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The Delusional Atheist
Posted: 13 August 2011 11:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 181 ]
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Your point is well taken GC.  While E-M’s argument is logically correct, it doesn’t fit our real world behavior and belief.  Logically, we must never act because there is always the chance that something unexpected could happen.  E.g., we must never leave the house because we might be hit by a meteorite.  While all circumstances and ideas have a possibility of occurrence, many of those are vanishingly small, something like ten to the minus one hundred.  Even the most powerful computers round off when the calculation goes beyond a large number of decimal places.  Similarly, we have to round off if we hope to avoid being paralyzed by indecision.  So, even if I accept the idea that there is likely one chance in a trillion to the tenth power that there’s a god, I’ll round off and not bother considering that.  Rather, I’ll be quite happy declaring that I’m a strong atheist and that there is no god.

Occam

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Posted: 13 August 2011 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 182 ]
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Occam. - 13 August 2011 11:15 AM

Logically, we must never act because there is always the chance that something unexpected could happen.  E.g., we must never leave the house because we might be hit by a meteorite.

Problem is, it’s also true that you must leave your house because if you stay, your house might be hit by a meteorite.

This kind of reasoning is useless because it can’t actually recommend for or against any course of action at all ...

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Posted: 13 August 2011 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 183 ]
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True, but what I was pointing out was that trying to base actions and beliefs on absolute certainty would lead to no actions at all because any action had the possibility of negative consequences and any idea had the possibility of being wrong.

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Posted: 13 August 2011 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 184 ]
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Am still a bit curious how anyone can be anything ‘more’ than an atheist. When you are sure there are no gods because there is no evidence, then you have an absolute zero.
As to being ‘a delusional atheist’, that must be among the daftest ideas around. Aggressive, assertive, convinced, and maybe even militant, but delusional . . . ? Doesn’t even make it to a Fail in logic.

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Posted: 13 August 2011 02:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 185 ]
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I think E-M was playing games to get a discussion going.  His argument was that declaring the non-existence of a god absolutely since we have no evidence either way was logically incorrect, and if one has a logically incorrect idea one must be delusional.  I agree that we have no evidence, but not the same as saying we have evidence of the non-existense of a god.

(I agree that it’s nit-picking. smile  )

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Posted: 13 August 2011 03:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 186 ]
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Occam. - 13 August 2011 01:38 PM

True, but what I was pointing out was that trying to base actions and beliefs on absolute certainty would lead to no actions at all because any action had the possibility of negative consequences and any idea had the possibility of being wrong.

Occam

That’s not exactly true.  I’m fairly certain that the idea of sticking your head in lava will result in death has no possibility of being wrong.

Just more nitpicking.  tongue wink

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Posted: 13 August 2011 08:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 187 ]
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I see myself as a ‘strong’ atheist. I believe there are no gods. Unlike your average theist, I could change my mind if you show me absolute proof. My believe is contingent on current evidence.  I don’t think a theist would change their mind if you gave them absolute proof of the existence of Zeus.

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Posted: 13 August 2011 10:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 188 ]
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shonny - 12 August 2011 05:25 AM

Looks like a lot of people here could benefit greatly by reading Thomson’s ‘why we believe in god(s)’ 
http://www.amazon.com/Why-We-Believe-God-Concise/dp/0984493212/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_pp?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1313151066&sr=1-1 
and follow up with Wiseman’s ‘Paranormality: Why We See What Isn’t There’
http://www.amazon.com/Paranormality-Why-What-Isnt-There/dp/0230752985/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1313151334&sr=1-2
And when you grade atheism it becomes stupid in that it should be of little concern as to the degree one doesn’t consider something not to be the case. Cfr. non-stamp collectors.
Atheism and theism are dichotomies; you believe in the supernatural, or you don’t. So-called fence-sitting (Pascal’s wager) means that you believe.
And yes, I know there are no gods as defined by any religion.

Very to the point, I feel the same.

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Posted: 14 August 2011 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 189 ]
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Dead Monky - 13 August 2011 03:52 PM
Occam. - 13 August 2011 01:38 PM

True, but what I was pointing out was that trying to base actions and beliefs on absolute certainty would lead to no actions at all because any action had the possibility of negative consequences and any idea had the possibility of being wrong.

Occam

That’s not exactly true.  I’m fairly certain that the idea of sticking your head in lava will result in death has no possibility of being wrong.

Just more nitpicking.  tongue wink

OK, more nit-picking.  In my first physical chemistry class the instructor pointed out that all of the molecules of air in the room could end up under the desk there.  He then did the calculations and showed that it would happen something like once every ten to the forty-eighth minutes.  Or that the probability of it happening would be ten to the minus forty-eighth power.  So, yes, sticking your head in lava one time in probably something like ten to the forty-eight times you could get by with it because all the lava molecules would happen to be moving away from your head. 

