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fullywired

Dawkins Scale

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First, both your descriptions are essentially identical.

No, they are not. They are superficially identical, however at their essence, they indicate two fundamentally different concepts, which I explained when I first posted them.

Both lack grammatical sense in the same manner - i.e. they presuppose the existence of God,

No, they do not.

Nor would such a supposition be a grammatical issue, but that is besides the point.

then suggest the atheist does not "believe" in that entity.

The existence or non-existence of God is irrelevant to belief.

I prefer "believing there is no God" - which is much sounder grammar.

English grammar has little to offer in terms of soundness.

Regardless, neither of the descriptions you use are less, or more, 'inflexible' than the other.

And yet, they are. Which is why dictionaries include both.

Second, it is impossible to "lack belief".

Not at all. The lack of belief is the neutral position a skeptic takes towards those things he does not know with any significant degree of certitude or has not limited in terms of likely variables.

When questioned regarding the existence of a deity with the expectation of a "Yes or No" answer, the atheist will answer "No. God does not exist."

You might. I would answer, "I do not believe so."

To answer in this manner implies the atheist must believe God does not exist and does not "lack belief".

Correct. An atheist of that extreme end of the spectrum would indeed believe that God does not exist, and would not lack belief, because they have a belief (that belief being that God does not exist). Moreover, they would have indicated, through their use of language, that their position is inflexible and incontrovertible. Indeed, it could even come off as somewhat aggressive, depending on the person saying it.

I, however, having answered "I do not believe so" have indicated far more flexibility. I don't really have a belief towards God to any great extent, other than I don't believe he exists, in the same manner I don't believe Bigfoot or psychic powers exist. Still, somewhere in my head, some little part of my monkey brain refuses to let the matter lie, and instead of going all in on a belief of non-existence, keeps me at a level where I haven't got a firm belief on it, so I'll stick with an empty set.

Lastly, I have, in the past, argued against using "disbelieving in God" as a description for atheism, because the phrase is grammatically unsound. However, those who referred to themselves as atheist argued that it meant the same as "believing there is no God" - even if it wasn't as accurate in grammar.

Good for you. :tu:

So, are you arguing against atheists?

On a fairly regular basis.

Why, were we all supposed to agree on something?

As much as the actions of the agnostic (or atheist) is immaterial to their stance on whether they believe the divine exists, so are the actions of theists immaterial to their belief. A person either believes the divine exists (theist), believes there is nothing divine (atheist), or is undecided (agnostic). There is no "sliding scale" in this - except, perhaps, in the degree of agnosticism one holds to.

There is also a fourth option: Not having a belief. It comes from not really giving the matter enough importance to even warrant deciding there is a choice to be made. There's also the one where you know and state that logically God is unlikely to exist, and intellectually you agree that he does not exist, and that inside your head, you think of yourself as an atheist, but some part of you just doesn't want to let go of the magic, and you really don't see any reason not to indulge it.

So, that's five options. How many options should there be prior to deciding it is a sliding scale?

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One is the correct, and thus only usable, definition of atheist. :innocent:

Yes, because words only have one correct meaning.

An atheist is a person who has made a conscious decision that god(s) do not exist and holds that position consciously as a belief.

According to whom? By which authority are you demanding the inclusion of a conscious decision?

A young child or someone who has never heard of gods is NOT an atheist. See my post above.

Correct. They do lack belief, but as the subject has never been brought up, they do not lack a belief in god.

This goes to the construction of belief in human beings; the only entities we know of who can form and hold beliefs.

I take it you do not acknowledge the existence of animal spirituality?

To be a theist an individual must construct and hold onto a belief that god(s) exist.To be an atheist an individual must construct and hold onto a belief that god(s) do not exist

Similar to saying that to be a homeowner, one must purchase or build a home, but to be homeless, one must purchase or build not a home.

An agnostic is any person who formally declares their refusal to construct and hold either a theistic or atheistic belief, but says simply," I do not know and I chose not to believe/disbelieve.

Sure, I can agree with that.

Another position is, "I know god exists, and hence both belief and disbelief are impossible constructs for me to form and hold onto" This is also, strangely, a form of agnosticism. For example I am agnostic in my belief about my parents existence. I hold no belief on that, because I know they exist.

Can't say I agree with that. The first example is using the weakest definition of "know" there is, that of personal certainty. The second is using the definition of "know" regarding information or data leading to a conclusion.

Words do, after all, have more than one meaning.

