There is no god

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Re: There is no god

Postby Rodolfo » Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:25 pm

Jesper, you want to feel great and rational and superior to those who believe? Allright, have fun. But just for that, since this moment, I consider you my inferior.
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Re: There is no god

Postby jesper » Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:46 pm

Dagh, based on your replies I suspect that:

- You think that atheism is a religion
- You are afraid of atheism
- Yet you are yourself an atheist

In order to clear this up, please take the following test:

http://www.dr.dk/Tema/Ateisme/test.htm

Tell me your score and (if any) where you gained points.

My result was:
Du fik 0 point! Konklusion: Godt klaret!
Du er en gennemført ateist. Nyd livet alt hvad du kan - der er ikke andet end mørke og stilhed bagefter.


Rodolfo, I'm sad that you feel offended. :(
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Re: There is no god

Postby JamesHBeard » Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:58 pm

dnielsen wrote:While 2 is about saying something like "Gravity exists in Reality, and here is our Proof".

To me, 2 is a nonsensical and immature statement.


I must be missing something here mate, cause I do not see anything immature with someone presenting a set of facts to someone to prove their case ? Am I misreading you here or just being plain stupid?

In response to Jesper, God to me is an unknown entity or entitys so vastly beyond current human understanding that it is not possible to comprehend in any way whatsoever. As I discussed in another topic here, a while back.. human beings can only see through a couple of organic devices called "eyes" and can enhance that vision using man-made contraptions to spread light differently, e.g infrared etc..... The world we see and live in, is probably totally irrelevent to what is actually here.

But from a human logic point of view, something created everything that we know about and we are unable to scientifically explain how everything came into being.. even desperate but plausible suggestions like the "big bang" theory do not detail where the big bang came from. Our whole scientific knowledge is flawed as the only way to have all the universes we are aware of now, is to create something from nothing.. and who did this and where did that come from... ???

A question I asked myself now, after reading this thread :) .. is "What would happen if Extra Terrestrials came to Earth, claiming they were "God"?". I always thought this would be who God is.. but then.. what proof would these aliens have to provide us with.. to confirm to the entire human race.. that they are what we call "God" ????
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Re: There is no god

Postby Robert » Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:31 pm

Science is just the current religion.

I can believe what I like and am not accountable to anyone.

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Re: There is no god

Postby dnielsen » Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:44 pm

JamesHBeard wrote:A question I asked myself now, after reading this thread :) .. is "What would happen if Extra Terrestrials came to Earth, claiming they were "God"?". I always thought this would be who God is.. but then.. what proof would these aliens have to provide us with.. to confirm to the entire human race.. that they are what we call "God" ????


Maybe Jesus is an alien!? :lol: But how would he prove to us that he is an alien? :lol:

JamesHBeard wrote:I must be missing something here mate, cause I do not see anything immature with someone presenting a set of facts to someone to prove their case ? Am I misreading you here or just being plain stupid?


I do not mind somebody telling me a story about gravity, telling me what this story is based on, what is it consequences, how this story is consistent with various world views, and how certain world views would be inconsistent with the negation of this story, etc.. To me this is part of a general exercise of "presenting a set of observations and useful models derived from these observations that we can use to navigate the world and communicate about it".

However, I refuse to understand these observations as Facts (with big F) that Prove something about some Reality and some Truth-model corresponding to this Reality. This is to me immature (though not uncommon) metaphysical nonsense.

I should perhaps note that I use immature liberally here. What I mean is that a certain way of postulating something about Reality and spreading claims about Reality and Truth is immature, and that much of human thinking has been in this state of mental puberty for a few thousand years. So by immature I mean that people have just not moved on from a puberty lasting a few thousand years, so it's really not that harsh a criticism :lol:
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Re: There is no god

Postby Robert » Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:46 pm

Careful, Davetoast will start up next. Let's not distract him from advising me on computer components.
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Re: There is no god

Postby Davetoast » Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:49 pm

Hehe, you just spotted me logged in!

dnielsen wrote:The amusing thing for me is that, while many atheist often claim to be the only rational people, I often find them to be the least rational people for exactly this reason.

No doubt there are plenty of irrational atheists but that's really neither here nor there. What matters is if atheism is a rational position, the corollary of which is of course by necessity, whether theism is a rational position.

The point is that they don't understand the valid scope of a belief like "there is no god". A sentence like "there is no god" (or "there exists a God") is a part of a person's world view, expressed like a postulate. This world view is, to me, nothing but a personal tool. It has no scope beyond that.

Other people's worldview certainly has plenty of influence on the world I live in. Their beliefs are projected out into the world with their every action, each having its effect.

