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I do not believe gods exist…but I do not believe there are no gods.

 
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Mon 14 May, 2012 06:16 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
Instead, he simultaneously expressed a disbelief in contradictory statements. That's where the logical problems arise.*

No they don't. Logic presupposes propositions that can be evaluated as True or False. If the proposition "god exists" cannot be evaluated in this way, formal logic doesn't regard it as meaningful, and consequently doesn't apply itself to it at all. There is hence no logical problem with Frank believing neither the proposition nor its negation.
sozobe
 
  1  
Mon 14 May, 2012 06:26 pm
Hey Frank, do you ever fly anywhere in an airplane?
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Mon 14 May, 2012 06:28 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
No they don't. Logic presupposes propositions that can be evaluated to be TRUE or FALSE. If the proposition "god exists" cannot be evaluated in this way, formal logic doesn't regard it as meaningful, and consequently doesn't apply itself to it at all. There is hence no logical problem with believing neither the proposition nor its negation.

Well, you're right that the statement "god exists" can't be tested for its truth value, but that's because it's a bare statement, not a logical proposition. At most, it can be tested for its likelihood on an empirical basis. But then I've never expressed a problem with a statement like "god exists," so I'm not sure why you're making a point of it.

On the other hand, stating a belief in contradictory statements (which is what Frank is doing) can be judged illogical because doing so violates a law of logic, and that has nothing to do with the fact that the individual statements are incapable of being evaluated for their truth. Maintaining simultaneously a belief and a disbelief in the existence of unicorns is similarly illogical, even though we would agree that, on a purely empirical basis, a belief in the existence of unicorns is unjustified.
Thomas
 
  1  
Mon 14 May, 2012 06:40 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
On the other hand, stating a belief in contradictory statements (which is what Frank is doing)

No it is not, because Frank is withholding, not stating, a belief in contradictory statements. That's different. I agree --- and I'm sure Frank does, too --- that you can't say "I believe god exists AND I believe she doesn't." But that's not what Frank is saying. He is simply exercising his option not to form any belief in the matter.

joefromchicago wrote:
can be judged illogical because doing so violates a law of logic,

Withholding a belief in contradictory statements needn't be illogical if it's a just a bare statement, incapable of being evaluated as True or False. For example, is Cameron Diaz the sexiest actress alive, yes or no? I don't believe that she is, I don't believe that she isn't. And formal logic approves of that, because there is no logically-compelling basis for ranking actresses by sexiness. And that, to answer your earlier question, is why I'm making a big deal of the matter. You can't accuse Frank of causing logical problems if he comments on a statement to which formal logic does not apply.
Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Mon 14 May, 2012 07:03 pm
@joefromchicago,
Joe, you wrote:

Quote:
On the other hand, stating a belief in contradictory statements (which is what Frank is doing)...


I am enjoying the conversation between you and Thomas; it is informative. I appreciate the fact that Thomas has entered the discussion…and that he is expressing considerations I am not knowledgeable enough to make. I hope he is doing as good a job as appears to my admittedly limited-knowledge ear.

But I am interested in your position also, Joe.

Earlier in a response to Art, I wrote:

I do not believe there are unicorns living on any of the planets circling the nearest two stars to Sol...and I do not believe there are no unicorns living on any of the planets circling the nearest two stars to Sol.

Do you see this also as me “stating a belief in contradictory statements?” Do you have the same concerns with this statement as you have with the title statements?

Honestly, I cannot see this comment or the thread title comment as a statement of belief at all. I am going out of my way to state that I DO NOT believe either…and in explanations requested of me, I have affirmed that I am simply stating that I do not believe either of the two sides…that I AM NOT taking a belief position on the issue. I have affirmed that I am simply not expressing a belief in either direction.

I cannot understand why you persist in asserting this is a “belief” being expressed—nor can I understand your other problems with my statements. But just in case it has something to do with the use of the word “gods”…I would appreciate your take on the “unicorn” comments.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Mon 14 May, 2012 07:05 pm
@sozobe,
Quote:
Hey Frank, do you ever fly anywhere in an airplane?


Yes I do.

In fact, I can probably take a small plane off myself and land it in one piece if I absolutely had to, but I have not done much piloting in many years.

Why do you ask!
joefromchicago
 
  0  
Mon 14 May, 2012 07:10 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
No it is not, because Frank is withholding, not stating, a belief in contradictory statements.

That's not Frank's statement. That's Frank's gloss on Frank's statement. I'm going by what he said, not what he said he said.
joefromchicago
 
  0  
Mon 14 May, 2012 07:17 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:
Honestly, I cannot see this comment or the thread title comment as a statement of belief at all.

And that's where you're wrong. Saying "I do not believe" is not the same thing as saying "I express no belief."

But I grow tired of going around and 'round the mulberry bush with you. So let me ask, does this statement:

"I express no belief in the existence of god(s)"

accurately reflect your position?
Thomas
 
  2  
Mon 14 May, 2012 07:31 pm
@joefromchicago,
In the title of this thread, Frank Apisa wrote:
I do not believe gods exist…but I do not believe there are no gods.

Interpreting Frank, Thomas wrote:
Frank is withholding, not stating, a belief in contradictory statements.

