9
   

Atheists, smarter than religious people

 
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:01 am
Frank Apisa wrote:
Occam's razor leads one as often to a wrong conclusion about a reality…as it does to a correct one. Applying it to possible explanations of the apparent movement of celestial objects…to whether or not the Earth is flat…to the composition of material things…to the composition of atomic particles…to a plethora of other phenomena…leads to conclusions now verifiably wrong.

That's not a problem with Occam's razor. It's a problem with incomplete empirical evidence. As soon as you get as much empirical evidence as, say, the Ancient Greeks had about the surface of the Earth, Occam's razor no longer favors the flat-Earth theory. As soon as you had as much empirical evidence about celestial bodies as Galileo could observe with his telescope, Occam's razor no longer favoured the geocentric model of astronomy.

Frank Apisa wrote:
The only time I ever see them proposed…are in discussions with atheists attempting to make their belief system seem more reasonable than it actually is.

See -- here's where we disagree. I think it can be perfectly reasonable to make guesses, even have very strong opinions, based on evidence short of absolute proof, or even lack of reasonable doubt. You wouldn't want tort cases to end with hung juries every time one litigant's case is supported by the preponderance of the evidence, but not beyond a reasonable doubt. That would be unreasonable. Analogously, it isn't unreasonable to decide to be an atheist on the preponderance of the evidence for and against her existence.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:04 am
The latest contributions are failing to address the proposition about atheism and intelligence. If indeed this is "empirically correct" ...how can you account for it ?
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:13 am
Frank Apisa wrote:
Thomas wrote:


Quote:
In my estimation, the existence of god cannot be disproved; that makes it about as likely as the existence of Russel's teapot between Earth and Mars.

That is actually too silly to address…so I will just laugh at it. Take it to a logician…and watch him/her laugh also.

Russel was a logician -- one of the best of his time I might add. He's on my side on this.

Frank Apisa wrote:
Quote:
Actually, it's less likely, because a god has to be a much more complex entity than a teapot -- and a less unlikely one as a result.


Horrible logic!

No -- it's straightforward statistical mechanics that complicated entities (like gods) are less likely to "just happen" than simple entities (like teapots). That's why the Reverent Pailey's watchmaker analogy, his argument for gods existence from design, was so powerful before Darwin explained how you can get design without a designer.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:15 am
Frank

You are right in that atheism isn't a religon. My bad. I should have said that atheism relates to religion, as fresco states, while disregarding it completely is perhaps the "wiser" choice.

Fresco

The way I see it, intellect can only take us so far down the path towards "selfless spirituality", which is the process of "adding up" all dualistic counterparts in the interest of seing the world as unity. To see all aspects involved in a relationship is to view an absolute, as in absolute reality. But as I see it, this has nothing to do with religon.

For my part, I reject all religions, even buddhism, ever since I realized that to achieve the state of existence this religion promises one must abandon it completely.

I take it that the level of intellect required is not too high in the scenario you speak of, since the problem of "existence" is not solvable by intellect alone.. (?)
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:18 am
fresco wrote:
The latest contributions are failing to address the proposition about atheism and intelligence. If indeed this is "empirically correct" ...how can you account for it ?

Sorry, fresco.

Well, most people are born to religious parents, so that's the belief system most people start out with. To get from there to atheism, you have to a lot of things: question your beliefs; question the authorities propagating those beliefs; learn alternative explanations for how life comes about and why you shouldn't kill people at random; evaluate evidence for these alternative explanations; then reach a decision based on the evidence.

All of this is much easier for smart people than for dumb people.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:22 am
Thomas wrote:
That's not a problem with Occam's razor. It's a problem with incomplete empirical evidence. As soon as you get as much empirical evidence as, say, the Ancient Greeks had about the surface of the Earth, Occam's razor no longer favors the flat-Earth theory. As soon as you had as much empirical evidence about celestial bodies as Galileo could observe with his telescope, Occam's razor no longer favoured the geocentric model of astronomy.


And my guess is that a theists would say "as soon as you get enough empirical evidence that there are gods and that the gods influence events on the earth"…Occam's razor would favor the theistic position.

That you are arguing here, Thomas, is absurd.


Quote:

See -- here's where we disagree. I think it can be perfectly reasonable to make guesses, even have very strong opinions, based on evidence short of absolute proof, or even lack of reasonable doubt. You wouldn't want tort cases to end with hung juries every time one litigant's case is supported by the preponderance of the evidence, but not beyond a reasonable doubt. That would be unreasonable. Analogously, it isn't unreasonable to decide to be an atheist on the preponderance of the evidence for and against her existence.


Thomas…without introducing any variations of "Theists cannot produce a god for inspection" or "There is no need for a god to explain existence"…NEITHER OF WHICH IS EVIDENCE THAT THERE ARE NO GODS…

…please offer the evidence you have that no gods exist.

Offer the top three items of evidence that are not simply variations on what I just mentioned…that are evidence that gods do not exist.

