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View Poll Results: Should Atheists be actively Anti-Theist? (directed at atheists)

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9. This poll is closed
  • Yes

    1 11.11%
  • No

    6 66.67%
  • I don't know

    0 0%
  • I don't care

    2 22.22%
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  1. #21
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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Atheists...or those who come out and are proud to say that they are...are quite vocal about it. They seem rather emotional...and is why I've asked a few times why atheists are always so angry (compared to other groups of people).
    Well, this is a personal comment and observation having lived in close relationships with some non-believers, but I think many atheists may be angry with God .... the God they don't believe in; the God they don't know, because he didn't turn out to be the God from their preconceived ideas or the God who didn't meet their expectations.

    In life, not only for the young child but for adults too, when something doesn't turn out to be the way we want (expect) it to be, at some level of our being, we become angry and frustrated. And then in order to move on, we bury that anger because we can't resolve it and we think (we assume) it will go away and not affect other parts of our life because we think (assume) that "out of mind" will be out of life. But that's not necessarily the case.
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  2. #22
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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    Quote Originally Posted by libre View Post
    Does the Bible contradict? That depends on your interpretations of what is in the Bible. And that is my point. I just gave you an example demonstrating this. There are other examples also.

    ...

    And an even bigger problem occurs when that male still knows deep down it is wrong but wants others to support him in his decision to do it anyway. How does he get that support? He starts preaching it to others. Especially others he suspects want to do it but are still hesitant because they know deep down it is wrong. However, this guy comes in and goes, "hey, the Bible says it is okay." Now, these other people have not only the Bible but someone else confirming what the Bible says. It becomes even easier for those people to override their natural moral system imo. Especially if that person telling them this is someone of authority. The next thing you know it becomes socially acceptable to do this or that. And that imo is why some things that are socially acceptable in the past might not be socially acceptable now... etc.


    I think you're assuming a causative/enabling factor where it doesn't exist. It's true that to a hammer, everything is a nail. The same goes for desire. People who rationalize "bad" behavior aren't very picky about the nature of their rationalizations. Extreme facets of any ideology will usually do the trick.

    Imo, at the heart of these considerations about an entire group is a veritable poisoning of the well. No one would actually suggest that Christians think it's okay to rape people, but you're suggesting a slippery slope which leads exactly there.

    Clearly, the Bible is a complex work. Yes, there are contradictions and other "objectionable" parts contained within it (though this is highly debatable). That said, proving a mistranslation or an alteration or any number of (even combined) anecdotal tidbits doesn't really address the actual disagreement between atheists and theists. It is a matter of fact; do "supernatural" beings exist? There's some gray area in the equation (largely depending on how terms are defined and employed), but that's the meat of the matter.

    And attacking the cultural aspects of Christianity doesn't really address that matter. Does extrapolating cultural impacts actually tell us anything about the existence of deities? Not really, no.

    Bringing this back to the OP; I think poisoning the well by mentioning the "dangers" of "getting hooked on religion" (scare quotes) is a bit disingenuous. I won't assume that you did it intentionally, but we ought to be treating theists better than that.

    No atheist likes having Premier Stalin thrown in his face (the obviously fallacious nature of that kind of argument aside), so let's not do that to the theists.

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  4. #23
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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    I've found that in a lot of cases, the atheists I've known are mostly disaffected religious people and not people who came to their conclusions by careful observation, reflection, and study. The reasons they provide have the ring more of arguments taken from someone else and used to support a presupposed visceral reaction that if God exists, then he's a total bastard and doesn't deserve to be worshipped. In a lot of cases, I have found that a lot of these people looked for answers within the faith but found the answers they got - usually from the "non-intellectual" faithful - were totally unsatisfactory, because they weren't based on reason, logic, or other intelligent inquiry. The only source they found for reasonable arguments was, therefore, from the opposing side of the coin, which provided lots of appropriately aggressive and superficially convincing arguments against faith combined with just the right amount of condescension and ad hominems to carry the point home and make them feel appropriately superior to their former fellows in faith for having "seen through the deception."

    I'm not saying that this is all atheists... but it certainly describes most of the ones I know personally. It also describes several of the Satanists (read: secular humanists with a LaVeyan twist) I know, as well.

