Idea: We should abandon the philosophical notion of absolute knowledge because it is useless. This way the word knowledge simply depends on having mountains of evidence to support it. What do you think?
As you're not an Aussie I feel duty-bound to inform you that the ABC (Oz TV channel) is screening a Q & A session tonight between Richard Dawkins and Cardinal George Pell, head of the Catholic Church in Australia. Should be incredibly interesting and *should* be available online. The show's actually called Q & A if you want to Google it :)
Would you say that there should be any value placed on the colloquial meaning of "Atheist"? As in, since the majority of people seem to think of Atheism as solely an active rejection of any gods, and anything less as Agnostic. Does this change the definition of Atheism since one could argue that the language has now evolved beyond the original meanings?
Actually I think that the meanings given to words matter greatly when people converse. What needs to happen is that when a serious discussion is to be had, the parties involved should agree on the definitions to be used at the start. This ensures less confusion and a more honest discussion.
To try to get everyone to agree on a definition, evolved or not, though, I think is an exercise in futility. People will always have their own thoughts and opinions, which are informed by their experiences. The best we can do is be aware of these differences and control for them as much as possible by agreeing to structured discussion with honest and open contribution.
I'm not certain, but I'm *pretty* sure that we have enough scientific knowledge to back up the theory that the universe probably always existed. Also, if anon wishes to suggest that perhaps god always existed, then I challenge them with this David Mills' quote, "If the laws of physics alone do the job and perform all the work within our universe, then a Miracle Worker is left with nothing to do. Ockhams's Razor thus demands that this idle Power be eliminated from scientific explanation."
Your logic is sound, your arguments iron-clad,
The fact that anon just won’t listen, is too bad!
Concerned atheist, thank-you for your great words,
Unlike the anon contribution, which were no better than turds!
In response to your anon: What universe is he looking at that is 'organised' and where things are 'strategically placed'. To think the univse has order is to misunderstand cosmology, to think our planet is 'strategically placed' is to misunderstand probability, to think anything in nature or biology is ordered or strategically placed to the point where it implys a supernatural deity is to misunderstand evolution, biochemistry and physiology. I do not see what 'science' this anon claims to love..
He doesn’t love science, he loves to attempt to manipulate science to fit his agenda. He thinks that by saying “he loves science” that that somehow lends him or his arguments some credibility. It doesn’t. Any lover of science (even a religious one) would not sully it by mixing it with unfalsifiable things like faith. Faith belongs only to religion, and it belongs nowhere else…and if I had my way, it wouldn’t be around at all. AATS
Just because things look designed does not mean they are actually designed. That's post hoc ergo propter hoc at it's most basic. And here's another one, smugly ignorant anon... if the universe is so complex that it needs a creator, wouldn't your creator have to be equally complex? Wouldn't your creator, then, beg the same question as the universe? What created the creator?
Yea smugly ignorant anon, answer these questions, biatch! AATS
How can their not be enough evidence that there is a God? So, I am curious, what is your believed explanation of how we, or the whole universe for that matter, were created? How could such an organized universe, where everything is strategically placed not be created by a God? How could an infinite universe be created by something less than an infinite God? I love science too, if you care to know, and for me it just seems that science always seems to show me that there has to be a God.
Science by definition provides non-supernatural (see: natural) explanations for the universe we see around us. For science to show you that a god exists, you would have to scientifically test a positive claim about that god.
i.e. prayer, see my explanation in my last post.
Also, if you’re going to continue to message me, come off anonymous and stop being a coward.
PS. What evidence do you have that:
a) The universe was created by anything at all (maybe it always existed in some form, expanded or not)
b) The universe reflects some sort of divine “strategy” (unless the strategy is to create a harsh and violent place, almost devoid of life, that in almost all cases is the absolute anti-thesis to human flourishing…why couldn’t god have made a few more earth-like planets? After all, he had to know we’d end up destroying this one!)
c) How does it make sense that you can explain an infinite thing with another infinite thing? Aren’t you going to have to explain the other infinite thing? And don’t say your god does not need explaining “by definition.” Bullshit. If you like science, then your claims should be scientific and be supportable by real evidence, not just definitions.
What are your opinions on the relationship between Atheism and Agnosticism? I personally think that people who claim to Agnosticism are still unbelievers, making them "without a god"... making them Atheists, but I dunno. What do you think?
If you put aside the more colloquial meanings of “atheism” and “agnosticism” and look at the root definitions you will see that, in fact, these terms describe two completely different things.
Agnostic simply means “without knowledge” and gnostic means “with knowledge”.
Atheistic simply means “lacking a belief in a god or gods” and theistic means “having a belief in a god or gods.”
If you examine the two terms and their meanings closely, you soon realize that you can be both agnostic and an atheist, or agnostic and a theist, or any of the other combinations. In my opinion, the agnostic atheist position is the most reasonable position to take, while the gnostic theist is the most unreasonable position to take.
