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Let’s Have a Dialog—ie., a Conversation, not a debate—About the god-hypothesis
Posted: 03 July 2012 02:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 256 ]
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psikeyhackr - 03 July 2012 07:43 AM

To a significant degree I think atheists do not like THE UNKNOWN.

psik

I think you have it exactly backward there, psik. Theists fear the unknown and so embrace the unprovable to allay their fears. Atheists recognize we do not and perhaps cannot know everything, and relish the challenge of peeling back much as possible the layers about that we do not know and finding previously hidden truths. This is how science advances. Caving into fear of the unknown and ascribing mysteries to a deity leads to stagnation.

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Posted: 03 July 2012 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 257 ]
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As is so often the case, Darron has said it better than I could and as succinctly.  Right on.  smile

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Posted: 03 July 2012 04:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 258 ]
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DarronS - 03 July 2012 02:21 PM
psikeyhackr - 03 July 2012 07:43 AM

To a significant degree I think atheists do not like THE UNKNOWN. psik

I think you have it exactly backward there, psik.

Darron, I am glad to hear your riposte. As a unitheist—which I think of as a doublet of panENtheist—I like your brand of atheism. As a theologian and pneumatologist, I am very curious about the future, which I think of as the eternal NOW. Then you add

Theists fear the unknown and so embrace the unprovable to allay their fears.

Are you sure this is true? Me? For the record, I for one do NOT embrace “the unprovable”. You say

Atheists recognize we do not and perhaps cannot know everything, and relish the challenge of peeling back, as much as possible, the layers about that we do not know and finding previously hidden truths. This is how science advances.

I agree! As a unitheist, I also agree that

Caving into fear of the unknown and ascribing mysteries to a deity leads to stagnation.

Keep up the Good—what I call G~O~D-like~~ work.

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Posted: 03 July 2012 05:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 259 ]
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DarronS - 03 July 2012 02:21 PM
psikeyhackr - 03 July 2012 07:43 AM

To a significant degree I think atheists do not like THE UNKNOWN.

psik

I think you have it exactly backward there, psik. Theists fear the unknown and so embrace the unprovable to allay their fears.

I didn’t say atheists FEAR.  I said they don’t like.

psik

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Fiziks is Fundamental

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Posted: 03 July 2012 05:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 260 ]
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psikeyhackr - 03 July 2012 05:11 PM
DarronS - 03 July 2012 02:21 PM
psikeyhackr - 03 July 2012 07:43 AM

To a significant degree I think atheists do not like THE UNKNOWN.

psik

I think you have it exactly backward there, psik. Theists fear the unknown and so embrace the unprovable to allay their fears.

I didn’t say atheists FEAR.  I said they don’t like.

psik

Quit playing semantic games, psik. You are still wrong. Atheists like the unknown.

Rve GLK, I was painting with a fairly broad brush there. Of course not all theists fear the unknown, only the vast majority. I have had many conversations with Christians who acknowledge they cannot prove their beliefs and have to take them on faith, and the one common themes they repeat is that they are afraid of the unknown, therefore god; or they do not have the emotional strength (i.e. courage) to face life and the universe without believing in an afterlife and a loving god who will reward them for their suffering on Earth.

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Posted: 03 July 2012 05:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 261 ]
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DarronS - 03 July 2012 05:17 PM
psikeyhackr - 03 July 2012 05:11 PM
DarronS - 03 July 2012 02:21 PM
psikeyhackr - 03 July 2012 07:43 AM

To a significant degree I think atheists do not like THE UNKNOWN.

psik

I think you have it exactly backward there, psik. Theists fear the unknown and so embrace the unprovable to allay their fears.

I didn’t say atheists FEAR.  I said they don’t like.

psik

Quit playing semantic games, psik. You are still wrong. Atheists like the unknown.

Saying that I said what I said is playing semantic games?

psik

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Fiziks is Fundamental

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Posted: 03 July 2012 05:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 262 ]
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VYAZMA - 03 July 2012 10:03 AM

So, by your definition of atheism(agnostic athiesm….what’s the difference between agnostic atheism and agnostic theism?) there is a chance Santa Clause exists.  Don’t obfusgate.  That’s it.
Unless of course you want to selectively dictate the chances of supernatural idea based on subjective realism. Like Psikey’s post just above.  Of course Santa Clause is fake….but god.  God could be real!  Look at the pyramids.  Look at the history of warfare.
Look at the wailing wall….etc etc ad infinitum.  It is a compelling case for the probability of god.
This is the elephant in the room of this debate.  Nobody making your argument or similiar arguments ever wants to touch it.
You evaded it right off when I provided “The helpful examples to facilitate your explanation”(on why there is a probability of god.)
Again, you drifted off into sidebars which are pointless.  But you are doing a good job of understanding my “private language.”

I bolded the relevant bit (actually the only bit whose logic I could follow).  And it just isn’t true.  You need to read what people have written, not what you need them to have written in order to satisfy your preconceptions. 