    I'm not saying this to be disparaging... as I said before, I think it's a mistake to operate on the assumption that either side of the equation is being unreasonable, is less intelligent or less interested in the truth. I just think that each side has a set of fundamental axioms upon which they base their other assumptions, and these axioms are in many cases diametrically opposed. What makes me curious is the process by which a person rejects the fundamental assumptions they once had in favor of the other set of mutually exclusive axioms.
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  5. #24
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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    Quote Originally Posted by libre View Post
    Does the Bible contradict? That depends on your interpretations of what is in the Bible.
    How are you interpreting the Bible? Have you read it as a whole complete body of text?


    The next thing you know it becomes socially acceptable to do this or that. And that imo is why some things that are socially acceptable in the past might not be socially acceptable now... etc.
    The changing tides of man's likes, dislikes, conveniences, social norms, etc. doesn't effect truth and goodness. Just because man may choose to temporarily move the line in the sand, not to cross, because we have found some justification for moving it, doesn't mean the effects (accountability) of moving the line will not result from such causes.


    If we study the whole of scripture and its spiritual teachings to mankind, I don't think it's difficult to make this observation: that God (the law) is not fooled however and whenever we choose to adjust the moral line to meet our given social norms. "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." Galatians 6:7
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  6. #25
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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    This is actually quite interesting as it is sort of related to an observation I spoke of above. Many atheists are so vocal because they are emotionally charged...they believe they have been slighted or wronged by religion or its adherents. Atheists...or those who come out and are proud to say that they are...are quite vocal about it. They seem rather emotional...and is why I've asked a few times why atheists are always so angry (compared to other groups of people). Perhaps it is merely the case that being angry makes one vocal and because I have an interest in religion/philosophy, it only makes sense to see more of this type of anger than anger expressed by MADD, victims of the IRS or VA, people upset about their union, etc... I'm not in those "circles" but I am in the "philosophy/religion circle" so I have more exposure to it.
    Part of the anger comes from attacks on Atheists. The common wisdom is that atheists are amoral hedonists who want nothing more than to pleasure themselves at the expense of others and are truly just agents of Satan. Its changing as we become a bit more common, more known, and less demonized. But I still sometimes encounter people who are shocked to learn I'm atheist and end up asking some pretty strange questions when they find out. now among my friends, Atheism is pretty well the norm even though my friendships are not based on that. It just kind of comes with the territory of Seattle game designers and programmers to a certain degree. But even though things are getting better for us.. you still see stuff like this...

    "Massive riots in Dhaka and other Bangladesh cities have left at least 36 people dead and 60 injured after tens of thousands of Islamists clashed with police demanding stricter penalties for atheist bloggers."
    Read more at http://global.christianpost.com/news...8Uyl1VQ1KC0.99

    Islamic radicals are no one's friends, but often one thing that can cross religious boundaries is an agreement that the one thing they distrust more than each-other are the Atheists.

    But again, I think the tide is shifting somewhat. The internet seems a bit of an Atheist haven and you will find more Atheist support than attacks and the internet is partly driving modern culture around the world in various ways.

    Then again there is this
    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/...ism/51777612/1
    "A new study finds that atheists are among society's most distrusted group, comparable even to rapists in certain circumstances."

    Being considered as trust worthy as a rapist tends to get you rather pissed off. Especially if you live in a place where such views are common. I am lucky to live in what is perhaps the most Atheist city in America so I'm pretty mellow about it as I rarely have to deal with someone shoving a bible in my face and telling me I'm going to hell or keeping their children from talking to me.
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  7. #26
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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Part of the anger comes from attacks on Atheists. The common wisdom is that atheists are amoral hedonists who want nothing more than to pleasure themselves at the expense of others and are truly just agents of Satan.
    Well...do you mean culturally or here at ODN? If the latter, I don't see it. If the former, then are you suggesting that it is because of this mistaken "common wisdom" or attack on atheism on a cultural level, that there exists vocal, militant atheists (who by their very nature are seemingly angry)? And thus, a product of their environment, so to speak?

    If so, it sounds reasonable. I wonder if there's been any sociological study on this.

    ---------- Post added at 04:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:00 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Then again there is this
    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/...ism/51777612/1
    "A new study finds that atheists are among society's most distrusted group, comparable even to rapists in certain circumstances."

    Being considered as trust worthy as a rapist tends to get you rather pissed off. Especially if you live in a place where such views are common. I am lucky to live in what is perhaps the most Atheist city in America so I'm pretty mellow about it as I rarely have to deal with someone shoving a bible in my face and telling me I'm going to hell or keeping their children from talking to me.
    Well, 1) that's a stupid study and deeply flawed and 2) an atheist would be mistaken to draw from it that society sees atheists just as bad as rapists.

