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Nuclear Wessel

What is your reason for belief/non-belief?

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Paranormalcy

The lack of belief in one thing is not a belief in another. That is perhaps one of the oldest and most discredited philosophization ever, and it continues to be a false equivalency. You can say it's an acceptance that at the current time, it is reasonable to "believe" that the assertion (god exists) is false, and no considerations need to be made in one's life toward that possibility, but that is using "believe" in a very broad way, not in the actual "faith" aspect of the term. There's simply nothing compelling that says otherwise.

Edited by Paranormalcy
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Liquid Gardens

Dragons do not have multiple, mutually exclusive definitions but are almost universally defined with common characteristics.

So are my definitions of 'deity'. Some dragon definitions are mutually exclusive.

That there are many, and varied, definitions of deity is undeniable, but there is no "empirical reasoning" involved in understanding all those varied definitions cannot all be true - or if any are. That understanding only relies on the fact that so many people disagree as to what deity actually is.

Like for example, again? What definitions, not examples, of 'deity' are commonly held that are mutually exclusive? There are varied definitions of dragons too; some definitions of dragons specify they are a serpent, some say they have legs also, and some have them with bat-like wings and occasionally flying. That there are many varied definitions of dragons is undeniable historically, and there is no empirical reasoning involved and they can't all be true. That doesn't typically cause a problem when denying dragons, but you think it does for deity, apparently because you have declared that dragons have sufficient similar characteristics despite the clearly existing mutually exclusive definitions of them.

Why is that necessary?

Because maybe it makes your problem disappear? Your problem seems to hinge on the fact that people have mutually exclusive definitions of deity. So what? The atheist, obviously, is denying their definition of 'deity'. If the problem is contradictory definitions of deity, then simply split the beings proposed to be deities out into subgroups that are not mutually contradictory within their set: 'creator gods', 'nature gods', 'mortal gods', or whatever mutually exclusive definition categories you are referring to without specifying them.

I never said that atheistic belief is unreasonable, I said it is arrived at by ignoring reason. The thought process by which atheists arrive at their belief throws out very reasonable possibilities.

For many, ignoring reason in arriving at conclusions is unreasonable by definition. What very reasonable possibilities are atheists throwing out?

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Mr Walker

The lack of belief in one thing is not a belief in another. That is perhaps one of the oldest and most discredited philosophization ever, and it continues to be a false equivalency. You can say it's an acceptance that at the current time, it is reasonable to "believe" that the assertion (god exists) is false, and no considerations need to be made in one's life toward that possibility, but that is using "believe" in a very broad way, not in the actual "faith" aspect of the term. There's simply nothing compelling that says otherwise.

This is true, BUT only the first part Belief is understood to be the conscious construct of an internal understanding. It is usually constructed where there is no, or insufficient, evidence to be able to KNOW something. Often it is constructed from wishful thinking (We would really LIKE what we believed in to be true) OR from a need to impose some ordered understanding on our world to make us feel more secure.

Once we KNOW anything, we can no longer rationally or logically construct a belief or disbelief in its existence or truth. Some people do persevere with belief/disbelief, despite compelling evidences, and find ways to rationalise their position. Classic example. An atheist encounters god and argues, "I dont know what you are but you aren't god because a god could not appear physically to me. Gods are non existent.You exist, thus you are not a god.

So belief in the existence of god (s) IS a conscious active construct. Belief that gods do not exist is a similar active construct. Potentially a person who NEVER reflected on the idea/question, might have no belief or disbelief because of this, but it never happens because the smallest infants begin their own internal construction of beliefs

Thus belief and disbelief are IDENTICAL forms of construct and disbelief is a subset of a form of belief This is a long established position of philosophy and logic but it is also the understanding of modern disciplines such as neuro linguistics and human cognition

I heard a well known modern philosopher explain it this way, the other day, on the radio.

Agnosticism is the most rational position, because it suspends the construction of both belief and disbelief until evidence is found, and then jumps straight to knowledge. Both belief and disbelief require a mind to construct a held position without any evidence for or against that position. It is equally illogical or irrational to construct a belief position and or a disbelief position if you have no evidences for either But agnosticism is rational, in tha t it says " I consciously refuse to construct ANY belief position on a subject where i have no evidences either way"

It doesn't just apply to religion, but any unknown.

Personally i use a continuum of evidences to establish my position. I remain agnostic until I have personally compelling evidences and facts to be able to know something.

For example, does a multi verse exist, in which many identical duplicates of ourselves also exist? The evidences of mathematics suggest so and even present a compelling argument that it MUST be so. Some evidences from quantum physics also exist; but, until i have more evidences, i suspend belief/disbelief and remain agnostic on the question. I would like it to be so, from personal preference. but i chose not to construct a belief position on the question. That is the logical rational and unemotional/unbiased, thing to do.

Edited by Mr Walker

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back to earth

Stancl14.jpg

Star Amphitheatre- Sydney Harbour.

https://en.wikipedia...ar_Amphitheatre

Built by 'The Order of the Star ' ... by Theosophists , who were, by now , not only looking for practical magic to practice, a system of initiation, a religious expression (all previously lacking ... and the drop in numbers reflecting the need) .. next, they started claiming a specific religious and overall revelation ! The coming of the 'new world teacher' !