The agnostic atheist does not believe in a god or gods, but also acknowledges that they do not have absolute knowledge that there is no god. The gnostic theist believes there is a god or gods, but claims to have knowledge of the truth of the claim.
The kicker really lies in this idea of absolute knowledge. Philosophically speaking, one can never have absolute knowledge of anything except for ones own existence.This at first glance seems counter-intuitive, but if you think of the movie “The Matrix,” and the way the people in that computer program were duped into believing the world around them was real, you will soon realize that it could, in fact, be that everything you experience in the world around you could be a simulation, or a figment of your imagination. The most vivid of dreams. How would you tell the difference? This idea that the only thing you can know for sure that you exist (“I think therefore I am”) is called solipsism.
It’s not hard to see that solipsism is devoid of any practical value, that is why most people reject the idea of “absolute knowledge” in favour of the colloquial version of knowledge which is something that has been demonstrated to be true (usually through the scientific method) over and over again, so frequently that we declare it a law of nature, theory, fact, etc.
If we accept this definition of knowledge, then you can see that the “gnostic/agnostic” distinction breaks down. Now, knowledge is something we can attain through scientific rigour, and all we need from a theist is a specific-enough god claim that we can test with empirical investigation. Take prayer, for example, it has been demonstrated, over and over again, that prayer has no more power than a placebo, and in some cases, can have a negative effect. This alone can be used to show that if a god does exist, it is one that does not answer prayers. This one demonstrated fact pretty much disproves the existence of all modern monotheistic gods.
So for atheists that accept the more common definition of knowledge, they may call themselves gnostic atheists, or just strong atheists, because they feel they have knowledge, as far as they can have knowledge about any specific claim about the natural world, that most gods do not exist. And where god claims are so vague and non-specific as to push the god into an area of experience that cannot be attained, those atheists will say that knowledge about those gods is so devoid of value that it is equivalent to say they do not exist.
Anyway, I’ve really gone off on a tangent here, but I hope this clarifies the issue of agnostic vs atheist to you. The next time someone says to you they are an “agnostic,” ask them if they have yet accepted that a god claim is true, and if they say no, then they “lack a belief in a god or gods” making them an atheist. Remember that agnosticism is a knowledge statement, while atheism is a belief statement.
Um…I’ve rambled too long. Let me know if you need more LOL. AATS
But I hate when they tell everyone they’re wrong. Like shut the hell up, youre just as bad as the Christians who damn the gays to hell. You should just let people live their own lives..
When was the last time bullying from a bunch of atheists caused massive amounts of gay teens to commit suicide?
Your average loud mouth atheist is generally loud mouthing for human rights, not against them.
The difference is huge.
"Huge" doesn’t even begin to describe the difference. By telling and showing someone they’re wrong about something, I am showing them respect by not pandering to their beliefs and views. How do people think progress is made? By having open discourse and discussion whereby people inform each other of the facts and evidence that exist in the real world.
I think that we know enough about human flourishing to know that information and “evidence” that promotes hate and bigotry and eventuallly to suicides is probably not the “path to truth.” I will not be silenced. I will not stand by and allow others to spread prejudice and hate speech. I will be pro-human rights. I will be an atheist and humanist and do my part to make the world a better place. AATS
Hi, you don't know me, and I know that you are atheist. But what if God does exist? What if he did create us, and create the world from the vast skies down to the very microscope of our cells. What if God himself created science, created the laminin in our bodies, the very molecule in our bodies that holds it together. What if God can explain everything that scientists can't seem to wrap their heads around. I completely respect your opinion,but how can you ever be so sure that He doesn't exist?
Here’s the thing: I’m not “so sure” in the sense that I am certain. To be clearer, I do not really assert that “there is no god.” I just do not believe in any gods because of the lack of evidence from the world around me. There is a difference between asserting that there is no god, and simply lacking the belief in gods. The difference is subtle, but it is there. In this way you could say that I am open to the idea that there could be a god, if convincing evidence (scientific and empirical in nature) were presented.
Here’s the other thing: When you described god in your question, you described him only as a creator. Not as an answerer of prayers, not as a punisher of sins. This god cannot be the god of any of the specific mono- or polytheistic religions that exist in the world today. At best, it is a deistic god, which also cannot be proven, only taken on faith, which is something I do not value as a reasonable person. In addition, the god you describe in your question, I think, if he/she/it does exist, would probably value skepticism in its creations, and given that it has provided no reliable means with which its creations can determine the god’s existence, would expect its creations to be atheists. Given no other options, it’s the most reasonable stance.
Just think: Just because you cannot assert for certain that there isn’t an invisible ethereal donut floating beside you right now in another dimension, it doesn’t mean that it is unreasonable to believe that it isn’t there. In fact, until evidence is unearthed that donuts can exist outside our universe, can be invisible and ethereal, and can float, you really should believe it is not true. See my point? AATS