    The study, conducted among 350 Americans adults and 420 Canadian college students, asked participants to decide if a fictional driver damaged a parked car and left the scene, then found a wallet and took the money, was the driver more likely to be a teacher, an atheist teacher, or a rapist teacher?


    The "study" is a single question with only 3 possible answers? That's just stupid. I'm hoping there is more to it than that...but if this is supposed to pass as a sociological study...then those running it ought to have their credentials revoked. It seems like something a bunch of 1st year students would do...not actual sociologists, psychologists or professors of either.

    As one atheist commenter explained:

    Paul Gomez Follow Top Commenter Florida International University
    Jeff, the problem with the questionaire is that all choices have a common denominator: a teacher. Why a teacher? No matter what you answer is, the thief is necessary a teacher. I know that it was not intended that way but it catches your attention when you read it. My best guess is that most answers were just trying to fool the survey or make fun of it. Remember the survey that asked who was Beethoven? most repliers answered "a dog", not because they were necessarily ignorants but because it was funny. By the way, I'm an atheist myself and so far haven't felt discriminated or segregated.
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  8. #27
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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Well...do you mean culturally or here at ODN? If the latter, I don't see it. If the former, then are you suggesting that it is because of this mistaken "common wisdom" or attack on atheism on a cultural level, that there exists vocal, militant atheists (who by their very nature are seemingly angry)? And thus, a product of their environment, so to speak?

    If so, it sounds reasonable. I wonder if there's been any sociological study on this.
    The former. ODN is on the whole a safe place for Atheists, at least in terms of receiving blanket condemnation. I'd say that the vocal prejudice against atheists is part of the reason for their indignant rebel attitude and now that they have some power, their hostile offensive in some media. I don't ascribe "blame" for one person's behavior on another, but I'd say its an influencing factor.

    Personally I'd like if Atheism would limit its ire towards certain groups of intolerant theists rather than taking pot shots at the beliefs themselves. Though I do think it is OK to celebrate our own views, just best if its not especially mocking. (I do have a soft spot for the FSM though.)


    Well, 1) that's a stupid study and deeply flawed and 2) an atheist would be mistaken to draw from it that society sees atheists just as bad as rapists.

    The study, conducted among 350 Americans adults and 420 Canadian college students, asked participants to decide if a fictional driver damaged a parked car and left the scene, then found a wallet and took the money, was the driver more likely to be a teacher, an atheist teacher, or a rapist teacher?
    I agree its pretty limited, I was just looking for examples. But there are quite a few such studies and they tend to come up with consistent results, people don't trust atheists all that much.
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...s-matter-trust
    It details multiple studies that show a distrust of Athesits and relates that to political campaigns.

    This one notes that even atheists tended to trust atheists less.
    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2...ays-new-study/

    This one is well known and asks about voting for a well qualified candidate of your chosen part with a given trait, gay, catholic, atheist etc...
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/26611/som...andidates.aspx
    Atheist is the only tag that gets you below 50%

    ---------- Post added at 05:07 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:00 PM ----------

    In a related note
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/10/0...s-in-congress/
    I thought this was interesting. It claims that there are 27 secret atheists in congress and only one who will admit it publicly.
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  9. #28
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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Now see...I have the identical view of atheists. In my experience, most atheists are lacking either a proper education or training in philosophy/critical thinking/logic. Most atheists IMO operate from a state of ignorance in that they simply are unaware of the elementary rules of reasoning and thus make many erroneous assumptions. From my view, the atheist is the one not utilizing the evidence, analytical skills, and dogma.

    It should be noted however, that there is a difference between perhaps a mainstream theist / pop-culture atheist...and that of either who are interested in argument evaluation and truth discovery. But it's been my experience, that most atheists who come to ODN (and attempt to debate online elsewhere), are merely pop-atheists, venturing into uncharted territory, armed only with the fallacious silliness they Googled and found on various atheist blogs or YouTube videos.

    So I agree that there are many theists who merely believe for the sake of believing...but those are not the type of theists or even theism we discuss here since it is the argumentation we are interested in and providing argumentation requires analytical thought and exposure to that which the mainstream theist is simply unaware.

