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Thread: The Folly of Atheism

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecco View Post
    First you admit they are questions. Then you state they are pronouncements.
    No sense tryna troll the y-man, pilgrim. You'll just end up trolling yourself.
    "When I am weaker than you, I ask you for my freedom because that is according to your principles. When I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles."

    ~ Frank Herbert

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    Quote Originally Posted by usfan View Post
    I tend to agree with Frank, here. The chart seems silly, & merely is a definitional muddying of terms.. The only difference between 'gnostic & agnostic' is dogmatism. One is claiming Absolute Knowledge, with no empirical evidence, while the other acknowledges some holes in their knowledge base. It is more a level of delusion than a statement of reality....
    It is incredibly telling and interesting that the people that have the most trouble with this graphic are theists and agnostics who both cling to their ignorance like it's a shield, kind of supports what I have been arguing that theism and agnosticism are two sides of the same coin. The chart is not meant to be definitive, as I have already concluded myself in a previous post, the main purpose is to show how knowledge and belief are possibly on perpendicular axes because they address two different questions.

    Actually, your goal is very much like that of the agnostic which is to wedge open a gap of ignorance and try to assert that atheism is just a religion as well. Sure, you do make an attempt to hide it just like William Lane Craig tries to but, despite the language and the philosophical ramblings, that IS your whole point. You want to wedge your theism into that gap in order to give it a seat at the table; at least your motivation in that respect is clear. I suspect that agnostics do it to address psychological needs.
    Last edited by William Rea; Feb 16 2017 at 10:22 PM.
    I am an atheist, I lack belief; if you can't show it, you don't know it and I'm not interested in somemanymostism.
    If you don't try to tell me what I believe then we will probably get along fine.

  3. #953

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    Quote Originally Posted by usfan View Post
    I welcome any discussion or rebuttal to these points.
    So do you believe that a god exists?

  4. #954

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecco View Post
    I'll keep in mind that you consider the following colorful but not derisive...
    fools, irrational, hysterical
    ...please don't be offended if, in the future I use these, as well as any others, in referring to you.
    You "logic" doesn't hurt and neither does your ignorant arrogance. I recognize you are just the result of your early childhood indoctrination.
    You've called me a liar, made specious claims about my childhood, speculated on my motives, & just about every ad hominem angle you can find. But reply to my points of reason? No. Rebut any logical arguments? Nada.

    So i don't expect anything BUT ad hominem from you, as it seems to be the only weapon in your arsenal. My conclusion? Folly. Those who cannot reason, but employ logical fallacies are fools, & irrational, hysterical 'debaters'. If you applied my general observation to yourself, it was aptly placed. Is it surprising to me that you will double down on insults & other ad hominem arguments? No. I expect that. Most of the time, as i point out quite often, i ignore the peanut gallery of hecklers & irrational debaters, but occasionally i'll point out the emptiness & absurdity of the 'arguments' presented.. to try to differentiate between reason & folly. But it is beyond my ability, or even desire, to try to force reason on those who are committed to folly.

    Quote Originally Posted by tkolter View Post
    May I ask which is the bigger FOLLY that of spending untold trillions on holy places, paid clergy, man hours, material wealth and other things with ZERO hard evidence it does anything useful either defensive to appease some supreme beings or practical these beings doing comparable or more value back in aid to the human race. <OR> Not doing that and using all that in other ways which could be far more productive such as one example advancing our general scientific knowledge.
    That is the essence of my THEIST VS. ATHEISM position in simple terms I say the folly falls hard on the THEISTS on this.
    I don't agree. Complaining that 'too much money is spent!' is a vague & unprovable charge. How much money is spent on sports? Football? Basketball? What 'value' to the human race do these produce? PBS, foolish grants to study drunk girls during spring break, & myriads of public funds are spent with no regard to the ideology of those paying for it. At least religious contributions are voluntary, unlike the state centered, wasteful, corrupt, & foolish spending from our elected representatives.