There might even be some lone individual around the world who is none of the above, and has never thought about god in his/her entire life, but I doubt it. Humans construct god beliefs individually from birth, and have to deconstruct them later on in life, so there is probably no human being anywhere, who has never considered the question of the existence of gods.

Okay.

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Atheism is, and must be defined as, a conscious positive choice to disbelieve in the existence of god/gods, because theism is defined as a conscious choice to believe in the existence of a god or gods.

Sorry, and I know so many like you who have this wrong notion, but I am not an atheist by choice but out of intellectual honesty. I am such that when I know something does not exist, I am not able to fool myself otherwise. I have no choice but to go with the truth, and that so many are able to do otherwise amazes me.

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Posted (edited)

Not at all. The lack of belief is the neutral position a skeptic takes towards those things he does not know with any significant degree of certitude or has not limited in terms of likely variables.

The "neutral position" is agnosticism - not atheism which you claim(ed) the "lack of belief" applies to.

No, they do not.

Nor would such a supposition be a grammatical issue, but that is besides the point.

When you quote only half my description as 'definitive', then I would expect you to be able to make a convincing strawman of it.

The existence or non-existence of God is irrelevant to belief.

I never said it was. I simply stated the grammar of the two phrases implies the knowing of the existence of the entity, which the atheist then chooses not to believe. This is why the descriptions are grammatically (and logically) unsound - in the same manner as the claim "I don't believe in elephants" is grammatically and logically unsound.

Edited by Leonardo

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This is a squabble/squibble I see from time to time. "I don't know if there is a God or not." Then you are an atheist. No I'm an agnostic. But atheism is defined as not believe in God and you just said you don't know and therefor don't believe. There is no such thing as agnostic -- there are just theists and atheists.

I dunno; the position is linguistically correct, but doesn't capture the words the way people really use them.

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As much as the actions of the agnostic (or atheist) is immaterial to their stance on whether they believe the divine exists, so are the actions of theists immaterial to their belief. A person either believes the divine exists (theist), believes there is nothing divine (atheist), or is undecided (agnostic).

And what people here are telling you repeatedly is that it's totally possible to believe and act for all intents and purposes that a God exists but not be entirely certain. Just as it's possible to believe and act for all intents and purposes that a God doesn't exist, but not be entirely certain.

In fact - that's pretty much the default way that humans exist. Strength of belief varies, sometimes on a daily basis. Even the Pope has days where he's a 2.

“Who among us - everybody, everybody! - who among us has not experienced insecurity, loss and even doubts on their journey of faith? Everyone! We've all experienced this, me too. Everyone. It is part of the journey of faith, it is part of our lives. This should not surprise us, because we are human beings, marked by fragility and limitations. We are all weak, we all have limits: do not panic. We all have them,” Francis affirmed.

Obviously - best of luck with your ongoing efforts to try to convince everyone that the Pope's an agnostic.

There is no "sliding scale" in this - except, perhaps, in the degree of agnosticism one holds to.

Y'know - I was hoping that someone would turn up to sing the song of their people and tell you what agnosticism was - but in their absence - agnosticism is absolutely not fence-sitting in indecision.

Instead, agnosticism is a very specific knowledge claim: namely, that it is impossible to have absolute knowledge that a deity (or deities - he, she, they - pick your finest pronoun) exists or does not exist. Agnostics don't hold degrees of belief or disbelief; they believe that the answer, in either direction, is entirely unattainable.

As I firmly believe that it's totally possible to have absolute knowledge that a deity exists - there's no way I'd ever be allowed into agnostics club.

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The "neutral position" is agnosticism - not atheism which you claim(ed) the "lack of belief" applies to.

According to you, agnosticism is a deliberate choice. That makes it not neutral.

When you quote only half my description as 'definitive', then I would expect you to be able to make a convincing strawman of it.

Which I didn't, so, that means you were incorrect.

I never said it was. I simply stated the grammar of the two phrases implies the knowing of the existence of the entity, which the atheist then chooses not to believe.

Again, not at all. Why would it imply knowing the existence of God if the existence of God is irrelevant to the decision?

This is why the descriptions are grammatically (and logically) unsound - in the same manner as the claim "I don't believe in elephants" is grammatically and logically unsound.

Yeah, you keep repeating that, but I'm still waiting for an explanation. What's wrong with you not believing in elephants?

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Posted (edited)

i would say I am at the edge of 5 and 6. sitting on the line. But some days, many days.. i sit on the line between 6 and 7.

