Author Topic: ep 80 - religion and skepticism  (Read 44943 times)

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Offline jason

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ep 80 - religion and skepticism
« Reply #165 on: March 28, 2007, 03:40:42 AM »
Quote from: "ChrisChris"
See this thread: http://www.infidelguy.com/forumarchives/modules.php?name=Boards&file=viewtopic&p=406856#406856 (links straight to the beginning post of the argument)

Someone (called 'strafio') makes the same argument you did (he uses ‘the sims’ in his example). And someone else (called 'todangst') refutes it.

You may think he refutes it, but he basically puts forward the same defence you do, which isn't convincing. He, like you, makes a bunch of arbitrary assumptions from which his argument is based. As noted earlier, your logic can track cleanly, but if it's based on faulty premises, it's worthless.

I've got to admit that what I'm reading of the strong atheism position has a certain "true believer" ring to it, in that you start from the assumption that no God or Gods exist, and then work backwards to build a case.

I prefer the scientific skeptics approach: that with no assumptions either way, and see what the evidence tells us. Proof of God A's existence: 'nuthing. Proof of God A's non-existence (?)... still nothing? Conclusion is God A almost certainly doesn't exist; about as much chance as the tooth fairy. But does God A definitely, beyond any shadow of a doubt, not exist? I just can't get there without a leap of faith (ironically enough).
quot;Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." - Philip K. Dick
"Scientific skepticism: the buck stops at reality."

Offline ChrisChris

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ep 80 - religion and skepticism
« Reply #166 on: March 30, 2007, 04:12:29 PM »
Quote from: "jason"
As noted earlier, your logic can track cleanly, but if it's based on faulty premises, it's worthless.

And why is the premise faulty?

Quote from: "jason"
I've got to admit that what I'm reading of the strong atheism position has a certain "true believer" ring to it, in that you start from the assumption that no God or Gods exist, and then work backwards to build a case.

Wrong. This is not what I or others do.

I do NOT hold “that no God or Gods exist” at all, so please don straw man my position. I say CLAIMS ABOUT SPECIFIC GODS leads me to conclude that that god cannot possibly exist. Thus my conclusion is simply the LOGICAL RAMIFICATION of the THEISTS CLAIMS.

But I class my self as a weak atheist, because when it comes to the concept of a god, a god that has not been anthropomorphised (e,g, the deist god), one cannot comment on whether such a ‘being’ or ‘thing’ exists since there is no evidence. Because of the lack of evidence, I lack belief in such a god, but I’m certainly willing to believe in this god given the evidence.

And in both cases, strong and weak atheism, I am more than willing to change my mind if I’m shown to be incorrect, or if new information becomes available. So your idea that I’m making an assumption then working backwards is simply wrong. I only state that a certain god cannot exist AFTER I’ve examined the theist’s claims (i.e. to see a contradiction), never regarding an unidentified god.

Quote from: "jason"
prefer the scientific skeptics approach: that with no assumptions either way,

Besides from the fact I make no assumptions, atheism is not an assumption)

This means you hold no belief in a god, this you disbelieve in god, ergo this makes you an atheist, by definition!

Quote from: "jason"
and see what the evidence tells us.

I agree. We should abstain from belief in a god when there is no evidence to hold belief in one, thus abstaining from belief in god means you lack belief, ergo this makes you an atheist, by definition!

Quote from: "jason"
Proof of God A's existence: 'nuthing. Proof of God A's non-existence (?)... still nothing? Conclusion is God A almost certainly doesn't exist; about as much chance as the tooth fairy.

This describes atheism. God probably doesn’t exist, thus you choose not to believe one does, and thus this mean you lack belief in a god, ergo this makes you an atheist, by definition!

You’re a weak atheist; you just use a different word to describe the position: you misuse the word agnosticism. Nevertheless, the position is exactly the same.

Quote from: "jason"
But does God A definitely, beyond any shadow of a doubt, not exist? I just can't get there without a leap of faith (ironically enough).

You think atheism equates to being 100% sure that god does not exist?! This is simply wrong. It’s a misconception of atheism, created by theists, and it worked so well, even atheists fall for it, and thus don’t like to call themselves atheist, based on this error.

You seem to ignore the degree of belief/disbelief within theism and atheism respectively. There is more than one flavour of theism, just as there is more than one flavour of atheism. But in the end, atheism simply implies a lack of theism, nothing more. How one wishes to 'not believe' is immaterial to the word 'atheism' itself, just as how one holds to the Democratic Party positions is moot as to whether one is in fact a Democrat.
"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence" -- Christopher Hitchens

Offline jason

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ep 80 - religion and skepticism
« Reply #167 on: March 30, 2007, 05:20:43 PM »
Quote from: "ChrisChris"
You’re a weak atheist; you just use a different word to describe the position: you misuse the word agnosticism. Nevertheless, the position is exactly the same.
...

You seem to ignore the degree of belief/disbelief within theism and atheism respectively. There is more than one flavour of theism, just as there is more than one flavour of atheism. But in the end, atheism simply implies a lack of theism, nothing more.

I actually knew all that, but had misinterpreted your position: you seemed to be arguing for the strong atheist position. I knew I was a weak atheist, and putting your own arguments into the same context makes perfect sense.

I apologise for the misunderstanding.
quot;Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." - Philip K. Dick
"Scientific skepticism: the buck stops at reality."

Offline ChrisChris

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ep 80 - religion and skepticism
« Reply #168 on: March 30, 2007, 07:26:12 PM »
Quote from: "jason"
Quote from: "ChrisChris"
You’re a weak atheist; you just use a different word to describe the position: you misuse the word agnosticism. Nevertheless, the position is exactly the same.
...

You seem to ignore the degree of belief/disbelief within theism and atheism respectively. There is more than one flavour of theism, just as there is more than one flavour of atheism. But in the end, atheism simply implies a lack of theism, nothing more.

I actually knew all that, but had misinterpreted your position: you seemed to be arguing for the strong atheist position.

I only take a strong atheist position to positive claims of god that I can actually deal with, either epistemologically, scientifically, or logically. Other than that, I make no positive claims about any such issues, thus I'm a weak atheist.

Strong atheism is a term generally used to describe atheists who accept as true the proposition, "god does not exist". Weak atheism refers to any type of non-theism which falls short of this standard. Because of flexibility in the term "god", it is understood that a person could be a strong atheist in terms of certain portrayals of god, while remaining a weak atheist in terms of others. The term "weak atheism" is sometimes used interchangably with "agnosticism."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strong_atheism

Quote from: "jason"
I apologise for the misunderstanding.

No worries. I should also apologise for assuming you were 'agnostic' rather than 'agnostic atheist'.
"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence" -- Christopher Hitchens