Responding to Thomas, joefromchicago wrote:
That's not Frank's statement.

That's news to me. How is Frank's headline inconsistent with his saying that "I, Frank, hold no belief either way about the existence of gods"?
sozobe
 
  1  
Mon 14 May, 2012 07:34 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Would you say that you are willing to fly in an airplane because you believe that aerodynamic forces will keep you aloft?

If not, why not?
Joe Nation
 
  2  
Mon 14 May, 2012 07:34 pm
".....I do not believe there are no gods."

means Frank holds out the possibility that there might be gods.

Joe(meh)Nation
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Mon 14 May, 2012 07:39 pm
@Frank Apisa,
What am I, chopped liver?
Thomas
 
  3  
Mon 14 May, 2012 07:40 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
Would you say that you are willing to fly in an airplane because you believe that aerodynamic forces will keep you aloft?

I can't answer for Frank of course, but we have plenty of evidence for the existence of aerodynamic forces. We have no evidence for the existence of gods that the known laws of nature don't give a better account for.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Mon 14 May, 2012 07:48 pm
@Thomas,
Gods have long existed as conceptual figments. I think they are a frank (Frank!) result of the desire of humans, sort of a fit, or misfit. If one ever showed up I'd catch the first train out of town.
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  0  
Mon 14 May, 2012 07:50 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

joefromchicago wrote:
The statement "I believe -A" is the equivalent of the statement "I do not believe A." That's because A and -A are contradictories. What you're positing, however, is something that is neither A nor -A. That possibility is foreclosed by the law of non-contradiction. Either you believe in a situation where there are gods or a situation where there are no gods.

You are assuming that he has to believe something concerning A.

Only if you consider "-A" a belief in this case.

Thomas wrote:

What if he doesn't? Suppose he holds no beliefs at all in the matter.

An indeterminate position on the matter of gods still defines Frank in the inclusive definition of the word "atheist."

Thomas wrote:

Is that illogical?

It is not illogical. That said, I don't think this is the case. It seems rather that Frank understands that he doesn't believe in gods, but has issued a paired statement of "not believing in no gods" as to ballast his position.

Thomas wrote:

And if not, how is that inconsistent with "I don't believe A AND I don't believe (NOT A)"?

The later statement on -A is superfluous.

Consider the parallel of a court case. In such a setting, only one posit (A) is made by the prosecution. The defense doesn't have to prove (-A), and two of the three outcomes result in a the defendant going free. Going free isn't a statement of (-A), but if our language is framed around the status of (A), then there are more than one way to be not A. Either (A) or (0).

Similarly, an atheist need not state "no gods exist." Simply the fact that no gods feature among the things that they DO believe in, satisfies the only necessarily criteria.

Thomas wrote:

If he doesn't believe in anything, he doesn't believe in anything, and that's it. Who says he has to?

He doesn't have to, but he should acknowledge what that actually means and not try to force others to conform to his dissonance.

A
R
T
Thomas
 
  2  
Mon 14 May, 2012 08:02 pm
@failures art,
failures art wrote:
Thomas wrote:

And if not, how is that inconsistent with "I don't believe A AND I don't believe (NOT A)"?

The later statement on -A is superfluous.

Some people affirmatively believe there are no gods. Other people merely haven't formed beliefs. So how is the latter statement superfluous?
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Mon 14 May, 2012 08:22 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
That's news to me.

I'm always happy to bring light to the unenlightened.

Thomas wrote:
How is Frank's headline inconsistent with his saying that "I, Frank, hold no belief either way about the existence of gods"?

Are you suggesting that the statements "I do not believe" and "I hold no belief" are equivalent?
Thomas
 
  2  
Mon 14 May, 2012 08:29 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
Are you suggesting that the statements "I do not believe" and "I hold no belief" are equivalent?

Almost, but not quite. I am suggesting that "I do not believe proposition A" is a less specific statement than "I hold no belief concerning proposition A" and "I believe proposition A is False". The former statement is true if either of the latter two is true.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Mon 14 May, 2012 08:40 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
I am suggesting that "I do not believe proposition A" is a less specific statement than "I hold no belief concerning proposition A" and "I believe proposition A is False". The former statement is true if either of the latter two is true.

Then the opposite would also, perforce, be correct, right? If I say "I believe proposition A," then that's true if I either take the position "I believe proposition A is true" or if I take the position "I hold a belief concerning proposition A." Correct?
failures art
 
  0  
Mon 14 May, 2012 08:57 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

failures art wrote:
Thomas wrote:

And if not, how is that inconsistent with "I don't believe A AND I don't believe (NOT A)"?

The later statement on -A is superfluous.

Some people affirmatively believe there are no gods. Other people merely haven't formed beliefs. So how is the latter statement superfluous?

I think you meant the "former."

Either way, the point is that there is two ways to be an atheist.

Strong Atheism - Being presented the claim of gods, rejecting, and stating that there are no gods.

Weak Atheism - Being presented the claim of gods, and the claim simply fails to move you to belief.

The superfluous nature of his claim is that he need not go as far as to say there are no gods. Having being presented with the claim of gods, he has not been moved to a position of belief.

A
R
T
0 Replies
 
 

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