3 of 7
3
What good is Atheism anyways?
Posted: 14 January 2009 03:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  403
Joined  2007-08-26
PLaClair - 14 January 2009 03:09 PM
StephenLawrence - 14 January 2009 02:08 PM

Occam,

Occam - 12 January 2009 12:42 AM

I know that many of the vast number of Americans who believe in a god derive a great deal of comfort from that belief.  Why is it so incomprehensible to you and them that my belief in a naturally caused universe without any supernatural being gives me equally, a great deal of comfort and satisfaction?

 

 
What is incomprehensible to me is the rational basis for your belief in a naturally caused universe.

Natural causes just don’t appear to work as explanations. Yes I’ve been over and over this with Doug but that doesn’t change the fact.

1)either every effect is caused and causes necessitate that which they cause.

2) Or causes don’t necessitate that which they cause.

If causes don’t necessitate, then they are not the reason or explanation for why something happens because they simply fail to tell us why what happens, happens, rather than something else.

If they do necessitate, then they rule out all other possibilities and so don’t act as explanations because there are no other possible things that could happen.

Stephen

3) Or at this level none of us has the foggiest idea what the hell we’re talking about.

Oh, thank dog! I thought it was just me.  wink

 Signature 

—————————————————
http://www.StephenJGallagher.com
http://StephenJGallagher.blogspot.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 January 2009 07:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7684
Joined  2008-04-11
dougsmith - 14 January 2009 09:47 AM
George - 14 January 2009 09:44 AM

It still exists, Chris. In 2002 Hitchens was asked to testify against the beatification of Mother Teresa.

No, it was abolished in 1983 by JP II. For Hitchens’s essay on his experience, see HERE.

Thanks for the link, I had not read that essay. Hitchens as usual was sharp, cutting to the point!

 Signature 

Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 January 2009 09:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

Thanks PlaClair and Steveg144.  I had the same reaction.  However, we are all pretty consistent.  I sort of know the orientation each of you have as I read your posts, just as you probably recognize my orientation and biases when you read mine.  Similarly, StephenLawrence has a particular posting orientation.  Once you’ve read a number of each of our posts, you can decide fairly quickly the level of intelligibility you can expect from each of us.  That determines how each of us respond.  For example, I admire Dougsmith and McKenzievmd because they have the patience to respond to just about anyone’s post.  I have a very short fuse, get impatient quickly and go on to the next topic.  smile


Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 January 2009 12:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1783
Joined  2008-08-09
steveg144 - 14 January 2009 02:15 AM

The larger question then becomes: why do you feel the need to “effect evolution in the thinking of others”?


Maybe, because I’m heart broken, and on a certain level enraged, by the shear useless destruction that fundamentalist thinking has brought upon this earth and its people and its biosphere.  And now after silently watching for decades and deferring to others, people who have been consistently debunked, I want to speak out during my last few years.

yea, i also love pissing in the wind, though I usually point downstream.

Maybe, because on a sinking ship the bandmates play on ~ purely for the sake of saving their own sanity during the coming cataclysm.

 Signature 

The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus is not formed by scientists !
The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus IS formed by the data being gathered !

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 January 2009 12:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1783
Joined  2008-08-09
truthaddict - 14 January 2009 03:43 PM
citizenschallenge - 11 January 2009 11:41 PM

May I ask: what good is Atheism anyways?

You may, but first answer me this: What is the role of molecules in Atheism?

... don’t know.

But, I do know the sound of one hand clapping.

and I do know catchy titles catchy people wink

 Signature 

The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus is not formed by scientists !
The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus IS formed by the data being gathered !

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 January 2009 12:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1783
Joined  2008-08-09

Besides there was a real desire to learn something about Atheist’s thinking in there.

 Signature 

The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus is not formed by scientists !
The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus IS formed by the data being gathered !

