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Is Atheism More Likely To Be True Than Deism?

 
 
Reply Mon 25 Mar, 2013 04:19 pm
Accepting that agnosticism is the default position of science with respect to the possibility of most things (including god), shouldn't atheism nevertheless be considered the likelier conclusion when compared to deism?

Note: I'm defining deism I think in line with conventions, which say that deists believe the universe had a godlike creator who initiated the universe but has since taken a more hands-off approach. Theists are welcome to argue their case for a personal god, whilst (I hope) acknowledging this is the less defensible position.
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Type: Question • Score: 12 • Views: 7,893 • Replies: 150

 
edgarblythe
 
  5  
Reply Mon 25 Mar, 2013 04:35 pm
Did you know that Captain Kangaroo was neither a captain, nor was he a kangaroo? Why he was so named I may never know. A bunny rabbit always managed to trick him and take his carrots. Mr Moose and Mr Greenjeans were no help at all.
medium-density
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Mar, 2013 04:56 pm
@edgarblythe,
Thank you for the unhelpful but nonetheless hilarious/intriguing/satirical reply...
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Mar, 2013 05:00 pm
@medium-density,
Actually, we have scads of threads that address the same question you asked. But I would be interested to read if you care to elaborate on your own opinions.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Mar, 2013 05:03 pm
Only God knows how tired I am of God threads.
medium-density
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Mar, 2013 05:14 pm
@edgarblythe,
Yes I took the risk in assuming the question hadn't been fully resolved in the previous threads on here Laughing

Obviously this is trodden intellectual territory, but I think that people are always keen to revisit it. Those who are bored by it are free to stroll on by. I also hadn't seen a recent thread of this kind, nor one which addresses the specific question I raised. Though I probably haven't looked hard enough.

I was very interested in the strength behind the claim that atheism is, after all, likelier than deism and agnosticism, despite the agnostic in principle position of science.

My own view is that it is likelier, since I believe the positing of "god" to be a pathetic fallacy in at least two senses. Which is another way of saying that I think religion conforms to a human need rather than a scientific understanding.
medium-density
 
  2  
Reply Mon 25 Mar, 2013 05:15 pm
@Ragman,
Thank god you liberated that piece of knowledge for our collective benefit, then.
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Mar, 2013 05:23 pm
@medium-density,
I, for one, I'm not dying to find out.
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  3  
Reply Mon 25 Mar, 2013 06:24 pm
@medium-density,
Neither atheism nor deism have anything to do with what anyone can objectively claim as 'true.' Atheism is simply a denial of the existence of anything which defies rational, scientific explanation or demonstration. Deism is a romantic concept of an abstract position which, again, cannot be demonstrated in rational, scientific terms. Neither position has anything to do with 'truth' or 'falsity.' Both are simply indications of a particular mindset of the individual(s) who hold them.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Mar, 2013 06:48 pm
Deism no matter how abstract is anthropomorphism, plain and simple. Atheism is but the lack of belief in such things.
medium-density
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Mar, 2013 12:50 am
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
Deism no matter how abstract is anthropomorphism, plain and simple. Atheism is but the lack of belief in such things.


That is very much my view of creation myths, which is part of why I'm confident in the validity of atheism.
0 Replies
 
medium-density
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Mar, 2013 01:37 am
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
Neither atheism nor deism have anything to do with what anyone can objectively claim as 'true.' Atheism is simply a denial of the existence of anything which defies rational, scientific explanation or demonstration.


Isn't it the case that things which are rationally accountable, or scientifically demonstrable, are more likely to be true than things which aren't? We've explained quite a lot without the need of the god hypothesis, doesn't this suggest that an atheistic worldview is more valid than a deistic worldview?

What I'm arguing is that, at the least, atheism and deism should not be considered equally probable notions. Richard Dawkins suggests a 7 point scale of belief with 1 indicating certainty of god's existence and 7 indicating the opposite. He rates himself as a 6.9 agnostic. So while we still can't state with absolute objective certainty that god does not exist, it still seems likelier that he doesn't, given what we've so far found out about our universe.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Mar, 2013 02:05 am
@Lustig Andrei,
Lustig Andrei wrote:

Neither atheism nor deism have anything to do with what anyone can objectively claim as 'true.' Atheism is simply a denial of the existence of anything which defies rational, scientific explanation or demonstration. Deism is a romantic concept of an abstract position which, again, cannot be demonstrated in rational, scientific terms. Neither position has anything to do with 'truth' or 'falsity.' Both are simply indications of a particular mindset of the individual(s) who hold them.


Well stated.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  3  
Reply Tue 26 Mar, 2013 05:53 am
@medium-density,
Occam's Razor would say that Atheism has a higher probability of being a more accurate description of the natural world than any form of theism, since Atheism represents the least complex of all the possibilities.

But probably the least complex solution outside of the acceptance of Naturalism is that all of reality is just a dream and that there is only one of us dreaming. That "one" being ME of course Smile
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Mar, 2013 06:10 am
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:
. . . all of reality is just a dream . . .




Every thread needs a sound track.

glitterbag
 
  2  
Reply Thu 28 Mar, 2013 06:59 pm
First of all, props on the really old Coaster's song. But, back to this topic. I disagree with the narrow definition of deism and agnostic. I understand that those adhering to a particular religion will believe they are on the true path, and why atheists believe everyone else is fooling themselves.