So, again, the burden of evidence is on the person making the positive claim, the person who claims to have knowledge.  I said earlier, agnosticism is simply being open to the possibility, however theoretical, of disconfirming evidence—i.e. I could be wrong in my absence of belief, and am willing to entertain arguments to that effect.  That’s it.  Since you are making a positive claim about the non-existence of god, the burden of evidence is yours.  And no, no, no I am NOT asking to present your evidence.  I don’t think that would be fruitful.  I am simply pointing out the burden is not mine. I have no work to do here.

Now, I will admit I was unfair in saying you are using a “private” definition of atheism.  You are in fact using the popular understanding.  It is also the one theists use—the reason being it puts a burden of proof on the non-believer.  On a tactival level, if you ever come to debate a smart theist (and they exist), that’s a position you want to avoid being in, because the argument WILL go off in to epistemology and metaphysical speculation.  Make it about the theist’s evidence, not yours, especially since you would be trying to prove a negative.

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Posted: 03 July 2012 05:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 263 ]
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I’m not going to play word games with you psik. I said theists fear.

You are wrong when you say atheists do not like the unknown. Athesits embrace the unknown. As I have said many times around here, the things we do not know are the fun parts. Life would be dreadfully dull if we did not have puzzles to solve.

[ Edited: 03 July 2012 06:18 PM by DarronS ]
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Posted: 03 July 2012 06:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 264 ]
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Apxeo - 03 July 2012 05:55 PM

Since you are making a positive claim about the non-existence of god, the burden of evidence is yours.  And no, no, no I am NOT asking to present your evidence.  I don’t think that would be fruitful.  I am simply pointing out the burden is not mine. I have no work to do here.

Now, I will admit I was unfair in saying you are using a “private” definition of atheism.  You are in fact using the popular understanding.  It is also the one theists use—the reason being it puts a burden of proof on the non-believer.  On a tactival level, if you ever come to debate a smart theist (and they exist), that’s a position you want to avoid being in, because the argument WILL go off in to epistemology and metaphysical speculation.  Make it about the theist’s evidence, not yours, especially since you would be trying to prove a negative.

Which is precisely the reason I refuse to step in that pile of steaming manure. I do not allow theists to get to that point. They believe in a supernatural deity, and I place the burden of proof squarely on their shoulders. Not one has given a cogent answer. Indeed, their answers invariably involve a lot of arm waving and an admission that they cannot understand how the universe came into existence unless a supernatural being created it. That and the admission they cannot face the trials and tribulations of life without the belief in a comforting deity (hat tip to Bertrand Russell).

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Posted: 03 July 2012 06:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 265 ]
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Atxpeo-

I bolded the relevant bit (actually the only bit whose logic I could follow).  And it just isn’t true.  You need to read what people have written, not what you need them to have written in order to satisfy your preconceptions. 

So, again, the burden of evidence is on the person making the positive claim, the person who claims to have knowledge.  I said earlier, agnosticism is simply being open to the possibility, however theoretical, of disconfirming evidence—i.e. I could be wrong in my absence of belief, and am willing to entertain arguments to that effect.  That’s it.  Since you are making a positive claim about the non-existence of god, the burden of evidence is yours.  And no, no, no I am NOT asking to present your evidence.  I don’t think that would be fruitful.  I am simply pointing out the burden is not mine. I have no work to do here.

Now, I will admit I was unfair in saying you are using a “private” definition of atheism.  You are in fact using the popular understanding.  It is also the one theists use—the reason being it puts a burden of proof on the non-believer.  On a tactival level, if you ever come to debate a smart theist (and they exist), that’s a position you want to avoid being in, because the argument WILL go off in to epistemology and metaphysical speculation.  Make it about the theist’s evidence, not yours, especially since you would be trying to prove a negative.

So there is a chance Santa Clause exists?  Yes, no?

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Posted: 03 July 2012 07:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 266 ]
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Atxpeo-

Since you are making a positive claim about the non-existence of god, the burden of evidence is yours.  And no, no, no I am NOT asking to present your evidence.  I don’t think that would be fruitful.  I am simply pointing out the burden is not mine. I have no work to do here.

What are you talking about?  Would I have to present evidence that Santa Clause doesn’t exist for you?
Of course I wouldn’t.
On the other hand, I feel you should present evidence that supports your willingness to accept that god could be real.  Is that so hard?  Remember, I gave you the helpful examples of possible replies.  I’m really doing all the work for you here.
If a scientist proposes a new theory, the scientist’s peers usually ask for reasons supporting the scientists belief in the possibility/theory. Usually the scientist doesn’t have to be asked.  They usually provide the reasons for their belief in a possibilty.
Look at your wording above.  Nobody has ever had to prove the non-existence of something. Ever!
So what is it for you then?  Religious wars(like Psikeyhackr), cave paintings, or the uncharted depths of the cosmos?
I never rule out the possibilty of rain. There’s a good reason for that.  It is possible that rain can fall from the sky. I’ve seen it happen, and I know why it happens.
If someone tells me that it is possible that a yeti is going to be seen on a mountain climbing expedition, I will not belive them.  I know it will not happen. I don’t need to provide evidence of the Yeti’s non-existence. But, like I’m asking you,  I would ask them what makes them think a yeti is wandering around the mountain.