    I think there is a valid argument that religious institutions have done more over the centuries for humanity.. medical care, food, shelter, & other humanitarian ventures used to be completely in the realm of charitable institutions. If people want to spend their hard earned money on that, who am i to find fault? If they want to watch & fund nature shows, or go to sporting events, or collect stamps, why should i object? I do not see this as a valid argument at all. That is a judgement call, at best, with no way to quantify whether the money spent on voluntary religious contributions is 'useful' or not.
    Quote Originally Posted by William Rea View Post
    It is incredibly telling and interesting that the people that have the most trouble with this graphic are theists and agnostics who both cling to their ignorance like it's a shield, kind of supports what I have been arguing that theism and agnosticism are two sides of the same coin. The chart is not meant to be definitive, as I have already concluded myself in a previous post, the main purpose is to show how knowledge and belief are possibly on perpendicular axes because they address two different questions.

    Actually, your goal is very much like that of the agnostic which is to wedge open a gap of ignorance and try to assert that atheism is just a religion as well. Sure, you do make an attempt to hide it just like William Lane Craig tries to but, despite the language and the philosophical ramblings, that IS your whole point. You want to wedge your theism into that gap in order to give it a seat at the table; at least your motivation in that respect is clear. I suspect that agnostics do it to address psychological needs.
    Logic should not be an 'identity politics' discipline. The ideology of the logician is not the issue, but the soundness of his arguments. My 'trouble' with the graphic is with unnecessary qualifiers. The only difference between 'gnostic' & 'agnostic' atheists is in the dogmatism of their belief. The gnostic or strong atheist is just more dogmatic, asserting his beliefs to be Absolute Truth. The agnostic or weak atheist is just more introspective, & gives himself leeway for change, should more or better information become available. That is all it is. There is no difference in the belief stated, 'I don't believe in god'. The only difference is in the dogmatism. 'I KNOW there is no god', vs 'I don't believe there is a god, but i'm open to other possibilities'. both are atheists, as the qualifying statement is one of belief. The 'gnostic' or strong atheist just tries to bluff with arrogant, dogmatic bravado, & claim omniscience about all the mysteries of the universe. IOW, the 'strong' atheist is demonstrating his folly, by pretending to have all knowledge about the universe.

    There is no other option, for the atheist. Either he must declare his beliefs dogmatically, or provide a disclaimer. It is no different with theists, as i have pointed out. And, it is my intent to hold a place for you at the philosophical table.. but rational discussion with dogmatists, from either side of the supernatural spectrum, is always difficult.

    Far from promoting ignorance, i am revealing Truth. I extend wisdom & insight to those who would open their minds to the bigger picture, & give up their petty dogmatic beliefs for a moment. Consider the expanse of eternity, infinity, & the finite knowledge of man. A broad mind, aware of its own limitations is a much better tool for inquiry than a closed, dogmatic one, convinced of its own superior knowledge.



    I post this quote every so often.. it seem very pertinent in the forums, where opinions are handed out like candy, with no inclination to support them. But it is the age we are in, & there have been irrational fools forever.. now, they just can post all the time on the internet.

    Still, my main point, here, if there is one, is to warn of the dangers of dogmatism, from wherever it comes. It is not exclusive to any ideology, but is a human trait. The scientific revolution of centuries past sought to provide methodology & inquiry to replace dogmatic, mandated 'science', but that is no longer the current climate. We are, IMO, in a period of 'anti science' where reason & facts can be simply declared by an elite class, & the True Believers turn off their own minds & trust in the privileged elite. I hope someday for a return to skeptical scrutiny, & the encouragement to ask, 'Why?' I probably won't see it, but i have seen the reverse, as we have left the station of reason, & embarked on the train of madness & folly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirty Rotten Imbecile View Post
    So do you believe that a god exists?
    Yes. I have taken the 'theist' label. Now, whether you call it strong, weak, gnostic, or agnostic, i will leave to others, who seem to have a desire for more qualifiers for their beliefs. But in the general sense, yes. I am a believer in God & the supernatural.
    Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. ~Eric Hoffer

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    Quote Originally Posted by usfan View Post
    You've called me a liar, made specious claims about my childhood, speculated on my motives, & just about every ad hominem angle you can find. But reply to my points of reason? No. Rebut any logical arguments? Nada.
    I don't recall calling you a liar, but It's possible.
    Your confuse your assertions with logical arguments.
    I have repeatedly and clearly stated my position.
    I referred to your childhood indoctrination in response to your nonsensical arguments that PBS Nature shows are indoctrination.
    Last edited by ecco; Feb 17 2017 at 06:14 AM.

