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annoying things that atheists say
Posted: 01 July 2012 06:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Doug, so you’re an atheist but not a naturalist? You believe there are real things that exist outside space and time? 

But to get back to the main topic, the question is whether reasons based on 1st person subjective experience can count as good reasons. Many people say they believe in God because of their feelings of love, goodness, aesthetic beauty, guilt, moral agency, and all the rest. They seem to think that God is the best explanation for all of this. Now again I think this is a bad argument, but it’s unfair to lump them together with believers in Big Foot. Unlike Big Foot, this has nothing to do with scientific evidence. This is a philosophical issue, and not a scientific issue. So we might say that the difference between religious belief and all of those other paranormal beliefs is that religious belief is a philosophical issue whereas the belief in paranormal stuff is a scientific issue. However, as we all know, religious believers, especially in the US it seems, have a habit of going over to the paranormal side at times, and these people can be dealt with in the same way we deal with the paranormal crowd. But again, and as others have said here, even after we’ve dealt with all the paranormal nonsense, the religious beliefs remain untouched, since science can say nothing about them.

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Posted: 01 July 2012 11:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Dom1978 - 01 July 2012 06:08 PM

Doug, so you’re an atheist but not a naturalist? You believe there are real things that exist outside space and time?

I am an atheist and a naturalist. Do you think Carl Sagan and Albert Einstein were naturalists? Both believed in laws of nature, which are real things that exist abstractly.

What I am not is an extremist empiricist.

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Posted: 02 July 2012 02:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Dom1978 - 01 July 2012 03:32 AM

What they feel very strongly about, though, is that their feelings about art, music, morality, freedom, conscuious experience and various other things point to something beyond.

`
I think you’ve hit upon something crucial here ~ most atheists (in my experience) don’t question that believers ‘have experiences’, we just don’t accept or agree with their interpretations of said experiences.

Just because a person ‘feels’ that things like art, music, morality point to something “beyond” doesn’t mean that that interpretation is correct or justified.

Given everything we currently know about brain science, it’s unreasonable to assume something ‘beyond’ is the ‘best explanation’ for such feelings, while ignoring/dismissing the myriad of ways the brain interprets or assesses thing incorrectly.

`

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Posted: 02 July 2012 07:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Religious people disagree amongst themselves about almost everything, but the one thing that pretty much all of them do agree about, from the most liberal to the most fundamentalist, is that scientific materialism is false. This is the thing that unites them. So, the way I see it, to be a religious person rather than an atheist is not to be certain about hell or salvation or the inerrancy of this or that text. Rather it’s to be certain that atheists/materialists/naturalists are wrong to think that science can explain everything. But it’s not a God of the gaps position. The most important things in life are these 1st person subjective feelings and experiences, and science will never have anything to say about them since it’s a 3rd person enterprise.

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Posted: 02 July 2012 08:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Science cannot explain why and how we experience certain feeling and behaviours? We may not know yet how exactly religiosity, artistic talent or altruism evolved (although we have a number of theories worthy considering) but in most cases science is pretty good at explaining most of our behaviours.

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Posted: 03 July 2012 02:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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George - 02 July 2012 08:24 AM

Science cannot explain why and how we experience certain feeling and behaviours? We may not know yet how exactly religiosity, artistic talent or altruism evolved (although we have a number of theories worthy considering) but in most cases science is pretty good at explaining most of our behaviours.

George, you’re missing the point here. The Christian or the Muslim will say that they know for sure through introspection/intuition that there are objective moral and aesthetic values and genuine (ie libertarian) free will and moral responsibility and all the rest of it, and that they know this just as surely as they know that they exist or that two plus two equals four. They realize that scientific materialism doesn’t have any room for these things, so they reject it immediately and look for something else. Just as I said before, they might not be certain about their particular brand of religiosity as opposed to other ones, but they can feel certain that atheism/materialism is false, since it cannot account for things they know to be true.     

So perhaps the real heart of the disagreement between the theist and the atheist has to do with how much weight you give to your intuitions. The theist seems to take them so seriously that they trump almost anything science has to say, whereas the atheist will take them far less seriously, seeing them as products of evolution. The question is, will any amount of scientific evidence convince the religious person that we’re not ultimately responsible for what we do or that the mind isn’t a separate substance from the brain? And why should they go with science rather than with their intuitions anyway?

[ Edited: 03 July 2012 02:54 AM by Dom1978 ]
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Posted: 03 July 2012 08:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Well, I smoke and although I am quite aware of the scientific evidence pointing to the danger of smoking, I try to ignore it the best I can. I guess until one has a reason or a will to change his mind, any sort of evidence contradicting his beliefs or behaviour will be ignored.

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Posted: 03 July 2012 09:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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George - 02 July 2012 08:24 AM

Science cannot explain why and how we experience certain feeling and behaviours? We may not know yet how exactly religiosity, artistic talent or altruism evolved (although we have a number of theories worthy considering) but in most cases science is pretty good at explaining most of our behaviours.

What is SCIENCE?

Science (from Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.[1] In an older and closely related meaning (found, for example, in Aristotle), “science” refers to the body of reliable knowledge itself, of the type that can be logically and rationally explained (see History and philosophy below).[2] Since classical antiquity science as a type of knowledge was closely linked to philosophy. In the early modern era the words “science” and “philosophy” were sometimes used interchangeably in the English language. By the 17th century, natural philosophy (which is today called “natural science”) was considered a separate branch of philosophy.[3] However, “science” continued to be used in a broad sense denoting reliable knowledge about a topic, in the same way it is still used in modern terms such as library science or political science.

Science is the thought processes for analysing the unknown about how reality works.  But it also includes imagination. 

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” - Albert Einstein

But of course it is possible to imagine that which does not correspond to reality so it still needs to be tested.  Like the 1919 eclipse.

The body of knowledge that we currently have as a result of a tiny minority of people with real brains figuring things out is not the most important definition of science.  Though a lot of people think of it that way.

We do not know what will be figured out in the next 100 or 1,000 or 10,000 years.

But a lot of people think they are intelligent because they have memorized some of the body of knowledge.

psik

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Posted: 03 July 2012 09:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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skuld - 01 July 2012 01:01 PM
Dom1978 - 01 July 2012 03:32 AM

Doug, I know you think that to be an atheist is merely to be against the dominant conception of God in the west. But it seems to me that many religious people, when pressed, are by no means certain about any of the particular doctrines of their church or group. What they feel very strongly about, though, is that their feelings about art, music, morality, freedom, conscuious experience and various other things point to something beyond. They believe in some kind of creator, and they believe that there’s a lot more than just the material world. Now, you sometimes seem to suggest that anyone but a strong believer in a perfectly good all-powerful being who runs the world belongs in the atheist/agnostic category. This just seems ridiculous to me.   

I take your point about the reasons/good reasons thing, though.

why do religious people feel they HAVE to believe in something apart from the material world?

Confirmation (acceptance of exclusivity) and conformation (acceptance of behavior).

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Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
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