So they built this little temple for him ^

Fortunately , the 'new world teacher' himself donged that one with hammer ! ;

" Krishnamurti dissolved the Order during the annual Star Camp at Ommen, the Netherlands, on 3 August 1929.[63] He stated that he had made his decision after "careful consideration" during the previous two years, and that:

I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or coerce people along a particular path. ... This is no magnificent deed, because I do not want followers, and I mean this. The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth. I am not concerned whether you pay attention to what I say or not. I want to do a certain thing in the world and I am going to do it with unwavering concentration. I am concerning myself with only one essential thing: to set man free. I desire to free him from all cages, from all fears, and not to found religions, new sects, nor to establish new theories and new philosophies. "

https://en.wikipedia...k_with_the_past

and then he walked off that stage , never to return !

Edited by back to earth
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Leonardo

So are my definitions of 'deity'. Some dragon definitions are mutually exclusive.

All of the definitions I am aware of include "reptilian", can you name one thing that all definitions of deity have in common?

Edited by Leonardo

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Mr Walker

All of the definitions I am aware of include "reptilian", can you name one thing that all definitions of deity have in common?

They have a mutual connection/relationship with the species which worships them, even where such connection only exists in the self aware consciousness of the worshipper. Ie they are "brought into being" as gods, by our awareness of them as gods, either as real or constructed entities.

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Liquid Gardens

All of the definitions I am aware of include "reptilian", can you name one thing that all definitions of deity have in common?

I already did. Sentient. Extra-human powers or attributes. I'm not sure why I'm answering your clarifying questions when you ignore most of mine.

You are incorrect on your one attribute of dragons by the way, Hungarian mythology has the sarkany which according to wiki is, "a creature not similar to Chinese dragon or dragon from West Europe. He is always man-shaped, can ride a horse, and has usually seven heads, sometimes three, 12 or 21". So either you don't accept the sarkany as a 'dragon' using your personal definition of that word, in which you should understand my point why the same thing can be done to the word 'deity' so it also can be non-reason-ignoring-ly denied, or it seems to not believe in dragons ignores reason using the same logic you are applying for 'deity', we have various mutually contradictory definitions here also.

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Stubbly_Dooright

I absolutely agree. There is no empirical evidence proving the existence of God. There is data that can be construed as evidence but requires a leap-of-faith which is what distinguishes religion from science. If the existence of God could be proven empirically, religion would be science.

I don't know, if this is me and my warped brain cells and brain matter as it is, but this sounds to me like how I see it. But, is there going to be some area, that might not even be discovered, that crosses the line between science and mythical belief? Or will it always be mythical belief, because it might not take the time it takes for the science in it to be discovered?

So, what should everyone call it?

Oh come on Sheri. Does it not make more sense to dance and juggle on the fence over the existence of Bigfoot, or Unicorns? This way when science proves their existence you can give a smug look to those that needed evidence to believe what were previously myths.

f0eea6f50bbc15e583c7b164cc7d889f.jpg

7218f3cdd9085cf70ca890e377e02de9.jpg

That is interesting. I often feel, that I'm not on the fence where Zombies and Big foot is concerned, for I feel, there really is not logic behind thinking all the sightings are anything other than misunderstood looners in the woods, who just happened to not want to be picked for the basket ball team.

(then again, I was in a Christmas Tree Shop recently and came by a lawn chair that was big enough to fit a Navi from Avatar. I was going to take a pic of it, and post it here and facebook and make a joke about something is coming from all of those Big Foot sightings. )

Anyways, I wonder, if it's a choice to not believe in Zombies, Vampires, and Big Foot, because I see them as something I wish does not exist? Or is it something I don't believe in, because I cannot possibly see how they could exist, for all their characteristics? ( barring the 'Twilight' series characteristics. Seriously, twinkling in the sun? :no: They would be toast! ) Or feel, how is it Zombies move, but they're dead in the soul? Or Big foot, really? It could be just.................... well, I do think I see it as no choice in not believing, because they do not make sense.

But Ghosts? Yes, I can see it as such, because there is a part of it that fills in the blanks when it comes to those who pass on after death.

Aliens from other planets, yes I can see that too, because one, we cannot be the only planet with life, and two, there might be something from all of the UFO sightings.

Well anyways.......................

I can understand your thinking here but I can't reconcile creation being a random, non-ordered event. The fact that we do not understand everything about the Creator does not prove he doesn't exist. There are MANY things I don't understand and that does not mean they aren't real.

I can see it though, from seeing things happen today, from random, non-ordered event, like reactions to explosions, floods, and forgotten foods left in the fridge for a couple of years.
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Stubbly_Dooright

I do not know enough about the universe to rule out a Poptart Kitten with Rainbow thrust flying about the galaxies.

It's safe to say that I do not believe nor disbelieve in such an entity.

giphy.gif

Agnosticism: It's super duper smarts cool.

But but .................. what if, pop tart kitty was taken prisoner, eaten yet survived to weed out it's pop tart DNA, and thus become space faring kitties that landed here. We have cats, but a possibility of them being more, but something happened!

