Why are you an atheist?

All things outside of Burning Man.
Post Reply
User avatar
mojo
Posts: 1609
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2005 9:47 am
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Post by mojo » Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:53 am

Understanding the universe is an interesting point. I have heard that scientists studying string theory have been led to theorize along these lines. I'll spend some time looking for info in the next few days.
Cum catapulte proscripte erunt tum soli proscripti catapultus haebunt.

helitack
Posts: 4140
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 10:00 pm
Burning Since: 2004
Location: A secret, undisclosed location in TexMexistan...

Post by helitack » Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:54 am

joel the ornery wrote:well, "ripping off" seems like an extreme representation of the facts.
OK, how about slacking just a little.

User avatar
mojo
Posts: 1609
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2005 9:47 am
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Post by mojo » Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:55 am

Heli & Joel - you guys are the BEST.
Cum catapulte proscripte erunt tum soli proscripti catapultus haebunt.

User avatar
bringer
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2005 4:20 pm
Location: kansas city

Post by bringer » Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:56 am

HughMungus wrote:I'm not asking you to disprove god. I'm saying, "If you can't disprove anything, how can you say there is no god?" I'm asking how you arrived at "There is no god". Do you have proof that there is no god or do you simply not believe in it because you've never experienced it?
Oh. Okay then:

What does god do?
What are his attributes?
What are his powers?
why is he god?
All Your Base Are Belong To Us!

User avatar
HughMungus
Posts: 1813
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:17 am
Location: Dallas, TX

Post by HughMungus » Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:59 am

bringer wrote:
HughMungus wrote:I'm not asking you to disprove god. I'm saying, "If you can't disprove anything, how can you say there is no god?" I'm asking how you arrived at "There is no god". Do you have proof that there is no god or do you simply not believe in it because you've never experienced it?
Oh. Okay then:

What does god do?
What are his attributes?
What are his powers?
why is he god?
His attributes are defined by and vary widely among various religions and believers.
It's what you make it.

helitack
Posts: 4140
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 10:00 pm
Burning Since: 2004
Location: A secret, undisclosed location in TexMexistan...

Post by helitack » Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:01 pm

What about HER attributes? You are making quite the presumption putting a male persona on the creator are you not?

User avatar
bringer
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2005 4:20 pm
Location: kansas city

Post by bringer » Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:03 pm

His attributes are defined by and vary widely among various religions and believers.

Religions and believers, eh?
So god is all of these beliefs?
everything that anyone, so long as they are religious or a believer, says that god is, then thats what god is?

Is that what you're really telling me?
really?
really really?



What you're telling me is that god is merely a belief.
nothing more.
nothing less.
is this accurate?
All Your Base Are Belong To Us!

User avatar
HughMungus
Posts: 1813
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:17 am
Location: Dallas, TX

Post by HughMungus » Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:05 pm

bringer wrote:
His attributes are defined by and vary widely among various religions and believers.

Religions and believers, eh?
So god is all of these beliefs?
everything that anyone, so long as they are religious or a believer, says that god is, then thats what god is?

Is that what you're really telling me?
really?
really really?



What you're telling me is that god is merely a belief.
nothing more.
nothing less.
is this accurate?
I'm not saying he's all of them. I'm saying that he could be any of them. We don't know. Your point?
It's what you make it.

User avatar
bringer
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2005 4:20 pm
Location: kansas city

Post by bringer » Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:11 pm

HughMungus wrote:
bringer wrote:
His attributes are defined by and vary widely among various religions and believers.

Religions and believers, eh?
So god is all of these beliefs?
everything that anyone, so long as they are religious or a believer, says that god is, then thats what god is?

Is that what you're really telling me?
really?
really really?



What you're telling me is that god is merely a belief.
nothing more.
nothing less.
is this accurate?
I'm not saying he's all of them. I'm saying that he could be any of them. We don't know. Your point?

My point:

Why should I believe in something that is so ill defined, so obscure, so unmeasurable that no one can even agree what it is, what its attributes are, or why it exists?

Why should I entrust this so called "soul" to something that you can't even point at, can't hear, can never touch?