    For example...my wife and her family are "mainstream theists, Christians" for lack of a better term. For them, providing an argument is unnecessary, it is irrelevant, it is uninteresting. For them, simply having faith is sufficient. I do not understand this type of faith or belief (but I do acknowledge it). I can only understand what I can evaluate logically. Their faith, IMO, is one of a psychological nature perhaps...it needs no evidentiary support, but then...it is not the type of position or state that can be properly analyzed logically because it is not dealing with logical arguments. It is not necessarily illogical, it is just outside the category of logic (in a manner of speaking). It's like saying "I love you." It is heartfelt and believed, but it isn't a logical proposition that can be evaluated as to having an objective meaning that describes a philosophy or position to be put forward as superior view in the sea of competing philosophies.

    Here, or elsewhere that religion is debated, arguments are presented and evaluated. As such, the theistic arguments being put forth are not necessarily held by the "mainstream theist" (although they may agree with them, they may simply not use them or forward them). As such, the sort of theism we are speaking of is that which is addressable by argumentation, not mere dogma.

    That being said, almost all the theists here at ODN are familiar or have formal education in philosophy (I myself, having a minor with a focus in epistemology and continuing my formal education at university in philosophy), many have master's degrees, some doctorates. Most atheists here however, simply do not have degrees as far as I can tell. This does not mean that one group is smarter than the other nor does it mean that one group has a handle on the truth more than the other. But it is an interesting phenomena to see our atheist group here (most of whom are pop-atheists, having little to no formal higher learning, particularly in philosophy or religion) make silly statements like "Christians assume, atheists use evidence." From the learned mind (my own and many others), the opposite is true, and objectively so (easily provable, as it has been a number of times in the past).
    Okay, this is easy enough to counter. You sound like you are extremely well educated in regards to religious matters. And from the sound of your bragging, it seems clear you have tons more education in regards to religion than a vast majority of other religious people. So if all those other religious people are going off such great evidence and proof... and you know vastly more than even they do... then it should be pretty easy for you to provide a nice simple undeniable proof that God exists.

    If you can't easily do that then you aren't going off good evidence. It really is that simple.

    Edit: Btw, once you are done doing that (which I highly doubt you can do) you will then need to prove that ALL religions are correct in their beliefs.

    If you can't do all of that then everything I have said stands. Your lack of ability to do all of that would also mean that according to you most atheists with little to no training have come to more logical conclusions in regards to religion than you have despite your years of brainwashing... err, I mean education.
    Last edited by libre; June 1st, 2013 at 02:49 PM.

  10. #29
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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    Quote Originally Posted by libre View Post
    Okay, this is easy enough to counter. You sound like you are extremely well educated in regards to religious matters. And from the sound of your bragging, it seems clear you have tons more education in regards to religion than a vast majority of other religious people. So if all those other religious people are going off such great evidence and proof... and you know vastly more than even they do... then it should be pretty easy for you to provide a nice simple undeniable proof that God exists.

    If you can't easily do that then you aren't going off good evidence. It really is that simple.

    Edit: Btw, once you are done doing that (which I highly doubt you can do) you will then need to prove that ALL religions are correct in their beliefs.

    If you can't do all of that then everything I have said stands. Your lack of ability to do all of that would also mean that according to you most atheists with little to no training have come to more logical conclusions in regards to religion than you have despite your years of brainwashing... err, I mean education.
    There are several problems with this post.

    1) We were each offering anecdotal evidence. That means it is subjective. To suggest that anecdotal evidence can be supported through objective evidence (that which pertains to all), is a misunderstanding of the nature of anecdotal evidence (or just a slip in paying attention as to what was said in the exchange, which we all do from time to time).

    libre: I think if most atheists operated from assumption . . . IMO a large part of what makes an atheist an atheist . . . I think any are fine . . .

    Apok: Now see...I have the identical view of atheists. In my experience, . . . Most atheists IMO . . . From my view, . . .

    #1 is sufficient to expose the flaw of your counter. However, there's more...

    2) It does not follow that in order to prove that religious people use evidence, that I must present to you an argument or evidence for the existence of God. Me offering evidence or an argument for the existence of God only illustrates my understanding and my reasoning, not that of other people.

    3) It is not the case that all theists, and thus, all religions, are equitable in their approach to reason and support. However, this is largely irrelevant if we are sticking with the issue of the mere existence of God (as there is no need to further define a God into a particular religion, only show that a being that could be described or referred to as God, exists). Which takes us to #4.