Yeah, I see many possibilities here......... well at least for me, because pop kitty looked tasty, but I love cats. (your post messed with my warring desires! :o )

Well Darv, I am sure someone will argue for the pop tart kitten deity, ( 3 guesses who it will be and the first 2 don't count). :)

Was I one of the guesses?!?!? *looks sheepish while petting her de- pop tarted kitty ) :devil: *

The argument I'm really focused on of yours isn't whether atheism is a belief, it's 'the atheist ignores reason to justify their belief'. I'm searching for that 'reason' I'm ignoring, but maybe I'm not getting your point about the definition of 'deity'. Do you agree that there is no reason being ignored in denying the existence of Zeus?

I'm specifically talking about beliefs that exist in our real world, those are the ones I had thought I had emphasized are actually the ones I'm rejecting. 'Deity' isn't as undefined for many people as it seems to be for you; what they're describing, and most importantly the 'reasons' they say it is true, provide me with enough to reasonably deny it. I'm interested to hear about the specific definition of 'deity', or better an example of such a deity, that I'm ignoring reason to reject.

I don't believe in any god I've ever had described to me, because there is no evidence. Since there is no evidence, I don't believe they exist. Since I don't believe any gods exist, I refer to myself as an atheist, even though it's ultimately possible gods could exist (and dragons, Santa, etc). At which step am I being unreasonable?

I find this interesting, ( if we are talking about categorizing what a diety fits in all this ) I am believer, but I just go with the higher power rhelm, and even then I'm on the fence with that one, ( that sentence is in honor for you Davros darling. :D )

So, do I believe in one, or my belief can survive without one? Is it a belief, or do I see something realistically behind the.... 'myth'. ;)

Dragons do not have multiple, mutually exclusive definitions but are almost universally defined with common characteristics. They are not in the same category as "deity" in this regards - and I suspect not much is.

Well, we can thank Stephanie Meyer for her expanding the characteristics of what vampires are, so why not?

I never said that atheistic belief is unreasonable, I said it is arrived at by ignoring reason. The thought process by which atheists arrive at their belief throws out very reasonable possibilities.

I don't understand. How is that? I thought Atheists use reason?

It's a level playing field. Because no one really knows what's going on. It's all guess work.

Well, I would say so too. :yes:

But, Atheist would see the lack of evidence, and not guess.

...................er................eh.............right? :w00t:

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Sherapy

What one wants to designate as 'deity' is arbitrary ultimately. If you're concerned because there are multiple definitions of 'deity', then don't we resolve this by simply subcategorizing them into more succinct and internally consistent groups, Diety1 through Dietyn ? Is it rational to deny any specific definition of 'deity'? Then what's the problem in denying multiple definitions of 'deity', even if some of those definitions are contradictory?

Indeed LG, I agree it's ridiculous to go down this road.

@ Leo,

Philosophically, this is how we go about this,

Infinite perfection:

True

Supreme Being

Eternal Being (outside of time and space)

All Perfect

All Good (benevolent)

All powerful (omnipotent)

All knowing (omniscient)

Everywhere (omnipresent)

In other words, God.

If a person can conceive of any of these that is all that is needed to establish an argument for or against a diety.

No one has to agree to the definition.

For example: Decartes built an argument for the existence of God in Meditations I, II, III,

FIRST: you'd need to tear down the old one (Meditation 1: methodological skepticism by way of the dream and evil deceiver arguments).

SECOND: you'd need to establish a firm foundation (Meditation 2: a priori truth in the form of 'I am therefore I am").

THIRD: you rebuild your new house (Meditation 3: establishing absolute certainty by establishing God).

It doesn't matter if my definition of God is different from Descartes' definition. What matters is that we (Descartes and I ) can conceive of a being beyond us (infinitely perfect). In this case, Descartes calls that being God, but it is the "idea" of infinite perfection that is important.

And, It is irrelevant to Descartes' argument whether "I believe" in God or not, because even if I don't believe, what I don't believe in is infinite perfection, but I still have some knowledge of the concept and that is the key to his argument.

Therefore, Leo's argument doesn't hold up.

This is a very common mistake for Leo to get hog tied in the semantics. )

"With respect the question of the existence of deity I profess agnosticism and consider this to be the only valid form of "non-belief". The primary reason for this is the almost limitless multitude of forms of divinity humankind have conceived of, suggesting both: 1) that anything might be considered "evidence" for some deity conceived by someone somewhere (or somewhen), and 2) that nothing should be considered reliable evidence for the existence of a deity because the plethora of forms deity has been mooted to take are often conflicted and contradictory" (Leo).

"Because it is impossible, therefore, to know whether evidence of a deity exists or not, it is also impossible to rationally/logically argue for or against some form of deity existing. This rules out theism and atheism as "non-beliefs" and exposes them as diametrically opposing beliefs, the adherents of whom simply manipulate one or both of the reasons I provided above, to justify their own belief. i.e. the Theist will deliberately ignore reason 2) - so justifying their theistic belief; while the atheist will deliberately ignore reason 1) in order to justify their atheistic belief" (Leo).

Edited by Sherapy
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Davros of Skaro

That is interesting. I often feel, that I'm not on the fence where Zombies and Big foot is concerned, for I feel, there really is not logic behind thinking all the sightings are anything other than misunderstood looners in the woods, who just happened to not want to be picked for the basket ball team.

