Hello Fellow Heathens,
Long time no see. I haven't post anything in ages, but I'm back.
So, guys this is going to be a somewhat long post bear with me please. I REALLY want your inputs. From a theist friend I have gotten several complains that when he goes to atheist forums and he's curious about any question he gets insulted and banned from the forum and called a troll. I tried to explained to him that the problem is that we do get lots of trolls and it's a problem to differentiate who has a legitimate question, specially in this medium. He still defended his position saying that it was not fair, he honestly has legit. questions, and I can't deny that he does. In my opinion, this behavior gives us bad reputation, and I believe we are better than that. One thing I can fully grant is that sometimes we get carried away and we insult people needlessly. There are more eloquent, elegant, and productive manners to tell a person something along the lines "please go do some research first," than just calling him/her ignorant and some other unnecessary slang. Now this is where the long part of the post starts, because I got the chance to do just what I stated in Facebook. This whole post started because an acquaintance of mine said, "(my name goes here) does not buy into the whole god thing and not because she knows little, but, because regardless of who was pulling her strings, she found science suited her better… remember even science requires faith as what is still unseen, remains just a calculated theory while the search continues..." So, in response I went in length to explain that there's not such thing a faith based science, and I deconstructed the way the words faith, believe, etc. are used, and the semantics of it. Ok so far so good, nothing related to God just yet. But, this guy jumped into the conversation and geez here we go again.
First: One can see that there are several holes in his argument.Second: My first answer to his post. Bear in mind that I have been talking about faith based science for some time and I'm exhausted and this point. It's quite late. But, again, no insulting.
As you can see, I underlined two particular phrases out of his response. The first one: "faith-based," because in my view, and I'm sure in many of you, the moment a person says "faith-based" there's no longer a conversation. The second underline is about educating him. And, this is where I feel where the problem lies when it comes to differentiate 'trollers' and people with legitimate questions.
Lastly my answer,
So far I have not received an answer. I might get one. I might not. Going back to my first point, the legitimate questions, I think this guy really don't know and he is trying to defend his view with the information he has. I have no idea if he's a Christian, I just made an assumption. By the way, if by any chance the blog I spoke of goes through I hope I can get some fellows from TA to back me up. Furthermore, as an agnostic atheist I get frustrated too with repeating the same information over and over and over again. It's tedious, time consuming, and I understand and feel our overall mentality and view, which goes something like that, "the research, and information is already there, if you don't want to read and take the time to educate yourself why on earth I have to do it for you. I'm a person, just like you, and I have other things to do than just sit down in front of my PC for hours on end educating you regarding something that's already been debated over and over again." But, could you we do this in a more civil manner? I know we have had some somewhat similar discussions, but I look forward to your inputs. Feel free to constructively criticize my responses too. If you think I could have used some other arguments or words, please let us all know. I'm sure we can all benefit from brain-storming here together. Feel free to talk of your own experiences also.
Minor correction, it seems unclear, at present, if 'string theory' has promised more than it has delivered.
I knew a girl like that once --
The whole scientific enterprise is based on empirical evidence. There is no faith in science: it proceeds by trying to knock down falsehoods in a quest to get closer to the truth, and whatever is left standing - that which fits the data - should be true.
A lot of people wrongly think that science replaces one theory after another ad infinitum - as if that's all it does. No. Some things will always be true due to the sheer weight of evidence behind them.
Evolution, germ theory, atomic theory are simply true - period. Evolution is true in the same sense it is true the Earth orbits the Sun. Anything else is just semantic games.
Yep, semantics. That's one of the main problems with language. Too much context = no true meaning. Which leads to waste of time talking of nothing in particular.
RE: "even science requires faith as what is still unseen, remains just a calculated theory while the search continues"
Science does not involve faith at all. Faith involves a belief in something, despite the fact that it hasn't been proven. Science withholds such judgements until something HAS been proven. I can give you a perfect example - recently, in a search for the reputed Higgs Boson, at the collider in CERN, a new particle was discovered. Since the purpose of the experiment was to discover the Higgs Boson, it would have been all too easy to say, "We found it! We found the Higgs Boson!" but they didn't do that, and it will be weeks, possibly even months, before they have thoroughly analyzed the data and determined, one way or another, that it is or is not the Higgs. Had science involved faith, they could easily have said, witthout fear of contradiction, "We believe we have found the Higgs Boson!" They haven't said that. A scientist might believe that he is going to find something, based on evidence that such a thing must exist in order to complete a particular equation (example: 1,2,3,5 - I believe that a number is missing from that series, and that it is likely 4), but any good scientist will wait for empirical evidence before he ever says that he actually did.
As for theology, there is no evidence for the existence of any god - if any believes there is, please show it to me.
Of course science requires some starting point, as I wrote about. Just as math has certain fundamentals, so does science. Can you prove the world outside your mind is real, or is it something you need to accept to just get going? How about the existence of others? If we don't accept things like these on faith, how can you prove them? Or whom can you point to as having proved such? Perhaps you argue that we simply do not question these things. That sounds like faith to me! Of course, these are the sort of things we must take on faith, whereas a belief in God doesn't fall into that category.
RE: "Can you prove the world outside your mind is real"
Of course I can't, I can't even prove that there is a world outside my mind. I merely react to what I perceive, which appears to stimulate a reaction to my own reaction - I have no actual knowledge as to whether or not my perceptions are real, but having nothing else to do, I once again react to the consequences of my original reaction. This process appears to continue for what I perceive as a considerable length of what I've termed, time, until I can no longer physically hold open my eyes, at which time I lie down on what appears to be what I have come to call a bed, and I cease to have any awareness of anything going on around me until what appears to be a phenomenon I've come to call light passes through my closed eyelids, to which I react by opening my eyes and begining another period of actions and reactions.
And so, some basics are taken on faith. Call them assumptions or presuppositions if that "feels" better, but you still accept them in a way that fulfills a definition of faith. They are necessary. Believing in a deity is not.
Sorry Zeke, I'm not seeing anything there that fits the definition of "faith" - I'm not even sure that you exist, except as a fignewton of my imagination, some misfiring neuron that constantly plagues me like some experience a continuing migraine, and I don't even have faith in that.
That an external world exists, that you can trust your senses and your memory, that you are not the only mind in the universe,...these are all unprovable things that you must presuppose just to get started. In what way are these things NOT taken on faith in order to get off square one?
Am I "started," am I "off square one"? How can one really know --?
I beg to differ on atleast one point.
RE: "Can you prove the world outside your mind is real"
One primary point of atheism is the appearance of a conflict between 'the world of the theist' and the observed or purceived details of the world we see as atheists. Sadly the theist world seems to have a very limited correlation to what is observed or purceived. If we all shared similar minds, would the world atleast appear to be similar? Or are you suggesting that the existance of other minds, is just another result of your personal cognition?
Some theists pretend to think that others have the same experience with the 'world' as they, but assert that the presence of demons, pernicious evil, etc confounds the minds of others. I wonder if atheists have a similar position, but we call it 'religion'.
I could be a mind in a box, boored to tears, immagining the most amazing things, but I expect that such a mind would be unable to contrive a universe or world such as this. Maybe such a world would appear as more a cartoon, such as that of theists, but this 'world', this reality transcends my immagination. The theist world, seems to be more a romantic cartoon, with this universe contrived for the human vanities. The real world, hardly tolerates our existence, confining human actions between stone and vacuum, our creativity being demanded to release us.