  6. #956

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    Quote Originally Posted by usfan View Post
    Yes. I have taken the 'theist' label. Now, whether you call it strong, weak, gnostic, or agnostic, i will leave to others, who seem to have a desire for more qualifiers for their beliefs. But in the general sense, yes. I am a believer in God & the supernatural.
    Do you remember choosing to become a theist?

  7. #957

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirty Rotten Imbecile View Post
    Do you remember choosing to become a theist?
    That is a funny choice of words.. did you 'choose' to become an atheist?

    I believe most people arrive at their beliefs through multiple influences.. experience, childhood, parents, teachers, peers, and perhaps some personal study. Nobody exists in a vacuum, but we are all products of the influences & experiences of our lives. Our 'world views' are molded through these experiences, which might or might not include personally acquired evidence. This is not empirical, but subjective, so it is not useful in scientific methodology. But, there is evidence there, & a logical conclusion to the belief or world view.

    At least, with some. Some people are just dogmatists, believing in what others have told them. They esteem or respect some personality, & it flavors their outlook on origins & the supernatural. They do not inquire themselves, but 'trust' what they have been taught. This is the 'indoctrination' that i have stated in this thread & others. Few people, if any, can completely escape the indoctrination of the surrounding status quo.

    My personal experiences, & details as to how i came to embrace them, are a private matter that i do not wish to subject to hecklers & mockers on an internet forum. I have stated my beliefs, as a theist, & have made no claims, other than as a belief. I do not claim empirical evidence for my beliefs, just as i do not see that for any beliefs about the supernatural. My arguments here are from empiricism & objective reality, not based on subjective or anecdotal evidence.

    I will say that i have made the journey from agnosticism, my earliest childhood belief (i don't know!). I knew people around me who believed, & who didn't. I was a sponge, as most children, & just soaked up the impressions of others. I then transitioned to a 'weak' atheism, to use the terminology here, & doubted the existence of any supernatural realm, & eventually became a dogmatic/strong/gnostic atheist, declaring 'there is no god'. It was a personal revelation.. an experience with something 'supernatural', that turned the course of my life toward seeking the truth about this mystery of the universe. I am convinced of the existence of God, & a supernatural realm that is beyond the capacity of our finite, material bodies. I cannot define it, or explain it, but i believe it exists, from my own experiences & from others throughout the history of man. I am not impressed with dogmatists who try to declare THEIR beliefs about the supernatural as Absolute Truth, any more than i'm impressed with an atheist who does the same. For me, dogmatism is the enemy of Truth & inquiry, from whatever ideology it springs from.

    Spirituality is an inward, introspective activity. Without some doubt as to our own perceptions, or any circumspection of our beliefs, it is too easy to slide into the comfortable easy chair of dogmatic belief. Wisdom, imo, is embracing self doubt & introspection. It is realizing the limits of our personal knowledge, & allowing some awe & mystery to dwell within us.

    "The fundamental cause of trouble in the world is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt." ~Bertrand Russell

    Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. ~Eric Hoffer

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    Quote Originally Posted by usfan View Post
    I am always intrigued at the attention given to philosophical beliefs, and the dogmatic confidence many have in those beliefs Many religious beliefs are examined, criticised, & psychoanalyzed in this forum but not much is given to atheism The title may put some off, but since the 'folly of religion' is a constant topic here on the forum, i thought it only fair to consider the folly of atheism.

    Why & how does someone become an atheist? Many atheists grew up in a religious home. What made them change from the societal norm of believing in a Greater Power, to total disbelief? I suppose i need to define my terms, & lay the foundation for my observations. There are 3 basic worldviews, regarding the universe.