(then again, I was in a Christmas Tree Shop recently and came by a lawn chair that was big enough to fit a Navi from Avatar. I was going to take a pic of it, and post it here and facebook and make a joke about something is coming from all of those Big Foot sightings. )

Anyways, I wonder, if it's a choice to not believe in Zombies, Vampires, and Big Foot, because I see them as something I wish does not exist? Or is it something I don't believe in, because I cannot possibly see how they could exist, for all their characteristics? ( barring the 'Twilight' series characteristics. Seriously, twinkling in the sun? :no: They would be toast! ) Or feel, how is it Zombies move, but they're dead in the soul? Or Big foot, really? It could be just.................... well, I do think I see it as no choice in not believing, because they do not make sense.

But Ghosts? Yes, I can see it as such, because there is a part of it that fills in the blanks when it comes to those who pass on after death.

Aliens from other planets, yes I can see that too, because one, we cannot be the only planet with life, and two, there might be something from all of the UFO sightings.

Well anyways.......................

Vampires=Do not believe you exist.

Zombies=You see them several times during the week.

Bigfoot=He's planning to leave you a smelly surprise on your doorstep.

Aliens=They harvested some of your Eggs for a hybrid slave labor force to work in their intergalactic bookstores.

God=They miss the good old days of altar sacrifices of grain and animals. There's some that like the statues even though humans got some details wrong.

As a military gal you must have heard of the K.I.S.S. method?

Keep it simple silly (last word substituted).

I see you reason the probabilities, and improbabilities of the existences of the above.

You lack belief in Zombies. You see them highly improbable, except in cases of medical conditions.

I do not know if you believe in Aliens or not? You see that they are probable.

Wanting, or not wanting to believe does have influence in one's belief.

You are a weirdy birdy, yet you renewed my hope in Poptart Kittens.

Pop-Tart-Cat-pop-tarts-5316670-261-350.jpg

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Paranormalcy

Classic example. An atheist encounters god and argues, "I dont know what you are but you aren't god because a god could not appear physically to me. Gods are non existent.You exist, thus you are not a god.

So belief in the existence of god (s) IS a conscious active construct. Belief that gods do not exist is a similar active construct.

This is not correct or accurate. It may be classic to SOMEONE but it isn't "the classic argument that proves itself true". I'm not sure what atheists you're referencing that say "God cannot appear to me physically", certainly none I know of. Those would be agressive ANTI-thesists, not Atheists. You're talking about someone that says "There is no god, therefore none can appear to me". That is NOT an atheist. Atheism is the LACK of belief in god, at its most basic and simple level, which requires no other assumptions or standards or justifications.

Google's definition: "disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods."

Wikipedia: "Positive atheism is the explicit affirmation that gods do not exist. Negative atheism includes all other forms of non-theism. According to this categorization, anyone who is not a theist is either a negative or a positive atheist. The terms weak and strong are relatively recent, while the terms negative and positive atheism are of older origin, having been used (in slightly different ways) in the philosophical literature[45] and in Catholic apologetics.[46] Under this demarcation of atheism, most agnostics qualify as negative atheists."

So while I'll concede that there may be some people or atheists that assert atheism requires a BELIEF in the NON-EXISTENCE of god (this hard/soft/positive/negative hair-splitting), this is not universal and is not the prevailing or universally agreed-upon position and those are different FLAVORS of atheism, but do not describe the most fundamental version of this worldview.

I do not believe there are any people that exist with naturally purple skin. Nothing I have experienced, read, seen or heard has given any indication of such persons in my or any other current or previous person's life, which I know about. It doesn't mean I BELIEVE there is no purple race, but there's no practical or reasonable cause for me to think there is. If a purple skinned person showed up, I would still be skeptical but if recognized and usually reliable testing revealed they had naturally purple skin, I would accept, perhaps BELIEVE could be used here, there were naturally purple skinned people.

In your example, about someone not having ever considered or been confronted with the idea of god (such as newborns, as an example of the "default" position of atheism), there is no claim by the atheist. I don't pretend to know the secrets of the universe, nor does any scientist. They and I assert no compelling evidence for a divine aspect, and the resulting lack of belief. This is not a claim, this is a position of derived categorization of supported facts and evidence and the resulting model of reality that brings. Because of this, and as I said, this initial "not knowing anything about god", the default position, which is not a claim and requires no evidence and no cognitive processing ABOUT god, because the concept of a god is not even a naturally occurring one (unlike sensory intake, etc), any notion that runs counter to this and INTRODUCES and makes EXTRAORDINARY claims (that oppose this from birth non-god reality) is a BELIEF. Claims require evience and proof to be able to be considered, tested and falsified, and potentially objectively demonstrated or accepted, whether it's god or bigfoot or aliens or psychic powers.

It makes no sense to have a BELIEF in the NON-EXISTENCE of something. That isn't how scientists or skeptics or people investigating things approach the world or issues. Scientists didn't say "I BELIEVE spontaneous generation doesn't happen, and flies don't come out of rotten meat", they said "The current wisdom is, flies come from rotted meat, but I want to figure ouf it this can be proven true or false, to find out with certainty, if possible".

Edited by Paranormalcy
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back to earth

How's the view?

Fence-Sitter.jpg

a bench is far more comfy

e2s-park_bench.jpg

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back to earth

It's a level playing field. Because no one really knows what's going on. It's all guess work.

