I for one don’t get this people, why is it that atheist are so close minded that they lack imagination to see some topics as possibilitys examples….
2.) Reincarnation (non spiritual)
4.) Esp and related (telekinesis, spontaneous combustion, etc…)
5.) Ufo’s , Aliens, extraterrestrial life
And all of the above are no relation to gods or then in liken to….
Ok just in case you have forgotten the definition of atheism here…..
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.
Nowhere does it say anything about being close minded with lack of inspiration in the scientific field.
Yes I know atheist are skeptics in nature as I am but I always say prove it either way for or against that it does or does not exist… I know that leaves the god question in there but no I CAN prove that wrong. :)
These topics need to be proven though scientific theory, but how? As far as I can see we are still babies in the flow of technology. People forget we did not have iPods and cell phones 30 years ago. We barely had computers and there already 100% faster that then and TV was only invented less than 100 years ago.
Humans have been around for 100,000 years and only in the last 200 have we just created this mega society that has communication (worth mentioning). So why is everybody so narrow minded?
Go ahead tell me how some atheist started being unimaginative and almost hateful to human curiosity?
Let the great debate begin ……
EDIT:10/28/2011 Please read
Ok after a few days of running this discussion I have gotten some great replies and now I'm going to tell you why and what I did here....
It was a personal experiment to "poke the bear" and "test the waters" to see what other Atheist were like. I don't actually know any other Atheist personally. I am new to atheism, only being one for a little more than a year or so i was an agnostic before that. I really don't think atheist are closed minded (this post proved that to a degree) though i do think we rely on the main stream in science a little to much because alot of it is controlled, programed, objectified by people who want to control us. OK I know i just sounded like a nutter there, but really look again why does your little one want that new Elmo doll? And why was it a week before any news broke on the OWS ? Though they are rather quick to point out that a terrorist was killed today....
And on the subjects above I do believe we should keep and open mind and not use the easy fall back " no they don't exist" to the proper "undermanned" or "undecided" it gives us just a little more room to grow as humans by implying "we see your point but prove it and we know that's going to be hard to do". yes we are skeptics let us just not be the negative cynical ones (yea that's harder than it sounds).....
Oh and Thank you for putting up your responses it really did help me "see a little more"
yea i'm still answering what i can :)
Did I tell him to piss off or something? When I get heated I'll come back with a lot more than a request for specifics.
LOL He's not a troll
Thanks Simon. I actually expected that some one would pop up.. there is one in every crowd. Much appreciated ;)
Ghosts don't make sense to me because everyone says they have no mass, if this is true then they are not affected by gravity, and thus cannot maintain a position on earth's surface. If they are extradimensional like others say (like a crossover), then they have been known to emit light, and therefore detectable by scientific instrument. You could measure what they're made of, nobody knows any facts about ghosts, they're all just ideas, not even theories and based solely on word of mouth and therefore not a good thing to go by.
2. Reincarnation (non spiritual):
I'm not completely closed to this idea, we have gained consciousness on this earth, who's to say that we don't gain some kind of other consciousness after we die. perhaps in another galaxy. It happened once, why couldn't it happen again? This is my idea, but it's as useless as saying that theres a pink unicorn that lives on jupiter until theres any sort of scientific knowledge of such a thing. It's open to speculation, but my opinion is as useless as anyone elses on this forum on this topic.
Conspiracies are just what they are, conspiracies. Some may be true, some may be false, it mostly depends on the ammount of verifiable and concrete evidence to support conspiracies. However, most conspiracies floating around like the structures on the moon, or that NASA is suppressing knowledge of alien visitors are all just word of mouth and are baseless.
4. Telekinesis, spontaneous combustion, etc...
Fire is a chemical reaction requiring 3 properties, a combustible source of fuel, an oxidizing gas, and sufficient energy to increase the fuel's temperature to combustion, without these three things, fire cannot exist. Spontaneous combustion can be duplicated in labs, but if your thinking of someone walking down the street and randomly catching fire, then no. If that is the case then what your describing is supernatural and makes no sense in the natural world.
The ability to affect objects by thinking. Absolutely absurd. I cant remember who made this quote, but it goes "no amount of belief will make anything true, because reality does not conform to us". If you believe you can move that soda can across the room, go ahead and try, it won't happen. Telekinesis has been an idea for millenia, and every claim of it is word of mouth or textual.
