I am a former pentecostal turned...to anything but religion. I am very grateful for seeing the truth opened up to me (by an atheist). I am trying to find my personal position. At present, I am assuredly agnostic, but leaning toward atheism altogether. I would love to hear what you all have to say regarding the quote/title of this thread.
The title is an excerpt from an article, "'Helter Skelter' author challenges God in his new book". In context it reads:
" The faithful take a beating in Bugliosi's book, but he doesn't spare atheists either.
"When I hear theists and atheists pontificating on how they know God does or does not exist, I can only smile at the irrationality and, yes, vanity of the notion," he writes.
Bugliosi believes that atheists have failed to account for the "first cause" argument for God's existence - that someone or something created the universe. "We know from our human experience that nothing in existence can give itself existence because if it did, then it would have to have preceded itself, an impossibility," he writes. "
The whole article is here:
I look forward to your responses.
"We know from our human experience that nothing in existence can give itself existence because if it did, then it would have to have preceded itself, an impossibility"
um. why would we think that what holds for our experiences inside the universe holds for the universe ITSELF?
moreover, our experience is not completely of this type. we know of things that occur apparently completely uncaused.
how absurd for someone to say that atheists have failed to account for it when i can list literally a dozen books off the top of my head that deal with the subject. to say nothing of the hundreds of articles in philosophy journals that deal with the subject. why, Sean Carroll just posted this essay the other day. and a couple years ago Lawrence Krauss gave this talk. almost all cosmologists are atheists because they understand that the cosmological argument doesn't hold up to scrutiny purely on phsyics.
actually, you're right, i should have been clearer about that. lol.
radioactive decay is totally random. we can statistically analyze the rate of decay but the point at which any one atom decays to another is seemingly random and without cause. there's no reason that the atom decays just then. it just does.
quantum fluctuations are uncaused as well.
but even if they weren't it would still be the case that what is true for the rules of a particular system isn't true for whatever rules there are that govern systems themselves.
Bugliosi believes that atheists have failed to account for the "first cause" argument for God's existence - that someone or something created the universe.
That argument shoots it self in the foot when you ask, well then who created god?
Atheism doesn't actually claim to know how we got here because the results aren't in. The only people who are certain of this uncertainty are those who have fabricated the catch all extraordinary explanation of 'god'.
There could, of course, be a perpetual chain of events of which we are a part. We could also limit our concept of time to our timespace - which is finite and therefore did in fact 'come into' existence. In that sense, we could suggest that it came from nothing, which is absurd - unless it is true. We could also suggest that it was created by a super being of sorts, if you like - I for one have no feelings about the super being causation other than I feel there is no evidence for it, and that it isn't true to the concept of 'god' with which I am most familiar. In point of fact, you could label any of these things god, or you could just label them what they are as they come to be known and labelled - which is, I think, where most atheists stand.
So no, we can't account for our origins, but at least we are looking.
As Bugliosi argues about being irrational and vain in claiming "knowledge" of the origin, are agnostics the only ones being realistic and fair? To say, as an atheist, "we can't account for our origins" is admitting a lack of knowledge (obviously) so aren't you just saying you're agnostic?
I guess my confusion is simply in the division between atheism and agnosticism. I'm sure this is elementary to most of you, PLEASE enlighten me--I would love nothing more than growing past the newbie stage of this transition.
that confuses a lot of people. you can use the search bar at the bottom right of every page to search "agnosticism" for lots of discussions on the subject but, basically:
agnosticism is a position on knowledge, atheism (or theism) is a position on what we believe.
once understood, you can see that you can be both, an atheist and an agnostic. and indeed most of us are. if asked "do you believe in god?" i answer "no. i'm an atheist" becuase that's the simplest answer and it covers what most people are trying to find out about my position when they ask. but if i'm asked "are you able to say that a god of some stripe absolutely positively does not exist?" then i say "no. i'm an agnostic." i'm an agnostic atheist.
it isn't a continuum with theism at one end and atheism at the other and agnosticism in the middle. it's theism and atheism along one scale and gnosticism and agnosticism on a completely different scale. one of knowledge and one of belief.
That makes so much more sense to me now. Cleared that right up! Gnostic meaning knowledge, and theism being believe. So a person could be a gnostic theist (claiming that they know god exists and they believe in him) or an agnostic atheist (claiming that they don't know if God exists for sure, but they don't believe in him anyway). <--we call that active listening.
Thank you for expanding!
LOL. looks like there's something to that active listening stuff. :)
my pleasure Brandon.