Ah yes ... but for the religious , some fields are more level than other fields

72bf2bd7b391254ca1131fc7a379602f2.jpg

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Hugh

The point I've reached so far, in my thinking about and trying to understand the existence of the universe, is that something has always existed.

I truly believe that something, cannot come from absolute nothingness.

If you go back in time, you will always logically have something existing.

Some believe that the universe came from the Big Bang of a singularity.

That's okay, because you initially had the singularity existing, and all the physical laws, and the potential of our universe coming from it.

Some believe our universe popped into existence from a quantum foam or something like that.

That's okay too, because you initially had the quantum foam existing, and all the physical laws and the potential of our universe coming from it.

Some believe that God, or a god, created the universe.

That's okay too, because God, or the god, would have existed before as well.

In all cases though, there is something pre-existing all of this.

You cannot, however, have absolute nothingness pre-existing all of this.

There is absolutely nothing, in absolute nothingness.

In absolute nothingness, there is no singularity, no quantum foam, no physical laws whatsoever, no space, no potential, no God or god, no magic, no spirit, no consciousness, no will, no beings, no multiverse, no dimensions, no portals, no aliens, no energy, no potential energy, no heat, no radiation, no light, and not even time exists for anything to happen as well.

There couldn't have ever have been a point at which absolute nothingness ever existed, because from that, nothing could have ever come from it.

Therefore, something has always existed.

That something may have been the physical laws and energy of the universe, or multiverse.

That something could also have been a creator God, or god.

The point is though, you had to have had either one or the other, or both (but if the energy of the universe/multiverse and physical laws have always existed, you don't need a creator God to create them in the first place, and in this case, if a God exists, it is in more of an overseer role).

I find it interesting that some think it quite easy to believe that a creator God has always existed but find it difficult to believe that the energy and physical laws of the universe/multiverse has always existed.

To me, either is possible.

What is impossible, I believe though, is that there ever was absolute nothingness.

Something, whatever you want to call it, has always been around.

That's what I've worked out so far, from the way I see it. :)

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back to earth

Maybe ?

000.

In the Beginning there was Naught, and Naught spake unto Naught saying: Let us beget on the Nakedness of our Nothingness the Limitless, Eternal, Identical, and United: And without will, intention, thought, word, desire, or deed, it was so.

00.

Then in the depths of Nothingness hovered the Limitless, as a raven in the night; seeing naught, hearing naught, and understanding naught: neither was it seen, nor heard, nor understood; for as yet Countenance beheld not Countenance.

0.

And as the Limitless stretched forth its wings, an unextended unextendable Light became; colourless, formless, conditionless, effluent, naked, and essential, as a crystalline dew of creative effulgence; and fluttering as a dove betwixt Day and Night, it vibrated forth a lustral Crown of Glory.

http://hermetic.com/...ers/lib963.html

or , if you prefer no 'nothingness with something in it ' , just call it 'quantum fluctuations '

10824.jpg

also it has the extra benefit of , if you wish someone did not exist you can tell them to "Go get fluctuated ! "

Edited by back to earth
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Mr Walker

This is not correct or accurate. It may be classic to SOMEONE but it isn't "the classic argument that proves itself true". I'm not sure what atheists you're referencing that say "God cannot appear to me physically", certainly none I know of. Those would be agressive ANTI-thesists, not Atheists. You're talking about someone that says "There is no god, therefore none can appear to me". That is NOT an atheist. Atheism is the LACK of belief in god, at its most basic and simple level, which requires no other assumptions or standards or justifications.

Google's definition: "disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods."

Wikipedia: "Positive atheism is the explicit affirmation that gods do not exist. Negative atheism includes all other forms of non-theism. According to this categorization, anyone who is not a theist is either a negative or a positive atheist. The terms weak and strong are relatively recent, while the terms negative and positive atheism are of older origin, having been used (in slightly different ways) in the philosophical literature[45] and in Catholic apologetics.[46] Under this demarcation of atheism, most agnostics qualify as negative atheists."

So while I'll concede that there may be some people or atheists that assert atheism requires a BELIEF in the NON-EXISTENCE of god (this hard/soft/positive/negative hair-splitting), this is not universal and is not the prevailing or universally agreed-upon position and those are different FLAVORS of atheism, but do not describe the most fundamental version of this worldview.

I do not believe there are any people that exist with naturally purple skin. Nothing I have experienced, read, seen or heard has given any indication of such persons in my or any other current or previous person's life, which I know about. It doesn't mean I BELIEVE there is no purple race, but there's no practical or reasonable cause for me to think there is. If a purple skinned person showed up, I would still be skeptical but if recognized and usually reliable testing revealed they had naturally purple skin, I would accept, perhaps BELIEVE could be used here, there were naturally people skinned people.

It makes no sense to have a BELIEF in the NON-EXISTENCE of something. That isn't how scientists or skeptics or people investigating things approach the world or issues. Scientists didn't say "I BELIEVE spontaneous generation doesn't happen, and flies don't come out of rotten meat", they said "The current wisdom is, flies come from rotted meat, but I want to figure ouf it this can be proven true or false, to find out with certainty, if possible".

