how religious are you?

Nakey's picture
very serious religious
0% (0 votes)
i have a faith and practice it
0% (0 votes)
non practicing faith
8% (2 votes)
no faith but believe there's a higher power
8% (2 votes)
agnotic
19% (5 votes)
athiest
65% (17 votes)
Total votes: 26

Comments

hell_viper1's picture
Beta Tester

How is non-practising faith different from atheist or agnostic?

Is it like "I beleive in god, but not enough to do anything about it"?

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
fryser_d's picture

I think it reads: I have a [faith] but I'm [not practicing] it.

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
PizzaBoi's picture

Buddhist.

Fucking Nazis stole our swastika and shat all over it.

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
tomy2tums's picture

do folks understand the difference between agnostic and atheist?

 

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

agnostic = undecided, unsure

atheist = non-believer

+1
+1
-1
Vote comment up/down
Fullauto223cal's picture

Wrong.

Gnosticism describes knowledge.

Theism describes belief.

These terms are not mutually exclusive terms, they simply answer separate questions.

If someone were to ask me if I know some god exists, I would say no.  I am an agnostic.

If someone were to ask me if I believe some god exists, I would say no.  I am an atheist.

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

I would tend to agree but, as you can see from the discussion below, the agnostics (or maybe better "wannabe" agnostics) seem to have their own definition* of agnosticism (at least when it comes to belief in (a) god(s)) and philosophers discuss and support this.

* It is a bit like the "alt" right wants to sell themselves as being "fresh and new and patriotic" when, in fact, they ae just the good (lol) old far right that distanced themselves from killing gays and their acceptance that a god is not necessarily required and thus the acceptance of patriotism being  the only religion.

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
Grothesk's picture

This has to be the most debated nuanced subject in the history of the internet.

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
backdraft's picture
Beta Tester

It is, because atheist don't want to admit that agnosticism is the only truly objective way to look at it. That is to say you don't have belief or non belief about a subject we can't prove or disprove (at least for now). You know that how science works. It deals with facts and leaves the speculation out of it.    

+1
+2
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

Let me put it this way:

If no-one in tha past would have come up with the idea "(a) god(s) did it" the question would not raise itself as we all would be atheists. 
It was the best explanation at the time (for some) and for some it still is but has no basis.

So unless there is a reason to believe in (a) god(s) atheism is actually  the only objective way to analyse it, remember, the atheist says (or should say) with regards to "is there a higher power? " "I don't know but I have no reason to believe it." (the agnostic would give a more blurred answer like "maybe, maybe not".

The argument regarding "you can't disprove" is as old as this discussion and as invalid a thing to say. You can't disprove the spaghetti monster neither.

+1
+1
-1
Vote comment up/down
backdraft's picture
Beta Tester

@daft

If there was no idea of god, we would all be agnostics. We would have no belief or non belief. Atheism is generally an active form of non belief.  I'm generalizing here, but many times they actively oppose the idea of god.

With agnosticism theres simply the fact that "We do not know". Any totally objective scientist should answer "I don't know". This is the thing that many time confuses me about atheist because they always praise the scientific method and so far it can't point either way. 

When talking about a hypothetical immaterial super being that created everything, how do you even start to calculate the odds of it's exitence or non exitence. How do you draw any conclusion if you want to be objective? All you have is your gut feeling. 

Edit: Elon Musk thinks theres billion to 1 chance that this is base reality. Meaning there is something that created this reality. He doesn't talk about god, but all that virtual reality jazz. Don't know how he reached that number though....

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

That's what I just said: We don't know. 

HOWEVER we can add:

And there is NO REASON to asssume that there is some sort of creator.

The atheist says "show me some proof, then I don't have to believe", the agnostic says I am not sure whether to beieve or not.

"When talking about a hypothetical immaterial super being that created everything, how do you even start to calculate the odds of it's exitence or non exitence."

biastoid tried to get down this road too but when you think about it it's  adead end. 

There is no reason to calculate odds if we have no reason to believe, i.e. no indication whatsoever (other than twhat some people think is an indicator but really is not)

Once indicators have been found we can dive into this and explore, I am all for it, but at the moment it is nothong more than the believer trying to hang on to what was introduced to him (most likely) as a child. 

 

+1
+2
-1
Vote comment up/down
backdraft's picture
Beta Tester

"NO REASON to asssume that there is some sort of creator"

With our very limited knowledege of the universe, why would you want to assume anything? Why isn't "I don't know" good enough? Why make it a "active non belief", when you don't know the answer?

"biastoid tried to get down this road too but when you think about it it's  adead end. 

There is no reason to calculate odds if we have no reason to believe, i.e. no indication whatsoever (other than twhat some people think is an indicator but really is not)"

Well we couldn't even if we wanted to. The point is that there are so many unknowns about this that any conclusion, belief or non belief is just a roll of the dice.

An agnostic might wonder why did the big bang happen the way it did. Why did it make quarks and from those quarks form atoms and from there to molecules, then macro sized object? All the way to complex life and huge galaxies. Why did all these structures form? Is it all just dumb luck that the universe formed all this amazingly complex and varied forms and even conscious beings that can marvel it's complexity? These are the things that agnostics might weigh in, while I feel an atheist just thinks it happened by blind luck. These things should be enough to start calculating odds. (that is, if we could somehow do it)

 

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

"Why make it a "active non belief", when you don't know the answer?"