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 January 2009 02:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  403
Joined  2007-08-26
Occam - 14 January 2009 09:47 PM

Thanks PlaClair and Steveg144.  I had the same reaction.  However, we are all pretty consistent.  I sort of know the orientation each of you have as I read your posts, just as you probably recognize my orientation and biases when you read mine.  Similarly, StephenLawrence has a particular posting orientation.  Once you’ve read a number of each of our posts, you can decide fairly quickly the level of intelligibility you can expect from each of us.  That determines how each of us respond.  For example, I admire Dougsmith and McKenzievmd because they have the patience to respond to just about anyone’s post.  I have a very short fuse, get impatient quickly and go on to the next topic.  smile


Occam

LOL! I have the same problem, except instead of impatient, I tend to get bored and go on to the next topic. The end result is much the same. grin

 Signature 

—————————————————
http://www.StephenJGallagher.com
http://StephenJGallagher.blogspot.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 January 2009 03:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6195
Joined  2006-12-20
Occam - 14 January 2009 09:47 PM

Thanks PlaClair and Steveg144.  I had the same reaction.  However, we are all pretty consistent.  I sort of know the orientation each of you have as I read your posts, just as you probably recognize my orientation and biases when you read mine.  Similarly, StephenLawrence has a particular posting orientation.  Once you’ve read a number of each of our posts, you can decide fairly quickly the level of intelligibility you can expect from each of us.  That determines how each of us respond.  For example, I admire Dougsmith and McKenzievmd because they have the patience to respond to just about anyone’s post.  I have a very short fuse, get impatient quickly and go on to the next topic.  smile


Occam

It’s not the intelligibility of my posts, it’s the intelligibility of natural causes.

What you mean by having a very short fuse, in cases like this, is once something you believe in appears to stop making sense, as natural causes do once you scratch below the surface, you switch off.

It’s the same as the discussion about what it means to have knowledge. When it looks like we don’t know how to make sense of it, you switch off.

Then you consider that you have a rational basis for your beliefs, without even being interested in trying to make sense of them.

So much for skeptical and rational enquiry.

Stephen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 January 2009 04:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

No, it’s the difference in posts between those that are lucid and succinct and those that are verbose, and highly sophisticated but which I judge to be semantic gibberish. 

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 January 2009 06:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2011
Joined  2007-08-09
StephenLawrence - 15 January 2009 03:11 AM

It’s not the intelligibility of my posts, it’s the intelligibility of natural causes.

What you mean by having a very short fuse, in cases like this, is once something you believe in appears to stop making sense, as natural causes do once you scratch below the surface, you switch off.

It’s the same as the discussion about what it means to have knowledge. When it looks like we don’t know how to make sense of it, you switch off.

Then you consider that you have a rational basis for your beliefs, without even being interested in trying to make sense of them.

So much for skeptical and rational enquiry.

Stephen

People do tend to switch off what they don’t want to hear, but I don’t think that’s the problem you’re having. You’re arguing out of your league, and ours. Speaking for myself, I’m always interested in knowing more. I just don’t see any merit to your method, and your content is barely understandable. Of course, I could be passing by some brilliant material, but I don’t think so.

 Signature 

I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 January 2009 07:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7684
Joined  2008-04-11
StephenLawrence - 15 January 2009 03:11 AM

Then you consider that you have a rational basis for your beliefs, without even being interested in trying to make sense of them.
So much for skeptical and rational enquiry.
Stephen

Stephen, you argue in circles. Your comment above describes your approach to discussion which makes it frustrating to others wishing to have a give and take exchange with you. I wish we could have a reasoned discourse, but you obfuscate every conversation, it is that habit that put you on my  ignore list long ago.

 Signature 

Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 January 2009 03:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  342
Joined  2008-06-23
citizenschallenge - 11 January 2009 11:41 PM

May I ask: what good is Atheism anyways?

What good is it knowing about gravity?  Or knowing that the Earth orbits the Sun?  Or knowing anything?

I think maybe the question should be extended to “what good is Atheism anyways as opposed to theism or as opposed to agnosticism?”  There is a great deal of difference when we compare atheism to theism.  However, there is little practical difference when we compare atheism to agnosticism.  It just depends on what you’re relating it to.  If atheism means that people stop killing each other based on the belief they will receive virgins in the afterlife, than atheism does a lot of good (where “good” is defined as a reduction in suffering).  If atheism means that a person views some intellectual exercise from a different perspective but lives their life in a virtually identical fashion, than it probably does little good arguing for too long over the difference.  It just depends on the person and their net benefit.

 Signature 

“There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.”   

..............-Isaac Asimov

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 January 2009 03:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  342
Joined  2008-06-23

Disclaimer:  The following may induce mild brain explosions.

StephenLawrence - 14 January 2009 02:08 PM

Natural causes just don’t appear to work as explanations.

Therefore, unnatural causes work as explanataions?  To me, if something is labeled “unnatural” it necessarily means that we can’t explain it.  Example: Ghosts, God, etc. etc.  An “unnatural explanation” seems to be an oxymoron.  Perhaps I’m misunderstanding what you mean by “natural.”