[ Edited: 03 July 2012 07:08 PM by VYAZMA ]
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Posted: 03 July 2012 08:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 267 ]
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DarronS - 03 July 2012 05:17 PM

...  Rve GLK [It is, LGK], I was painting with a fairly broad brush there. Of course not all theists fear the unknown, only the vast majority. ...

I have no idea where I first heard the following said: “The future I used to think about is now.” But I like the thought. Now, whenever I plant a seed, or start a painting, whatever, and later I see my efforts produce a result—especially good results—it always comes to my mind. Then I think to myself: Maybe, within limits and to the best of my ability, it is possible for me, or for that matter, anyone, to keep on doing this.

Perhaps this could work for all of us. So why not keep on using our imaginations to design the futures we all like to experience. So far, it seems to be working for me.

[ Edited: 03 July 2012 08:59 PM by RevLGKing ]
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Posted: 04 July 2012 12:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 268 ]
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DarronS - 03 July 2012 05:58 PM

I’m not going to play word games with you psik. I said theists fear.

You are wrong when you say atheists do not like the unknown. Athesits embrace the unknown. As I have said many times around here, the things we do not know are the fun parts. Life would be dreadfully dull if we did not have puzzles to solve.

I agree, I have heard many scientists express their delight at the prospect of delving deeper into the unknown.

IMO, perhaps theist do not fear or dislike the unknown as much as they fear or dislike being deprived of that which gives them (false) comfort.

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Posted: 04 July 2012 05:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 269 ]
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Write4U - 04 July 2012 12:25 AM

IMO, perhaps theist do not fear or dislike the unknown as much as they fear or dislike being deprived of that which gives them (false) comfort.

That is part of it. I have spoken with many Christians who flatly state they cannot cope with suffering (lost loves ones, poverty, divorce, illness, kids on drugs, ect.) without belief in their god.

Perhaps I used the wrong term when I said theists fear the unknown. Thinking back on my conversations (some of them recent), I have heard many Christians tell me they believe in god because the universe had to have a creator; therefore their god. This is to me a profoundly appalling stance. Believing something because no one can prove it false, especially when there are more elegant and plausible explanations. At this point most Christians stop thinking and declare they believe in god and nothing will change their minds. Even the more liberal, who accept the Big Bang, Evolution and women’s rights to make their own medical decisions, tell me they still believe the Christian god started it all and has a plan for everyone and everything. This is where I think the fear comes in.

Maybe I’m projecting, because when I went to seminary at the age of 20 I was seeking answers. My life seemed empty, and I wanted to find out where and why things started, and what purpose our lives held. The more I studied the Bible the more troubled I became regarding my beliefs, and I did sincerely believe in Jesus, Yahweh and the Holy Spirit. Instead of answers I found contradictions and all manner of atrocities. What kind of demented barbarian would find happiness in smashing his enemies’ babies against rocks? Psalm 137:9

Throw in the Bible’s failure to mention dinosaur fossils or external galaxies and I knew I had to turn elsewhere for answers. That’s when I read Darwin and Sagan and began to see my Christian colleagues’ beliefs for the collection of myths they are. Having the perspective of a recent evangelical Christian I saw the fear in their eyes when I told them I was leaving, that I no longer believed. They feared I would burn in Hell, and they especially feared my arguments might cause cracks in their beliefs and allow Satan to enter their thoughts and poison their minds. They feared thinking.

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Posted: 04 July 2012 08:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 270 ]
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Vyazma,
I make no claim as to the existence or non-existence of god

And again, but bigger

I make no claim as to the existence or non-existence of god

And one last time, but even bigger AND in color!

I make no claim as to the existence or non-existence of god

Thererfore since I am not making a claim I…

(wait for it)...

have no burden of proof. 

I hope this is clear.

As for the Santa Claus example, it is like the Australia one.  The empirical claims being made are testable (I am not happy that I should have to point this out).  One can, for example, do so by waiting by the chimney on Xmas eve to see who brings the presents.  As long as the concept of Santa (like that of Australia) is strongly linked to testable empirical effects, then Santa is a testable hypothesis—you can say whether the concept is wrong or not, as long as it is tethered to the empirical claims.  But if “Santa” is just portrayed as “the feeling of goodwill that fills people’s hearts” or “the spirit of giving”, then yeah, what the f*ck, you roll your eyes and move on.  If you ever debate a theist, they will (whether you think they should or not) untether the notion of God from observable empirical effects or place those effects in domains where humans do not have any or sufficient knowledge—you have probably heard the phrase “God of the gaps”.  Once that untethering happens, God is, like fairies, Bigfoot, and Russell’s teapot, not a testable hypothesis.  You can’t disprove it, but, because there is no evidence, you can dismiss it.

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