UFO's: who knows, if your talking about beings far more advanced than us, then theyve probably made spaceships that can be invisible, there's no real way of proving that they exist until one touches down in manhattan, NY. There are millions of sightings, but the evidence needs to be more conclusive to sway me further.
Do you know how un-fucking believably small we are? there are over 70 sextillion stars in the observable universe, the unobservable is thought to be many times more than that. I like to use the rain analogy. What is the chance that one single drop of rain will land on the exact center of a penny i lay on the ground at 10:58.562421 PM eastern time on next tuesday during a slightly cloudy day? Not very likely. Yet, if i were to ask you the same thing during a rainstorm, the probability becomes inevitable. Some drop will likely hit the center of the penny during this storm. I like to think of the possibility of extraterrestrial life in the rational universe in this way.
Those are some farfetched questions your asking, so your going to get some farfetched answers; others, not as much. Instead of thinking about the supernatural and the unknown, shift your attention to the known and the rational. There you'll find the answers your looking for.
Just like the professional magician is the least likely person to believe in magic, the least likely person to believe in the supernatural, are the ones with a firm understanding OF the natural.
Great response Matthew! Thanks for the reply. Yes its all open to allot of interpretation and may be one day we will know , one way or the other.......
Dude, I don't mean to insult you, but your explanation of your original post is full of shit. Are you seriously equating science with Elmo marketing and conservative TV news programs? WTF? The reason that atheists don't generally believe in woo is that woo generally has crap for evidence to back it up. There has been plenty of research done on the topics you mentioned; ghosts, esp, reincarnation, etc. No rigorous study has found any evidence to support them. If you think they are credible issues, I suggest you re-examine your standards for evidence.
@Richard C Re: Russell's Teapot
It's a philosophical principle that you haven't made a factual assertion if you can't at the same time explain how to verify or falsify it.
If I say that there's a watermelon in my refrigerator, it's obvious how to determine if that is true or false. If I say there's my refrigerator has a soul, there's no way to determine if that is true or not. Thus, when someone says that ghosts exist (or even that they may exist), they have really not asserted anything at all. Unless they provide a definition with some implications for verification/falsification, in which case they will likely fail to prove anything.
This has ramifications.
Substitute a human body for the refrigerator and you've wandered into what's referred to as the "mind-body problem" of how can a noncorporeal entity control a corporeal entity? Add on the fact that we have a pretty good idea what actually does control a human body (nervous system, brain, external stimuli, etc.) and you see that the biggest problem with the concept of a soul is that we simply don't need it.
No soul=no spirits or ghosts.
This is a really interesting thread but I do find atheistic rationalism to be conditioned by the need to keep hold of a tightly controlled and closed universe. Its a bit of a straitjacket not because of the seeming claim to be the true champion of science and evidence but because it lacks humility and the very spirit of enquiry that science is founded on. An unspoken and sometimes spoken prior commitment to naturalism kills these things dead, and are contradictory.
The scientific method currently can only deal with naturalism and cannot answer or investigate all things, at this time. Humility should cause us to recognise this. It is why we have basic beliefs in the philisophical sense. For example we cannot prove that reality exists, i.e we cannot prove that we are not brains in a vat being stimulated by a mad scientist in a matrix type style. Any scientific method we applied to try and prove it would be circular. We have to take it as a basic belief. We cannot prove the world was not created yesterday with the appearance of age along with our implanted memories. We take these foundational basic beliefs that are currently untouchable or unprovable by the scientific method. And the nature of reality is not a small issue.
The cause of the big bang, and this is not a religious statement at this point, must have been something that was outside of nature as nature and time did not exist prior to the big bang. Science currently has no way of measuring something that is outside of the laws of nature, or prior to the laws of nature. Looking beyond the big bang is looking over the precipice of science, where it has never been.
Russell's teapot idea suffers with the same kind of limitations. A tea pot could be investigated under current scientific methods, it could be found if it was there. You would have to have good grounds to believe that it might be there before spending the effort to find it. Its apples and oranges though with super-natural (beyond nature) ideas because science currently cannot prove or disprove them. All we can do is look at things that point to / suggest a realm that might exist. The weight of those pointers should determine wether we are willing to put the effort into going somewhere that science is ill eqipped for, but surely thats how science progresses.