It is made an "active" non belief by the believers, not by the atheist.

Why look for an answer when there is no need do ask the question?

The believers always have this question in the back of their heads and call it "open minded", when in fact it is quite the opposite, like the x-file poster "I want to believe" it is a preset, biased condition.

The non-believer does not carry this burdon and thus by definition keeps a mind "opener" then the believer. If it turs out that one day there is a reason to ask the question, we will, but out of our own free will, not because of a pre-existing condition.

As far as the universe is concerned: At the moment we do not have any reason to look for a creator because there is no indicator that there was (is) one.

If you want to talk about the purpouse of life and why we exist that is a different kettle of fish. We might want to ask us first "Is there a purpouse in life at all?"

But I would suggest first and foremost we ask ourselves the question "what difference does it make to us if there is or is not a creator (live in a simulation etc...)?"

 

I like to class myself more as an "anti theologist", which some may see as an "active atheist". The term "atheist" is widely misunderstood and too much interpretation is put into it, when t is merely the absence of belief. Nothing more, nothing less.

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
backdraft's picture
Beta Tester

"It is made an "active" non belief by the believers, not by the atheist"

Then you have made it an ideological battle, not a search for the truth. Believers can believe what ever they want, it should not affect your world view. Don't confuse the question of god (what ever that might be) with what some guy preaches from the bible or what ever holy scripture.

"The believers always have this question in the back of their heads and call it "open minded", when in fact it is quite the opposite, like the x-file poster "I want to believe" it is a preset, biased condition."

Well you are refering to believers, not agnostics here. If an agnostic keep god as a possibility but does not actively believe then I would say he has a more open mind. It's not a burden, it is one possibility. The atheist just shuts down this possibility.

Like in my previous post how I asked why does the universe create these amazingly complex forms? The thought flow of an atheist might go: "there is no god, so it has to be random chance" When normally the flow of reasoning would work the other direction -> I see order, I see structure, I see complex systems, could there be something that made it intentionally so?  Maybe, maybe not, we don't know. 

"But I would suggest first and foremost we ask ourselves the question "what difference does it make to us if there is or is not a creator (live in a simulation etc...)?""

I think it would have huge implications in the lives of humans if we knew the truth. Maybe it's not plainly obvious, but a lot would change if we go the answer of whether we're just an accident or not. 

"I like to class myself more as an "anti theologist", which some may see as an "active atheist".

I can respect that. Not a fan of the bible either, or rather the dogma it brings. The book itself IMO has some snippets of wisdom here and there.

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

"Then you have made it an ideological battle..."

No, neither I nor any other atheist (unless they are in a debate about theology or the likes) makes it an ideological battle, atheism is simply the absence of a belief.

And of course believers can believe what they want unless it interfers with my life (again this is when theology comes in), then I will take action.

 

Yeah, and the "creation" of the universe. As far as science CURRENTLY undestands it there is no need for a creator to explain how it works or to find answers for the questions we currently have. The believing brain usually insists that despite all this the option is looked into (and some people actually do) rather than waiting until pointers in this direction emerge.

Isn't it much more interesting as it is than finding out "aww, Johnny Sunshine from the parallel universe just made it and got a B in creation class for it"?

Here's the problem with the believers, they push research in their direction and are happy when they (think they) found something that supports their hypothesis, And then the research will stop because they (think they) found what they are looking for.

 

I think you understand the difference between agnostic and atheist is that the former keeps the creator topic in the back of his head whilst the atheist does not and thus limits himself. I don't think this is the case at all. Because should proof of a creator be found the atheist as well as the theist and the agnostic will be KNOW-ISTS, except many of those that find that the findings are not compatible with their kind of beliefsystem, which are - you guessed it - the religious.

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
backdraft's picture
Beta Tester

"No, neither I nor any other atheist (unless they are in a debate about theology or the likes) makes it an ideological battle, atheism is simply the absence of a belief."

It is not simply an absence of belief if it is "active non belief".

Like the famous quote from Penn Jilette goes:

"Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby" .....but you don't see people who don't collect stamps actively support stopping stamp collecting. Here it becomes an ideological battle.

"As far as science CURRENTLY undestands it there is no need for a creator to explain how it works or to find answers for the questions we currently have."

The problem is we don't understand it very well. The questions are just left lingering in the air. We have no answers why the universe is so "successful".

This again reminds me of another good quote: "Give us one free miracle (big bang) and we'll explain the rest."

So yes, we have a reasonable grasp of what happened after the big bang, but not what got the ball rolling, which would be the important thing since everything that has ever existed or ever will, is causally linked to that single event.

"Here's the problem with the believers, they push research in their direction and are happy when they (think they) found something..."

Again you're talking about believers, but this is about atheism vs agnosticism.  I don't want to evoke a "god of the gaps" explanation, but rather just say why an agnostic would not want to dismiss god as a possibility.

"I think you understand the difference between agnostic and atheist is that the former keeps the creator topic in the back of his head whilst the atheist does not and thus limits himself. I don't think this is the case at all."

How likely do you think that an atheist scientist would ever pursue anything that was deemed "supernatural" in his research? A taboo subject in science. How likely do you think this would be with an agnostic? 