Oh, and even more nitpicking, if you stuck your head in a pile of a-a or pahoehoe that’s cooled to ambient nothing would happen except that you may bang your head.  LOL

Occam

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Posted: 14 August 2011 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 190 ]
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Occam. - 14 August 2011 12:53 PM

Oh, and even more nitpicking, if you stuck your head in a pile of a-a or pahoehoe that’s cooled to ambient nothing would happen except that you may bang your head.  LOL

Occam

Smart ass. LOL

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“In the end nature is horrific and teaches us nothing.” -Mutual of Omicron

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Posted: 10 September 2011 08:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 191 ]
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Some atheists I know like to claim “absence of evidence is evidence of absence.”  This argument doesn’t work against a deistic God.  No one knows whether God exists or not.

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Posted: 10 September 2011 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 192 ]
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I think we realize that there is a wide variance of intelligence and training in reasoning among most groups including theists and atheists.  Certainly, if I were in a group that included an atheist who made that statement, as an atheist myself, I’d probably be the first to correct him/her.

However, since there’s no way (at present and possibly forever) to demonstrate the existence or lack of existence of a god, any such argument is a waste of time.

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Posted: 12 September 2011 03:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 193 ]
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I am not sure why an argument about the existence of god would be a “waste of time”.  Firstly, many people base the point of their own existence on god’s existence.  Secondly, if I can make an argument that leads to the conclusion that is overwhelmingly likely that the concept of god is ridiculous, I think that is important (and not a waste of time).  Finally, if one’s argument on god’s existence is based on observation (ie. an empirical argument), the the lack of evidence is critically important.

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Posted: 12 September 2011 08:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 194 ]
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Carl Sagan wrote a wonderful example of this debate in his book, “The Demon Haunted Word, Science as a Candle in the Dark.” which I constantly recommend to anyone who is looking for a better “toolkit’ for discussing these types of subjects intelligently while maintaining objectivity and sensitivity.

The thought experiment went as follows (shortened and itemized for space);

- I enthusiasticaly claim that there is a fire-breathing dragon in my garage.
- You open my garage door and see nothing but an empty garage.
- I tell you that the dragon is invisible.
- You say you want to spread flour on the floor to reveal footprints that would indicate a dragon’s presence.
- I say, that won’t work is because the dragon is a floating dragon.
- You say you want to use an infrared sensor to detect its invisible fire.
- I say that won’t work because its heatless fire.
- You say you want to try spray paint to reveal the invisible dragon.
- I say that won’t work either because its incorpreal and the paint won’t stick to it.

(directly quoted from the book because Dr. Sagan had a much better way of saying this than I do)

  “Now what is the difference between an invisible, incorpreal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all?  If there’s no way to disprove my contention, no concievable experiment that would count againt it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists?  Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true.  Claims that can not be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder.  What I am asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so.”

I think this excerpt from his book is very relevant to this thread.  Other than that, the attempts at labeling different “levels” of Athiesm are, in my opinion, wothless and does nothing to promote free-thinking, objectivity and skeptical inquiry.  It is merely a vehicle in which some try to put a quantitive label on how hethenistic, heretical or otherwise “goddless” a person is or isn’t.

Scott

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Imagine being a free-thinking intellectual from Seattle living in the Heart of the Bible Belt.  Where everyone regularly follows the chuch of Fox News.  Receives their sermons from Rush Limbaugh.  Invocation from Glenn Beck.  And Sarah Palin is their Prophet….

IF there’s a Hell…..  I found it.

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Posted: 19 September 2011 03:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 195 ]
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Personally I find this whole “argumentative weak atheism” position to be the unfortunate response of the masses to the habitual misunderstanding agnosticism.  In fact I originally ended up at this forum due to the bias moderators had at another forum towards this “weak atheism” as the only sensible position. In the end, I find it has little to do with whether or not a god exist, but rather wholly depends on what it means “to know”.  In end I am not impressed by your ability to keep an open mind.  I am entirely unimpressed by your lack of your imagination in considering the implications of your philosophy, and to be honest humored in a condensing manner (to be honest).  I find that I am as certain that god doesn’t exist as I am certain that the bed is still springy when I am not on it and the McDonald 2 blocks down the street still exist when I am not there to view it.  Meaning, I don’t feel a duty to disprove everything before I decide I know, and honestly most weak atheist do not either, they have just be indoctrinated into the philosophy that suspending claims of knowledge is an enlightened position.  Something I think of as an unfortunate populist movement.

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