I just want to see if there is any at all...since atheists seem constantly to suggest that the evidence seems overwhelmingly to favor the "there are no gods" blind, wild guess.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:27 am
Thomas wrote:
Frank Apisa wrote:
Thomas wrote:


Quote:
In my estimation, the existence of god cannot be disproved; that makes it about as likely as the existence of Russel's teapot between Earth and Mars.

That is actually too silly to address…so I will just laugh at it. Take it to a logician…and watch him/her laugh also.

Russel was a logician -- one of the best of his time I might add. He's on my side on this.


Not in a million years, Thomas. Not in a million years.

The comment was not worthy of you...and not worthy of anyone with a brain.

Here is the quote again: "In my estimation, the existence of god cannot be disproved; that makes it about as likely as the existence of Russel's teapot between Earth and Mars."

Okay...let's just make a small change...and see how it works. I will change the word "god" to "sea water."

In my estimation, the existence of sea water cannot be disproved; that makes it about as likely as the existence of Russel's teapot between Earth and Mars.

Do you get it, Thomas?
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:33 am
Thomas wrote:

Well, most people are born to religious parents, so that's the belief system most people start out with. To get from there to atheism, you have to a lot of things: question your beliefs; question the authorities propagating those beliefs; learn alternative explanations for how life comes about and why you shouldn't kill people at random; evaluate evidence for these alternative explanations; then reach a decision based on the evidence.


There are a couple of other important steps between theism and atheism, Thomas. Essential things!

You must also disregard the fact that there really is no evidence that there are no gods...and just pretend that there is. And you must surpress your integrity...so that you can reject the blind, unsubstatiated guess that there is a God with the blind, unsubstantiated guess that there are no gods.

You forgot those steps.


Quote:
All of this is much easier for smart people than for dumb people.


Especially those last few.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:40 am
Cyracuz,

I think there are two levels of "intellectual superiority" unvolved in "atheism". At the first level, the concept of "causality" is understood as a psychological tool rather than an aspect of "external reality". Philosophical support for this position abounds from the time of Kant onwards and has even led to a rejection of the Prime Mover argument amongst theistic scientists. At the second level I consider that the nonduality versus naive realism argument is the watershed for examination of the term "existence". At this level there is a realization that "the existence of God" is not in itself THE substantive issue about "reality", THAT is one about social relationships and that such relationships (encapsulated by human language) are the essence of "reality". The observation that apes appear to have neither "gods" nor "language" is a significant intellectual starting point for level 2.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:43 am
Cyracuz,

I think there are two levels of "intellectual superiority" unvolved in "atheism". At the first level, the concept of "causality" is understood as a psychological tool rather than an aspect of "external reality". Philosophical support for this position abounds from the time of Kant onwards and has even led to a rejection of the Prime Mover argument amongst theistic scientists. At the second level I consider that the nonduality versus naive realism argument is the watershed for examination of the term "existence". At this level there is a meta-logical realization that "the existence of God" is not in itself THE substantive issue about "reality", THAT is one about social relationships and that such relationships (encapsulated by human language) are the cognitive essence of "human reality". The observation that apes appear to have neither "gods" nor "language" is a significant intellectual starting point for level 2.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:45 am
READ THE SECOND ONE !
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:45 am
Frank Apisa wrote:
And my guess is that a theists would say "as soon as you get enough empirical evidence that there are gods and that the gods influence events on the earth"…Occam's razor would favor the theistic position.

And I'd agree with them. When I learn new information, the balance of the evidence on any given point may shift, and I will change my mind if it does. God's existence is no special issue in this regard. You say that's absurd, I say that's learning. Tomeyto, tomuhto.

frank apisa wrote:
…please offer the evidence you have that no gods exist.

1) Conscious entities capable of creating something are necessarily complex; complex entities they are a priori improbable, unless you have a good explanation (like Darwinian evolution) of what brought them about. There is no such explanation for gods.

2) There is indirect evidence from story-telling. In my experience, stories are usually false if (a) they sound good enough to be retold regardless of their truth, or (b) nobody ever fact-checked them.

All stories about gods I have seen so far meet at least one of these conditions. Most of them meet both. Nothing except these stories supports the existence of god or gods.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:45 am
fresco wrote:
Cyracuz,

I think there are two levels of "intellectual superiority" unvolved in "atheism". At the first level, the concept of "causality" is understood as a psychological tool rather than an aspect of "external reality". Philosophical support for this position abounds from the time of Kant onwards and has even led to a rejection of the Prime Mover argument amongst theistic scientists. At the second level I consider that the nonduality versus naive realism argument is the watershed for examination of the term "existence". At this level there is a meta-logical realization that "the existence of God" is not in itself THE substantive issue about "reality", THAT is one about social relationships and that such relationships (encapsulated by human language) are the cognitive essence of "human reality". The observation that apes appear to have neither "gods" nor "language" is a significant intellectual starting point for level 2.