  

+1
+1
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

""Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby" .....but you don't see people who don't collect stamps actively support stopping stamp collecting. Here it becomes an ideological battle."

Oh boy, you aw ewaching WAY too far here. The "typical atheist" like me may have a voice in anti theism - as I mentioned before -  thus condemning and maybe even fighting organised religion. The personal belief of a person is usually not important to us, unless someone:

  • Tries to "convince us to collect stamps", then we may to tell them that we don't believe their bullshit. In my case it always depends how much time I have to fuck with jehovas witnesses.
  • Tries to tell us they have the moral highground because they collect stamps.
  • ETC......

 

IMHO The problem with the agnostics and the believing brain is that they came from some sort of belief system, decided it can't be like this and then usually "make up their mind" to say "there must be something but religion isn't it"

Another "problem" is that of course scientists and researchers are specialists in their fields, however, the rest of the population are laymen. Just look at the climate change discussion and people (all of them with a few "sponsored" exceptions) denying current research on this. They think they ask critical or skeptical questions, when in fact the science has already progressed way beyond that. Many don't recognise how limited their horizon actually is because they waaaaayyyyy over estimate their level of expertise in certain topics and when they are actually called out they divert, change the subject completely, or even get condescending (despite not having a basis for this) and even insulting. skeptoid is a prime example for that.

 

"How likely do you think that an atheist scientist would ever pursue anything that was deemed "supernatural" in his research? "

Sorry but COMPLETE BOLLOCKS TO THAT! Science has looked at "supernatural phenomena" and will do so in the future*. Up to now they haven't found anything that cannot be explained by the current laws of physics, HOWEVER, if they do they will look into it and find an explanation, if this explanation is "a creator" or other "supernatural cause" so be it, but don't expect a statement like "we can't explain at the moment" would equal "god did it". 

*Just take the James Randi Challenge for an example that many can relate to. I wonder how many "James Randi is a dick" we may get as a reply.

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
backdraft's picture
Beta Tester

Taking a trip today, so I'm kinda busy. I'll keep it short.

"IMHO The problem with the agnostics and the believing brain is that"

Again you're lumping together believers and agnostics. This is the third time...

To get to the original point of my post, that is objectivity, maybe a political analogy here.  

Right=atheist, left=belivers ,Centrist=angostics

Who do you think would be most qualified to assess a situation objectively? Both left and right (at least the far) have strong bises, where the centrists do not have a strong affiliation with either one.

"Sorry but COMPLETE BOLLOCKS TO THAT! Science has looked at "supernatural phenomena" and will do so in the future*. "

Sure they have, but again with an "active non belief" you don't think that introduces biases? Scientists are human after all and what you believe or don't, has an effect on their work and what they will work on. That's kind of the point of being objective, not having pre-existing ideas. 

One good example (although not about god) is Dean Radin who does research in psi / parapsychology to see if there is something to it. Suggest you listen to one of his talks because it explains well how these biases seep into to science  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw_O9Qiwqew

His research has plenty of positive results, but they are all statistical in nature. Can you guess who are the most vocal critics of his work? There's a pretty clear trend who goes against this kind of research. 

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

See, I did this very well aware of what I was doing, because the analogy:

"Right=atheist, left=belivers ,Centrist=angostics"

Is not correct. The agnostic (or undecided / insecure) leans by definition more into the believing part.

"Sure they have, but again with an "active non belief" you don't think that introduces biases? "

Maybe, I doubt that the bias will survive the scientific process. What is clear to me is that a bias is introduced by the believer, I also believe (pardon the pun) that the agnostic is more on the believing side and thus automatically more biased.

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
backdraft's picture
Beta Tester

"The agnostic (or undecided / insecure) leans by definition more into the believing part."

No it doesn't. You would like that, because then it would be easier to defend atheist reasoning as being superior.

Of course with agnosticism (just like with atheism) there are many variations, but here's the general gist of it.

 

Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God or the supernatural is unknown or unknowable.[1][2][3]

According to the philosopher William L. Rowe, "agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist".[2] Agnosticism is a doctrine or set of tenets[4] rather than a religion.

 

"Maybe, I doubt that the bias will survive the scientific process."

Eventually yes. In the history of science we have plenty of examples where new theories took their sweet time in being accepted, not because of lack of evidence, but because of the oppositions dogmatic thinking.

"I also believe (pardon the pun) that the agnostic is more on the believing side and thus automatically more biased."

What an atheistic thing to say. Just because one considers the possibility of god, he or she is automatically biased.

Maybe you could sympathize with an agnostics position better if you truly admitted that WE DO NOT KNOW IF GOD EXISTS OR NOT, and start from there. No pre-conceived ideas. Just a blank slate. You know, because that is where we are at.

 

 

 

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

"Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God or the supernatural is unknown or unknowable."

Replace "gnostic" with "the" and you have a correct definition, like I said a few posts back. Where it is getting outright wrong is in the next bit:

""agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist""

Here the absence of a belief is equal to a belief, which it is not. This can easily be "corrected" if you leave out some bits and replace one word:

atheism is the view that human reason is [currently] incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify the belief that (a) God(s) exists

AGAIN: The absence of a belief is not a belief.  This red herring has been made fashionable by he religious.

