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uptight atheists….
Posted: 27 April 2009 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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dougsmith - 27 April 2009 04:29 AM
Kellan - 27 April 2009 02:59 AM

In order to hold that God is unknowable you have to assert first that God exists.

It seems like you could say “if God exists, then He is unknowable, therefore I’m an agnostic, because I can’t possibly know if God exists” or something like that…..

The “if God exists” might be the same thing as the ‘assertion’ Doug refers to…
I agree that if you think about it, it doesn’t make the world’s best sense to describe a hypothetical ‘unknowable’ being, since if you could describe him he woudn’t be ‘unknowable’....

[ Edited: 09 May 2009 04:31 AM by Jackson ]
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Posted: 08 May 2009 08:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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chrisq76 - 17 April 2009 07:40 AM

The more threads and articles i read about die hard Atheists the more i see they are like die hard Christians.

I have found that the people who call themselves atheists tend to
have more extreme attitudes.  Eliminate religious belief, rather
than accepting it as normal and living with the moderate people
who hold those beliefs.  They don’t see the beauty and grace in
a religious rite, or church, but rather despise it.  They see
themselves as superior and more committed than someone on the
secular side who chooses another word, which inspires a defensive
attitude in those others.  Those who call themselves atheists
try to load up that word (atheism has a tiny dictionary meaning)
with lots of other ideas, such as science, skepticism, intellect,
pragmatism, and so on; but they don’t see the oppositions’ ideas
that atheism means Satan worship, wicked (really the oldest meaning
in my Merriam-Webster dictionary), evil, criminal, cold-hearted,
anti-American; they don’t see the opposition’s additions as valid,
but they do see their own additions as valid.  And so on.  I am
not attracted to the word atheist.

Humanist is rich with meaning, and is therefore not vulnerable
to the additions.  When the “a” in atheist means “not” and you
think of the word as “not theist”, then the statement, “I am
not a theist.” begs the question, “... so then what are
you?” which is what makes the word vulnerable to additions by
both sides, it begs for more meaning.

Agnostic was coined by someone who is on our side, Thomas Huxley,
Darwin’s “bulldog”.  Secular Humanist is coined by Paul Kurtz.
I doubt that the religious will come up with proof of any god
any time soon; and also doubt that the secularists will change
their minds any time soon.  If god doesn’t exist, then it would
take searching until the ends of the Universe to prove that,
a search that will take as long as humanity’s natural belief
in the supernatural.  We are made to believe, it is human.
Rational, skeptical, logical, pragmatic thought is hard work,
because we aren’t really built that way.

In the end I doubt that religion is going anywhere, I pragmatically
want to get along with the majority, I see that science is off
to a good start in discovering the Universe, and not there yet,
and I embrace humanity for all that it is and isn’t, valuing
the natural over the supernatural at every opportunity.  So,
I am an agnostic Secular Humanist.  Anyone else?

Corliss Lamont wrote a good book, The Philosophy of Humanism,
if you want to dig deep into the philosophy as a laymen.

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Posted: 09 May 2009 07:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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jump_in_the_pit - 08 May 2009 08:36 PM
chrisq76 - 17 April 2009 07:40 AM

The more threads and articles i read about die hard Atheists the more i see they are like die hard Christians.

I have found that the people who call themselves atheists tend to
have more extreme attitudes.  Eliminate religious belief, rather
than accepting it as normal and living with the moderate people
who hold those beliefs.  They don’t see the beauty and grace in
a religious rite, or church, but rather despise it.  They see
themselves as superior and more committed than someone on the
secular side who chooses another word, which inspires a defensive
attitude in those others.  Those who call themselves atheists
try to load up that word (atheism has a tiny dictionary meaning)
with lots of other ideas, such as science, skepticism, intellect,
pragmatism, and so on; but they don’t see the oppositions’ ideas
that atheism means Satan worship, wicked (really the oldest meaning
in my Merriam-Webster dictionary), evil, criminal, cold-hearted,
anti-American; they don’t see the opposition’s additions as valid,
but they do see their own additions as valid.  And so on.  I am
not attracted to the word atheist.

Who exactly are these “people” and do they get to speak for everyone who calls him or herself an atheist? I am an atheist and I am willing to accept living with moderate religious believers. I have expressed many times here on the forum my appreciation for much religious art. So your claim is incorrect.

And atheism is, both conceptually and historically, bound up with issues of science, the Enlightenment and skepticism. Atheism only began as a movement in the Enlightenment, while it was still punishable by death. It only became truly credible when Darwin’s advances with evolution made the Argument from Design untenable.