I am speaking of the posters on UM who have explicitly explained their disbelief in god, and given their reasons for it. One common example is, that if i can encounter a god then it isn't a god. In a sense that is true but it does not mean entities do not exist which MOST humans categorise as god(s) It just means that those atheists have such a strong disbelief in the existence of gods that if they encountered one they would find a way to rationally explain that it was NOT a god.

I wasn't saying this is true of ALL Athiests. Some (like I did) would change their mind if they physically encountered a god. .

It ONLY makes sense to construct a disbelief in the existenc eof something Tha tis the ONLY way a human mind can come to a disbelief position Never having encountered something or never having considered its existence is NOT a dsibelief position

There is ONLY ONE correct and classic definition of an atheist. That is a person who has consciously chosen to DISBELIEVE in the existence of (any ) gods. A ll the hard soft stuff is an attempt to avoid being labelled.and is a very recent philosophical diversion form the traditional definition You can/t call a dog an atheist because it has failed to construct a belief position on gods You can't call a human who has never had a thought about gods an atheist either. Mind you you will find it impossible to find a human being who has NEVER considered the question of the existence of gods and thus has never been forced to construct a position on that question. And no everyone else is NOT either a negative or a positive atheist.

Agnostics consciously defer constructing either a belief or disbelief position and because the y consciously refuse to take a posion the y are NEITHER theist nor atheist I think they would be rightly angry to be labelled as atheists because they have deliberately NOT chosen to be so. I am not sure where you are getting you ideas or definitions from but they are wrong, according to every traditional and classic understanding of the three terms. i suspect they are a modern concept/definition designed to strengthen the position of atheism by arguing that, unless oyu have a direct positive belief in god you are an atheist.

That simply is not so in philosophical linguistic or logical terms. More importantly it is not true given the way we now know humans construct positions of belief and disbelief. As i said you are trying to tell a person who has deliberately chosen NOT to disbelieve in gods that tthis means they disbelieve in gods because they do not actively believe in them .

That is laughable and also very rude. eg " I am agnostic. I chose neither to believe nor disbelieve in the existence of gods"

"Oh you are an atheist then. As you have chosen not to believe in the existence of gods you MUST disbelieve in them "

NO i neither believe nor disbelieve"

"But if you don't believe, then you must be an atheist "

and so on.

Is the universe a multiverse? What do you believe?

A scientist can hold three positions on that question .

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Paranormalcy

Mr. Walker, you sound very much like someone that wants to argue an issue, but insists on defining the terminology and definitions for both sides. I don't let Christians or anyone else do that and I don't do that to Christians.

They would not be very thrilled at "Okay, so, the definition of a Christian is somebody that believes in the God of the Jews, who is also the God of Islam, and in Jesus as the Son of God, and in killing infidels and stoning gay people to death and letting people starve", and then I launch into my reasons why they're wrong.

You will find few if ANY atheists that will agree with or let a conversation or debate with any theist, be presupposed on the idea that atheism is a belief IN the NON existence of god, because that simply isn't the case. You can say "it's the only true, original definition" but I can, as I mentiond previously, say we thought flies came from rotten meat, and in this example above, Christans LOVE killing the gays, because for certain, that's easily how the Biblical directives could be read. But none of us live in rags in the desert and fight against the cultists of Baal or whatever, so we deal with what IS - NOW. Everyting evolves, including stances and general understandings of religions and their adherents, and science and atheism and culture and laws and everything else.

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eight bits

davros

I liked your cyclops post, but do consider that when you turn around and post that fence crap, you are urging more than a lack of belief. I affirmatively believe that the cyclops is a creature of human imagination. So do you. That exceeds lacking belief in a real cyclops.

If "lack" was all there was to it, then there is no fence. I lack, just as required. However, I have an estimate of the state of the evidence which you and I differ about, not that either of us lacks an estimate.

LG going back a few posts, to your # 59

A heuristic is a fallacy (nondemonstrative inference rule) that sometimes leads to the discovery of the truth, or something close to the truth. None of them work all of the time (else they wouldn't be fallacies), and judging when to use which is an "art."

The question of God is contingent. To answer at all forces you to use some heuristic for some part of your analysis. Heuristics are not, as you say, all equally reasonable, but people will often disagree about which ones are ever reasonable, and whether what's reasonable at all is reasonable in some actual situation.

On the question of definition, I think your approach is fine. There are many permissible structures of definition, and in a contingent issue, it is not fatal to have "borderline cases" which may fall within the defined category or not, depending on judgment.

The entire analysis is a judgment call, root and branch. It is unavailing to complain that judgment is used along the way :) .

On your last paragraph, I find belief to be best described as "a matter of degree or more-or-less" even if English allows us to be brief and say "I believe ..." or "I disbelieve ...," as if it were yes-or-no. I also frequently make use of Isaac Levi's concept of "serious possibility" ( = plausible enough to be worth thinking about just how plausible it is or isn't ).

"Aliens live underneath my house" is not (IMO) seriously possible in Levi's sense. Levi's idea is closely related to "Hitchens' Razor," that what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Russell's teapot would be a concrete version, in the same family.

All these are VERY useful heuristics, in my experience.

"Native American ruins exist underneath my house" just might be seriously possible. Even if I ended up discarding the idea eventually, I might think about its a priori plausibility for a while before I discarded it. There is something to think about: I live within a few miles of a historically well-attested Native American cultural site. Space aliens hereabouts, not so much.

