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Does Atheism Have A Truly Convincing Argument Yet?


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#21 Guest_Thanos_*

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 11:36 PM

Well, of course it's not... That’s not convenient.

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But that's the truth. Atheism is a lack of belief, not a belief in the negative.

You can argue all you want against it but that's like me arguing you don't have any positive proof for Allah. Of course you don't have proof for Allah because you don't believe in Allah, you believe in Jesus.

It's arguing against something the other side doesn't support either.

#22 b00tleg

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 06:57 AM

Now, back to reality... If the Atheist read “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist”

They would pretty much quit their religion, and do an honest search for God.

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A favorite quote of mine that seem appropriate for this thread.

"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." ---Stephen Roberts

#23 Adam Nagy

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 08:45 AM

A favorite quote of mine that seem appropriate for this thread.

"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." ---Stephen Roberts

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That's such a weak argument because it completely ignores the logical nature of the paradigm shift that's involved. Could I look at a secularist and say; "You know, because of all the different forms of secular expressions (Passivism, Marxism, Socialism, Humanism, Utilitarianism...) we're all really creationists because I simply believe in one less form of secular idealism than you..."

#24 Adam Nagy

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 08:49 AM

Atheism is a lack of belief, not a belief in the negative.

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Do you believe that statement is coherent? :D

I hate flowers but I love posies.

I can't stand chocolate, vanilla or strawberry ice-cream! However, Neapolitan ice-cream is my favorite.

#25 Ron

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 12:59 PM

But that's the truth. Atheism is a lack of belief, not a belief in the negative.

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Actually, that is incorrect, belief is belief. And atheism is attempting to steal from agnosticism because they have no answer. The fact is, a lack of belief in something, is still a belief.


You can argue all you want against it but that's like me arguing you don't have any positive proof for Allah.

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Again, incorrect… If you want to argue about Allah, that would be fine. But that would be for a different tread. And, that has nothing to do with your “belief” that there is no God.

Of course you don't have proof for Allah because you don't believe in Allah, you believe in Jesus.

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Again, that would be incorrect, and has nothing to do with this discussion. That would be a discussion for a different tread. Because it has nothing to do with your “belief” that there is no God.

It's arguing against something the other side doesn't support either.

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No, it’s arguing for and/or against what ever belief systems you happen so support or not (i.e. in this case your belief in atheism, and against God).

#26 Ron

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 01:01 PM

Do you believe that statement is coherent? :D

I hate flowers but I love posies.

I can't stand chocolate, vanilla or strawberry ice-cream! However, Neapolitan ice-cream is my favorite.

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That, Adam (as you know) is the standard atheist excuse (cop-out) to keep from having to provide evidence for their belief system.

#27 Ron

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 01:07 PM

A favorite quote of mine that seem appropriate for this thread.

"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." ---Stephen Roberts

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A favorite quote of mine that seems appropriate for your quote:

"For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."
Dr. Robert Jastrow- Founding director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Professor of Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College, Professor of Geophysics at Columbia University, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the George C. Marshall Institute, Director Emeritus of Mount Wilson Observatory and Hale Solar Laboratory, Member of the NASA Alumni Association

#28 Guest_Tommy_*

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 07:51 PM

That, Adam (as you know) is the standard atheist excuse (cop-out) to keep from having to provide evidence for their belief system.

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If not "atheist", how would you describe someone either skeptical of or uneducated in the claims of the religions? - "unreligious"?

I was brought up (and confirmed for the fun of it) an Anglican so have only considered Christianity. I don't believe due to the usual reasons: natural history, lack of independent corroboration for the more incredible bits of the NT etc. Islam and the other faiths I have never looked into. I am agnostic in the sense that I think the supernatural, were it to exist, would necessarily be incomprehensible.

#29 Javabean

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 09:41 PM

Do you believe that statement is coherent? :)

I hate flowers but I love posies.

I can't stand chocolate, vanilla or strawberry ice-cream! However, Neapolitan ice-cream is my favorite.

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I am interested in how you justify your examples as even being similar to what you responded to.

Maybe I can see it if you are referring to 2 opposite things, but that is certainly not what is being said here.

How can you believe something in the negative in the first place?

Do you say "I believe that there is no Santa Claus", or do you state simply that you don't believe in Santa?

Do you believe that there is no Easter Bunny? Or do you not believe that there is an Easter Bunny?

There is a distinction to be made here. And it is very important. If you can't see the difference then you might as well say that you believe that the universe wasn't formed by a magic space cow(Norse mythology), but you have no proof to deny it.

Or any other religious figure for that matter. You instantly allow for a pantheon of other Gods from all known and unknown religions. Simply because you 'believe' that these other Gods do not exist, leaves it open for them to exist.