It is, to me, simply immature to believe that any personal world view somehow corresponds correctly to The Truth (Whatever That Is Beyond Just A Part Of Some Other Meta World View).

This is an incoherent statement Dagh. Firstly it makes a statement about truth, only to then say that it doesn't know what truth is beyond being a worldview. Secondly, it is in itself a statement of a position which it thinks 'corresponds correctly to The Truth'.

To see it from a slightly different angle: It is, to me, immature, even childish, to go around and say: "My view of the world is CORRECT, and you are irrational if you do not share with me this view of the world." But this is actually pretty much what you do when you go around and say that "all world views that don't share this property X with my world view are wrong".

I just don't understand mate, if something is correct then it is, by definition, irrational to believe otherwise.

It seems to me immature to want to believe that something incorrect is actually true. I think that's pretty self-explanatory. But you seem to take the opposite position here. Am I just reading you wrong or, if not, could you elaborate on that position?

So, the statements "I believe in God" and "I believe there is no god" are similar, and this is what some atheists need to understand.

They are similar in that they both express a belief. And you're right in that by far the largest proportion of atheists are atheists by merit only of a belief.

The statements are both just a part of some personal view of the world and not by some divine or scientific intervention "True"

Yes, they're both belief systems. A belief system has no truth value.

But the statement of the tenets of a belief system have truth value.

and the only reasonable stance to take on the question of whether there is a god or not.

Whether one or the other or both or neither are reasonable stances depends on the truth value of the statement of the tenets of each belief system. So surely, to the extent that those tenets are true or false, the repective belief system can be said to be reasonable or not so.

Whether these respective belief systems are useful in navigating existence, regardless of the truth value of the statement of their tenets, is another question entirely. The reasonableness of each position is not somehow exempt from judgement by dint of their both being useful belief systems towards some end. It is the truth value of what those respective beliefs are placed in that matters, when it comes to deciding whether they are reasonable or not, by definition of the word reasonable.

They are a part of a tool/world view with which we grasp events in our lives and communicate with each other about them. It is immature to think that other people MUST be WRONG if they have a differently shaped world view (since it is immature to think that there is such a thing as a correct view of the world in the first place).

It is definitely irrational to think that others must be wrong when their views differ to yours if and only if your view is based on unproven belief. But if your view is based on proven truth, then surely you would be irrational not to think that others must be wrong if they disagree with that proven truth?

I do not find it unreasonable to preach a view of the world, and as such I don't mind people preaching their religion or their atheism (I don't mind preaching because there can be many ways to justify to one another that you really should adopt this or that world view). But as soon as an atheist says that I am somehow irrational because I do not share his atheism, I give up on him because he is simply too irrational to have a rational conversation with.

What if an atheist said to you that they do not consider you to be an irrational person, but they do consider the agnostic position on the existence of God to be irrational?
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Re: There is no god

Postby Davetoast » Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:24 am

dnielsen wrote:my "problem" is that I don't "understand" (or, perhaps, don't accept) concepts like "an undeniable, categorical proof".

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Truth by definition is rationally undeniable and categorical. This is why theists of the traditional bent keep their definitions of God nebulous and vague, lest they be shot down by reason.

To me, there is a big difference between:

1) "When you observe this objext X with me, you should really agree with me that it has property Y."

2) "It is True that absolute object X has absolute property Y."

That's true!

There are no such things as absolute objects or absolute properties, 'out there'. The quality of being absolute is a function of truth and the truth of what is 'out there' is contingent on any number of things, the senses to mention but one. Absolute objects and properties are merely logical entities.
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Re: There is no god

Postby dnielsen » Wed Jan 07, 2009 1:35 am

Davetoast wrote:Hehe, you just spotted me logged in!

dnielsen wrote:The amusing thing for me is that, while many atheist often claim to be the only rational people, I often find them to be the least rational people for exactly this reason.

No doubt there are plenty of irrational atheists but that's really neither here nor there. What matters is if atheism is a rational position, the corollary of which is of course by necessity, whether theism is a rational position.

It is not particularly interesting to discuss whether atheism is a rational position, since it is (or rather, can be, relative to a belief system). Let's be sure we talk about the same thing when we say atheism. What I mean is that it is not necessarily irrational to believe there is no god. I would also say that it is not necessarily irrational to believe there is a God. However, I would find it irrational (or rather, immature) to claim that it is irrational per se NOT to adopt either view. The problem is that many atheists claim exactly that it is irrational not to adopt the view that there is no god.

The point is that they don't understand the valid scope of a belief like "there is no god". A sentence like "there is no god" (or "there exists a God") is a part of a person's world view, expressed like a postulate. This world view is, to me, nothing but a personal tool. It has no scope beyond that.