The “oppositions’” ideas that atheism is “Satan worship, wicked, evil, criminal, cold-hearted, anti-American” are nothing more than grotesque slurs. Do you claim to have evidence to support them? If so, please produce your evidence. If not, then I suggest you refrain from calling them “valid”, since in doing so you are simply perpetuating the same slurs.

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Posted: 09 May 2009 09:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Jump in the pit-

I have found that the people who call themselves atheists tend to
have more extreme attitudes.  Eliminate religious belief, rather
than accepting it as normal and living with the moderate people
who hold those beliefs.  They don’t see the beauty and grace in
a religious Irite, or church, but rather despise it.  They see
themselves as superior and more committed than someone on the
secular side who chooses another word, which inspires a defensive
attitude in those others.  Those who call themselves atheists
try to load up that word (atheism has a tiny dictionary meaning)
with lots of other ideas, such as science, skepticism, intellect,
pragmatism, and so on; but they don’t see the oppositions’ ideas
that atheism means Satan worship, wicked (really the oldest meaning
in my Merriam-Webster dictionary), evil, criminal, cold-hearted,
anti-American; they don’t see the opposition’s additions as valid,
but they do see their own additions as valid.  And so on.  I am
not attracted to the word atheist.

Who’s loading up the word? Either you’re loading up the word here, or your a victim of the False Slurs directed at atheism that Doug pointed out.

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Posted: 09 May 2009 10:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Is being a “militant atheist” in some way a counterreaction to the human desire to belong to a group?

It would seem likely that a large part of the satisfaction for believers of a specific theology is that they can surround themselves with others that are the same. 
So, maybe part of being a “militant atheist” is to make a very clear statement, “Not only do I not belong to your group, I adamantly REJECT and am opposed to your group”.

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Posted: 09 May 2009 10:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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jump_in_the_pit - 08 May 2009 08:36 PM

......  And so on.  I am
not attracted to the word atheist.

hey it’s just a single word without a lot of nuance.  This topic gets picked up over and over on this forum.
It just means you don’t believe in God.
Maybe you are a Bill Clinton “it depends on the meaning of the word God”  atheist.

Or do you mean that you really don’t believe in God but you don’t like the label atheist, because it seems so “evangelical” or something….

Jackson.

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Posted: 09 May 2009 11:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Jackson - 09 May 2009 10:45 AM
jump_in_the_pit - 08 May 2009 08:36 PM

......  And so on.  I am
not attracted to the word atheist.

hey it’s just a single word without a lot of nuance.  This topic gets picked up over and over on this forum.
It just means you don’t believe in God.
Maybe you are a Bill Clinton “it depends on the meaning of the word God”  atheist.

Or do you mean that you really don’t believe in God but you don’t like the label atheist, because it seems so “evangelical” or something….

Jackson.

I agree with you that at its most basic it has a simple meaning, without God.  But I think we know that the connotations of the word as it is commonly used are far more complicated.

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Posted: 09 May 2009 11:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Hawkfan - 09 May 2009 10:38 AM

Is being a “militant atheist” in some way a counterreaction to the human desire to belong to a group?

It would seem likely that a large part of the satisfaction for believers of a specific theology is that they can surround themselves with others that are the same. 
So, maybe part of being a “militant atheist” is to make a very clear statement, “Not only do I not belong to your group, I adamantly REJECT and am opposed to your group”.

Well, but the issue wasn’t with being a so-called “militant atheist” (whatever that means), but with being an atheist simpliciter.

Sure, get to an extreme of militancy, and there’s a problem, virtually no matter what the issue is. But then, really, the problem is the militancy not the atheism.

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Posted: 10 May 2009 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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I simply don’t understand how atheists can know that God doesn’t exist. To me the correct, scientifically objective position would be agnosticism:

“S: (n) agnosticism, skepticism, scepticism (the disbelief in any claims of ultimate knowledge)” link

But maybe I’m missing something?

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Posted: 10 May 2009 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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domokato - 10 May 2009 12:28 PM

I simply don’t understand how atheists can know that God doesn’t exist. To me the correct, scientifically objective position would be agnosticism:

“S: (n) agnosticism, skepticism, scepticism (the disbelief in any claims of ultimate knowledge)” link

But maybe I’m missing something?

