Atheism is not an idea Bob. It's not meant to compete with anything. Your obsession with trying to put the rejection of a stupid idea on the same level as a stupid idea will never succeed no matter how desparately hard to try to shove that circle into a square...though I have to say your insistence is remarkable.

@Davis Goodman has chased me around any number of threads here with this insistence, and I'm curious what the rest of folks here think.

For me, religion is just an area where people have competing ideas.  Some religions believe in One God, some in many gods.  Atheism is just part of that range of competing ideas, the one that maintains there are no gods.  There are communities of individuals who self-identify - I am a Catholic, I am an atheist, etc. - and they argue for their positions or against the opposing ideas.  Those can be animated arguments, to be sure, but they are principled.

By contrast, there are people who choose just to oppose another group.  They spend their days railing about how bad or awful or stupid some other group of people are.  For me, these are hate groups.  They aren't making a principled argument for their own idea(s), they are instead simply trumpeting how awful other folks or ideas are.

It's the difference between making a principled argument in favor of traditional sexual morality and being a homophobe.  The former is arguing in favor of a position; the latter is vilifying a group that holds a different practice or idea. 

So which one is atheism?

Is the notion that there are no god(s) a principled idea, which competes with various religious notions that there are god(s) of different sorts?   I think that it is, myself. 

Or is atheism not an idea, and people who self-identify as atheists really aren't advocating for a position, they're just united by their opposition to the ideas and practices of others?  Sometimes here we see this, too, complete with hate-speech like associating religious instruction with "child abuse."

Views: 1689

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

If nothing is in focus when you try on new glasses...that is only evidence that your eyesight is not improved by those glasses.  But it is evidence, not absence of evidence, especially as many factors could cause that lack of focus.  None of your examples show that an absence of evidence is proof of anything.  I don't disbelieve that there is an elephant anywhere, until I look and fail to see an elephant. 

I don't know whether Russians have walked on the moon, but it seems unlikely that they would not have claimed the feat if it were true...but that, too, is not disbelief or absence of evidence, it is calculated reasoning based on supposition and my own imperfect knowledge of events.

The parallel to belief or disbelief in God is specious.  If I open my fridge, hoping to find a beer that my friend claims is in there, and instead I find God...will I start praying for beer?  The answer to that is 7, because cats don't wear boots. 

Many atheists were once told they could find beer, pretended to drink beer, and had long talks about malt and hops, only to finally face the truth.  They had never seen, smelled or tasted beer, and could find no evidence that anyone ever had.  There was no longer enough reason or pressure available to invest any effort in maintaining an unreasonable belief in the existence of beer.

While a pastoral heaven and a loving eternal father is a beautiful idea...believing it requires effort, attention and maintenance.   Until small shrubberies burst into flames and engage me in conversation (in the absence of hallucinogens), I need spend no effort on such belief.

If nothing is in focus when you try on new glasses...that is only evidence that your eyesight is not improved by those glasses. But it is evidence, not absence of evidence, especially as many factors could cause that lack of focus.

But, my new glasses were expected to improve my vision and so I believe (have a belief) that the company that produced the glasses did the prescription wrong. There are other possibilities, of course, but other possibilities don't keep me from forming a belief based on the absence of improvement.

What I'm saying is that the absence of evidence is itself evidence just as a belief in one thing implies correlative disbeliefs.

Let's forget elephants for now. Suppose, instead, someone says Robin Williams is standing down on the corner. You can't say you'd disbelieve them? You can't say you'd believe that they must be wrong? I think you'd believe they must be incorrect. Robin Williams is dead, so his appearance anywhere would be impossible to the degree of miraculousness. In a similar fashion, atheists demonstrate a disbelief in the existence of God because it's an impossible, contradictory, and contrary-to-fact concept.