Other people's worldview certainly has plenty of influence on the world I live in. Their beliefs are projected out into the world with their every action, each having its effect.

It is, to me, simply immature to believe that any personal world view somehow corresponds correctly to The Truth (Whatever That Is Beyond Just A Part Of Some Other Meta World View).

This is an incoherent statement Dagh. Firstly it makes a statement about truth, only to then say that it doesn't know what truth is beyond being a worldview. Secondly, it is in itself a statement of a position which it thinks 'corresponds correctly to The Truth'.

No, it is not a statement about truth. It is a statement about it being immature to hold certain views about how world views correspond to The Truth. When I tell you that I find certain beliefs and ways of thinking immature, I do not by necessity imply any claims about the objects (here, Truth) of said ways of thinking. Secondly, I certainly do not make a statement of a position which I/it myself thinks 'corresponds correctly to The Truth'. Trust me on this: I navigate my daily life perfectly fine making all kinds of statements about this or that without ever implying that said statements correspond to some truth. Fundamentally, I think you may have a problem in that you think that any statement or system of statements can and should be assigned a truth system to them. First, such truth systems are generally not necessary, and secondly, even if you do insist on assigning truth values to statements, you will have a hard time to explain to me how those truth values and truth systems are anything more than just conveniently chosen tools.

To see it from a slightly different angle: It is, to me, immature, even childish, to go around and say: "My view of the world is CORRECT, and you are irrational if you do not share with me this view of the world." But this is actually pretty much what you do when you go around and say that "all world views that don't share this property X with my world view are wrong".

I just don't understand mate, if something is correct then it is, by definition, irrational to believe otherwise.

It seems to me immature to want to believe that something incorrect is actually true. I think that's pretty self-explanatory. But you seem to take the opposite position here. Am I just reading you wrong or, if not, could you elaborate on that position?

I will elaborate. What I say is that I think it is immature to think that some beliefs or belief systems are Absolutely Correct according to some Truth or Reality. You say that "if something is correct then it is, by definition, irrational to believe otherwise", but when doing that, you imply exactly such an absolute concept of correctness. But I can create a consistent system of beliefs where "there is a God" is part of the system. I can also create a consitent system of beliefs where "there is no god" is part of the system. Both systems are not irrational, by virtue of being consistent. In other words, it can, at the same time, be rational for person A to believe in God and also be rational for person B not to believe in god. I do not want to believe that "something incorrect is actually true". I do not even work with concepts such as (absolutely) incorrect and (absolutely) true in the first place.

So, the statements "I believe in God" and "I believe there is no god" are similar, and this is what some atheists need to understand.

They are similar in that they both express a belief. And you're right in that by far the largest proportion of atheists are atheists by merit only of a belief.

The statements are both just a part of some personal view of the world and not by some divine or scientific intervention "True"

Yes, they're both belief systems. A belief system has no truth value.

But the statement of the tenets of a belief system have truth value.

Can you elaborate on what you mean when you say that "tenets of a belief system have (absolute) truth value"?

and the only reasonable stance to take on the question of whether there is a god or not.

Whether one or the other or both or neither are reasonable stances depends on the truth value of the statement of the tenets of each belief system.
No. They are reasonable to the extend that they do not hold inconsistencies, and are not nonsensical.
So surely, to the extent that those tenets are true or false...
Again, can you elaborate on what you mean by saying that "tenets are true (or false)"?

..., the repective belief system can be said to be reasonable or not so.
Are you claiming that unless I make a judgement on whether the tenets of a belief system are true of false (whatever that means), I cannot make a judgement on whether said belief system is reasonable?

Whether these respective belief systems are useful in navigating existence, regardless of the truth value of the statement of their tenets, is another question entirely. The reasonableness of each position is not somehow exempt from judgement by dint of their both being useful belief systems towards some end. It is the truth value of what those respective beliefs are placed in that matters, when it comes to deciding whether they are reasonable or not, by definition of the word reasonable.

In this context, "Reasonable" to me mainly means something like "consistent and not nonsensical". Please note that it is possible for me to make a judgement on the consistency without assigning truth values to the tenets of a belief system. This judgement would have the form of "no consistency has of yet been discovered" or "these two parts seem inconsistent".

They are a part of a tool/world view with which we grasp events in our lives and communicate with each other about them. It is immature to think that other people MUST be WRONG if they have a differently shaped world view (since it is immature to think that there is such a thing as a correct view of the world in the first place).

It is definitely irrational to think that others must be wrong when their views differ to yours if and only if your view is based on unproven belief. But if your view is based on proven truth, then surely you would be irrational not to think that others must be wrong if they disagree with that proven truth?