The only reason this comes up is because several houndreds (more likely thousands) of years ago the concept of (a) god(s) was introduced to "explain" certain unknowns. If this would never have existed the second part of the philosophers sentence ("the belief that God does not exist") would never have been added as it is completely unnecessary. As the first part of the sentence sufficiently describes the stuation, the second part must have been added by the believing brain, maybe to keep a back door open.

With regards to Raidin:  http://www.csicop.org/si/show/when_big_evidence_isnt_the_statistical_pit...

This is "just" a link to a critique of one of his books. What I would like to see is peer reviews of his research.

If Iremember correctly you started the "love hate" rice experiment, right? After a while it didn't show the desired results, then you stopped, I think you said you had to move or something but you never repeated. Is there a reason why? 

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
backdraft's picture
Beta Tester

I got the definition from wiki. I know it's not the supreme source of all knowledge, but it's just a definition that most people seem to agree. Thats why it's up there and nobody edited it.

"AGAIN: The absence of a belief is not a belief.  This red herring has been made fashionable by he religious."

This would be true if you had no knowledge of the idea of god. Once the idea is on the table you can choose to believe one of the following: God exists / god does not exist. Both are guesses / gut feelings / beliefs, because we do not know the answer. It's like presenting you with an up side down cup and asking you if there is a ball under it or not. Whatever answer you give is a guess. If you assign any certainty to your guess, we would call it a belief. It's a belief until I lift up the cup and show you if there is a ball under there or not. 

This is why I have been referring to atheist as "active non-believers". There is not simply an absence of belief, but the idea that god does not exist is actively upheld. Although atheists admit they cannot know the ultimate truth, there is the idea in the back of their head going "there is no god". 

For an agnostic POV it is nothing more than keeping it logically consistent because we start with the FACT that we do not know.

"With regards to Raidin..."

His results and other have been published in peer reviewed journals. If you're interested, heres one video where he gets more into the results and the actual analysis. https://youtu.be/_NpAJ6Zg9Xs

"If Iremember correctly you started the "love hate" rice experiment, right?"

No that wasn't me. It was Frayser.

Radin, however, has done something a bit similar. Not with rice, but with electrons in a quantum double slit experiment. They tell the participant to try and effect the experiment just with their intention. Since it's all done with electronics everything in the experiment is well controlled and you don't get abscure result as you might with rice. 

Video about that too https://youtu.be/nRSBaq3vAeY

 

           

 

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

"Once the idea is on the table you can choose to believe one of the following: God exists / god does not exist. "

Sorry, no. Either you believe god(s), a kettle orbiting the earth, the toothfairy, unicorns etc. exist or you DO NOT. 

NOTHING more to it. ONLY when it comes to "god(s)" this red herring exists. No one would EVER say "I believe unicorns don't exist", one would say "I don't believe unicorns exist."

"There is not simply an absence of belief, but the idea that god does not exist is actively upheld. "

Sorry, no. Just because the idea of (a) god(s) exists does not give it credibility. If we look at it scientifically, it is just that an idea that (currently?) will not make it to theory status and more likely than not never will. What you try to do is ito give the atheist a "denier status":

"Although atheists admit they cannot know the ultimate truth, there is the idea in the back of their head going "there is no god". "

This is where you got it COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY wrong, again following the red herrings of the believers and assuming that their idea has credibility. Make the atheist a denier, like the climate change deniers (funnily enough many -if not most. climate change deniers are religious conservatives, LOL) when in fact it is the opposite: some have the idea of (a) god(s) in their head and it does not go away.....

It is not the atheists making a bold unsubstantiated claim but the believer, so the burdon of proof is not on the atheists side. What the agnostic does is give credibility to these unsubstantiated claims, now don't tell me this is unbiased.

Gravity is not under dispute, neither is evolution (by most at least) because these "claims" have substance and there is overwhelming evidence supporting them. This cannot be said for the concept of (a) god(s).

Here is a scientific process that still has some "believing" in it:

It is under no dispute that dogs evolved from wolves. Not much attention to this has been given until the very recent past, now people look further into it. It is still somewhat unclear how this exactly happened although it is believed that it developed rather quickly. Now some believe the dogs ancestors are wolves and wolves only, others think that some hybridisation took place or maybe even a geneic fault was envolved. These ideas have credibility and once research deepens we will get to "the truth".  In this respect I am "agnostic" because in my line of work it does not make a difference but it is interesting what they find out.

Now if someone suddenly would claim "hey it's all wrong, dogs evolved because of alien experiments on wolves" and not give any evidence for this I would be an atheist in this regard, although I cannot disprove the claim.

 

I vaguely remember the double slit experiment but not the outcome of it. I thought at the time the results are worth persuing. Whether or not this "proves" to be supernatural remains to be seen.

 

 

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
backdraft's picture
Beta Tester

"NOTHING more to it. ONLY when it comes to "god(s)" this red herring exists. No one would EVER say "I believe unicorns don't exist", one would say "I don't believe unicorns exist."

Ok this is sounding like we are arguing about semantics. Which leads to no where...