You know what? I have never read any of dawkins books, nor have I even listened to him on youtube, I know next to nothing of him other then that he is overly aggressive in his views, and THAT i get from reading other peoples opinions on him

Here is the film on his best selling book.

If interested?

[media=]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FiHRVb_uE0[/media]

Edited by davros of skaro

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Posted (edited)

According to you, agnosticism is a deliberate choice. That makes it not neutral.

Really? So neutrality is no longer a choice?

Who decided that? Hadn't the Swiss better be informed of this?

Which I didn't, so, that means you were incorrect.

Here is what I wrote, with regards my argument...

"Both lack grammatical sense in the same manner - i.e. they presuppose the existence of God, then suggest the atheist does not "believe" in that entity."

...and here is what you quoted...

"Both lack grammatical sense in the same manner - i.e. they presuppose the existence of God"

So why did you only quote half of my description, then claim that as being definitive in showing I am "wrong"?

You quote-mined and were arguing a strawman.

Again, not at all. Why would it imply knowing the existence of God if the existence of God is irrelevant to the decision?

The grammar of the phrase "doesn't believe in x" implies the existence of x, which the claimant then denies believing in*. If you don't comprehend that and seek to question it further, then I suggest you ask someone whom you trust as an authority in grammar, rather than simply make a "you're wrong, so there" argument out of this.

Yeah, you keep repeating that, but I'm still waiting for an explanation. What's wrong with you not believing in elephants?

See above. The point of this is that what we are discussing is a classification [agnostic, atheist, theist] - not general, conversational, language. I have seen you defend that classification should be specifically correct when the subject has been scientific - so why should any other form of classification not be so defended?

*Alternatively, it could suggest the claimant doubts the motivations/truthfulness of x, but that does not apply in the specific case.

Edited by Leonardo

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The grammar of the phrase "doesn't believe in x" implies the existence of x, which the claimant then denies believing in*.

This seems to be beyond pedantic, the grammar of the phrase has other, to me more obvious, implications. When someone says they don't believe in God, what they are saying (or if you like, at least 'implying'), obviously, is they don't believe 'God exists'; that is your 'x', not just 'God'. It doesn't imply the existence of God, it implies only that the word 'God' has some agreed-on meaning. "I don't believe in Bigfoot" and "I don't believe Bigfoot exists" are essentially equivalent statements and neither implies the existence of Bigfoot, only the existence of a definition of Bigfoot.

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Posted (edited)

This seems to be beyond pedantic, the grammar of the phrase has other, to me more obvious, implications. When someone says they don't believe in God, what they are saying (or if you like, at least 'implying'), obviously, is they don't believe 'God exists'; that is your 'x', not just 'God'. It doesn't imply the existence of God, it implies only that the word 'God' has some agreed-on meaning. "I don't believe in Bigfoot" and "I don't believe Bigfoot exists" are essentially equivalent statements and neither implies the existence of Bigfoot, only the existence of a definition of Bigfoot.

As I said previously, when I questioned the phraseology in previous threads, atheists claimed that - although the grammar wasn't the best - the meaning was identical. I accept that, and do not expect the man-on-the-street to be particularly bothered about being grammatically correct.

In debate, however, it is a different story - especially when well-educated people of claimed authority, such as Dawkins, are either involved or quoted. As mentioned to Aquatus, this is about classification - and classification is not subject to such redefinition without a compelling case to do so. Given that there already exists a classification of 'belief' that incorporates indecision [agnostic], I find there is no compelling case to reclassify "atheist" (or "theist" if that is the argument anyone wishes to make against me) as someone who entertains continuous or regular indecision/scepticism regarding the existence of deity.

Edited by Leonardo
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In debate, however, it is a different story - especially when well-educated people of claimed authority, such as Dawkins, are either involved or quoted.

The overall context isn't debate, the context is a non-academic popular book written by Dawkins including his scale, and is targeted for the man on the street.

As mentioned to Aquatus, this is about classification - and classification is not subject to such redefinition without a compelling case to do so.

No classification has been redefined, except perhaps your own personal ones, as there is not just one set classification for these words. Feel free to find me some type of academic consensus that 'theism' and 'atheism' requires no doubt, if you believe that the use of these words by the 'well educated' is different than the colloquial use (which is obviously the use in Dawkins' scale). As has been noted and I don't think you've replied to, maybe you have, most people would say that there is an obvious problem with your classifications when both Dawkins and the Pope come out as agnostics.