I'm curious why others are so hard over on convincing believers to become nonbelievers or why nonbelievers feel its important to dispell others belief system. Desists and agnostics are different, and it would take way to much time to present all the parameters (well, for me at least, if you are interested, and I mean seriously interested, go to a library for starters). As far as I'm concerned, Edgar's response is the most accurate, even if he neglected to mention Howdy Dooty was an infamous Scientologist who was eventually shunned by Hollywood. What can I tell you, it was during the McCarthy era. And at that time L. Ron Hubbard was just a libertine and con man with a fertile imagination. It would be many years before Hubbard became a God figure for the deluded.

I think Edgar would agree with me that a cow pie is not a dessert.
medium-density
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 Mar, 2013 05:33 pm
@glitterbag,
Quote:
I disagree with the narrow definition of deism and agnostic.


You would agree though that narrow definitions are often necessary to begin a discussion. Anyone who wishes to introduce an alternative definition is welcome to respond of course.

Quote:
I'm curious why others are so hard over on convincing believers to become nonbelievers or why nonbelievers feel its important to dispell others belief system.


I think this debate has broadly reached a point where the two factions (those who are in god's corner, and those who think god's corner doesn't exist) are polarised beyond reconciliation, or even sensible discourse. Atheists seem too ready to claim private ownership of Reason, as though every atheist is in unique possession of reasoning powers, and this was the means by which they acquired their atheism. The corollary of this being that the religious are 100% unreasonable. The case is never as clear cut as that.

Another point is how much fun it is to ridicule people for believing stuff which is nonsensical absent a particular religious or cultural context. The satisfaction that comes with arguing against a person who holds that evolution isn't true (and that, instead, god created all species only to cause 99% of them to go extinct) must be a rare one. In the specific case of deism vs atheism, I view the former as a kind of retrenched thiesm and not much more sophisticated for it.

Quote:
Desists and agnostics are different, and it would take way to much time to present all the parameters (well, for me at least, if you are interested, and I mean seriously interested, go to a library for starters).


Is there a particular parameter of deism which you think would lead one to answer "no" the title question of this thread?
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 Mar, 2013 06:27 pm
@medium-density,
medium-density wrote:

Accepting that agnosticism is the default position of science with respect to the possibility of most things (including god), shouldn't atheism nevertheless be considered the likelier conclusion when compared to deism?

Note: I'm defining deism I think in line with conventions, which say that deists believe the universe had a godlike creator who initiated the universe but has since taken a more hands-off approach. Theists are welcome to argue their case for a personal god, whilst (I hope) acknowledging this is the less defensible position.


I don't want to start any quibbling about the strict definitions of terms here, but I take it you mean that atheism refers to the act of denying the possible existence of a god or of a creator of the universe. I believe, from a philosophical or even a scientific point of view that is a pretty tall order. The current state of science (the standard model) is the theory that the universe started with a big bang, in mathematical terms, a singularity or something entirely undefined, about which nothing can ba said or known at all. That is a rather far distance short of excluding any possibility at all. Indeed it is no explanation at all - i.e. "the universe started with a huge concentration of energy about which we can say nothing at all" doesn't appear to me to be a final statement with regard to that or anything else for that matter.

That the natural world appears to operate in accord with a fairly small set of "laws" that are at least partly discoverable and knowable by men (i.e. evolution) says nothing whatever about its beginning or existence.

It is a rather simple matter to debunk or show the inconsistiencies in any religious dogma of any form or to note the lapses and contradictions in the behaviors of nearly any group of believers. However, that doesn't resolve questions that have perplexed humans of all known cultures over the centuries of histories about which we have some knowledge.

Based on all this, and the strange enthusiasm (and ironically amusing credulity) with which some atheists embrace these "explanations" as final, I'm inclined to put my bet on a creator of some sort. However, as Lustig pointed out earlier in this thread, neither belief can be proven conclusiverly to its opponents.
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Mar, 2013 06:49 pm
@georgeob1,
Well put, George. The whole 'Big Bang' theory seems to me an evasion of any attempt to get at an answer, scientific or otherwise. There's no reason to doubt it as a possible -- even a likely -- analysis; the problem is it neither affirms nor denies anything of substance. There is also an absence of a willingness to admit that not only are there things that we do not know, but that there might well be things which we, as human beings, are quite incapable of knowing or understanding.
medium-density
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Mar, 2013 07:01 pm
@georgeob1,
Yes the question of how was the universe created is not a settled one, and science does not preclude there being a godly hand behind it all, I nevertheless think it could be true that atheism is more likely to be true than deism. Presumably there are good reasons why physicists are not taking the god hypothesis too seriously, and instead are focusing on the important work with the Higgs boson at the LHC.

The other reason I think we can view atheism are more likely to be true is the retrenched nature of deism. I would be interested to know if deism predates theism in some form, because deism looks more like the position a creationist theist would have to take in the light of overwhelming evidence for the age of the earth/evolution. Eventually the belief may retrench fully into non-existence.

The idea that a creator initiated the universe is, to me, is far more baffling than the idea that some process initiated the universe. The whys of such a proposition are incredible. Why this universe? Why 13 billion years ago? Why DNA and life on Earth? Why advanced consciousness 4 billion years in? As soon as you personify (or anthropomorphise) the creator of the universe you prompt these unreasonable why questions.
 

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