"Sorry, no. Just because the idea of (a) god(s) exists does not give it credibility. If we look at it scientifically, it is just that an idea that (currently?) will not make it to theory status and more likely than not never will. What you try to do is ito give the atheist a "denier status"

It's not supposed to give it credibility. It is a philosophical question that you can look at objectively with logical rules. Sure you could do this to everything like tooth fairy, elves what have you, but the question in case of god becomes more relevant when we ask a question that I mentioned before; Why did these amazingly complex systems arise from the big bang. What is the thing that got the ball rolling? Is it dumb luck or is there something that consciously made it happen this way? That is where the question of god arises. This is why it's different from say, a tooth fairy. People don't wonder where the teeth of children go from under their pillows. They do however wonder why / how did all this shit emerge from a big bang with some spectacular results.

"This is where you got it COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY wrong, again following the red herrings of the believers and assuming that their idea has credibility. Make the atheist a denier"

So what your saying is, you as an atheist, don't assign a low probability for god existence? I'm sure you do.  That does not make you a denier, it just means you don't really think it's possible. Which is fine too. The only thing why I think the agnostic approach is more objective is they don't assume this. An agnostic might think "I do not know how much or how little I know about the nature of universe / reality". Simply put, we do not know what we do not know.

"What the agnostic does is give credibility to these unsubstantiated claims, now don't tell me this is unbiased."

Again, an agnostic would say WE SIMPLY DO NOT KNOW. That is the reality of the situation. Nothing less, nothing more. 

 

   

  

 

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

"What is the thing that got the ball rolling?"

The answer would be "We don't know, we try to find out." Without the  nagging "maybe god did it" in the back of our minds. This will come should there be pointers in that direction.

 

"So what your saying is, you as an atheist, don't assign a low probability for god existence? "

I say "I have no reason to believe there is/are (a) god(s)." So I am NOT in a position to put a probability on it AT ALL. In parallel to the evolution of the dog, someone surely can give a probability on the hybridisation with hyenas but not on ensamination from aliens.

What probability would you give the existance of the tooth fairy or Santa Claus? Are you agnostic to these concepts or rather an atheist?

"Again, an agnostic would say WE SIMPLY DO NOT KNOW. That is the reality of the situation. Nothing less, nothing more. "

This is actually what EVERYBODY should say. This is why it is called belief (otherwise they wold say they know. Some choose to believe that there is/are (a) god(s), others don't. The agnostic still strikes me as not being in the middle but on the believers "side", hence the claim "the absence of a belief is a belief" (i.e. the invalid definition: "to believe there is no god")

 

Good literature on this topic is Shermers "The believing brain"

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
backdraft's picture
Beta Tester

"The answer would be "We don't know, we try to find out." Without the  nagging "maybe god did it" in the back of our minds. This will come should there be pointers in that direction.""

It is very likely that the answer might never come. Thats why it is a nagging question. Maybe atheists just don't like to ponder these things.

"I say "I have no reason to believe there is/are (a) god(s)." So I am NOT in a position to put a probability on it AT ALL."

When ever I've talked to an atheist it's quite clear that they put a low probability on anything likened to "supernatural". Some even give a number like 99% sure there is no god. Maybe you think differently.   

"This is actually what EVERYBODY should say."

Agreed.

"What probability would you give the existance of the tooth fairy or Santa Claus? Are you agnostic to these concepts or rather an atheist?"

Well I kinda gave you the answer as to why people might entertain the idea of god but not santa or tooth fairy.

For one tooth fairy and santa should be material beings, so there should be a way to detect them if they exist. No such luck yet.  So I'm an atheist when it comes to these.

The agnostic still strikes me as not being in the middle but on the believers "side", hence the claim "the absence of a belief is a belief" (i.e. the invalid definition: "to believe there is no god")

Agnostics might come it from an angle that they put no more weight on one than the other. 

Just like the cup and ball analogy I gave earlier. I don't think theres anything "invalid" about saying "I believe there is no ball under the cup". Why should it be any different with god if we simply allow the logical possibility of gods existence?

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

As soon as we put a probability on a creator we automatically are on the "believers side" as we validate at least part of their arguments despite there not being any indicator (or proof) pointing in that direction. 

Let's take the analogy of the cup and a ball:

Question: "There is (what appears to be) an upside down cup sitting on a table, do you think a ball is underneath the cup?"

We KNOW there is only one answer: "I don't know." 

The question NOW is: "Do I have REASON TO BELIEVE there is a ball (or something else) under there?"

The answer to this question depends pretty much on the history I have with the person presenting me with the riddle - to make the example appropriate let's say I don't know any history and I just see an upside down cup on a table somewhere in a park and look at it from a distance- and the tools I have available (or allowed) to find out whether or not there is a ball under the cup.

If I have no tools available, or don't know how to use them (yet?), I do not have any reason to believe there is a ball in there or there is not, so I can't put a probability on neither, as I don't want to double negate I would say:

"I have no reason to believe there is a ball under the cup."

"In fact I have no reason to believe this is a cup at all."

For all I know the possibilities are infinite! Could be a cup or part of the table painted in another colour, or a solid object, or......., or even an illusion.

Even if we establish that indeed it is a cup sitting on a table, the possibilities of what may be underneath it are STILL infinite. Only ONE of these possibilities is that it is a ball.

Now here comes my question to you:

Is it logical to assume there may be a ball underneath the cup? If so:

What do YOU think is the probability of a ball being underneath and how did you calculate it?