Please note that while I make a statement about it being immature to think in a certain way, you reply about whether it is irrational to think in a certain way. I maintain that it is immature to think that there is such a thing as a correct view of the world, or such a thing as an absolute proven truth. To me, these are just nonsensical statements/entities, and referring to them as solid entities is nonsensical. So when you say that "if your view is based on proven truth", it is a premise that makes no sense to me. However, if somebody anyhow holds the belief that their view is based on "proven truth", then, yes, it would be irrational for them not to think that people disagreeing with them are wrong. However, my initial statement was that it was immature of them to think that some beliefs are proven Truths and that other opposite beliefs are thus by necessity Wrong (in an absolute sense).

I do not find it unreasonable to preach a view of the world, and as such I don't mind people preaching their religion or their atheism (I don't mind preaching because there can be many ways to justify to one another that you really should adopt this or that world view). But as soon as an atheist says that I am somehow irrational because I do not share his atheism, I give up on him because he is simply too irrational to have a rational conversation with.

What if an atheist said to you that they do not consider you to be an irrational person, but they do consider the agnostic position on the existence of God to be irrational?


I would tell them that I do not understand what they mean when they say that the agnostic position is (absolutely) irrational, but that I suspect that they are talking nonsense. Personally, I would only talk about whether a position is rational when it is observed in relation to a belief system.
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Re: There is no god

Postby Wonka » Wed Jan 07, 2009 1:59 am

Only David Attenborough is qualified to pass good judgement, because his knowledge of the natural world is far superior to anybody else’s. The more you know about something, the more valid your opinion is on that subject. Like Sir David said: "Just look around at the natural world, the evidence is the same everywhere."


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Re: There is no god

Postby dnielsen » Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:31 am

jesper wrote:Dagh, based on your replies I suspect that:

- You think that atheism is a religion
- You are afraid of atheism
- Yet you are yourself an atheist

In order to clear this up, please take the following test:

http://www.dr.dk/Tema/Ateisme/test.htm

Tell me your score and (if any) where you gained points.

My result was:
Du fik 0 point! Konklusion: Godt klaret!
Du er en gennemført ateist. Nyd livet alt hvad du kan - der er ikke andet end mørke og stilhed bagefter.


Jesper, you are right that I am afraid of atheism, or rather, I am afraid that atheism describes the world in a way that I will never experience to be inappropriate (in other words, I am afraid that I will die without knowledge of God and that I will cease to exist when I die). However, I find some consolation in the fact that God may exist even though I may personally never gain knowledge of it.

I do not think I am an atheist, though. Let me put it this way: A world in which God exists makes about as much sense to me as a world in which there is no god. Either way, not a lot!

I wouldn't say that atheism is a religion, but I would not do so mainly for reasons of practicality. I would say though that the belief that there is no god shares some properties with certain religious beliefs (in that they are both largely metaphysical in nature and pretty much unfalsifiable (note that atheism is hard to falsify because once Jesus Christs comes to walk the Earth again, the atheist may just say "no, this is not God's son performing miracles, but just an alien from outer space pretending to be")).

Any way, I do not mind atheists who hold the belief:

"There is no god."

I do mind, though, when atheists hold the pair of beliefs:

"There is no god, and you are WRONG (in an absolute sense) if you believe otherwise."

The problem is that they begin to think that their belief system reflects some absolute Truth, and not just a belief. In that sense, they are worse than most religious people who at least admit that their belief in God is just that, a belief.

Likewise, religious people who do think that they preach The Truth rather than just a belief are also annoying to me. And is that also not your experience? Some religious people are over-zealous and want to share with you The Truth, while other religious people are more careful about it and mainly refer to their belief as a personal belief!?
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Re: There is no god

Postby Freshmaker » Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:45 am

God is everywhere, even at the pub, making sure you're getting safely home.


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Re: There is no god

Postby dnielsen » Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:47 am

Wonka wrote:Only David Attenborough is qualified to pass good judgement, because his knowledge of the natural world is far superior to anybody else’s. The more you know about something, the more valid your opinion is on that subject. Like Sir David said: "Just look around at the natural world, the evidence is the same everywhere."


http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=PyJinkFhbSg


He makes the argument that mankind has always held a lot of silly religious beliefs (who can't all simultaneously be right), and then he makes a little leap of logic from the fact that since at least some of them must be wrong, we might as well disregard them all and then just observe nature as is.

But I am not convinced by this argument. As a comparison, mankind has held many silly beliefs about alien visits to the Earth. Mankind has also held many beliefs about aliens inhabiting Mars and other planets in our solar system. Most of these beliefs are obviously inconsistent with commonly held views of the world, and must as such be disregarded. But this does not mean that we will (or should) jump to the conclusion that aliens do not exist, period.
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