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Atheists; Do We Have A Right To Believe In God?

Benefits of belief in God?

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#21 gilbo12345

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 07:16 PM

Gilbo, AC Grayling in a (shamefully emotional) comment on the work of Justin Barrett: "Barrett and friends infer from the first half of these unexceptionable facts that children are hardwired to believe in a supreme being. Not only does this ignore the evidence from developmental psychology about the second stage of cognitive maturation, but is in itself a very big – and obviously hopeful – jump indeed. Moreover it ignores the fact that large tracts of humankind (the Chinese for a numerous example) have no beliefs in a supreme being, innate or learned, and that most primitive religion is animistic." This, in itself is not particularly interesting or compelling. What is both interesting and compelling though is the response from Justin Barrett: "Had Grayling attended the seminar as Brown did (or read my book, Why Would Anyone Believe in God?), he would know that I do not say that religion is "hardwired" or "innate" – rather that children have propensities to believe in gods because of how their minds naturally work." (also I checked back: the testing ran from children at 12 months through to 6 and 7 year olds with a major focus on 3 and 5 year olds). Once again, I state that I hold the "default position". Please refer to my response to Mike for disambiguation of agnosticism et al.

Still waiting for you to explain how this supports your claim that you hold the "default position", since as far as I read it your conclusion doesn't follow from your "evidence"... There was the admission, (you posted), that children innately believe in God/s... therefore believing in God/s IS the default position... This supports my claim, not yours... I suggest you look a bit more closely next time.

#22 Cameron Standal

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 07:34 PM

Still waiting for you to explain how this supports your claim that you hold the "default position", since as far as I read it your conclusion doesn't follow from your "evidence"... There was the admission, (you posted), that children innately believe in God/s... therefore believing in God/s IS the default position... This supports my claim, not yours... I suggest you look a bit more closely next time.


Did you even read what I wrote?

#23 gilbo12345

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 10:07 PM

Did you even read what I wrote?

Yes and I am still waiting for you to explain how any of it supports your claims. You note that on this person's opinion, (keep that in mind will you), "rather that children have propensities to believe in gods because of how their minds naturally work",

A- Does nothing to support your claim of being the default position since it mentions no such thing

B- demonstrates that children believe in God because of how their mind works naturally.... meaning to think otherwise is an unnatural working of the mind... which actually bodes worse for atheism as its stating that atheism is an unnatural thought process... (which is ironic since most atheists are naturalists).

#24 Cameron Standal

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 11:17 PM

Gilbo.

Firstly, "this person" is Justin Barrett - he's the person whose "opinion" you are basing your assertion that the "default position" is a belief in God is based on. The exact position that he refutes.

A. The "default position" is a lack of belief: show proof of an innate belief or accept that. The study that you have suggested fails to show that by admission of the man that penned it.
It stands beyond both reason and religious ethics that we are born as believers.
B. Incorrect. What it demonstrates is that "children have propensities to believe in gods because of how their minds naturally work."

Definition of propensity (OED, as always)
noun (plural propensities)
an inclination or natural tendency to behave in a particular way:

That they have a natural inclination to believe in God(s) does not imply that they naturally believe in God(s). The implication is that given the appropriate stimulii that they will accept "God" as an explanation for "design"(or a teleological explanation according to the research but I'm willing to give Barrett the benefit of the doubt here as it fails to detract from my case)

If you reject the "opinion" (a characterisation that I accept) of Justin Barret then this argument is moot.

Have a cool Sunday (what's left of it) :)/>

#25 Mike Summers

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 12:18 AM

Mike, As for your claim that I stated "I don't know whether there is a God or not, but there is no God." - can you cite a source for that? I cannot find that statement anywhere in what I've written (I do have a crashing headache, so may have missed it) and it does not sound like anything that I would say. I might restate the agnostic atheist position: "I do not believe in the existence of any deity, but do not claim to know if a deity does or does not exist." I hope that that clears up any confusion.