Edited by eight bits
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Leonardo

I already did. Sentient. Extra-human powers or attributes.

The sun. Nature (as an abstract, not as a "being".)

Are those things sentient? Are they "beings" with "extra-human powers or attributes"?

Both of them have been worshipped as deities (and not always anthropomorphised in that worship), and for all we know they may be deities. Are you sure you aren't letting cultural bias determine for you what a deity must be assumed to be?

You are incorrect on your one attribute of dragons by the way, Hungarian mythology has the sarkany which according to wiki is, "a creature not similar to Chinese dragon or dragon from West Europe. He is always man-shaped, can ride a horse, and has usually seven heads, sometimes three, 12 or 21". So either you don't accept the sarkany as a 'dragon' using your personal definition of that word, in which you should understand my point why the same thing can be done to the word 'deity' so it also can be non-reason-ignoring-ly denied, or it seems to not believe in dragons ignores reason using the same logic you are applying for 'deity', we have various mutually contradictory definitions here also.

According to the Mythology Dictionary, the "sarkany" is:

A Hungarian demon. He has the power to turn people to stone. His function is to control the weather and he can be seen riding his horse in the thunder clouds. In some versions he is regarded as a dragon. He is depicted with seven or nine heads. At times, identified as Sarkany.

Another site states:

This is a fearsome weather spirit from the Hungarian myths. He was originally a human looking Demon but later became known as a Dragon.

So, not a "dragon" (probably until cultural infection from later European dragon mythology occurred) - but a demon/god/spirit.

I'm not sure why I'm answering your clarifying questions when you ignore most of mine.

I am trying to stick to the thread topic, focusing on my assertion that agnosticism is non-belief (while theism and atheism are beliefs) and my reason for making that assertion. In doing that I won't answer questions which I feel will lead to digressing from that topic - sorry if this bothers you and I appreciate that ignoring some questions makes me seem arrogant/overbearing.

Edited by Leonardo

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Leonardo

@ Leo,

Philosophically, this is how we go about this,

Infinite perfection:

True

Supreme Being

Eternal Being (outside of time and space)

All Perfect

All Good (benevolent)

All powerful (omnipotent)

All knowing (omniscient)

Everywhere (omnipresent)

In other words, God.

No, that is how a philosopher who is fixated on deity as an anthropomorphic (to some degree) "being" defines the term (in fact, I would suggest your example of the process is particularly biased towards a culture fixated on the Abrahamic version of "deity".) It is not how "we" go about it. There have been, and are, many instances of deity as an abstract - non-anthropomorphic, non-"being".

If a person can conceive of any of these that is all that is needed to establish an argument for or against a diety.

I agree, but that is not comprehensive as to an argument taking into consideration all the forms "deity" has been mooted to assume, and some where "deity" has no form whatsoever.

No one has to agree to the definition.

I have never stated the case for the affirmative.

For example: Decartes built an argument for the existence of God in Meditations I, II, III,

FIRST: you'd need to tear down the old one (Meditation 1: methodological skepticism by way of the dream and evil deceiver arguments).

SECOND: you'd need to establish a firm foundation (Meditation 2: a priori truth in the form of 'I am therefore I am").

THIRD: you rebuild your new house (Meditation 3: establishing absolute certainty by establishing God).

Yes, a wonderful argument regarding the conceiving of a deity as a "being" (i.e. anthropomorphic to some degree), and so it is limited to that.

It doesn't matter if my definition of God is different from Descartes' definition. What matters is that we (Descartes and I ) can conceive of a being beyond us (infinitely perfect). In this case, Descartes calls that being God, but it is the "idea" of infinite perfection that is important.

Again with the "being". You appear to have not understood what I said when I spoke of the "myriad definitions deity has been conceived under".

Therefore, Leo's argument doesn't hold up.

Well, if you wish to consider my argument in a different, limited, context then I can see why you'd believe that.

This is a very common mistake for Leo to get hog tied in the semantics. )

And mud-slinging doesn't make your attempt to deconstruct/rebut my argument any more valid.

"With respect the question of the existence of deity I profess agnosticism and consider this to be the only valid form of "non-belief". The primary reason for this is the almost limitless multitude of forms of divinity humankind have conceived of, suggesting both: 1) that anything might be considered "evidence" for some deity conceived by someone somewhere (or somewhen), and 2) that nothing should be considered reliable evidence for the existence of a deity because the plethora of forms deity has been mooted to take are often conflicted and contradictory" (Leo).

"Because it is impossible, therefore, to know whether evidence of a deity exists or not, it is also impossible to rationally/logically argue for or against some form of deity existing. This rules out theism and atheism as "non-beliefs" and exposes them as diametrically opposing beliefs, the adherents of whom simply manipulate one or both of the reasons I provided above, to justify their own belief. i.e. the Theist will deliberately ignore reason 2) - so justifying their theistic belief; while the atheist will deliberately ignore reason 1) in order to justify their atheistic belief" (Leo).

I'm glad to see you have at least read what I wrote, but you still don't appear to understand it.

At this point I suppose it's worth asking, Sheri, whether you don't understand, or refuse to understand, my argument because you are fixated on the "rightness" of the arguments/philosophies of those you consider "authorities" - because you have been taught they are "authorities"?