#30 b00tleg

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 02:33 PM

A favorite quote of mine that seems appropriate for your quote:

"For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."
Dr. Robert Jastrow- Founding director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Professor of Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College, Professor of Geophysics at Columbia University, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the George C. Marshall Institute, Director Emeritus of Mount Wilson Observatory and Hale Solar Laboratory, Member of the NASA Alumni Association

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The scientist would find another "mountain of ignorance" to start scaling. The scientist would even offer to help the theologians down from their mountain before leaving.

#31 Ron

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 03:45 PM

The scientist would find another "mountain of ignorance" to start scaling. The scientist  would even offer to help the theologians down from their mountain before leaving.

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I'll tell you what, I'll take Jastrow's opinion over yours... :P

And why? Because he is a real scientist (you might want to think about that).

#32 Adam Nagy

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 03:51 PM

I am interested in how you justify your examples as even being similar to what you responded to. 

Maybe I can see it if you are referring to 2 opposite things, but that is certainly not what is being said here.

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He's confirming and denying the same thing simultaneously by changing the wording but the meaning falls out the same each way. Lets break it down...

Atheism is a lack of belief, not a belief in the negative.

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The first part; "Atheism is a lack of belief..."

What is this saying at its unassumptive core? Atheism is looking from the perspective of a 'lack'. A lack of what? ...belief. To work towards what atheism is, you start from the establishment that atheism makes an intellectual leap by making a negative assessment. When the direction is opposite of a positive confirmation than we can logically deduce that the argument itself is from the negative, hence Thanos did indeed establish that Atheism foundationally argues from the negative.

The second part; "...not a belief in the negative."

I'm not sure that is even coherent by itself, or at least, even dealing with the charge that Atheism argues only from the negative. For the sake of argument however, we'll say that it does, and if it does, it is trying to deny what was confirmed by the first part; "Atheism is a lack of belief..."

Javabean, did that clear up why I believe that my own examples of self-defeating statements were relevant?

Let's get something right here so we don't get confused. There is nothing logically wrong with arguing from the negative. Creationists do it all the time. When the scientific method is used to demonstrate the shortcomings of Evolutionary beliefs the arguments are almost always from the negative. It's establishing why evolution can't be true. Why evolution lacks real evidence to justify it. Why evolution comes up short. The difference is that when evolution is agreed to have enough problems to discredit it, the creationist has a positive argument for justifying why they do believe what they believe.

Atheism by itself, on the other hand, only has arguments from the negative and it's pretty universally agreed (even among educated atheists) that you can't make a positive conclusion from arguments that are all in the negative. This is why many atheists will seek to identify themselves with an ideology other than atheism such as Humanism, Communism, Socialism or Utilitarianism. These secular ideologies give them the impression that they now have grounds for ideologically making positive claims where atheism can not.

#33 Guest_Thanos_*

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 12:25 AM

Okay, here's an example:

1. "I believe there are monsters under my bed"

2. "I believe there are no monsters under my bed."

3. "I don't/lack belief in monsters under my bed."


The first statement is theism. Second is a common mistake of atheism. Third is real atheism.
What's the difference between number two and number three? Number two still acknowledges the fact that there may be monsters, but states that there are no monsters under the bed.
Number three however do not even acknowledge the fact that there is monsters under the bed.

Another way to look at this is number two is faith in no god. Number three is no faith.

Is that more clear or would you guys like more examples?

#34 Ron

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 03:29 AM

Is that more clear or would you guys like more examples?

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Sure, has there ever been evidence of a monster under your bed? Because, if you've ever had credible witness who have witnessed monsters under your bed, and you are still denying the monsters being under your bed, you have issues of faith (or lack thereof).

Examples:

1- If I don’t look under my bed, I can still deny the monsters there.
2- If I look under my bed with my eyes closed, I can still deny the monsters there.
3- If I pretend my bed popped out of nowhere, or naturally evolved from nature, I can still deny the monsters there.

#35 Adam Nagy

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 05:16 AM

Thanos is ignoring the implications of what the core problem is.

Thanos, can you articulate in your own words what we're trying to get at to see if we can get on the same page without wasting time?

#36 Adam Nagy

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 05:27 AM

Thanos, can you articulate in your own words what I'm trying to get at to see if we can get on the same page without wasting time?

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...or you can try answering these questions:

What is the positive argument for atheism? What belief represents the core principle from which atheism anchors?

#37 Ron

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 05:41 AM

If not "atheist", how would you describe someone either skeptical of or uneducated in the claims of the religions? - "unreligious"?

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No Tommy, everyone is religious, regardless of their claims. Everyone has a dogmatic faith in something, only some are honest enough to admit it. Faith against something is still faith in something. And, we are ALL skeptics. But, to remain on the fence is to remain static. And no one learns in stasis.