More internal ill logic--\like saying I am not saying what I am saying! Double talk! Know and believe are essentially the same in meaning usage (believe vs know). I.e. I know the car will not run or I believe the car will not run. The fact that you will not weaken your stance really gives credence to the idea that you "know" there is no God.

logically you could have said months ago I don/t believe or know that there is a Mike Summers. Hopefully, you believe I exist now. I believe you exist. If knowledge comes to you in the future that there is a God then will you cease to be an alleged agnostic/ atheist?

#26 gilbo12345

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 02:57 AM

Gilbo. Firstly, "this person" is Justin Barrett - he's the person whose "opinion" you are basing your assertion that the "default position" is a belief in God is based on. The exact position that he refutes. A. The "default position" is a lack of belief: show proof of an innate belief or accept that. The study that you have suggested fails to show that by admission of the man that penned it. It stands beyond both reason and religious ethics that we are born as believers. B. Incorrect. What it demonstrates is that "children have propensities to believe in gods because of how their minds naturally work." Definition of propensity (OED, as always) noun (plural propensities) an inclination or natural tendency to behave in a particular way: That they have a natural inclination to believe in God(s) does not imply that they naturally believe in God(s). The implication is that given the appropriate stimulii that they will accept "God" as an explanation for "design"(or a teleological explanation according to the research but I'm willing to give Barrett the benefit of the doubt here as it fails to detract from my case) If you reject the "opinion" (a characterisation that I accept) of Justin Barret then this argument is moot. Have a cool Sunday (what's left of it) :)/>/>/>



You stating that the "default position" is no position is not evidence of your claim... Otherwise all theists can claim that the statement "God exists" is evidence of their claims... You need to do better than that if you want people to accept your point.

I did give evidence of the default position being belief in God and I mentioned the study done which showed that children believe in God. This is more evidence than what you have given, (which has been merely you stating what you think is what). What is the difference with the inclination to believe in God what you have stated here basically reinforces my point..... Really!

I'm not caring where the belief originates (as that would lead to the genetic fallacy), all I need to prove my point is that children believe in God naturally, which you have admitted to multiple times. Now considering what I have already said about a default standard and what it implies, "factory standards" etc. Then I cannot see how you can be arguing this point.

#27 Cameron Standal

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 08:07 AM

Gilbo,

Unless you can show evidence that the "default position" is not philosophical carte blanche then please stop making claims for it. In every logical and philosophical sense the premise that belief is innate stands unsupported. It is openly refuted by the originator of the evidence that you entered for consideration (Justin Barrett: "I do not say that religion is "hardwired" or "innate" – rather that children have propensities to believe in gods because of how their minds naturally work."). Please, put aside the chimera of Atheism for a moment and actually absorb what I'm saying. You are yet to provide a study that shows that children innately believe in God. To reinforce: a propensity to believe is no more a belief than a propensity for violence is violence.

I think that you've misunderstood the genetic fallacy but that's not important right now. I have not, nor will I concede that children believe in God innately - no evidence has been provided to support that assertion (as stated above). Please consult the full text of the study for clarity: http://www.academia....ligious_Beliefs

Mike,

I'm not here to be defamed. There is a massive gulf between knowledge and belief. They can certainly be related but should not be equated. The fact that I will not weaken my stance reinforces that I do not know (nor do I believe that I can know) that there is no God, you cannot infer from my opposition to a propostion that I agree with it. I would appreciate that you neither "put words in my mouth" nor "concepts in my mind". I will similarly not confer other spurious assertions on you, I won't claim, for example (over-wrought as it may be), that you support the genocide of the Amalekites because you identify as Christian.