How can something so beyond belief be believed?

In answer to your question, hugh, I am an atheist simply because there is nothing to believe in.
All Your Base Are Belong To Us!

helitack
Posts: 4140
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 10:00 pm
Burning Since: 2004
Location: A secret, undisclosed location in TexMexistan...

Post by helitack » Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:11 pm

Oooooops, edited again, because.....

helitack
Posts: 4140
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 10:00 pm
Burning Since: 2004
Location: A secret, undisclosed location in TexMexistan...

Post by helitack » Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:23 pm

Hugh, are you being a tease? Or formulating an answer?

User avatar
HughMungus
Posts: 1813
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:17 am
Location: Dallas, TX

Post by HughMungus » Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:23 pm

bringer wrote:My point:

Why should I believe in something that is so ill defined, so obscure, so unmeasurable that no one can even agree what it is, what its attributes are, or why it exists?

Why should I entrust this so called "soul" to something that you can't even point at, can't hear, can never touch?

How can something so beyond belief be believed?

In answer to your question, hugh, I am an atheist simply because there is nothing to believe in.
So you don't believe in anything that you haven't directly experienced? You don't believe in anything that you don't understand?
It's what you make it.

User avatar
HughMungus
Posts: 1813
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:17 am
Location: Dallas, TX

Post by HughMungus » Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:50 pm

bringer wrote:
HughMungus wrote:
bringer wrote:
Religions and believers, eh?
So god is all of these beliefs?
everything that anyone, so long as they are religious or a believer, says that god is, then thats what god is?

Is that what you're really telling me?
really?
really really?



What you're telling me is that god is merely a belief.
nothing more.
nothing less.
is this accurate?
I'm not saying he's all of them. I'm saying that he could be any of them. We don't know. Your point?

My point:

Why should I believe in something that is so ill defined, so obscure, so unmeasurable that no one can even agree what it is, what its attributes are, or why it exists?

Why should I entrust this so called "soul" to something that you can't even point at, can't hear, can never touch?

How can something so beyond belief be believed?

In answer to your question, hugh, I am an atheist simply because there is nothing to believe in.
Followup: Do you believe that there is no god?
It's what you make it.

helitack
Posts: 4140
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 10:00 pm
Burning Since: 2004
Location: A secret, undisclosed location in TexMexistan...

Post by helitack » Wed Mar 22, 2006 1:01 pm

I must be on ignore, the he, she it conudrum has not been answered by our argumentor.

User avatar
bringer
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2005 4:20 pm
Location: kansas city

Post by bringer » Wed Mar 22, 2006 1:02 pm

helitack wrote:I must be on ignore, the he, she it condrum has not been answered by our argumentor.
I think he referes to it as a "conan drum"
All Your Base Are Belong To Us!

Kinetic IV
Posts: 2977
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2005 7:34 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine as of 10/27/06