    4) It also does not follow (yet another non sequitur) that in order to prove that a particular group of theists may use more reasoning or have evidence for their particular belief, that all religions do.

    In short...there's an awful lot of mistakes there in your post libre. You may want to check that atheist dogma at the door your post and re-evaluate.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; June 1st, 2013 at 04:31 PM.
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  11. #30
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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    There are several problems with this post.

    1) We were each offering anecdotal evidence. That means it is subjective. To suggest that anecdotal evidence can be supported through objective evidence (that which pertains to all), is a misunderstanding of the nature of anecdotal evidence (or just a slip in paying attention as to what was said in the exchange, which we all do from time to time).

    libre: I think if most atheists operated from assumption . . . IMO a large part of what makes an atheist an atheist . . . I think any are fine . . .

    Apok: Now see...I have the identical view of atheists. In my experience, . . . Most atheists IMO . . . From my view, . . .

    #1 is sufficient to expose the flaw of your counter. However, there's more...

    2) It does not follow that in order to prove that religious people use evidence, that I must present to you an argument or evidence for the existence of God. Me offering evidence or an argument for the existence of God only illustrates my understanding and my reasoning, not that of other people.

    3) It is not the case that all theists, and thus, all religions, are equitable in their approach to reason and support. However, this is largely irrelevant if we are sticking with the issue of the mere existence of God (as there is no need to further define a God into a particular religion, only show that a being that could be described or referred to as God, exists). Which takes us to #4.

    4) It also does not follow (yet another non sequitur) that in order to prove that a particular group of theists may use more reasoning or have evidence for their particular belief, that all religions do.

    In short...there's an awful lot of mistakes there in your post libre. You may want to check that atheist dogma at the door your post and re-evaluate.
    Yes, but I'm not claiming there is or isn't a God. And it was made clear earlier in the thread that when we talk about atheists we are normally talking about those that are not claiming there is or isn't a God.

    They basically have not made a decision yet either way. Therefore, what you are really saying in your comment is that you feel they are operating from a state of ignorance, making erroneous assumptions, etc, when they hesitate to make the decision to believe.

    And even if you narrowed your comments down to the point that it only applied to one non theist you ran across in your life you would still be obligated to show how that is true. And the only way you could show they are operating from assumption for not deciding either way would be for you to prove it isn't an assumption that God exists. That you can prove he does.

    Because until you do that, no matter what non theist you picked they would be using more sound logic for not deciding either way than you would for making your decision. Even if they only have a 50 IQ... if they are sitting there saying, "Hey, I don't know for sure which is true so I'm not going to decide either way yet."... well, they are making a more logical decision then you with all your vast education on the subject. Because they don't know for sure and thus are not making assumptions either way... where you would be.

    Of course, that is me assuming that you are claiming there is definitely a God. You are claiming that, right?

    I guess it is possible you are just saying that you don't know for sure if there is a God but you think there probably is? However, that just puts you in the same boat as me and most other atheists. Only we choose to look for more evidence before making a decision. And in this case you would be making the decision to believe and THEN looking for evidence to justify your decision or what have you. And it would be you operating from the position of assumption... not those that have not decided either way yet.

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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    Quote Originally Posted by libre View Post
    And even if you narrowed your comments down to the point that it only applied to one non theist you ran across in your life you would still be obligated to show how that is true. And the only way you could show they are operating from assumption for not deciding either way would be for you to prove it isn't an assumption that God exists. That you can prove he does.

    Because until you do that, no matter what non theist you picked they would be using more sound logic for not deciding either way than you would for making your decision. Even if they only have a 50 IQ... if they are sitting there saying, "Hey, I don't know for sure which is true so I'm not going to decide either way yet."... well, they are making a more logical decision then you with all your vast education on the subject. Because they don't know for sure and thus are not making assumptions either way... where you would be.
    I don't think you're paying close enough attention to what Apok was talking about. Here's what he originally said:

    tldr; In short, I've found that most atheists (here and online elsewhere) are simply lacking an understanding of the principles of reasoning, critical thinking, philosophy and religion. It's unfortunate because they are often the most vocal...but I see this as a result being more emotional than rational. I think most pop-atheists have felt slighted or wronged by religion or its adherents at one time or another and that is why they attempt to lash out when they can on debate boards. This is of course a subjective observation, more speculative than anything else really, I admit. But it is rare that I run across an atheist who properly understands logic or critical thinking...so when I see atheists making these kind of statements, attacking theists (even if indirectly) for "not thinking" or merely "assuming"...all I can do is chuckle...then take them to task using actual critical thinking, that, which most atheists (not all of course), are completely unfamiliar with. [Emphasis added.]