I still don't "know" if there is a Mike Summers. I believe that you are Mike Summers and that you exist but I do so on a largely unfounded and irrational base. If I was offered some concrete evidence either way I might form a base of knowledge for that belief. The thing is: I am having a conversation on an internet forum with an entity that I reference as Mike Summers. I don't have any actual knowledge further than that. I see no reason to disbelieve that you are who you say you are and I see no danger or liability inherent in accepting that belief.
I'm not doubting your existence Mike, call me an agnostic Mikeist if you will :)
"What if knowledge came to me that there is a God." If such evidence or experience came to bear that I had "knowledge" of the existence of any God then I would by definition be a gnostic theist. A lack of belief or a belief in a lack of knowledge of existence would be moot.

#28 Mike Summers

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:29 AM

I am not trying go defame you but reason with you. This is not necessarily about God but the existence and validity of all beings that may exist--even those that do not exist yet.

No one can put "words" in your mouth nor indeed can! On the other hand Gilbo explained my post as well and maybe better than I did. You have my utmost respect and I "believe" you can believe anything you want. Despite that, I believe your knowledge of who can or can not exist in the universe is finite--like I believe mine is.

It seem to me prudent not to be take on traits of beings you don't believe exist. Even if fictitious the definition of God includes knowing who or what does or does not exist in the universe.

As Benjamin Franklin said,"Convinced against your will of the same opinion still."

#29 Cameron Standal

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:18 AM

Mike,
I'm not sure what you're trying to say now.
I'm pretty sure that I made it very clear that I don't I have knowledge of existence of God(s) or even you. That I believe that you exist is based on the interaction that we have had (as flimsy as that is as evidence, as I said: I have no reason to question the validity of that). I have not said that I can know if God(s) exist, just that I do not believe that God(s) do.
I gladly accept that within the bounds of our philosophy and reason that I cannot rule out the existence of God(s) - that does not alter my position though.

#30 gilbo12345

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 04:51 PM

Gilbo, Unless you can show evidence that the "default position" is not philosophical carte blanche then please stop making claims for it. In every logical and philosophical sense the premise that belief is innate stands unsupported. It is openly refuted by the originator of the evidence that you entered for consideration (Justin Barrett: "I do not say that religion is "hardwired" or "innate" – rather that children have propensities to believe in gods because of how their minds naturally work."). Please, put aside the chimera of Atheism for a moment and actually absorb what I'm saying. You are yet to provide a study that shows that children innately believe in God. To reinforce: a propensity to believe is no more a belief than a propensity for violence is violence. I think that you've misunderstood the genetic fallacy but that's not important right now. I have not, nor will I concede that children believe in God innately - no evidence has been provided to support that assertion (as stated above). Please consult the full text of the study for clarity: http://www.academia....ligious_Beliefs



How about you provide evidence for your claim first rather than asking me to provide evidence against your unsupported claim.

Additionally I already gave evidence, you ignoring it doesn't help. I showed that children have a natural propensity to believe in God which therefore is the default standard since it is closer to the "factory settings", you using yourself as an example for your claim fails in that you are an adult and therefore defies the concept of "default standard" which I posted before- not having any other choices presented. With children (especially the young), they generally do not have any other choices presented therefore it is reasonable to conclude that what they believe is closer to the "factory settings" / default standard. I have already discussed this as evidence, you merely ignore it.

#31 Mike Summers

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 05:38 PM

Mike, I'm not sure what you're trying to say now. I'm pretty sure that I made it very clear that I don't I have knowledge of existence of God(s) or even you. That I believe that you exist is based on the interaction that we have had (as flimsy as that is as evidence, as I said: I have no reason to question the validity of that). I have not said that I can know if God(s) exist, just that I do not believe that God(s) do. I gladly accept that within the bounds of our philosophy and reason that I cannot rule out the existence of God(s) - that does not alter my position though.


Do you have any idea of how much it hurt me for you to say you don't have enough evidence (or faith) to believe I exist. Wow!
So that says to me your position is more important to you than me (and the rest of mankind).

So, as you can imagine deciding who or who can't exist can be easily carried to an extreme.

That's the extrapolation of your alleged atheism we need proof fro everything--faith for nothing.