StephenLawrence - 14 January 2009 02:08 PM

If they do necessitate, then they rule out all other possibilities and so don’t act as explanations because there are no other possible things that could happen.

Ok.  I don’t think we’re on the same page when it comes to “explanations.”  Let’s say an event happens.  It can be anything, doesn’t matter.  Isn’t the explanation just a description of the relevant causes that led to the event?  I can’t think of an explanation for something that doesn’t involve causes.  Furthermore, I don’t see how one could give an explanation for something that hasn’t happened yet, which is what you appear to be looking for here.  When would one ever try to explain something that hasn’t happened yet?  Once something happens, then we explain it using the causes that led up to that event.  There can be no other causes for an event that has already happened because the causes for that event have already happened.  Likewise, there can be no single explanation for an event that hasn’t happened yet because it doesn’t have precisely known causes.  And the inverse, if an event has multiple causes then it hasn’t yet occurred. 

Let’s try and make it a little simpler.  A girl dies and her body is still on the hospital bed.  The explanation for this event is set already because the causes for it are in the past.  Let’s say the explanation is that her organs failed, so she died.  We can’t say that she died from a shotgun blast because that simply didn’t happen.  We also have multiple explanations of where she is going to be buried since it hasn’t happened yet (if that doesn’t make any sense, try using ‘possibilities’ instead of ‘explanations’).

Now, when we talk of the universe we run into trouble because we don’t exactly know how the universe started or really what happened before the Big Bang, or really the exact details of the Big Bang.  Since we don’t know how it came into existence or much of the context surrounding it, I don’t think we can comment very well on its cause or lack there of.  We simply don’t know.  If the creation of the universe had a cause then whatever caused it at some point must have just simply existed (this cause could range from aliens in another universe or erratic quantum mechanical fluctuations).  If there was no cause than there is no explanation for it, it simply exists (“it” being the conditions that gave rise to the Big Bang).  Either way, we end up with something that had no cause and therefore has no explanation, be it natural or unnatural.  Maybe this is what you were going for, Stephen.  Natural explanations don’t explain the existence of the universe because natural explanations deal with causes.  But, I don’t think we can really say it is therefore “unnatural.”  There just can’t be any causes, so there can’t be any explanation associated with it. 

I suppose the other explanation is that we are the equivalent of ants trying to understand how a laptop works, but that explanation really just postpones the verdict, or at least transfers it to something that can understand the laptop. 

In conclusion, what the hell was this topic about?  I need another beer.

PLaClair - 14 January 2009 03:09 PM

3) Or at this level none of us has the foggiest idea what the hell we’re talking about.

True.  I now return to slowly spinning in the darkened corner of my room.  Everything’s so spinny now.

 Signature 

“There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.”   

..............-Isaac Asimov

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 January 2009 12:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6195
Joined  2006-12-20

hi Choco,

Chocotacoi8 - 16 January 2009 03:58 AM

Disclaimer:  The following may induce mild brain explosions.

StephenLawrence - 14 January 2009 02:08 PM

Natural causes just don’t appear to work as explanations.

Therefore, unnatural causes work as explanataions?

Not unnatural causes but either there is something else (which is what belief in god amounts to for many) or we live in a universe in which there are no explanations.

Ok.  I don’t think we’re on the same page when it comes to “explanations.”

I’m using the word explanation to mean the reason one thing happens rather than another.

So what I’m saying is very simple, if everything is caused and causes necessitate, then there are no other possibilities and so no explanations.

If causes don’t necessitate, then they can’t explain why one thing happens rather than another because they can’t be the reason one thing happens rather than another.

So if natural causes are all there are then we live in a universe in which there are no explanations for what happens.

I need another beer.

Enjoy it.

Stephen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 January 2009 12:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15435
Joined  2006-02-14
StephenLawrence - 16 January 2009 12:07 PM

I’m using the word explanation to mean the reason one thing happens rather than another.

So what I’m saying is very simple, if everything is caused and causes necessitate, then there are no other possibilities and so no explanations.

If causes don’t necessitate, then they can’t explain why one thing happens rather than another because they can’t be the reason one thing happens rather than another.

So if natural causes are all there are then we live in a universe in which there are no explanations for what happens.

This has things precisely backwards. But we’ve been through it before.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
   
3 of 7
3