    Now, here he isn't criticizing atheists who critically evaluate evidence and come to a reasonable conclusion. He's criticizing atheists who don't properly understand logic or critical thinking. Pointing out that some atheists are reasonable people, or that they reached their atheism by evaluating the evidence and drawing the most reasonable conclusion...is irrelevant to Apok's point. Apok is saying that a bunch of atheists don't bother to properly apply reason and logic.

    He is also not saying that the decision to be an atheist is a "less logical decision" than his decision to be a theist. Now, Apok might think that--and he might actually argue for it--but it sure ain't here.
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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    Quote Originally Posted by libre View Post
    Yes, but I'm not claiming there is or isn't a God. And it was made clear earlier in the thread that when we talk about atheists we are normally talking about those that are not claiming there is or isn't a God.
    This is what atheism REALLY is (vs the more modern, pop-culture, philosophy bashing variation that atheism = mere lack of belief)...and this is a copied response from other threads where this common mistake is made by atheists (so a couple statements may seem out of place as they are a direct response to them, not necessarily you...but for the most part, it applies here):

    copied from other posts for your convenience:
    http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...l=1#post486972
    http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...l=1#post517795
    http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...l=1#post490374
    =================================================


    Atheism is a philosophical position. You are referring to pop culture understanding of atheism...which is philosophically incorrect. What you are referring to is a psychological state of mind. My cats Tango and Scout would be atheists if we used so loose an understanding of the term. Likewise, all babies are atheists. This is philosophically meaningless.

    -------------------------------------------

    To posit that atheism is merely "lack of belief", is an abuse and misuse of the philosophical term.

    It's merely an attempt by "popular atheism" (not to be confused with traditional or academic [philosophical] atheism) to muddy the waters of dialog by ignoring not only the many variants of agnosticism, but its propositions. It ignores the contributions (and positions) of Kant, Hume, Russell, and several other prolific philosophers.

    And to redefine atheism (from actual, philosophical atheism) is to reduce atheism to a meaningless term. Atheism then, no longer becomes a viewpoint or position, it becomes just a psychological state of being (which is contrary to philosophical atheism). Through this newly revised definition, all babies are atheists...as well as my cat Tango. It is not an accepted definition in any academic circle, only that of amateur bloggers inexperienced and ignorant in philosophy and those who have contributed to its study. It is the inexperienced atheist here, who by changing the definition, is really saying "Atheism cannot be proven to be true"...which is a position that no serious (academic) atheistic philosopher of current or past would accept. They do argue for the non-existence of God. The reason you don't see arguments against God often on ODN, is because the atheists in this community are largely "pop-atheists" with little to no education in philosophy or the contributions that atheist (and non-atheist) philosophers have made to the discussion.

    Furthermore, it is likewise philosophically incorrect that agnostics are merely "without belief" in regard to God for the same reasons described above.

    To discuss the existence of God, which requires reason, is a reference to possessing "knowledge of"; the philosophies concerning the existence of God are best illustrated as follows (each of which make truth claims about God's nature [existence] or knowledge of, using reason):

    "Does God exist?"
    Theism: "God exists" Non-theism: "I don't believe in God"
    Agnosticism: “I don’t know if God exists” Atheism: “God does not exist”
    Hard Agnosticism: "I don't know
    if God exists and no one else can
    know either."
    Soft Agnosticism: "I don't know
    if God exists, but it's possible for
    someone to know."

    -----------------------

    In another post that shut down this mistaken and fallacious claim (of pop-atheists) that atheism merely is the lack of belief...


    ....it's been argued already how this is fallacious reasoning as it says 2 things:

    1) "Atheism" (your attempt at redefining the term) cannot be argued to be true (or even a competing position) because it disallows reason, ignores knowledge, is not an actual position (something which academics throughout history adamantly disagree with).

    2) "Atheism" is just a psychological state of being (vs an actual position on the knowledge and nature of God or gods...likewise, something which academics throughout history adamantly disagree with).