 

Just for the fun of it, let's spin this a little further:

  • A self proclaimed expert comes along and says: "I believe there is a ball underneath it!"
  • Another self proclaimed expert comes along and says: "I believe there is a ball underneath it and it is made of iron!"
  • Another self proclaimed expert comes along and says: "I believe there is a ball underneath it and it is made of iron and painted blue"
  • Another self proclaimed expert comes along and says: "I believe there is a ball underneath it and it is made of iron and painted blue and it is the origin of the universe and it was created by god!"
     
  • A researcher says there is no way of detecting what is underneath the cup because we do not (yet?) have the means to do so. We don't know what is underneath the cup. We have no reason to believe it is a ball.
     
  • Another self proclaimed expert comes along and says: "I believe there is a sponge underneath it and it is made of fairy dust and invisible and it is the origin of the universe and it was created by god!"

Can we put probabilities on these?

Do any of these statements increase or decrease the probabiliy af a ball actually being under the cup?

Which of these statements would we give the most credibility?

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
backdraft's picture
Beta Tester

"As soon as we put a probability on a creator we automatically are on the "believers side" as we validate at least part of their arguments despite there not being any indicator (or proof) pointing in that direction. "

Well aren't you validating it just by saying "I don't know"? You leave the possibility open for a god.  So in that regard, I don't see the difference in giving it a probability or saying I don't know. I think you want to have it both ways. Not to give even the slightest credence to the idea of god, yet still having to admit you don't know, so you can remain "objective".

"The answer to this question depends pretty much on the history I have with the person presenting me with the riddle..."

You are looking too deep into this. It's a thought experiment with 2 possible outcomes. Those are the rules of the thought experiment.

I don't know is, of course, the right answer.  Since we have no way of calculating the odds, there is essentially a 50/50 chance from our perspective since we have no other information about the experiment.

"For all I know the possibilities are infinite!..."

No they are not. Either there is a ball or there isn't.

Same goes for god. Two possibilities. God exists or doesn't exist. Maybe there could be some mix of the two, but for the sake of the argument lets keep it simple.

"Is it logical to assume there may be a ball underneath the cup? If so:

What do YOU think is the probability of a ball being underneath and how did you calculate it?"
 
 I already gave my answer to this earlier here. Because I don't know anything except the two possibilities given to me, from my POV the probability is 50/50. 
 
"Just for the fun of it, let's spin this a little further:..."
 
Again these examples do not follow the thought experiments rules. There are only two possibilities. We are not asking anything about the nature of the ball, only if it is there or not.
 
The same would apply to the question of god. We are not asking anything about gods nature, only if the universe was blind luck or was there something conscious that made it happen the way it did.

 

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

"Well aren't you validating it just by saying "I don't know"? You leave the possibility open for a god."

Not necessarily. It's like if you ask me where my wife is right now. I would say  probably in the office. As I don't know her schedule I might be completely wrong and she's out seeing a client.

HOWEVER: If you ask me where my old school mate Stefan is I would say I don't know and could not possibly put a probability on where he is, not even close.

The "validation" regarding god is "I don't have reason to believe there is one" 

 

""For all I know the possibilities are infinite!..."

No they are not. Either there is a ball or there isn't."

Sorry my friend now you are making life too easy for you, This analogy would be like:

Option1: god created the universe, or

Option 2: a myriad of other things and/or events may have led to the creation of the the universe  

Uniting all other possibilities in Option 2 is not a valid approach.

 

"Again these examples do not follow the thought experiments rules. There are only two possibilities. We are not asking anything about the nature of the ball, only if it is there or not."

As we cannot even say whether there is one or various creators - should there be any - I would again say the argument that there are only two options is flawed.

Anyway, I added this only to mock the believers... wink

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
backdraft's picture
Beta Tester

The "validation" regarding god is "I don't have reason to believe there is one"

But as an atheist, you can still admit that you don't know? Right?

"Option1: god created the universe, or

Option 2: a myriad of other things and/or events may have led to the creation of the the universe  
 
Uniting all other possibilities in Option 2 is not a valid approach."
 
Can you give me an example? What else is there than these:
 
The universe was born without the influence of any kind of conscious effort
 
or
 
The universe was born with the influence of some kind of conscious effort.
 
I'm not asking anything specific or scientific. Just what other alternatives are there besides these?

 

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

First off, I repeated this various times, of course I don't know, I simply do not have a reason to believe in (a) god(s). 

I thought I made that clear.

Take your example of the cup. You insist that either there is a ball in there or there isn't. But  you don't know whether there is a slice of bread in there or a trouser button or a book or a pendrive or a pencil or just air or a vacuum.

God, like the ball is just one option:

We don't know what happened before the big bang (let's use thisfor simplicity). 

One option is god made the big bang happen.

Another option is it was created out of another universe, 

Another would be the old imploded and created a new

And so on and so forth. There are infinite options, one (or more) of them is/are (a) creator(s).

To make it a 50-50 bet you would have to eliminate all but one and "god". 

Don't get hung up by the "pure chance creation" (like the creationists do when it comes to evolution)  because it really isn't, there are the laws of nature that give the whole thing a structure and because the universe is so huge even with a lot of random events it is likely that this is the result. 

What it is in the end that makes it a 50/50 in some peoples minds is that believing brain again that oversimplifies to suit its needs, I guess........

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
backdraft's picture
Beta Tester

"I thought I made that clear."