Post by Kinetic IV » Wed Mar 22, 2006 1:05 pm

helitack wrote:What about HER attributes? You are making quite the presumption putting a male persona on the creator are you not?
I think this has been the best statement of the day...so far.
K-IV
~~~~
Thank you for over 7 years of eplaya memories. I have asked Emily Sparkle to delete my account and I am gone. Goodbye and Goodluck to all of you! I will miss you!

User avatar
HughMungus
Posts: 1813
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:17 am
Location: Dallas, TX

Post by HughMungus » Wed Mar 22, 2006 1:46 pm

bringer wrote:
helitack wrote:I must be on ignore, the he, she it condrum has not been answered by our argumentor.
I think he referes to it as a "conan drum"
So bringer, do you believe that there is no god?
It's what you make it.

helitack
Posts: 4140
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 10:00 pm
Burning Since: 2004
Location: A secret, undisclosed location in TexMexistan...

Post by helitack » Wed Mar 22, 2006 1:47 pm

Still no answer, Hmmmm. I have 10.5 more days of "vacation without pay" so I will be very patient. Guess he won't move folks out of the way when I want to take a pic on the playa either.

User avatar
Ranger Genius
Posts: 2408
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 7:07 am
Location: Behind the Zion Curtain
Contact:

Post by Ranger Genius » Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:27 pm

Okay, since Hugh apparently has a learning curve which approximates the turning radius of an aircraft carrier, I'll spell it out in even more simplistic terms than those I've been using.

I believe there is no god because my beliefs are based upon SCIENTIFIC and LOGICAL reasoning. In the realms of both logic and science, if there is no good reason to believe something, it's an invalid belief. This applies to god as well as the easter bunny. There's no good reason to believe either one, and plenty of good reasons to believe alternate theories that are mutually exclusive. Such as random accidents, and my parents hiding plastic eggs in the dark, respectively.

Now, to address the proof question, yet again. And to try to more clearly resolve the quandary over disproving a proposition vs. proving a proposition of negation. Try to keep up:

These two statements are, logically, NOT THE SAME.

"There is no god."
"Argument X in favor of the existence of god is false."
or even
"EVERY argument in favor of the existence of god is false."

So let's take god out of the equation:

Proposition A has no valid arguments in its favor, and
Proposition A runs counter to many things we believe, for good reason, to be true, and
Proposition A does not satisfactorily answer even the question it was introduced to explain, and
Proposition A does not provide predictions about other questions, and
Proposition A is defined such that it can neither be verified or falsified.

It doesn't matter what Proposition A is, scientifically, and logically, there's not only no reason to believe Proposition A. Proposition -A, however, must be evaluated on its own terms.

Proposition -A has a number of valid arguments in its favor, and
Proposition -A does not contradict anything we believe, for good reason, to be true, and
Proposition -A not only provides predictions about other events, but is actually the basis for many of our well-tested theories, and
Proposition -A can easily be falsified (simply by finding ANY evidence of Proposition A).

Given this, it is perfectly reasonable to believe Proposition -A, even though it hasn't been proven.

Regarding evidence, existence, and extraterrestrials:

That which has not been proven does not, necessarily, exist (as opposed to that which CANNOT be proven. I hope you remember that distinction). Nor is it, necessarily, nonexistent. And here's the reason aliens are not in the same class of belief as god:

Aliens have not been proven, but could easily be proven just by finding some evidence of them. That's why those who believe in aliens (unlike those who believe in god) actually try to find evidence ( see SETI); it just might exist (unlike evidence of god). Belief in aliens doesn't contradict any of our major scientific or logical principles, and in fact is right in line with what we believe (for good reason) about the origins of life on this planet, what we understand about the size, age, origins, and density of the universe.

Belief in aliens, by a scientific standard, is pretty reasonable. Belief that aliens have visited our planet and anally probed our provincial bumpkins, not so much.

Bigfoot, extraterrestrials, and the Loch Ness Monster are all more reasonable beliefs, scientifically, than god.

Believing in a creator god means ignoring geological, anthropological, and paleontological evidence.
Believing in a benevolent god means ignoring all the human and sociological evidence.
Believing in an omnipotent god means disbelieving in god's benevolence.


So to put it succinctly:

I believe that science is the path to truth.
I believe that scientific reasoning indicates not only that there's no reason to believe in god, but that there is good reason to disbelieve him.
I believe, therefore, that there is no truth in god.
“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”

Kinetic IV
Posts: 2977
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2005 7:34 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine as of 10/27/06

Post by Kinetic IV » Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:32 pm

Playing devil's advocate....it's still too complex of an answer. Simplify, simplify! That one made me reach for the Excedrin...it did provide a nice distraction from the droning speaker I'm stuck listening to over here though.
K-IV
~~~~
Thank you for over 7 years of eplaya memories. I have asked Emily Sparkle to delete my account and I am gone. Goodbye and Goodluck to all of you! I will miss you!