Marx, Stalin, Hitler etc...took their importance (only they were god and not a nice one) to an even higher level than you. They decided many should not exist and so to help out evolution eliminate those they considered unfit.

#32 Cameron Standal

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 09:39 PM

Gilbo,
You're creating an issue where there is none. I've stated ad nauseum that from the evidence presented that I can only see a situation where the "default position" is a lack of belief. You are yet to provide any evidence to the contrary (may it be noted that you linked me to a commentary article in the telegraph and I linked you to rebuttal in the form of specific denial by the quoted source "scientist" and to the original study).
Mike,
I'm truly sorry if you've got the wrong end of the stick and been offended in any way: I do not doubt that you exist. May I make that very clear. As naive a position as it is, I don't. I also need to make it very clear for the sake of this and future conversation: I do not have enough evidence to know that you exist. Mike, buddy, I take your existence on faith. (that has to be a better feeling: I have more faith in your existence that I do in that of God!!!)
My belief certainly has no more importance than your existence: can you imagine a situation where the two would be in conflict?
I've not said whether you can or can't exist. I've said that I believe that you do exist in spite of having very little evidence that you do but weighing that against no evidence or reason to cause me to doubt that you do indeed exist.
If I thought that you didn't exist, would I bother talking to you here? (No, I wouldn't: if you want me to answer that myself)

#33 Mike Summers

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 11:13 PM

Cameron,
Well that's good to know. amigo. So, are you happy that I exist? Does my existence have any value?

#34 gilbo12345

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 03:00 PM

Gilbo, You're creating an issue where there is none. I've stated ad nauseum that from the evidence presented that I can only see a situation where the "default position" is a lack of belief. You are yet to provide any evidence to the contrary (may it be noted that you linked me to a commentary article in the telegraph and I linked you to rebuttal in the form of specific denial by the quoted source "scientist" and to the original study).

And I have asked ad nauseum what evidence is this based on? You keep claiming evidence but yet fail to present this evidence. I HAVE provided evidence in the form of the inbuilt beliefs of children, which are (in crude terms), a "factory standard", thus signifying the default position, all you have presented in way of "rebuttal" is merely someone's opinion on the issue. As I have been trying to tell Gnug, opinion means absolutely nothing.

#35 Mike Summers

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:40 PM

Cameron

People do believe in God. Since you probably believe in evo, that is what is responsible for the confusion. .Evo did it! That's the cause of everything don't you know? You can not blame Christianity because evolution is responsible for that too. Obviously a mutation has occurred in Gilbo amd myself causing us to believe in God. Perhaps the gene didn't get passed on to you. But then you believed in God once. Oh dear me this is so confusing ! Have no fear evo will sort it out in a few hundred thousanf years maybe.

#36 Megan

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 04:05 PM

(reply from the default position)
The question of "rights" is one of legality and so the answer will be dependent on location.
In most countries the answer is "yes", you do have a right to believe in God.
In some countries you have not only the right but the legal obligation to believe in a specific God (many Islamic states in particular).
In other countries the waters are a bit muddied.
I have not found evidence of any state that compels theistic apostasy. (I am happy to be corrected, I was surprised to not find this)
(I can provide citation for these statements but I think that while I have answered the letter of your question I have not answered it in spirit)
If I take the question to read "Do you think believers should have a "right" to believe in God?" then the answer is simply: "Yes".
As an individual taking the default position though, I must stress that that belief is mine and mine alone. I cannot and do not speak for anyone else.
As for the second part of the question: (once again, in my individual capacity) I do not see any intrinsic benefit or harm in the belief (or lack of belief) in God.

 

I do not agree. The state does not grant rights. It recognizes or oppresses them. African American slaves were not granted rights in America. Their rights, which they already had, were finally recognized by the government. They were being oppressed before those rights were recognized. 

 

Also, yes, people have the right to believe in God. Absolutely nothing wrong with it. 