Given that there already exists a classification of 'belief' that incorporates indecision [agnostic], I find there is no compelling case to reclassify "atheist" (or "theist" if that is the argument anyone wishes to make against me) as someone who entertains continuous or regular indecision/scepticism regarding the existence of deity.

Incorporates how much indecision? You seem to think any indecision makes you an agnostic; why don't we just alternatively define it as absolute indecision? Your criteria has been nowhere near 'continuous or regular skepticism', it has been 'absolutely no skepticism', you defined atheism and theism as only being valid in the case of 100% certainty. You are of course entirely free to classify these words as you want, whatever works for you, but I don't know why you would think your definitions are the default for anyone else, especially since it doesn't match how most people, including well-educated ones, actually use the words.

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Posted (edited)

Yes, because words only have one correct meaning.

According to whom? By which authority are you demanding the inclusion of a conscious decision?

Correct. They do lack belief, but as the subject has never been brought up, they do not lack a belief in god.

I take it you do not acknowledge the existence of animal spirituality?

Similar to saying that to be a homeowner, one must purchase or build a home, but to be homeless, one must purchase or build not a home.

Sure, I can agree with that.

Can't say I agree with that. The first example is using the weakest definition of "know" there is, that of personal certainty. The second is using the definition of "know" regarding information or data leading to a conclusion.

Words do, after all, have more than one meaning.

Okay.

Belief is a construct. One cannot hold a belief without making a conscious decision to do so because one must construct the form and shape of the belief, OR accept another person's form and shape as compatible with your own view of the world.

There is absolutely no evidence for animal spirituality. Secondly, animals do not have the internal linguistic ability to construct or hold totally language based concepts. It is thus impossible for them to be spiritual.

Technically one can only KNOW that which one has personal experience of. All else is a form of belief. Philosophically and linguistically, some forms of belief are so universally accepted that we loosely use the term "know" to define them, but this is not actually knowing or knowledge. it is still belief. because it relies on the acceptance in faith of the expertise or word of another person or persons. For example the statement "I KNOW the moon is X number of miles from earth." is not correct .You believe it is, based on the data from elsewhere, unless you have actually triangulated or measured the distance for yourself, or in some other way confirmed that data.

Justified true belief is NOT knowledge. In generic terms knowledge is information capable of independent verification, but in personal terms an individual can only know something through personal verification of data. Until they have done this they posses faith in another's findings (belief) not knowledge.

Edited by Mr Walker

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Sorry, and I know so many like you who have this wrong notion, but I am not an atheist by choice but out of intellectual honesty. I am such that when I know something does not exist, I am not able to fool myself otherwise. I have no choice but to go with the truth, and that so many are able to do otherwise amazes me.

You have just proved my point. It doesn't mater why you chose a belief/disbelief position . You made a conscious choice to do so. Others make different choices because their experiences lead their own logic to another conclusion. A person might chose belief because belief offers comfort for example Most people chose belief because personal evidences/experiences suggest to them the existence of a power or force outside of their own knowledge and understanding. This is often a mistaken idea based on the workings of our minds which construct beliefs form various evolved processes and properties of our minds. But it can also be a true realisation of the nature of the universe. ie sometimes the bushes are actually moving because there is a lion in them.
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This is a squabble/squibble I see from time to time. "I don't know if there is a God or not." Then you are an atheist. No I'm an agnostic. But atheism is defined as not believe in God and you just said you don't know and therefor don't believe. There is no such thing as agnostic -- there are just theists and atheists.

I dunno; the position is linguistically correct, but doesn't capture the words the way people really use them.

It is simple. Not knowing is very different to not believing. A person who admits they do not know and have not formed a belief/disbelief position is agnostic, a person who claims a definitive belief that there there is no god or gods is an atheist. A person who claims a belief position that god(s) does/do exist is a theist.
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The overall context isn't debate, the context is a non-academic popular book written by Dawkins including his scale, and is targeted for the man on the street.

If the "overall context" here is not debate, then why are you (and others) debating me?

No classification has been redefined, except perhaps your own personal ones, as there is not just one set classification for these words. Feel free to find me some type of academic consensus that 'theism' and 'atheism' requires no doubt, if you believe that the use of these words by the 'well educated' is different than the colloquial use (which is obviously the use in Dawkins' scale).

There alreay exists a classification of people who entertain doubt regarding the existence of divinity. This classification is "agnostic". As "theist" and "atheist" are exclusive of each other, and agnostic, the definition for these classes cannot include "those who entertain doubt concerning the existence of divinity". I have no problem with variously worded definitions that specify these mutually exclusive classes of belief.