User avatar
Rob the Wop
Posts: 1814
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2003 4:06 pm
Location: Furbackistan, OR
Contact:

Post by Rob the Wop » Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:37 pm

Hello Ranger Genius, and welcome to the HUGH Simulator 9000:

So please explain to me how "there is no God" and "God does not exist" are not conan drums?
[b]The other, other white meat.[/b]

User avatar
Ranger Genius
Posts: 2408
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 7:07 am
Location: Behind the Zion Curtain
Contact:

Post by Ranger Genius » Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:42 pm

Well, it's a complex question, and HM has demonstrated repeatedly that one cannot use any sort of logical or scientific shorthand, so I have to spell everything out in excruciating detail.
“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”

User avatar
HughMungus
Posts: 1813
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:17 am
Location: Dallas, TX

Post by HughMungus » Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:42 pm

Man, all of this is full of problems.
Ranger Genius wrote:I believe there is no god because my beliefs are based upon SCIENTIFIC and LOGICAL reasoning. In the realms of both logic and science, if there is no good reason to believe something, it's an invalid belief. This applies to god as well as the easter bunny. There's no good reason to believe either one, and plenty of good reasons to believe alternate theories that are mutually exclusive.
Belief in god and belief in science are not mutually exclusive. Well, they are to your very narrow view of what god is (which was one of the problems I keep having with your "logic" -- using a very narrow view of god's nature to "prove" he doesn't exist). You dismissed that out of hand last time I said it and you'll probably do the same again.
Now, to address the proof question, yet again. And to try to more clearly resolve the quandary over disproving a proposition vs. proving a proposition of negation. Try to keep up:

These two statements are, logically, NOT THE SAME.

"There is no god."
"Argument X in favor of the existence of god is false."
or even
"EVERY argument in favor of the existence of god is false."

So let's take god out of the equation:

Proposition A has no valid arguments in its favor, and
Proposition A runs counter to many things we believe, for good reason, to be true, and
Proposition A does not satisfactorily answer even the question it was introduced to explain, and
Proposition A does not provide predictions about other questions, and
Proposition A is defined such that it can neither be verified or falsified.

It doesn't matter what Proposition A is, scientifically, and logically, there's not only no reason to believe Proposition A. Proposition -A, however, must be evaluated on its own terms.

Proposition -A has a number of valid arguments in its favor, and
Proposition -A does not contradict anything we believe, for good reason, to be true, and
Proposition -A not only provides predictions about other events, but is actually the basis for many of our well-tested theories, and
Proposition -A can easily be falsified (simply by finding ANY evidence of Proposition A).

Given this, it is perfectly reasonable to believe Proposition -A, even though it hasn't been proven.
Yes, if we accept your assumptions, which we do not.
Regarding evidence, existence, and extraterrestrials:

That which has not been proven does not, necessarily, exist (as opposed to that which CANNOT be proven. I hope you remember that distinction). Nor is it, necessarily, nonexistent. And here's the reason aliens are not in the same class of belief as god:

Aliens have not been proven, but could easily be proven just by finding some evidence of them. That's why those who believe in aliens (unlike those who believe in god) actually try to find evidence ( see SETI); it just might exist (unlike evidence of god). Belief in aliens doesn't contradict any of our major scientific or logical principles, and in fact is right in line with what we believe (for good reason) about the origins of life on this planet, what we understand about the size, age, origins, and density of the universe.

Belief in aliens, by a scientific standard, is pretty reasonable. Belief that aliens have visited our planet and anally probed our provincial bumpkins, not so much.

Bigfoot, extraterrestrials, and the Loch Ness Monster are all more reasonable beliefs, scientifically, than god.

Believing in a creator god means ignoring geological, anthropological, and paleontological evidence.
Again, if we use your conveniently narrow view of god's nature, yes.
Believing in a benevolent god means ignoring all the human and sociological evidence.
Believing in an omnipotent god means disbelieving in god's benevolence.
Ditto.

So to put it succinctly:

I believe that science is the path to truth.
I believe that scientific reasoning indicates not only that there's no reason to believe in god, but that there is good reason to disbelieve him.
I believe, therefore, that there is no truth in god.
Again, god and science are not mutually exclusive.

Don't you ever question yourself for using such a very narrow definition of god's nature to prove that god doesn't exist?

Do you totally reject the theory of intelligent design?
It's what you make it.