    1. The universe exists & originated from only natural processes. This i have defined as 'Naturalism'.
    2. The universe exists & originated by supernatural processes, from an unseen, powerful Entity. 'Supernaturalism'
    3. Nothing is real, the universe does not exist, & knowledge is unknowable. 'Absurdism'
    4. I don't know. 'Agnosticism'

    I added a 4th, but don't really consider it a 'worldview' in its own right, because it is merely admitting ignorance. But there is an element of dogmatism in that view, too. Many not only claim 'agnosticism', but they claim that view is absolute. It is similar to #3 in that it claims that knowledge about these things are unknowable. So for that reason, i usually combine 3 & 4, as being the same basic worldview. It is reflected in Greek skepticism,
    "Nothing can be known, not even this". Carneades (c. 214 - 129 B.C.)

    So, the 3 main worldviews can be summarized like this:

    Skepticism
    Relativism
    Empiricism

    Skepticism has its roots in the Greek philosophers who basically claimed that knowledge is unknowable. Life is an illusion, has no meaning, & is absurd. There are, of course, blends of this belief system in the others, but there is a logical disconnect. But for the skeptic, & even the relativist, logic really has no purpose, as Absolute Truth is a meaningless concept.

    Relativism is the basic worldview of the progressive left. It is based in naturalism, which concludes there are no rules for human behavior, other than what man decides. Morality is relative. Law is relative. Even Truth, as a concept, is relative.

    Empiricism is the worldview that sprang from the age of Reason, the Enlightenment, & scientific methodology. It presumes that knowledge can be known, & that humanity was tasked with discovering 'what God hath wrought'. It is rooted in Natural Law, & the belief in a Creative Force in the universe.. a supernatural explanation.

    I would also like to point out that all of these worldviews are mere beliefs. There is no empirical evidence to compel a conclusion of one over the others. More on that, later.

    As a culture, we have been morphing from empiricism to relativism, so there is some overlap. Some scientific methodology is still esteemed, or at least given lip service to, but the trend is toward dogmatism. Science is mandated, & is no longer up for discussion or debate. Inquiry is discouraged, & trust in the elite is expected. Most students now are not rooted in the empirical sciences, or critical thinking, but are grilled in dogma, & told what to believe. No leeway is given for alternate views, or criticism of the elite's mandates. Conformity is the norm, & any outliers are attacked with religious intolerance. This morphing process has given birth to hybrid worldviews, that combine factors from all of them, but there is usually a core belief in one, as the central part of the worldview.

    Ok, i've gone the long way around in examining how an atheist comes to be, but the root ideals are part of that. Nobody exists in a vacuum, but are the product of many factors, in their worldview. Here are the driving factors for becoming atheistic in one's belief system:

    Redefine Science. Among atheists, especially the militant ones, the common theme is, 'Theists are religious, atheists follow science'. This is fundamentally flawed on many levels.

    1. Science is indifferent to worldviews, & only provides facts or evidence for a belief system.
    2. There are NO scientific facts or evidence that compels an atheistic worldview. Naturalism is a belief, & is not a proven concept, scientifically. It is not even a good theory of origins, but is filled with assumptions, flaws, & logical fallacies.
    3. The scientific method is one of discovery, & is not dependent on one's religious beliefs.
    4. Atheism is every much a belief system.. a 'religion'.. as any theistic based one.
    5. This is merely an argument by definition, or using circular reasoning. It is merely a definitional dodge, not a logical conclusion.
    6. It is false by observation, as many brilliant scientists have been theists, & have made astounding discoveries. There is no conflict in using the scientific method & personal beliefs.
    7. Many atheists are not scientists, nor have the tools for critical thinking & inquiry, and do not know the scientific basis for their beliefs. Theirs is a religious belief, based on trust for an indoctrinating elite.

    There are more factors in molding one's worldview, but this is enough for now. I welcome any discussion or rebuttal to these points.
    You are a smart guy but you don't understand what atheism fundamentally is at all. First off atheism can be a belief that God doesn't exist or just not believing in God. To not believe in God is to lack belief. For many atheists extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and they have found no convincing evidence for God so they don't believe in him, or lack belief in him. In the same way there is no evidence fairies exist so you don't believe in fairies. Not believing in God doesn't require any more religious belief than not believing in fairies, unicorns, or trolls.
    "To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous
    as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin."
    Cardinal Bellarmine, 1615, during the trial of Galileo

  9. #959

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    Quote Originally Posted by usfan View Post
    That is a funny choice of words.. did you 'choose' to become an atheist?