As has been noted and I don't think you've replied to, maybe you have, most people would say that there is an obvious problem with your classifications when both Dawkins and the Pope come out as agnostics.

I imagine it would be news to Pope Francis that he is an agnostic. Perhaps you would like to write him and inform him of this?

Thesist, atheists and agnostics are all quite capable of entertaining doubt regarding their particular brand of belief without being reclassified - so long as the doubt they entertain is temporary in nature.

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I dunno; every smart person I know all around the world tends to be an atheist or at least grin when you mention God. I guess a few people who think they are smart think otherwise, but it is hard for me to credit.

There was a girl at my church, came fourth in New South Wales for her Higher School Certificate (99.98 or something similar out of 100). She became a doctor, graduating top of her class. She turned down her first job offer to work as a doctor with no pay in the Third World for two years.

And while she is an extreme example, I've met in my time as a Christian people of great intelligence. Investment Bankers, Chartered Accountants, doctors, dentists, research scientists, Engineers, Actuaries, architects, and financial planners, these are just some of the professions of Christians I've met through the years.

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Posted (edited)

Really? So neutrality is no longer a choice?

Who decided that? Hadn't the Swiss better be informed of this?

Of course neutrality is a choice. Who said it wasn't? What I said was that making a choice, even if that choice is deliberately not to choose, means you are not being neutral; you are actively participating. If one doesn't make a choice because one doesn't take part in the debacle to begin with, one can truly claim to be neutral in the matter.

Here is what I wrote, with regards my argument...

"Both lack grammatical sense in the same manner - i.e. they presuppose the existence of God, then suggest the atheist does not "believe" in that entity."

...and here is what you quoted...

"Both lack grammatical sense in the same manner - i.e. they presuppose the existence of God"

So why did you only quote half of my description, then claim that as being definitive in showing I am "wrong"?

You quote-mined and were arguing a strawman.

Actually, I was making a small joke that if I was making a strawman, it should have diverted attention away from the topic, which it failed to do, and was therefore not a strawman. Not a very clever joke I will admit.

However, It still maintain that I was not making a strawman. I still do not see what this has to do with grammar.

The grammar of the phrase "doesn't believe in x" implies the existence of x, which the claimant then denies believing in*.

Nonsense. All it implies is the knowledge of the concept of x. Whether or not x exists is irrelevant.

Claiming "I don't believe in Santa Claus" doesn't imply the existence of Santa Claus. All it implies is that you have heard of such a thing and don't believe in it.

If you don't comprehend that and seek to question it further, then I suggest you ask someone whom you trust as an authority in grammar, rather than simply make a "you're wrong, so there" argument out of this.

You seem to be under the impression that you can make a "I'm right, so there" argument, so why shouldn't I make the exact same, but polar, version?

See above. The point of this is that what we are discussing is a classification [agnostic, atheist, theist] - not general, conversational, language. I have seen you defend that classification should be specifically correct when the subject has been scientific - so why should any other form of classification not be so defended?

Correction. You are arguing the classification. No one else really cares and is perfectly happy playing along with the OP. You are the only one taking this seriously.

And being that this has nothing to do with science, I really feel no need to defend it in the slightest. Nor can I see how this is a grammar issue, and being that you have outright refused to explain how it is beyond repeating your belief and telling me to go ask someone else, I will simply go with my personal belief that you are incorrect (which is another option beyond doubting your motivation or truthfulness).

Edited by aquatus1

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Belief is a construct. One cannot hold a belief without making a conscious decision to do so because one must construct the form and shape of the belief, OR accept another person's form and shape as compatible with your own view of the world.

Belief is only a construct in the most basic sense of the word, in that it wasn't there originally, There is no reason for a belief to be consciously created, and I would argue that the majority of beliefs are indeed the result of a lack of conscious decision making.

My mother is a fan of basketball. I don't have any particular interest in it. She could probably explain the game in detail, but myself, I have certain beliefs regarding how it is played, and I suspect some of those beliefs are correct and others are completely wrong. I can say, however, that I never spent even a minute attempting to devote any amount of conscious thought to the matter.

There is absolutely no evidence for animal spirituality. Secondly, animals do not have the internal linguistic ability to construct or hold totally language based concepts. It is thus impossible for them to be spiritual.

Well, except for the many papers written by the likes of famed primatologist Jane Goodall, early pioneering biologist Charles Darwin, and moderately well-known Professor of Neurology, Kevin Nelson, regarding the habits, observations, and physiological responses of animals mirroring those of humans in regard to spiritual responses.