    It doesn't magically dissolve the fact that:

    1.) there are actual positions described above ("There is not a God or gods", "It is not possible to know" or "It is possible but it is currently unknown at this time"), etc...
    2.) there are arguments against the knowledge of God
    3.) there are propositions and arguments that exist that compel one to not believe in God

    You are redefining terms, erroneously (and against all academic understanding).

    So for sake of the argument, we can use 2 distinct terms. One for how you want to define atheism (what you have described it to be) and one for how atheism and agnosticism have always been understood philosophically.

    Let's say that your concept is called "pracatheism" and mine is called "philatheism".

    What is being argued against here by theists, is not the psychological state of being known as "pracatheism", but rather the philosophical position "philatheism".

    It is philatheism that is argued to be true. It is philatheism that is said to be compelling. It is philatheism that contains propositions which form into arguments that allow that compulsion. It is philatheism that reason is used.

    It is for this reason, that philatheism is discussed in philosophical circles by using philosophical methods. It is for this reason that philatheism poses a threat as a competing position to other world views. And it is for this reason, that the theist, agnostic and others discuss and challenge philatheism (vs pracatheism, which is not a position, but merely a psychological state of being; it is not philosophical whatsoever, it contains no propositions, compulsion, evidence, etc...).

    In other words, theists don't care about pracatheism...it isn't a "position" so it does not compete with theism in the least. Theists do not defend their arguments against pracatheism, but rather philatheism. Pracatheism cannot be attacked (on the grounds of it being a position), whereas philatheism can be (and has been throughout the centuries).


    -----------------------------------------

    In short, your use of the term here is one done with equivocation. A psychological state of mind has no place in a philosophical debate of positions.



    ================================================== ==========================

    They basically have not made a decision yet either way. Therefore, what you are really saying in your comment is that you feel they are operating from a state of ignorance, making erroneous assumptions, etc, when they hesitate to make the decision to believe.
    This is a confusion between agnosticism (or apatheism) and atheism.

    And even if you narrowed your comments down to the point that it only applied to one non theist you ran across in your life you would still be obligated to show how that is true. And the only way you could show they are operating from assumption for not deciding either way would be for you to prove it isn't an assumption that God exists. That you can prove he does.
    This is an issue of equivocating the term "atheism."

    Because until you do that, no matter what non theist you picked they would be using more sound logic for not deciding either way than you would for making your decision. Even if they only have a 50 IQ... if they are sitting there saying, "Hey, I don't know for sure which is true so I'm not going to decide either way yet."... well, they are making a more logical decision then you with all your vast education on the subject. Because they don't know for sure and thus are not making assumptions either way... where you would be.
    You need to support that I, and other theists make assumptions instead of conclusions.

    Challenge to support a claim.

    If you don't know either way, then that is fine...but then you are forwarding a position you cannot possibly know to be true. If you do know that I operate from assumption instead of reaching a conclusion through reason, then you need to have evidence and this evidence is subjective to evaluation.

    So...either you must retract the claim or you must provide evidence. Merely saying "I don't know" is insufficient to claim something is true.

    Of course, that is me assuming that you are claiming there is definitely a God. You are claiming that, right?
    I have made no claims about the existence of God. I'm merely correcting your reasoning. You claimed that theists, and given that I am one, do not use evidence (which means argumentation/reason), and instead mere assumption. In order to make this claim, you must have knowledge of it being the case. This knowledge of course, is evidence that leads you to that conclusion. Therefore, it is evidence that is objectively verifiable and can be evaluated.

    As per the challenge above, you need to support your argument by providing its evidence.

    I guess it is possible you are just saying that you don't know for sure if there is a God but you think there probably is? However, that just puts you in the same boat as me and most other atheists. Only we choose to look for more evidence before making a decision. And in this case you would be making the decision to believe and THEN looking for evidence to justify your decision or what have you. And it would be you operating from the position of assumption... not those that have not decided either way yet.
    Again, another unsupported claim.

    Lastly, you completely ignored my post and provided a red herring fallacy. Whether or not you are claiming there exists a God is 100% irrelevant as a response to my objection.

    For example...

    1) it doesn't address the fact: that we are talking about anecdotal evidence.

    2) it doesn't address that: it does not follow that in order to prove that religious people use evidence, that I must present to you an argument or evidence for the existence of God. Me offering evidence or an argument for the existence of God only illustrates my understanding and my reasoning, not that of other people.