    I believe most people arrive at their beliefs through multiple influences.. experience, childhood, parents, teachers, peers, and perhaps some personal study. Nobody exists in a vacuum, but we are all products of the influences & experiences of our lives. Our 'world views' are molded through these experiences, which might or might not include personally acquired evidence. This is not empirical, but subjective, so it is not useful in scientific methodology. But, there is evidence there, & a logical conclusion to the belief or world view.

    At least, with some. Some people are just dogmatists, believing in what others have told them. They esteem or respect some personality, & it flavors their outlook on origins & the supernatural. They do not inquire themselves, but 'trust' what they have been taught. This is the 'indoctrination' that i have stated in this thread & others. Few people, if any, can completely escape the indoctrination of the surrounding status quo.

    My personal experiences, & details as to how i came to embrace them, are a private matter that i do not wish to subject to hecklers & mockers on an internet forum. I have stated my beliefs, as a theist, & have made no claims, other than as a belief. I do not claim empirical evidence for my beliefs, just as i do not see that for any beliefs about the supernatural. My arguments here are from empiricism & objective reality, not based on subjective or anecdotal evidence.

    I will say that i have made the journey from agnosticism, my earliest childhood belief (i don't know!). I knew people around me who believed, & who didn't. I was a sponge, as most children, & just soaked up the impressions of others. I then transitioned to a 'weak' atheism, to use the terminology here, & doubted the existence of any supernatural realm, & eventually became a dogmatic/strong/gnostic atheist, declaring 'there is no god'. It was a personal revelation.. an experience with something 'supernatural', that turned the course of my life toward seeking the truth about this mystery of the universe. I am convinced of the existence of God, & a supernatural realm that is beyond the capacity of our finite, material bodies. I cannot define it, or explain it, but i believe it exists, from my own experiences & from others throughout the history of man. I am not impressed with dogmatists who try to declare THEIR beliefs about the supernatural as Absolute Truth, any more than i'm impressed with an atheist who does the same. For me, dogmatism is the enemy of Truth & inquiry, from whatever ideology it springs from.

    Spirituality is an inward, introspective activity. Without some doubt as to our own perceptions, or any circumspection of our beliefs, it is too easy to slide into the comfortable easy chair of dogmatic belief. Wisdom, imo, is embracing self doubt & introspection. It is realizing the limits of our personal knowledge, & allowing some awe & mystery to dwell within us.

    "The fundamental cause of trouble in the world is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt." ~Bertrand Russell

    So on the one hand you are unable to define or explain your your belief yet there was a particular experience that was essential to your transition from atheist to theist.

    I respect not wanting to expose that on this message board, it's definitely a hostile place at times. Without exposing too much, can you say a little bit more about this personal revelation? It may not be something you can qualify as evidence to others but do you consider it to be a type of evidence that you rely on?

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Distraff View Post
    You are a smart guy but you don't understand what atheism fundamentally is at all. First off atheism can be a belief that God doesn't exist or just not believing in God. To not believe in God is to lack belief. For many atheists extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and they have found no convincing evidence for God so they don't believe in him, or lack belief in him. In the same way there is no evidence fairies exist so you don't believe in fairies. Not believing in God doesn't require any more religious belief than not believing in fairies, unicorns, or trolls.
    You are correct that people who use the descriptor "atheist"...DO NOT BELIEVE IN ANY GODS.

    That IS, as you said, a "lack of belief."

    People who use the descriptor "agnostic" also DO NOT BELIEVE IN ANY GODS. That also is a "lack of belief."


    BUT people who use the descriptor "atheist" almost certainly do not do so because of the "lack of belief" that any gods exist...but rather because of a positive "BELIEF" that no gods exist...or because of a positive "BELIEF" that it is more likely that no gods exist than that at least one god exists.

    They would use "non-theist" or "agnostic" if that were not the case, because the group known as "atheists" contain MANY, MANY, MANY people who BELIEVE that no gods exist or that it is more likely that no gods exist than that at least one does.

    The comment that many of us "don't understand what atheism fundamentally is at all"...IS NONSENSE.

    We can discuss this is you'd like.

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