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Atheism and Theism are equally absurd.
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Posted 2007-12-19, 11:34 PM
Discuss.
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Posted 2007-12-19, 11:43 PM in reply to !King_Amazon!'s post "Atheism and Theism are equally absurd."
You're born an atheist. You become a theist by incessant proselytizing. And no, they are not equally absurd. The 'magic man' hypothesis is far more absurd.

Last edited by Demosthenes; 2007-12-19 at 11:55 PM.
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Posted 2007-12-19, 11:55 PM in reply to Demosthenes's post starting "You're born an atheist. You become a..."
Descartes would disagree.

I expect a better argument from you than that, MJ. Please tell me why your theory that there is no God or Supreme Being is less absurd than the theory that there is. I'm interested where this will go.
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Posted 2007-12-19, 11:56 PM in reply to !King_Amazon!'s post starting "Descartes would disagree. I expect a..."
!King_Amazon! said:
Descartes would disagree.
Descartes did not have the luxury of the vast amount of knowledge that we have gained since his time. Regardless of how much smarter he may have been than myself, he was handicapped.

I'll explain after this episode of SVU.
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Posted 2007-12-19, 11:59 PM in reply to Demosthenes's post starting "You're born an atheist. You become a..."
mjordan2nd said:
You're born an atheist. You become a theist by incessant proselytizing.
Could the same not be said about anything? Arguably, you know nothing but natural instincts when you're born. Does that mean that nothing but those natural instincts are true?

Just because we aren't born with the knowledge of something doesn't mean it's necessarily untrue. I did not know 2+2=4 when I was born, but I'm fairly certain it's true now.
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Posted 2007-12-20, 12:21 AM in reply to !King_Amazon!'s post starting "Could the same not be said about..."
You're right. Innate instinct has nothing to do with the verity of those instincts. I concede that to you. However, I did not mean to insinuate that innate instinct implies verity, I was simply venting my loathing of religion.

Would you consider it absurd to deny the existence of Thor? How about Zeus? Poseidon, Hera, Minerva, Rah, or any of the millions of other Gods that I can not possibly cover here? Would you consider animism absurd? Your answer to most of these is probably yes. As it should be. Why? Because any form of theism is making a positive claim. And the onus lies with the claimant when asked to prove his claim. If he cannot, then the claim should be dismissed by a thinking person.

People are often confused by what atheism is. Atheism is not a positive claim, it is the rejection of a positive claim that is postulated by some, and inculcated to most of the rest. And as I said before, the burden of proof lies with the claimant, not the skeptic. I know I've posted this analogy before, but the theism scenario's absurdity is summarized by Bertrand Russel's teapot analogy:

Quote:
If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.
Now, if you still don't see why, I think this argument should be broken down mathematically. Theism essentially is an explanation for the existence of life, the cosmos, and everything inside it. But theism is only one of a billion different explanations that can be conjectured. In fact, it's one in an infinite, however I will stick with a billion for mathematical simplicity. One of these billion explanations must be correct. However, we can only lean towards one over the others when one has evidence, otherwise they should all have an equal weight in our consideration. Well, lets assume that this is the case. Lets assume that they all have equal weight (in reality they don't...science is evermore piling on the evidence, and ontological arguments make the God hypothesis unlikely to start with). Then what the theist is doing is claiming that his 1/1,000,000,000 is absolutely the correct one. The atheist is saying, no, it is one of the other 999,999,999/1,000,000,000.
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Posted 2007-12-20, 12:33 AM in reply to Demosthenes's post starting "You're right. Innate instinct has..."
mjordan2nd said:
Would you consider it absurd to deny the existence of Thor? How about Zeus? Poseidon, Hera, Minerva, Rah, or any of the millions of other Gods that I can not possibly cover here? Would you consider animism absurd? Your answer to most of these is probably yes. As it should be. Why? Because any form of theism is making a positive claim. And the onus lies with the claimant when asked to prove his claim. If he cannot, then the claim should be dismissed by a thinking person.
You're confusing two different things into the same thought. Yes, I would consider it absurd to deny the existance of Thor, Zues, Poseidon, etc. I would consider it equally absurd to claim that they exist. I think it is completely absurd for someone to claim that something exists when they have no proof that it exists. Just the same, I think it's equally absurd to claim that something doesn't exist when you cannot prove that it doesn't exist.

Mj said:
People are often confused by what atheism is. Atheism is not a positive claim, it is the rejection of a positive claim that is postulated by some, and inculcated to most of the rest. And as I said before, the burden of proof lies with the claimant, not the skeptic. I know I've posted this analogy before, but the theism scenario's absurdity is summarized by Bertrand Russel's teapot analogy:
I agree completely with Mr. Russel. I do not think it is absurd to doubt the existence of something which cannot be proven to exist. I do think it is absurd to claim it to be true that something does not exist based solely on the fact that it cannot be proven to exist. For instance, there is no way for us to prove that aliens exist or don't exist. I do not think it's absurd for someone to doubt aliens exist, because that's the logical path to take if there is no evidence for something. However, I do think it would be absurd for someone to claim that aliens do NOT exist, without evidence to back up their claim.