Atheists demonstrate disbelief in their actions as well. They don't attend church, they don't pray, they don't tithe. Given that the penalty for failing to do those things is eternal hellfire, you can't tell me or any average user of English that there's no belief there. After all, eternal hellfire. Deny it all you want, clearly atheists don't believe in God/believe he doesn't exist. And they provide all the evidence any normal user of English would need. Minimally, They'd also be justified in saying that you seem to be confused as to what "atheist" means in ordinary usage and that perhaps you should refer to yourself as an "agnostic."

I don't know whether Russians have walked on the moon, but it seems unlikely that they would not have claimed the feat if it were true...but that, too, is not disbelief or absence of evidence, it is calculated reasoning based on supposition and my own imperfect knowledge of events.

And so you have no belief on the matter? Suppose you had to fill out a form on the matter with a gun to your head and you had to check a box YES that they had walked on the moon or NO that they had not. In other words, you couldn't be passive about it. There would be no penalty for choosing the wrong answer but you'd go to prison for refusing to answer. I assume then you'd check one box or the other. Which one?

Anyway you guys, when you say you have no belief at all about the existence of God. NO ONE IN THE WIDER COMMUNITY BELIEVES YOU! And with good reason, because either believe God doesn't exist (disbelieve in his existence) or you really aren't "atheist" as the word is used.

While a pastoral heaven and a loving eternal father is a beautiful idea...believing it requires effort, attention and maintenance. Until small shrubberies burst into flames and engage me in conversation (in the absence of hallucinogens), I need spend no effort on such belief.

And yet your behavior implies a disbelief and a disbelief is evidence of a belief.

Unseen - "What I'm saying is that the absence of evidence is itself evidence just as a belief in one thing implies correlative disbeliefs."

As a commoner I can't get my head around that statement. The absence of evidence does not support the opposing claim/assertion. Does it?

The absence of a beer in the fridge certainly supports disbelief in the assertion there is, and supports a belief that there is no beer in the fridge. Thus, my belief is that there is no beer in the fridge and that the assertion that there is beer in the fridge is an assertion I believe to be incorrect.

You don't know 'til the fridge door is opened. It all seems circular to me....

So, for you, it's kind of a Schroedinger's Beer problem(?).

@Davis Goodman

Ordinary English philosophy as you think you've been doing is not the same as "every day philosophy" unseen which is what you've actually been doing. You haven't been arguing in a Witgensteinian mode...you've been arguing in a hypersimplification and argue away the technicalities that you don't agree with and arguing non-controversial or esoteric terms as though they are controversial or esoteric.

Ordinary LANGUAGE philosophy. There's nothing in there to indicate you really understand ordinary language philosophy or could recognize it if you saw it. I never claimed to be doing anything "in a Wittgensteinian mode." You don't need to do things "in a Wittgensteinian mode" in order to be doing ordinary language philosophy. Wittgenstein's "mode" was rather eccentric (as was he) and doing it in his mode isn't a requirement of any sort.

I only argue based on ordinary language usage, which demands that if someone is an "atheist" they don't believe in God. Otherwise you end up doing nonsense like "and contrary to what everybody thinks an atheist is, here's what I mean by it."

Anyway, you make a lot of ridiculous claims here that you either can't prove or which would likely be irrelevant even if you did.

I love how you nitpick people's definitions or arguments to the point where they need to elaborate on them (which is pretty much what happened with my extremely simple definition of atheist)...and when it goes somewhere you disagree with (that is me having to elaborate on it greatly per your nitpicking)...poof...the explanation is too long...I am an "ordinary language philosopher" you see. LOL. It's the golden-switch. It's your best mode of dismissing a conversation you don't like. It is marvelous.

Anyway, you make a lot of ridiculous claims here that you either can't prove or which would likely be irrelevant even if you did.

In Spanish there is a phrase that is used when someone describes another person when they are really (or also) describing themselves. "Habló Blas". It's actually a reference to a Sesame Street Character...I think the best translation in English has the three words teapot, kettle and black but I can't remember what order it goes in.

Sour grapes. 

YOU use a word or words we already know, redefine them in novel ways to suit an argument, and POOF! You think you've accomplished something.

RSS

© 2023   Created by Rebel.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service