Non-duality is another belief system.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:51 am
I haven't looked out the window today, but I believe the sky is not purple with yellow and green polka dots.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:55 am
Quote:
Non-duality is another belief system.


No .... nonduality is a metalogical position adopted by mathematicians and scientists working at the frontiers of research. Because it transcends the bounds of "ordinary logic" a certain degree of intellectual prowess is required for its appreciation.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 12:10 pm
Frank Apisa wrote:
In my estimation, the existence of sea water cannot be disproved; that makes it about as likely as the existence of Russel's teapot between Earth and Mars.

Do you get it, Thomas?

The difference is that the existence seawater, unlike god and Russel's flying teapot, can be supported with good evidence, even proven.
0 Replies
 
George
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 12:15 pm
DrewDad wrote:
I haven't looked out the window today, but I believe the sky is not purple with yellow and green polka dots.

I just looked out and... HOLY ****!
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 12:16 pm
Dualism and non dualism are two concepts and both are active in day to day perception.

An old saying about zen clarifies this:
Before you study zen, mountains are mountains, and rivers are rivers.
While you study zen, mountains are not mountains, and rivers are not rivers.
When you understand zen, mountans will again be mountains, and rivers will again be rivers.

To illustrate this, think of a piece of music.
When we hear it we percieve it as a unity of sound, a non-dualistic unity.

Then we delve into it, to understand it completely. We tear it apart, and a myrad of dualisms appear. Sound here, silence there, the trumpet playing around the notes of the flute, the violin sounding between the beats of the drum. We no longer relate to the piece of music as one unity of sound.

Then we've understood it, and we sit back and listen to it, again as one unity of sound. But the experience is richer because we are much more intimate with the music.

Before studying, it is one piece of music music
While studying, it is not one piece of music.
After studying, it is one piece of music agan.

And while the term non-dualism might be relatively new, the concept is as old as history itself.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 12:23 pm
Frank Apisa wrote:
There are a couple of other important steps between theism and atheism, Thomas. Essential things!

Only if there is good evidence for the existence gods that you could either accept or reject.

Frank Apisa wrote:
ou must also disregard the fact that there really is no evidence that there are no gods...and just pretend that there is. And you must surpress your integrity...so that you can reject the blind, unsubstatiated guess that there is a God with the blind, unsubstantiated guess that there are no gods.

Or alternatively, the evidence for the existence of gods is so feeble as to be negligible these days. Since you seem to agree with the rest of my explanation, let me suggest an empirical test.

Suppose there is evidence for the existence of gods to evaluate, that atheists are rejecting it blindly, but aren't rejecting the evidence against gods. Suppose, in other words, that you're right. Then by the parts of my theory that we both agree on, atheists should be smarter than religious believers, but agnostics should be smarter still.

If, on the other hand, I am right -- then the average atheist and the average agnostic ought to be about equally smart.

DrewDad wrote:
I haven't looked out the window today, but I believe the sky is not purple with yellow and green polka dots.

Get outta here, Ayatollah. I bet you belong to the reformed Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, don't ya?
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jan, 2007 12:23 pm
Thomas wrote:
Frank Apisa wrote:
And my guess is that a theists would say "as soon as you get enough empirical evidence that there are gods and that the gods influence events on the earth"…Occam's razor would favor the theistic position.

And I'd agree with them. When I learn new information, the balance of the evidence on any given point may shift, and I will change my mind if it does. God's existence is no special issue in this regard. You say that's absurd, I say that's learning. Tomeyto, tomuhto.


Nice try, Thomas…but no cigar.

You were offering that crap to show that "That's not a problem with Occam's razor. It's a problem with incomplete empirical evidence."

But if by some chance, you are actually saying that Occam's razor is worth shyt until it is no longer needed…with that I will agree.

Of course, that is what I've essentially been saying.



In response to my comment: "…please offer the evidence you have that no gods exist.[/quote]…Thomas ACTUALLY offered the following:

Quote:
1) Conscious entities capable of creating something are necessarily complex; complex entities they are a priori improbable, unless you have a good explanation (like Darwinian evolution) of what brought them about. There is no such explanation for gods.


So you are offering that because humans cannot explain the stuff that is unknown to them…the stuff that is unknown to them does not exist!

Jesus H. Christ, Thomas…tell me you are not stooping to this.

Quote:
2) There is indirect evidence from story-telling. In my experience, stories are usually false if (a) they sound good enough to be retold regardless of their truth, or (b) nobody ever fact-checked them. All stories about gods I have seen so far meet at least one of these conditions. Most of them meet both. Nothing except these stories supports the existence of god or gods


This is enough to make a reasonable person puke.

THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE BASING A CONTENTION THAT THERE ARE NO GODS??????

In any case…this is nothing more than a variation on "The theists cannot produce a god."

Give it up, Thomas. You are making a fool of yourself.
0 Replies
 
 

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