Well yes, but you also said you don't want to give any "validity" to the believer's argument, which you do by saying you don't know. I'm just trying to understand what in your opinion actually separates an atheist and an agnostic. Both agree they don't know. All I can say is an atheist still leans more to "no god". An agnostic can also say "I don't have a reason to believe", yet leaving open the possibility of god, essentially not giving any more weight to one or the other.

"Take your example of the cup. You insist that either there is a ball in there or there isn't."

Well that is the thought experiment like I explained many times. There are two options, but you don't think it's valid because it doesn't suit your infinite possibility scenario.

"One option is god made the big bang happen.

 
Another option is it was created out of another universe, 
 
Another would be the old imploded and created a new
 
And so on and so forth. There are infinite options, one (or more) of them is/are (a) creator(s)."
 
Yes, you can cram an infinite amount of options to how it happened, but I'm not asking how, I'm asking if there was something conscious behind it or not. Then you are left with two options.
 
 
 
"there are the laws of nature that give the whole thing a structure and because the universe is so huge even with a lot of random events it is likely that this is the result."
 
Yes the laws of nature give it structure, so by definition, they are not random. That is why we would ask where did the laws of nature come from that allow such things as "non-random" evolution, chemical rections or stellar formation etc?  
 
"What it is in the end that makes it a 50/50 in some peoples minds is that believing brain again that oversimplifies to suit its needs, I guess........" 
 
Yeah, I pulled that 50/50 number outta my ass, but as we both agree there is no way to calculate the odds, so it is as good as any number....well now that I think about it's a good number in representing "I don't know". It's smack in the middle not giving any higher odds to one or the other. 
 
If you can claim that 50/50 is the result of a "believing brain", then you must have some opinion of what the odds might be, but you just refuse to tell me.
 
 
 

 

 

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
SpikedLegend's picture
Beta Tester

I'd like to say I'm atheist but thats going out on a limb sayng I know for a fact that there is no god or higher power, which no one can prove.

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

No it is not, just look at my reply to backdraft above.

 

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
SpikedLegend's picture
Beta Tester

I get it. Thee burden of proof falls on those who believe.

+1
+1
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

Yes, unless you ask the "believer" then suddenly the rules change.

+1
+1
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

I must say I'm enjoying this conversation. Thank you backdraft for not biastoiding the thread.

"All I can say is an atheist still leans more to "no god". "

The atheist leans more into "show me th evidence for your claims". Which is exactly what it (god) is, an idea, a concept with no apparent reason to exist other than a thought experiment.

This is why we can't give odds to it.

The oversimplification that there are only two options because one may have a "purpouse" behind the creation and all the others haven't and are based on random does not make it a "two option scenario". 

The next question is "IS there a reason at all?"  Where do we come from, where do we go?

We don't know.

  • Some strongly believe they have the answer, i.e. the believer.
  • Some think the believer may have a point but most likely disagree with "religion in general" so they say they are agnostic.
  • Some need evidence to support hypothesis' like this so they are atheists.

What it comes down to is:

We ALL are agnostics because we don't know.

Some give validity to some sort of belief system, others don't. 

What makes me think that the believing brain is to blame is the philosophers completely and utterly unnecessary and illogical caviat as detailed above.

Agnostic is not knowing. Atheism is not knowing and not believing - AND NOT believeing that "what others believe in" does not exist.

We may actually simplify and say "NONE of us know, hence we are ALL agnostics", which leaves us with only 2 options:

  1. you are a believer, or
  2. you are a non believer

 

 

 

 

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
backdraft's picture
Beta Tester

"I must say I'm enjoying this conversation. Thank you backdraft for not biastoiding the thread."

Hah. I'm also amazed how long we've been at this without getting on each other nerves too bad. Usually, these threads devolve to shit pretty quick. 

"The atheist leans more into "show me th evidence for your claims"."

As would an agnostic. I guess the only defining characteristic of an agnostic compared to an atheist is that he can still entertain the idea of god, even though there is no evidence. (trying to be as objective as possible). In science, of course, this would be a no starter because of practical reasons, but it's a philosophical question, which ideally should be what drives science to ask these questions.

"The oversimplification that there are only two options because one may have a "purpouse" behind the creation and all the others haven't and are based on random does not make it a "two option scenario""

I don't see what "purpose" has anything to do with it. Doesn't change a thing. Maybe god did just for shits and giggles maybe the purpose was just to create something. Doesn't matter what it is.

"What makes me think that the believing brain is to blame is the philosophers completely and utterly unnecessary and illogical caviat as detailed above."

So basically saying it's a waste of time to entertain these ideas? Maybe, but it's just logical reasoning on the level of a thought experiment. As I said earlier, philosophy is something that asks questions and drives science  to answer them if possible.

"Agnostic is not knowing. Atheism is not knowing and not believing - AND NOT believeing that "what others believe in" does not exist."

So in short, what separates the two is that an agnostic does not make the jump from not knowing to not believing. There is just the "I don't know".

"We may actually simplify and say "NONE of us know, hence we are ALL agnostics", which leaves us with only 2 options:
 
you are a believer, or
you are a non believer"
 
But this doesn't really include the agnostic. Agnostic just doesn't know.
 
"Is there a ball under the cup?"
 