User avatar
HughMungus
Posts: 1813
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:17 am
Location: Dallas, TX

Post by HughMungus » Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:46 pm

Kinetic IV wrote:Playing devil's advocate....it's still too complex of an answer. Simplify, simplify! That one made me reach for the Excedrin...it did provide a nice distraction from the droning speaker I'm stuck listening to over here though.
I totally understood it. His problem is that he's using a very narrow (but convenient) belief about god's nature to "prove" that god doesn't exist. He also assumes that god and science are mutually exclusive. Not very logical.
It's what you make it.

helitack
Posts: 4140
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 10:00 pm
Burning Since: 2004
Location: A secret, undisclosed location in TexMexistan...

Post by helitack » Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:50 pm

Let's go back to this statement
helitack wrote:
Who really gives a shit one way or another.

User avatar
Ranger Genius
Posts: 2408
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 7:07 am
Location: Behind the Zion Curtain
Contact:

Post by Ranger Genius » Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:51 pm

Okay then, please define god. And define atheist.

I define god as an omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent being who created the universe (or at least earth) and monitors our behaviour, intervening on our behalfs, and expects certain moral behavior from us in exchange for rewards in the afterlife.

That's what I don't believe in. You can redefine god all you want, but it makes any sort of discussion pointless. So since you're the one who started this discussion, why don't you provide the definitions?

ETA: and yes, I TOTALLY and UNEQUIVOCABLY reject the "theory" of intelligent design. Again, refer to Incompetent Design and The Blind Watchmaker, wherein respected and accomplished biologists assert that if life on earth was designed, it was designed by and incompetent fool on blueprints that would have had a first-year engineering student laughed out of his course.
“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”

helitack
Posts: 4140
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 10:00 pm
Burning Since: 2004
Location: A secret, undisclosed location in TexMexistan...

Post by helitack » Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:58 pm

Hmmm...this gets me thinking on something. I am a logical being, mostly. However I cannot in any way shape or form, explain why I love one certain woman over the 2.4 billion others on the planet. Where is the logic in that?

User avatar
Ranger Genius
Posts: 2408
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 7:07 am
Location: Behind the Zion Curtain
Contact:

Post by Ranger Genius » Wed Mar 22, 2006 4:01 pm

helitack wrote:Hmmm...this gets me thinking on something. I am a logical being, mostly. However I cannot in any way shape or form, explain why I love one certain woman over the 2.4 billion others on the planet. Where is the logic in that?
Meh. Psychology is a pretty woolly science.

Besides, you only know a few thousand of those 2.4 billion, at best.

But we can show, measurably, the chemical and electrical reactions that take place in a person's body and brain when they're in love, or looking at someone they're in love with or attracted to.
“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”

helitack
Posts: 4140
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 10:00 pm
Burning Since: 2004
Location: A secret, undisclosed location in TexMexistan...

Post by helitack » Wed Mar 22, 2006 4:07 pm

Psychology does not explain to me why I am in the situation I am in.

User avatar
HughMungus
Posts: 1813
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:17 am
Location: Dallas, TX

Post by HughMungus » Wed Mar 22, 2006 5:55 pm

Ranger Genius wrote:Okay then, please define god. And define atheist.

I define god as an omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent being who created the universe (or at least earth) and monitors our behaviour, intervening on our behalfs, and expects certain moral behavior from us in exchange for rewards in the afterlife.

That's what I don't believe in. You can redefine god all you want, but it makes any sort of discussion pointless. So since you're the one who started this discussion, why don't you provide the definitions?

ETA: and yes, I TOTALLY and UNEQUIVOCABLY reject the "theory" of intelligent design. Again, refer to Incompetent Design and The Blind Watchmaker, wherein respected and accomplished biologists assert that if life on earth was designed, it was designed by and incompetent fool on blueprints that would have had a first-year engineering student laughed out of his course.
OK so what if I defined god as (s)he who only created the omniverse (say, via the Big Bang) which operates thereafter under its own natural laws? How would you disprove that?
It's what you make it.

Post Reply

Return to “Open Discussion”