I read a reply by Laura Foster and at the end of the point it said "Beliefs, however, deserve all the criticism they get."

It got me thinking, i know some people don't see atheism as a belief (as such) but supposing we do can we criticise it, do you think it can at times be worthy of criticism?

Tags: atheism, criticise

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No matter what some reference materials state, atheism does not really exist.

All us atheists are not of one mind, we criticise each other constantly. It's the very nature of being a critical thinker.

When studying the origin of the word atheism, we see that the English language borrowed it from the French language. But in French the word atheist preceded the word atheism. IMO that was one of the great semantic errors of history, along with the 'virgin' Mary not having been a 'virgin' but simply a young woman.
I don't think you can criticise atheism as such. You can certainly criticise atheists and atheist organizations, but I don't think it's possible to criticise atheism.
All you would be criticizing would be somebody for not believing in God. You could but it would be stupid to because the criticisms would have no evidenciary basis.
Criticising atheism is like finding lice on a bald man's head.

Atheism to me means the use reason and logic and not blind faith in viewing the world. Atheists take on the responsibility of asking “the big questions” themselves and also looking for the answers. They do not surrender their minds to an invisible and undetectable force to do this. So if you critizise Atheism you are critizing the use of Reason. But you can of course critizise Atheists when it is warranted.

Atheism at its core is nothing but a lack of a belief in a god or gods. There are some religions that could be classified as atheistic in nature. The issue is to assume that simply because you lack a god belief, that you agree with all others who lack the same belief. To be more accurate in your question, I would instead ask if we can criticize the new atheism movement, the atheist community, or atheist organizations because these groups usually have some form of common non-religious goals and beliefs.
I was discussing this topic in another forum, and someone provided this link.
http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=34273

The Scientific Method is based on empirical evidence that can be duplicated and verified by more than one person or group. The operative word here is EMPIRICAL.

Empirical: that which is observed or experienced; capable of being
verified or disproved by observation or experiment.

Here “observation or experiment” are the operative words. All human observation and experience are ultimately and inevitably personal subjective perceptions of sensory input.

Our sensory organs are limited and fallible. Our instruments are limited and fallible. There is no absolutely accurate device with which we can measure the results or outcome of any experiment. There is no know absolute constant in the universe with which to measure anything with the possible exception of the speed of light, c; and, even that is an unobservable and disprovable assumption of relativity. Even if there were such a device or constant there is nothing else in the universe to measure that is absolute or constant. Everything is subject to uncertainty, relativity and subject to error and human perceptions. At best we can come up with is an acceptable statistical correlation on which to base or perceptions of objective, material, physical reality.

We say knowledge, data, evidence is empirical if it is observable, experienced, verifiable and provable or disprovable yet many closely and favorably held theories are not observable, not experiential, not provable nor disprovable. The Big Bang theory and string or superstring theory are two such theories that come immediately to mind. QM is at best an extremely accurate estimation and not supported by valid acceptable mathematical procedures as its formula and equations are “normalized” to get rid of all those pesky infinities.

The point is that every and all bits of knowledge, data, information or evidence whether garnered by experiment, observation or experience is all subject to the limits of our instruments, our senses, uncertainty, relativity and to individual human subjective perceptions. There is no such thing as scientific, objective, empirical evidence, date or knowledge. There is only human perceptions of limited data of unknown accuracy that is statistical in nature that we use to build our models of an ever changing non-absolute universe which is in indefinable part of our reality.

We guess at physical reality, the universe and call our guesses empirical evidence. This is not bad. It is the best and only thing that we can do. We must, however, realize that when we put the tag “empirical” on something that does not make it true or absolute.
It simply may mean that this is our best SWAG (Scientific Wild *** Guess).

So their argument is that, atheism can be criticized because lacking a belief in god, due to a lack of evidence, is a flawed reason, due to empirical evidence being a myth.
Curious what people here to say about this.

There is only human perceptions of limited data of unknown accuracy blah blah blah...

 

This is sooo wrong. The only one thing that has to be absolute for a measurement to be deemed 'scientific', 'empirical', whatever, is the upper limit you assign to the margin of error. The lower the better, of course, but since it's always an arbitrary value, the case is closed before it was even opened.

 

So their argument is that, atheism can be criticized because lacking a belief in god, due to a lack of evidence, is a flawed reason, due to empirical evidence being a myth.

 

Bullshit. The only point being made here is that empirical measurements can't be 100% accurate. As if scientists weren't aware of that already. Ask them this: there's empirical evidence that the oceans are mostly salt water. Is that a myth too, just because we can't say precisely how much of the oceans is made out of salt water?

I understand the sentiment behind the author's words, and I don't disagree with it in general, but I do think it's poorly written and of marginal value.  We have to be pragmatic to a certain degree when it comes to knowledge.  I think anyone that has given math and science any real consideration understands that there are certain epistemological issues with trying to pursue 'absolute truth'.  Do we really need to constantly provide a caveat for that?  It's tiring and senseless.

 

"There is no such thing as scientific, objective, empirical evidence, [data] or knowledge."

 

This is a straw man.  In order for it to be true, those terms would have to be defined in a useless way to reflect the extreme state of absolute knowledge.  It doesn't matter if we can or cannot nail absolute truth square on the head; we can generate a vast body of functional knowledge that aligns with reality as we experience it.  Are there limits to our instruments, and to human perception and interpretation?  Sure, but that is the very framework with which we experience reality.  It's a highly relevant framework to us for defining the universe.  Within that framework, we can be objective.  

 

To say that we are merely guessing at physical reality is misleading, if not altogether untrue.

Thank you, Kris, and to everyone that responded regarding the link.

:)

To criticize means to think critically, which is a cornerstone of skepticism. I'd say criticism and atheism go hand in hand. And I think people should make a habit of thinking critically about their beliefs (or lack thereof) from time to time. If our beliefs (or lack thereof) are solid, they will withstand the criticism. If not, they need to be altered anyway.

Ken Wilbur may or may not be full of crap but he makes a good demarcation for any belief.

pre-cognitive --- infants and children and some people who post to this forum have not read a book or (apparently) figured out that most of the intersting questions have been answered. A million times. And it's all on the google.

 

Cognitive ---- teenagers and most of the people who post to T/A. Read a lot. Talks to people who don't agree with them in a condescending manner of know-it-alls. Can define 'belief' and 'faith' without spitting with fury at a believer without a clue that 'belief' can be a provisional attachment to an untested idea and NOT ultimate knowledge.

 

Post-Cognitive --- I skipped over this part because I was busy. Something about enlightenment...

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