"I don't know"
 
There is no belief or "non-belief" about it. Just the acknowledgment that one does not know. 

 

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

I was trying to look at "agnosic" ignoring the wiki definition. as agnostic simply means -pointed out by fullauto above- "to not know". So in my simplification, as we all don't know, we are all agnostics in that respect, so this leaves us with two types of agnostics, the ones that do and those that don't believe.

cool

 I want to pick up on "entertaining the idea". I can actually entertain the idea that there is a god for purpouse of philosophical/historical discussion without actually believing that there is one.

I like science fiction as well as for example the x-files but still I don't have to believe that what is presented to me exists or is possible/probable.

I wouldn't say it's a waste of time persuing research on the supernatural neither if someone is so interested in it, the problem I have is when flawed evidence is presented, results are exaggerated and people want some extra credibility or status for their beiefs.

Q: Is there a ball underneath the cup? 

A: I don't know!

Q: Do you believe there is a ball under the cup?

A: I don't have reason to do so.

If the cup would be made of some sort of semi transparent material and one would (think to) see a blurry shape through it the answer may change. But still it could be all sorts of things.

IMHO "atheism" as we know it has it roots in opposing religion and theocracy. This is where I think we should leave it sit, as "antitheocratism". In order to discuss (and defend) the atheists position they need to get into things like "no reason to believe", probability of a god being (almost) 0, science disproves bible, quran, holy books are evil lierature, etc.  

The discussion about the universe and a creator may (or may not) have its origins in religion (sort of as the last resort "god of the gaps"). 

As far as I know what happened before the big bang we currently have no way of knowing, hypothesis include but are not limited to computersimulation and purpousful creator. To me it does not make much of a difference as I don't know and the simulator, creator or whatever does quite obviously not care.

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
backdraft's picture
Beta Tester

""I want to pick up on "entertaining the idea". I can actually entertain the idea that there is a god for purpouse of philosophical/historical discussion without actually believing that there is one"

Yes, entertaining an idea doesn't mean you believe. It's again just there to allow the possibility.

"I like science fiction as well as for example the x-files but still I don't have to believe that what is presented to me exists or is possible/probable."

Don't think that a very good comparison. It's like saying I can't enjoy Lord of the Rings because theres too much magic in it and I can't even remotely consider it a possibility.

"I wouldn't say it's a waste of time persuing research on the supernatural neither if someone is so interested in it"

It's not a waste of time because that's what objective science is supposed to do. To see if there is something to it. Of course, it requires you to first allow the possibility of it in a real sense, not just "entertain the idea".

Have you looked at the Radins videos I linked here? The double slit experiment is pretty interesting wink    https://youtu.be/nRSBaq3vAeY

"Q: Is there a ball underneath the cup? 

A: I don't know!
 
Q: Do you believe there is a ball under the cup?
 
A: I don't have reason to do so."
 
Q: Do you believe there is no ball under the cup.  
 
A: I don't have reason to do so. 
 
"IMHO "atheism" as we know it has it roots in opposing religion and theocracy. This is where I think we should leave it sit, as "antitheocratism". In order to discuss (and defend) the atheists position they need to get into things like "no reason to believe", probability of a god being (almost) 0, science disproves bible, quran, holy books are evil lierature, etc"
 
I agree, I think this describes the atheist position really well.  Because it is an opposing force to theism it has to take this position. I also think this is where it can wrong very easily by getting lost in the fight, thereby loosing the scientific objective approach that it claims to caters to.
What I've noticed is the more you fight something, the more dogmatic you become. We have a fine example here on spiked -> Berg vs fullauto.
 
 
+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
daftcunt's picture

"Don't think that a very good comparison. It's like saying I can't enjoy Lord of the Rings because theres too much magic in it and I can't even remotely consider it a possibility"

I think it is. Because  "Lord of the Rings" or "Harry Potter" may describe what is possible in a parallel universe very accurately, maybe there is even a door to such a world here on earth somewhere, maybe in this world "THE CREATOR" has thought up and made our universe. It's just that nobody told you or me about it yet..... 

Let's not put a probability on it but you most definitely can't disprove this hypothesis!

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
Mortreal's picture

All beliefs are evil...

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
Fullauto223cal's picture

My silly mother in law actually expressed concern to my wife over our attending the total solar eclipse.  Some such nonsense about the constellations and some bullshit in Revelations.  She actually told my wife that we should plan for if the eclipse lasts longer than predicted.  I don't think she understands how eclipses work.  I asked my wife why her mom thought the moons shadow would suddenly stop over Hopkinsville, KY of all places.  My wife, bless her, has to listen and patronize her mom so as not to insult her.  I think her mom knows I would laugh in her face.

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down
danmanjones's picture

IMO the main reason we came up with a higher being is because we can only agree on abstract ideas that we can relate to. So when we ask "where did existence come from", we look around and see how things get made (people make things) and we agree that some humn-like being with greater power than us must have created everything else.

That's not my opinion, I'm just describing the process and bulk-think reasoning behind God and why we would quickly create him again if he didn't already exist (in our mind). Not that "he" exists in my mind.

Personally I find atheism just as close-minded as theism. Both require a leap of faith & drawing conclusions without all the facts. What's the hurry to find out how existence began? We just got free porn. One thing at a time.

+1
0
-1
Vote comment up/down