Don't tell me you never had this question asked to you, subsequently to your, usually politely, explaining to whoever asks about your religion, that you're an atheist and do not believe in any god; you're an atheist and do not believe that a god exists; or whatever combination of words you choose.
That's pretty much how it goes.
Even people who know that atheists do not believe in a god will sometimes still assume they share a common set of beliefs or principles, and have common political tendencies.
"So, what do atheists believe?", is their question.
If you ask me, I've had a wide variety of comebacks, depending on my mood at the moment, most of them facetious, but most likely, after explaining that atheists (as a group) do not have a common set of beliefs, I say that *I* believe in love, in humanity and our good faith... just to keep it simple... because, quite frankly, we don't "believe" in science - we find it verifiable. We don't "believe" in the universe and its wonders, we have seen them through amazing telescopes. I guess you get my point.
So what do you, fellow atheist, believe in, or what do you think is the best answer to this question?
Side note: This discussion is focused rather on the best comeback to the question in it, which in this specific context, is always asked as "opposed to your non-belief in god, what do atheists believe?"
I am a "strict" atheist, i.e. there is no evidence of deities (single ones or pantheons of many), spirits, ghosts, the supernatural, the paranormal, faeries and/or unicorns (you can add Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, etc., to the list if you like), to even "entice" me into accepting their existence.
Our current, ever expanding/improving knowledge and understanding of our world, life and the universe, already indicate that the supernatural/paranormal was at the very least not required for existence, let alone having any "guiding" hands in the natural processes of life and the universe.
A "strict" atheist does not "believe". Instead, a "strict" atheist accepts factual evidence that has been demonstrated by reproducible observations and experiments/tests - re: the scientific, naturalist method.
And yet, we have the phenomenon of religious scientists.
Yes - but they are obviously not atheists.
Furthermore, that some scientists are unable, or refuse, to let go of their religious beliefs by no means invalidates atheism, or the scientific method itself and the conclusions derived by evidence-based knowledge that the supernatural/paranormal are not required.
"I believe in Truth, Justice and The American Way!" That's my comeback...
Who said that we don't believe in science, we the ones who are always amazed about the laws of nature or Science !!! none of the Atheists can ever say that they don't believe in science neither can a theist do !!!... and its obvious as Atheist don't believe in God they have so many "Real" things to believe in !!!!.. they believe in science and do wonders !!!... Atheist are not BOUND to anything !!!!.. We Atheists have only 1 question to answer i.e; Why the Universe exists at all !!! while u Theists have 2 basically, i.e; Why the GOD created Universe as theists say and Why/How HE HIMSELF exists !!!!...... u are just complicating issues !!...
OH! I understand your vehemency, but... who said we don't believe in science?
Just a precision, and a necessary one: science is not a matter of "faith" or "belief". Never has been, never will be.
You either accept scientific findings or you don't. Hence, that is why the question of, say, "belief in evolution" is asinine. You either accept evolution, as backed by the mountains of evidence that support it, or you do not.
Exactly, Pierre H. Vachon. That's the tone of my post, I don't have to "believe" in something that I know, that I understand, and is verifiable. I don't even have to accept it, it will continue to be true, regardless of my acceptance of it.
Hear, hear, Monica!
I think you're splitting your hairs a wee bit too fine.
Faith and belief have roles in the scientific process. One's belief that one isn't in a dream and that one can trust one's senses is a belief based on faith having nothing to do with accepting a body of facts. When one conducts an experiment, one believes that one has set it up properly to result in a conclusion. I'm not sure that one should all of a sudden not adopt a belief as a result (and bear in mind beliefs are often tentative and based on the evidence up to the moment).
Once a conclusion is reached, especially on some important matter and if the body of evidence is hard to deny, one tends to act accordingly and in a matter that can be described as belief.
So you're saying that acceptance doesn't imply concurrence, as when you accept your employer's policies which you think are folly. You simply accept the evidence for evolution but that's as far as it goes.
But "belief," like so many words in the language enjoys a range of meanings. Certainly "accepting the evidence" is equivalent to saying "this is what I believe now" somewhere in that range. So I will take "this is what I accept" as a synonym for "this is what I believe, for now."
BTW, I don't think deprecating others with abusive terminology like "asinine" contributes much to the discussion. It makes it sound like you're hoping that engaging in oblique name calling will end the discussion.
"Faith and belief have roles in the scientific process".
No. You need to better understand the scientific method, which includes peer-review process itself and the reality that other scientists will nevertheless verify/confirm your peer-reviewed, published results.
These have nothing to do with belief or faith.
It is all about skepticism. It is all about demonstrated (observational, experimental, tested and falsifiable) data and facts.
From there, the rest of your rationalization falls short.
"I don't think deprecating others with abusive terminology like "asinine" contributes much to the discussion"
An "is" is an "is", period. Like calling out someone that he/she is wrong or ignorant. They may be offended, but that doesn't nullify a demonstrated ignorance on the part of that someone.
Besides, there is nothing depreciating in calling out the vapid nature of a nonsensical, question. The premise behind "do you believe in evolution?" implies that evolution is a matter of belief, i.e. faith. This is false. Period.
Furthermore, there is nothing to discuss when those that would project their own, non-factual evidenced-based belief system of viewing the world onto others by claiming that science and evolution are "likewise" a matter of belief and/or faith.
This is a fallacy and actually represents nothing more than specious argumentation, which allows he/she who has faith to equate the validity of his/her faith with any other "belief" - thus, if science is a matter of belief, then it has as much worth as any type of belief.
Not true - thus the argument fails again.
That science is not, never has been, and should never be a matter of belief (or faith) draws the clear line and constitutes the actual definition of what science and the scientific method are all about - in contrast to belief, faith or religious dogma.
No splitting hairs whatsoever here. Just calling an "is" is, for what it actually and factually "is".
And that's too bad for those who usually like to use the fallacious arguing tactic of equating science with belief. It is asinine to debate this. Might as well argue that a bat is a bird, or debate on the gender of angels.
Thank ye, good sir, for your encouragement! Perhaps I should disclose here that science and the scientific method constitute the very essence of my, ah, profession ... ;-)