I was brought up (and confirmed for the fun of it) an Anglican so have only considered Christianity.  I don't believe due to the usual reasons: natural history, lack of independent corroboration for the more incredible bits of the NT etc.  Islam and the other faiths I have never looked into.  I am agnostic in the sense that I think the supernatural, were it to exist, would necessarily be incomprehensible.

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I was brought up an atheist, so I didn’t consider anything else but natural needs. After studying, and realizing that “nature” isn’t sentient (and neither is evolution), and absolutely nothing can come from nothing, I found it incomprehensible to pretend that the physical is all there is. I put away my atheistic faith (and never gave agnosticism much of a thought).

#38 Guest_Thanos_*

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 12:46 PM

Sure, has there ever been evidence of a monster under your bed? Because, if you've ever had credible witness who have witnessed monsters under your bed, and you are still denying the monsters being under your bed, you have issues of faith (or lack thereof).

Examples:

1- If I don’t look under my bed, I can still deny the monsters there.
2- If I look under my bed with my eyes closed, I can still deny the monsters there.
3- If I pretend my bed popped out of nowhere, or naturally evolved from nature, I can still deny the monsters there.

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Your talking about the act of looking. I was referring to the act of faith.

All you've presented is a bunch of statements that fall within category 2.


What is the positive argument for atheism? What belief represents the core principle from which atheism anchors?


Atheist is no belief or faith. This means your second question is invalid. It's like asking for a point on the map that's north of the north pole.

Another thing is atheism has no core set of values, each atheist has their own morals, own set of rules and goals they set themselves etc. The problem is your trying to tackle atheist as such that all atheist are somehow share one philosophical reason to have no faith and that's not true. People are atheists or become atheist for many different reasons as people have different reasons for becoming or being a Christian.

As for your first question, you'll have to ask an atheist. Each may give you a different answer but if I were atheist, I would say that atheism is the natural state of a human. Stay natural.

#39 Ron

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 06:13 PM

Your talking about the act of looking. I was referring to the act of faith.
All you've presented is a bunch of statements that fall within category 2.

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No, your statement #3 is an atheist cop-out. It actually belongs in your statement #2 because if you don’t believe one thing, then you believe the other (i.e. you have faith in the other). Further, you are describing "BLIND FAITH" not faith.

Atheist is no belief or faith.

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No, again, this is the atheist’s cop-out. The atheist believes there is no God. In fact, the atheist exercises great faith that there is no God.

This means your second question is invalid.

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No, the invalidity is in the atheist cop out of your statement #3

Another thing is atheism has no core set of values, each atheist has their own morals, own set of rules and goals they set themselves etc.

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Actually, the atheist’s core value is that they believe there is no God. And everything else proceeds from that. The problem the atheist then has to then tackle is that of going about attempting to sell the idea that they have no beliefs to everyone else. But the fact remains that they only believe that they have no beliefs. They believe it so much that it becomes a great faith, a faith that can rival any other faith system. A self imposed “blind faith” caused by denial.

#40 Javabean

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 07:21 AM

He's confirming and denying the same thing simultaneously by changing the wording but the meaning falls out the same each way. Lets break it down...


Adam,

That's just it. The meaning is worlds apart. To have no belief in something, to say that I no not believe in any God is denying the possibility of something existing.

To have belief that does not exist gives the possibility that something does exist.

Do you see the difference?


Javabean, did that clear up why I believe that my own examples of self-defeating statements were relevant?



B) Unfortunately no. I see where you are coming from with your arguments. I just don't think that they are a good fit for the context. I still see the difference between the 2 statements.



Let's get something right here so we don't get confused. There is nothing logically wrong with arguing from the negative. Creationists do it all the time. When the scientific method is used to demonstrate the shortcomings of Evolutionary beliefs the arguments are almost always from the negative. It's establishing why evolution can't be true. Why evolution lacks real evidence to justify it. Why evolution comes up short. The difference is that when evolution is agreed to have enough problems to discredit it, the creationist has a positive argument for justifying why they do believe what they believe.

Atheism by itself, on the other hand, only has arguments from the negative and it's pretty universally agreed (even among educated atheists) that you can't make a positive conclusion from arguments that are all in the negative. This is why many atheists will seek to identify themselves with an ideology other than atheism such as Humanism, Communism, Socialism or Utilitarianism. These secular ideologies give them the impression that they now have grounds for ideologically making positive claims where atheism can not.

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Sorry I just wanted to bold 2 statements so you see them together. I know this is a rather blatant use of quote mining. Sometimes people don't realize when they have a cognitive dissonance. You allow Creationism to argue for the negative, but do not allow Atheists the same arguments.




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