Edited by Leonardo

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Davros of Skaro

davros

I liked your cyclops post, but do consider that when you turn around and post that fence crap, you are urging more than a lack of belief. I affirmatively believe that the cyclops is a creature of human imagination. So do you. That exceeds lacking belief in a real cyclops.

I do not believe in Cyclops because the lack of evidence of any, and so do you.

Sure I can go further with the archeological evidence on why the ancient Greeks were mistaken. The thing is all I need is my default position of lack of evidence.

If "lack" was all there was to it, then there is no fence. I lack, just as required. However, I have an estimate of the state of the evidence which you and I differ about, not that either of us lacks an estimate.

It's simple. No evidence equals no belief. You should go coach Ray Comfort and William Lane Craig because they can use what you're pushing.

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Nuclear Wessel

Guys, please... no direct/indirect insults/attacks on Walker or anybody else.

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Leonardo

I do not believe in Cyclops because the lack of evidence of any, and so do you.

Sure I can go further with the archeological evidence on why the ancient Greeks were mistaken. The thing is all I need is my default position of lack of evidence.

To paraphrase, "lack of evidence is not evidence of lack".

You are incorrect in your assumption that "lack of evidence" can be reasonably used as the sole criteria to determine the absence (or falsity) of something, what also is required is the thing suspected of being absent or false needs to be reasonably well-defined as a concept.

"Cyclops" fits that criteria in that the lack of evidence for something fitting the reasonably well-defined description of the concept is suggestive that concept did not reflect or describe a "real thing" - or if it did, it was not what the concept ended up describing.

All the posts you have made attempting to sarcastically rebut the argument I made for atheism being a belief reflect this category error, because unlike concepts such as "cyclops", "unicorn", etc - "deity" is defined to be so many, and so many contradictory, things that it could be said to be lacking any specific definition at all.

Edited by Leonardo

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eight bits

davros

You should go coach Ray Comfort and William Lane Craig because they can use what you're pushing.

Last I heard, both of them were theists. I can only agree that they would greatly benefit from becoming agnsotics, but I doubt that they would accept me as their coach.

The thing is all I need is my default position of lack of evidence.

Your claim, however, purported to explain my beliefs, not yours. What you use, and to what effect, is irrelevant to what I use.

No evidence equals no belief.

I regularly explain and endorse prioristic belief formation. Your statement just quoted may be an accurate description of you, but it plainly doesn't describe me at all.

I do not believe in Cyclops because the lack of evidence of any, and so do you.

No. As a matter of fact, I am awash in evidence unfavorable to the existence of cyclopes. If I were so lucky for all gods, then I would be an atheist.

You wouldn't have chosen cyclopes as your example if you weren't pretty sure that almost all your readers would readily agree with your disbelief. You did use the vast store of unfavorable evidence for developing that confidence. I suspect you've made other use of it as well.

Cyclopes are a much smaller, more specific category than gods. For more thoughts about categories, read on:

LG

Thinking some more about definitions, and the specific problem before us, let us take davros's cyclops as an example. Yea, verily, let us be inspired by davros.

Cyclopes are not gods. At least one is a child of Poseidon, who is a god, and they are supernatural beings, but not gods. My intuition is that if I did reject gods, then I might reject Cyclopes for the same or closely related reasons (as well as possibly having further cyclops-specific objections).

God claims and cyclops claims seem to have much in common. Perhaps that much is "definition enough." Even if I lacked a definition of god sufficient to distinguish gods from other sorts of things within the class, I might be able to make ontological decisions about gods based on an ontological decision about the class as a whole.

It is clearly admissible to define a class "ontological hypotheses for which I estimate that there is no favorable evidence apart from reports about them." Cyclopes would be an example, and your favorite, Leprechauns, would be another example.

I might very well adopt a version of Sagan's Razor. This version is one which I believe that Sagan would accept as a fair specification. "Reject all ontological hypotheses for which I estimate that there is no favorable evidence apart from reports about them."

Let's call that rejected category "reported only." Let's call someone who uses the just-quoted heuristic a "Sagan classifier." IRL, I am not a Sagan classifier, but arguendo let "I" denote a Sagan classifier anyway.

Suppose I observe that at the current time everything I imagine which might possibly be a god falls into the category "reported only." LOL, if there were any other kind, I'd be hard at work in pursuit of those hypotheses instead of putzing around with these hypotheses.

Leo points out that there are things that indisputably exist, like the sun, which have been worshipped, a key attribute of some divinities. No problem, the ontological hypotheses of interest all hold that there is more to the sun than its physical interaction with other matter. Those ontological hypotheses are reported only. Conclude that a Sagan classifier would accept the existence of the Sun as a specific star, and reject the existence of a sun god.

In this hypothetical, the only "belief" relevant to the sun god held by the Sagan classifier is that being a Sagan classifier is a good thing to be. Clearly that's domain independent, and not a theological belief. It just happens to have theological implications. It is not the classifier's fault that all of theological ontology happens to be reported only.

The hypothetical Sagan classifier never reaches the issue of defining what is a "god" precisely enough to exclude the cyclopes. Answering the question actually posed, the QoG, doesn't require that for the Sagan classifier, and so not generally.

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