Mj said:
Now, if you still don't see why, I think this argument should be broken down mathematically. Theism essentially is an explanation for the existence of life, the cosmos, and everything inside it. But theism is only one of a billion different explanations that can be conjectured. In fact, it's one in an infinite, however I will stick with a billion for mathematical simplicity. One of these billion explanations must be correct. However, we can only lean towards one over the others when one has evidence, otherwise they should all have an equal weight in our consideration. Well, lets assume that this is the case. Lets assume that they all have equal weight (in reality they don't...science is evermore piling on the evidence, and ontological arguments make the God hypothesis unlikely to start with). Then what the theist is doing is claiming that his 1/1,000,000,000 is absolutely the correct one. The atheist is saying, no, it is one of the other 999,999,999/1,000,000,000.
I think you're over complicating the discussion, as I'm simply basing the idea that either a supreme being exists or doesn't exist. Two possibilities, only one can be right, and both have equal amounts of evidence(none.)
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Posted 2007-12-20, 12:49 AM in reply to !King_Amazon!'s post starting "You're confusing two different things..."
Just because there are two possible outcomes does not mean that they both deserve equal consideration. I could claim to be God himself. You have no real way of proving or disproving it. But if you gave it any serious consideration I would suggest that you get yourself admitted. That's how cults start. Just because two possible answers exist does not make both credible. And once again, the positive claim is the one that needs to be proved. If I claimed that I was God, it would be on me to prove it. It would not be on you to prove that I am not God, it is on me to prove it. Similarly, the God hypothesis demands evidence for any serious consideration.
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Posted 2007-12-21, 10:58 PM in reply to Demosthenes's post starting "Just because there are two possible..."
What about the saying...

If there was no god, there would be no Athiests?
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Posted 2007-12-22, 12:30 AM in reply to -Spector-'s post starting "What about the saying... If there..."
-Spector- said:
What about the saying...

If there was no god, there would be no Athiests?
If there was no belief in God, there would be no atheists.
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Posted 2007-12-24, 08:31 PM in reply to Demosthenes's post starting "If there was no belief in God, there..."
Thank you.
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Posted 2007-12-24, 08:39 PM in reply to Demosthenes's post starting "If there was no belief in God, there..."
mjordan2nd said:
If there was no belief in God, there would be no atheists.
If there were no belief in god, everyone would be atheist by definition.
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Posted 2007-12-24, 08:43 PM in reply to WetWired's post starting "If there were no belief in god,..."
a·the·ist –noun
a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

I still say that to deny or disbelieve [verbs] implies action by an individual, which means it is not passive and thus not innate (as babies are not athiests). To deny it, the concept of God has to exist, which it wouldn't if there was no belief. Basically, 150,000 years ago there were no atheists.
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Posted 2007-12-25, 02:16 AM in reply to WetWired's post starting "If there were no belief in god,..."
WetWired said:
If there were no belief in god, everyone would be atheist by definition.
Well, I agree, however the concept of atheist would not exist either. For instance, we are all a-alchemists. However, I do not believe that there exists a word that means people that do not believe in alchemy. So from that perspective nobody is a (whatever word may mean "one who does not believe in alchemy"). From our definition, yes, everyone would have been an atheist. However, from the perspective of a world with no concept of God, the term atheist would simply not exist.

Quote:
I still say that to deny or disbelieve [verbs] implies action by an individual, which means it is not passive and thus not innate (as babies are not athiests). To deny it, the concept of God has to exist, which it wouldn't if there was no belief. Basically, 150,000 years ago there were no atheists.
To deny something you must actively reject the idea. Disbelief, however, is simply a lack of a belief. "A baby disbelieves" requires no more thought from the baby than "A baby exists," both sentences using action verbs.

I think most atheists would say that atheism is better defined as the lack of belief in a God or Gods. I would also like to point out that contrary to popular belief, atheism does not imply certainty of the nonexistence of God, but simply a lack of belief in God. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking atheism requires some faith. If it were the 100% absolute rejection of the idea of God, I would agree (although I would say it only requires as much faith as the assumption that you will never see the statue of liberty as it exists today wave at you...technically possible). But that is not what atheism is.

Finally, Grav I agree that there were no atheists 150,000 years ago, but not for the reasons you do. By our definition (assuming that there were no primitive animist religions at the time), yes, everyone at the time was an atheist. However, since the concept of atheism did not exist 150,000 years ago, nobody would have been called an atheist.
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Posted 2007-12-25, 10:30 AM in reply to Demosthenes's post starting "Well, I agree, however the concept of..."
This is just entirely a discussion of semantics, however. It is inherently circuitious and cannot come a pointed conclusion.
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Posted 2007-12-25, 11:38 AM in reply to Grav's post starting "This is just entirely a discussion of..."
Clarifying semantics is important if we ever hope to dissociate ourselves with the stigmas society has given us. In fact, to have a discussion about anything we should be clear about semantics. This is an entirely frivolous discussion if I and KA have different definitions of atheist.

Last edited by Demosthenes; 2007-12-25 at 11:41 AM.
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Posted 2007-12-25, 11:58 AM in reply to Demosthenes's post starting "Clarifying semantics is important if we..."
Oh, I agree with that. It just appears that the problem is currently not based around the views of an idea, but the views of what the definition of said idea is. So there is disagreement on two levels.
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Posted 2008-05-29, 04:21 PM in reply to Grav's post starting "Oh, I agree with that. It just appears..."
I hope that this clarifies what I mean by the difference between the two.
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Posted 2008-05-30, 10:29 AM in reply to Demosthenes's post starting "I hope that this..."
I hope that this clarifies my exact feelings.
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Posted 2008-05-30, 02:38 PM in reply to Thanatos's post starting "I hope that this..."
I'm not following you.
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