown p,
Ugh.

Moral and ethical standards are testable. In fact, there is no way to not test them.

Your declarations about what Atheists have to believe are simply absurd. No two atheists are required to have the same moral standards, and trying to declare yourself the person who gets to decide which skeptic is an atheist and which is an Atheist is only you projecting.

T
K
O
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 10:56 am
@ebrown p,
Quote:
Quote:
I am always amused by the claims of religionists that they operate in the same league as atheists with respect to "logicality" and "rationality".



I am claiming exactly that, and I am not a "religionist".


The fact that you perhaps dismiss the "inconsistencies" cited by other posters as your supernatural friend "moving in mysterious ways" relegates you to the second division, as does your concept of "truth" as being based on a concept of "the absolute". Science, logic and semantics, have moved on somewhat from the age when simplistic mysticism was appropriate to fill in the gaps. "Morality" can be "handled" without resorting to "a deity" whether you like it or not.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 11:18 am
@fresco,
I don't have a belief in God. In fact I don't believe in any supernatural being. Your "supernatural friend" quip misses the target. I wish you guys would at least read my posts before responding.

I am not saying that Morality can't be handled without resorting to a deity. Quite the contrary, I am saying that morality can be handled, pretty much the same, with or without a god.

Any system of morality is based on core assumptions that can't be proven. In this way systems of morality with a god are not substantially different then systems of morality without a god (other then the minor fact that one of them states its unprovable assertions without referring to a god). I am not saying that world views that have a belief in god are better then world views without one. Rather, I am challenging the idea that world views without gods are any better.

They are equal.


Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 11:28 am
@ebrown p,
Quote:
I am challenging any idea that there is any universal belief set, particularly when it comes to questions of meaning or morality, that exists outside of a cultural context.


So what? That doesn't mean that all belief sets are the equivalent of your imaginary friend superstition.

Quote:
A person's belief set is based on their personal experiences; their upbringing, the people around them, the core assumptions they accept with proof, and their culture.


Again, so what? That doesn't mean that all belief sets are equivalent to one based on an imaginary friend superstition. Please elaborate on "core assumptions based on proof." I know of precious few such "proofs," and if there were any, it would not be in the realm of belief, but of certainty. You're mixing apples and oranges there.

Quote:
This being so, the fact that your belief set has no gods is really a minor point. Other then this detail it has all of the traits of any other belief set (include that of people who believe in god). You have a set of core assumptions that you accept without proof. Then you have build your sense of identity, meaning and morality on top of that.


No, it's a major point. Your imaginary friend superstition relies on blind faith. Beliefs which are based on experience and observation have a much better foundation. For example, i have faith that crossing traffic will stop on a red light. This is based on life-long experience. It was once contradicted, when i came very close to a major collision with an idiot who ran a red light at high speed. That doesn't change the value of my faith that crossing traffic will stop for a red light.

It is utterly false that one has to build one's identity on blind faith assumptions. That you have done so is not evidence that it cannot be done otherwise.

Quote:
If you are not concerned about whether your world view is better, then there is no point to this discussion-- on that point we really agree.


That this rant of yours is pointless has never been in any doubt to me.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 11:34 am
@ebrown p,
This is so much bullshit. There is a world of difference between assumptions based on observation and experience, and assumptions based on blind faith. Now we have the pathetic spectacle of you attempting to claim that you are an atheist. Bullshit once again. As has already been pointed out, morality can be based on testable observations. One can see the pernicious effects of crime on individuals and society, and that is not relying upon assumptions which cannot be "proven."

When you allege that you are an atheist, my response is that you are a liar. When you make your idiotic claim about morality, my response is that you're back-peddling furiously, and tripping all over yourself to attempt to salvage something from this brainless enterprise of a thread.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 11:34 am
@ebrown p,
So it all boils down to a definition of "better" ? Whatever our intellects might decide on this issue, the fact that we are now at the mercy of religious martyrs with their hands on technology adds more than a little weight to one side of the argument.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 11:40 am
The fact that you both insist on referring to "my imaginary friend" is interesting.

First, it is clearly meant to be derogatory toward people who don't share your world view. As if, people who don't share your beliefs don't deserve respect.

But more then that, it is meant as a personal attack on beliefs that I don't have. I have repeatedly said that I don't believe in god.

Often when you challenge deeply held religious beliefs, you are met with sharp personal attacks-- it is a way that people protect ideas that they feel are sacred. I hear that Atheists don't have "religous beliefs".... which makes it all the more strange that that Atheists react in much the same way when their non-religious non beliefs are challenged.

I think it is fair to request that you get this one thing straight. I personally have no faith in any god.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 11:43 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
my response is that you are a liar


Didn't you once claim that you don't launch personal attacks?

((I suppose that if I go around challenging sacred cows, I can expect a little hostility))
 

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