Like it or not, spirituality comes from the same primitive emotional brain area that has been there from the beginning. It doesn't require advanced cognitive abilities, it doesn't require language, and it certainly doesn't require your acceptance, to exist.

Technically one can only KNOW that which one has personal experience of. All else is a form of belief.

Well, that is one postulate, which relies on one definition of "know", that of personal observation and inquiry, which you are then contrasting with "belief", which can be defined as having an high degree of certainty in a given subject. Through little coincidence (after all, you have played this game before) "Know" can also be defined as having a high degree of certainty as well, meaning it can be used interchangeably with belief in the right context. In the past two posts, you have used "know" three different ways, which makes the claim of "Technically" a bit hard to take seriously. Here is my statement:

"Knowledge, being the data, intelligence, and skills that one gathers through awareness, education, familiarity, and experience, allows one to come to a variety of conclusions with a fairly high degree accuracy in regards to how valid and credible those conclusions are."

In other words, doing something yourself isn't the only way to "know" something. It can even be argued that it isn't the most reliable way to know something, particularly when the subject is open to a great deal of subjective bias. Personal experience is merely one way among many to acquire knowledge, and to "know" about something.

Justified true belief is NOT knowledge. In generic terms knowledge is information capable of independent verification, but in personal terms an individual can only know something through personal verification of data. Until they have done this they posses faith in another's findings (belief) not knowledge.

So, how does this apply to beliefs having to be a conscious choice?

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There are scientists that work every day with data that goes against their belief of a less than 10,000 year old universe.I wonder what discoveries they pass up with their cognitive mind clamp on.Think about the theist archeologists that may take liberty with the trash pile because it may reveal something?

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You have just proved my point. It doesn't mater why you chose a belief/disbelief position . You made a conscious choice to do so. Others make different choices because their experiences lead their own logic to another conclusion. A person might chose belief because belief offers comfort for example Most people chose belief because personal evidences/experiences suggest to them the existence of a power or force outside of their own knowledge and understanding. This is often a mistaken idea based on the workings of our minds which construct beliefs form various evolved processes and properties of our minds. But it can also be a true realisation of the nature of the universe. ie sometimes the bushes are actually moving because there is a lion in them.

I really rather resent your taking my definite words and saying I said something else. Can't you read?

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There was a girl at my church, came fourth in New South Wales for her Higher School Certificate (99.98 or something similar out of 100). She became a doctor, graduating top of her class. She turned down her first job offer to work as a doctor with no pay in the Third World for two years.

And while she is an extreme example, I've met in my time as a Christian people of great intelligence. Investment Bankers, Chartered Accountants, doctors, dentists, research scientists, Engineers, Actuaries, architects, and financial planners, these are just some of the professions of Christians I've met through the years.

Hearsay like that, even from a moderator, underwhelms.

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If the "overall context" here is not debate, then why are you (and others) debating me?

The reason I'm here is because you're trying to single-handedly word lawyer my religious belief out of existence. Strangely enough - I have more than a few objections to that.

There alreay exists a classification of people who entertain doubt regarding the existence of divinity. This classification is "agnostic".

ProTip: This is not what agnostic means.

I imagine it would be news to Pope Francis that he is an agnostic. Perhaps you would like to write him and inform him of this?

As it only appears to happen under the Leonardo scale - and you're the only one that appears to want to use or support it - that would appear to be your job.

Thesist, atheists and agnostics are all quite capable of entertaining doubt regarding their particular brand of belief without being reclassified - so long as the doubt they entertain is temporary in nature.

Oh?

How temporary, exactly? What's the exact cut-off period? Where is it defined? Who defines it? Once switched, is there an equal period of time before they can switch back? Who defines that? Where? On who's authority? Do I have to now self-describe as a 6.1 for the last 27 minutes, formerly a 5.9 for the past 23? Do I keep a rolling average over a period of time? Do I need to keep a day, a week,a month, a year, a decades worth of history?

At what point, exactly, do you believe that the Pope becomes an agnostic?

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We have a tale that a man ate some fruit he had been commanded to not eat and as a result all of the world is condemned to suffer all their lives and then die, and that a man like Hitler can condemn millions to death, and the Divine Jesus does nothing because of this curse, and I shouldn't question the intelligence of those who believe this?

w

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There is a fundamental principle of ethics -- if one has the ability and the opportunity to interfere to prevent a great evil, one is morally obliged to do so.

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