One of the reasons the world famous atheist Antony Flew became a theist was because of what he perceived as the evidence for near death experiences, and he was no idiot. So I think just writing anything off that falls outside of naturalism is atleast rash.
There may be some paralells with dark matter and dark energy. And as a theist I would naturally go into the existence of God and whether there are pointers etc. But thats not what this thread is about.
"The cause of the big bang, and this is not a religious statement at this point, must have been something that was outside of nature as nature and time did not exist prior to the big bang. Science currently has no way of measuring something that is outside of the laws of nature, or prior to the laws of nature. Looking beyond the big bang is looking over the precipice of science, where it has never been."
You don't see it, but you're so committed to an explanation that's compatible with a deity that you can't accept that "nature" as you know it is a concept based on what we know of this universe. Whether to include what else there is, whether earlier than or outside the Big Bang, in "nature" is a very open question. Today's physicists will tell you that time—at least as it applies to this universe—began with the big bang.
As science and technology develop, believers, having trouble defending the religious view, always seem to seek refuge in the latest developments, even if they barely understand them. I remember a religious friend who, having heard about the development of "fuzzy logic" invoked it whenever she needed to defend her nonsense. Likewise, today religious people will invoke dark matter and energy, multiple dimensions, and other cutting edge theories in defense of a hypothesis that isn't needed and can't be proven: the God Hypothesis.
This is actually funny, in a strange kind of way. Atheists accuse christians and other theists of being irrational, unscientific, and gulible. And then when theists engage with science its rubbished as a kind of clutching at straws! I wasn't evoking a creator in my post because that would of been to hijack the thread.
The only thing atheists accept is scientific evidence, how else are we then to try and discuss these things with you? For very good reason, science currently believes the universe had a beginning and with it all time and matter. So the cause must be supernatural - and again - in this thread I am not saying that that means God - I was making a point about the current limits of science and the ineptness of tea pot arguments to explain things that are not material. Of course epistimology is more complex than just the scientific method, but some are not ready for that yet so we talk to you on your own terms ;-)
So theists discussing their faith with atheists should use science and reason, right? The problem is that when science has strong pointers to things supernatural then materialists have no categories for engaging and more than that, I suspect, feel personally on the line in terms of their closed world view. Antony Flew had a commitment to follow the evidence wherever it went, most other materialists, in my observation, are not open at all. Its a case of "ive made up my mind and have the intellectual high ground so don't bother me with anything to the contrary." Dawkins is a master at it as we have just seen.
It just wont do to try and paint theists as unscientific and intellectual dwarfs, at best its naieve, at worst its dishonest. And if you think my prior commitment to a deity colours how I see things, then can you accept the same for your prior commitment to atheism / naturalism?
"For very good reason, science currently believes the universe had a beginning and with it all time and matter. So the cause must be supernatural..."
Incorrect. You are assuming that the cause must be supernatural. The cause would have to have been extra-universal, but this does not automatically mean supernatural, unless you are defining natural as 'part of our universe' and supernatural as 'not part of our universe'.
An amusing thing about Antony Flew. Until theists started bring him up as an example of a world-famous atheist converting to theism (Deism in specific, not Christianity as many have tried to claim), I'd never heard of him.
Trevor, you have failed to comprehend the point of Russell's Teapot. The point of Russell's Teapot, as a philosophical device, is that attempting to support a claim by stating that 'You can't prove that it isn't true' is fundamentally flawed. This applies to orbiting teapots, Bigfoot, and deities equally. In order for a a claim to be accepted, some evidence must be present to support that claim. If there is no evidence to support the claim, and the claim is such that evidence cannot be acquired given the current state of the art, then the claim should be discarded until such time that evidence can be presented in support of it.
I also find it curious that you claim that naturalism is opposed to the spirit of science when one of the fundamental principals of the scientific method is an adherence to methodological naturalism. (Note: Methodological, not philosophical. Important difference) Science, by its very nature, is restricted to the natural world.
And no, there is not a parallel with dark energy and dark matter. While we cannot detect dark energy or dark matter directly as yet, we can detect the effects that they have of the parts of the universe that we can detect. If a supernatural whatever was able to affect the material universe, we would be able to detect and examine that effect, even if we could not detect the origin of those effects. Thus far, no supernatural claim (prayer, faith healing, etc) has been able to be detected, even by its by-products.