Here’s my perspective: Nobody walks around saying nothing is certain. We don’t exist going around : “Absolutely everything is possibly a mirage, nothing can truly be proved!” No, we walk around with a grounded sense of reality, and our own sense of what is certain and uncertain. So in that context I can say “as an atheist I am 100% certain god doesn’t exist.”
Sure, we can debate the metaphysics, or the philosophy of knowledge and certainty, but that is not how 99% of people “live”.
Surely you must also know that god doesn’t exist right? rolleyes

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Posted: 10 May 2009 12:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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domokato - 10 May 2009 12:28 PM

I simply don’t understand how atheists can know that God doesn’t exist. To me the correct, scientifically objective position would be agnosticism:

“S: (n) agnosticism, skepticism, scepticism (the disbelief in any claims of ultimate knowledge)” link

But maybe I’m missing something?

What’s the problem? Can you know that leprechauns don’t exist?

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Posted: 10 May 2009 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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To amplify Doug’s point, domo, are you an agnostic concerning, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, all of the Greek gods?  If, in conversations with friends, you clearly indicate that you neither believe nor disbelieve in any of them, then you are a true, consistent agnostic.  If not, how do you decide which of those beings for which you have no physical evidence to reject, and which to decide as possible, but unknown?

Just as an evangelical christian or Moslem is absolutely certain by faith that god exists, I, as a strong atheist, disbelieve in the existence of any god, also by faith.  There exists no proof that I’m aware of, but the concept seems quite unreasonable and irrational to me.

Occam

[ Edited: 10 May 2009 01:34 PM by Occam ]
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Posted: 10 May 2009 01:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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VYAZMA - 10 May 2009 12:43 PM

Here’s my perspective: Nobody walks around saying nothing is certain. We don’t exist going around : “Absolutely everything is possibly a mirage, nothing can truly be proved!” No, we walk around with a grounded sense of reality, and our own sense of what is certain and uncertain. So in that context I can say “as an atheist I am 100% certain god doesn’t exist.”
Sure, we can debate the metaphysics, or the philosophy of knowledge and certainty, but that is not how 99% of people “live”.
Surely you must also know that god doesn’t exist right? rolleyes

No, I don’t know that God doesn’t exist. I’m agnostic. It’s true that most people don’t live life according to the acceptance of their lack of actual knowledge, but I try my best to. I think it’s important to realize just how little you know. For instance, the only thing I really know is that I exist. Everything else, I realize, is only simplifying beliefs, useful beliefs, not real beliefs, and therefore are very easy to change if need be. I also don’t get my identity wrapped up in my beliefs, which can cause social friction and suffering.

What’s the problem? Can you know that leprechauns don’t exist?

Nope…strictly speaking, anyway…see above.

I think a lot of scientific blunders are caused by scientists thinking they know more than they actually do, leading to bad results and bad decisions based on those results… We must remain vigilant about the existence or non-existence of leprechauns wink

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“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

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Posted: 10 May 2009 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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domokato - 10 May 2009 01:41 PM

What’s the problem? Can you know that leprechauns don’t exist?

Nope…strictly speaking, anyway…see above.

*Sigh*

The “strictly speaking” are the weasel words there. In the same sense you’re going to say that you can’t know that Barack Obama is President of the US, that there are a hundred pennies in a dollar, or that water is made up of H2O.

That is overly coy. It’s not how you use the word “know” in daily life. E.g.: “Do you think it’s raining?”

“I know it’s raining. Here I can see out the window the drops falling from the sky.”

“I know Moriarty is the murderer. I have his fingerprints, his confession, his motive and methods.”

“I know water splits into two hydrogens and one oxygen.”

“I know there are a hundred pennies in a dollar.”

And in exactly the same sense:

“I know leprechauns don’t exist.”

One doesn’t need a mathematical proof in order to know something.

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Posted: 10 May 2009 02:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Quote domokato:

I think a lot of scientific blunders are caused by scientists thinking they know more than they actually do, leading to bad results and bad decisions based on those results

As a retired scientist, I think you’re giving scientists a bad rap.  We recognize that all we can definitively know is from experiments we do ourselves.  We base much of our beliefs on trust.  The books and journal articles I’ve read have seldom turned out to be false, and when they do, we are all able to change our thinking quickly and do so. 

I agree that when you’re in school, everything is presented as absolute truth, probably because it would take way, way too long and be too confusing to keep putting qualifications on all the data.  But, as you get more knowledge, you learn that things are extremely complex, and to a degree, uncertain.

However, the problem with generalized agnosticism is that it leads to paralysis.  We have to operate on the information we have that we trust, even if we cannot be certain of it.

Occam

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