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#37 Mike Summers

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 12:35 AM

I do not agree. The state does not grant rights. It recognizes or oppresses them. African American slaves were not granted rights in America. Their rights, which they already had, were finally recognized by the government. They were being oppressed before those rights were recognized. 

s mostly an illusion.

Also, yes, people have the right to believe in Godat the hum. Absolutely nothing wrong with it. 

I see we agree on some things. However genetic race is largely an illusion often propagated by evo scientists to perpetuate the idea that some of us are more evolved than others. Evo promotes the idea that life is a hierarchy.  The reality is everything exists side by side at the same time (now). The hierarchy is philosophical.

A blue flower is no more evolved than a red one. Different. colors  demonstrate God's desire for variety. A human is a fuman no matter what their skin color.

 

Since slavery is wrong, we can not belong to a race which is just an idea.Besides, we are all unique individuals. was an atheistic agnostic a contradiction of commonly accepted terms.

 

Just so you know Cameron was banned for equivocating. He claimed he was an agnostic atheis which is a contradictio of commonly accepted terms. If you are curious see my  Atheist Experiment  thread.



#38 Megan

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 11:34 AM

"I see we agree on some things. However genetic race is largely an illusion often propagated by evo scientists to perpetuate the idea that some of us are more evolved than others. Evo promotes the idea that life is a hierarchy.  The reality is everything exists side by side at the same time (now). The hierarchy is philosophical.

A blue flower is no more evolved than a red one. Different. colors  demonstrate God's desire for variety. A human is a fuman no matter what their skin color.

 

Since slavery is wrong, we can not belong to a race which is just an idea.Besides, we are all unique individuals. was an atheistic agnostic a contradiction of commonly accepted terms.

 

Just so you know Cameron was banned for equivocating. He claimed he was an agnostic atheis which is a contradictio of commonly accepted terms. If you are curious see my  Atheist Experiment  thread."

 

No one that I know who has a proper understanding of evolution would make the claim that some races are more "evolved" than others. The basics of evolutionary theory are that everything changes and that these changes can happen faster or slower in different types of animals. Evolution theory does not make any claims that any one species or race of animal is better than another because of what types of changes it has undergone(it cannot make any assumptions since these changes are not the intent toward any end and are in no way "goal" oriented). Any "evolutionist" who makes claims that one species is somehow "better" than another does not have a proper understanding of evolution. Different species are different and possess different traits, but to take it a step further and claim that "different" means "better" is bad science and it can be considered racism or speciesism. I don't care if Charles Darwin himself made any of these claims. If he did, he was wrong. As he was wrong about several of his evolutionary theories, considering evolution involves many aspects and theories. 



#39 Calypsis4

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 11:59 AM

"I don't care if Charles Darwin himself made any of these claims. If he did, he was wrong."

Oh, really? Who says? What ultimate authority dictates to us that slavery is an evil, reprehensible thing and that your morality is superior to it?

 

Name him/it/whatever. If evolution/survival of the fittest and/or Nietzschein fatalism rules the world then why are you & those like you 'right' while they are 'wrong'?



#40 Megan

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 04:00 PM

People use how their actions affect each other to determine what is "right" and what is "wrong."  If something is detrimental to the well-being of the human species, it is considered wrong or "bad". If it is beneficial to the well-being of the human species, it is considered right or "good". This can apply for other species, as many people take into account animal rights. So far as people are concerned about right and wrong, it seems to be the source of general moral belief(especially in secular countries). Now, this does not agree with Christianity on some things and I do not think it ever will. Many things are not considered good or bad in this world view. Some gray areas include h*m*s*xuality, polygamy, and p*rn*gr*phy. For example, if someone makes a donation to a charity, this is "good" because it is helpful to the well-being of the species and individuals. If someone rapes women, it is "bad" because it is detrimental to the well-being of the species and individuals. This has a lot to do with the fact that altruism helps people and many other species of animals to survive as a whole. I expect that you will not agree with this at all, but I was just stating where "good" and "bad" can originate aside from what was written in the bible. 






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