    3) it doesn't address the fact: that it is not not the case that all theists, and thus, all religions, are equitable in their approach to reason and support. However, this is largely irrelevant if we are sticking with the issue of the mere existence of God (as there is no need to further define a God into a particular religion, only show that a being that could be described or referred to as God, exists). Which takes us to #4.

    4) it doesn't address the fact that: it does not follow that in order to prove that a particular group of theists may use more reasoning or have evidence for their particular belief, that all religions do.

    If you wish to refine your argument, that's fine. But let's not pretend your latest post sufficiently defends your first...it doesn't in any way, shape, or form.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; June 2nd, 2013 at 08:30 AM.
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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    Another way to look at it is that whenever theists attack atheism, it's the actual philosophical position being referred to. Pyschological states of mind pose no threat to any metaphysical view, it is beyond their ability to do so (category mistake).

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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    APOK, don't want to derail all that fine work too far but....

    1. I'm not sure that everyone is expected to debate from the view of a philosopher, so if someone wants to use more common language to describe the viewpoint they hold in life and does not consider themselves a philosopher, does that make them wrong when they use a non-philosophical but common definition for a term? Is Atheism purely the domain of formal philosophy?

    2. What do you call someone who has never bothered to consider such a question? Such as the baby or cat etc... One could say they do not believe in god since it is clearly something they do not actively do. But your scheme of definitions rules this state out of Atheism, but offers no definition for it. So long as that state is undefined, its naturally going to be put to the closes fit term and that i think would be Non-Theism or Atheism in your chart.

    3. For what you might call a natural atheist (someone who has always held a non-theist or atheist view) the notion of believing in god does hold a kind of nonsense quality, as in I could believe any number of random ideas such as purple magic bananas or Squidleflibbles, or Gay Unicorns. You were a non believer before you heard of it, and hearing of it didn't really change your mental state at all. It just remains some imaginary thing someone thought up that isn't part of your world view. Someone with this perspective would find your rather rigid definition contrary to the perspective of their life experience and thus a poor definition for how they are thinking.
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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    APOK, don't want to derail all that fine work too far but....

    1. I'm not sure that everyone is expected to debate from the view of a philosopher, so if someone wants to use more common language to describe the viewpoint they hold in life and does not consider themselves a philosopher, does that make them wrong when they use a non-philosophical but common definition for a term? Is Atheism purely the domain of formal philosophy?
    It depends. In a debate, you must put forth a position. A psychological state of mind is not a position. And when responding to an attack on a position, it is important to understand that what is being attacked, is indeed, a position....not a psychological state of mind.

    So...if someone is going to say "The best position to have is to withhold judgment" they are actually an agnostic (and this isn't really a challenge to any position unless it is clear that it is a statement about reality, eg "Reality is such that the existence of a God(s) cannot be determined one way or the other"). The object of their position here, is reality...it is not them. They are making a statement about the way things are. If someone says "I do not believe in God" then the object is themselves...it is not about reality. They are not making a claim that challenges theism in any way because theism isn't describing the state of an individual being, but rather a state of reality, it is a philosophical (metaphysical) position. To say "I don't believe" is indeed denying the affirmation that God exists...but it is only speaking about the self...it says absolutely nothing about the universe, about reality. It poses no threat whatsoever to theism for someone to say "I do not believe it" because it is not a competing view...it is a statement about the individual.

    I posted the following in a private forum to help explain the difference and the ramifications, perhaps it will help in this thread as well:

    ================================================== ============

    When we say "I do not believe in God" or "I lack the belief in God", this is not atheism, but rather agnosticism and/or pracatheism (see my previous post).

    A good way to explain this is by swapping the terms for the concepts they represent.


    1. Defining terms

    According to some Atheists (the ones I'm seeking to correct), the terms are defined as:

    theism - belief there is at least 1 deity
    atheism - absence of belief in any deity

    According to Theist (and traditional philosophy IMO), the terms are defined as:

    theism - the position that there exists at least 1 deity
    atheism - the position that no god(s) exist


    -----

    2. What theists mean when they attack atheism

    With that being said, when a theist attacks atheism, which is always the case in a debate here or elsewhere...that are saying:

    Atheism is untenable. It is unreasonable. It lacks support

    It is saying that as a philosophy (a position, a statement about reality itself), it is unfounded and weak.

    -----

    3. Swapping the terms for their alleged concepts

    With THAT being said, let's swap the terms for the concepts or understandings of both parties to see if it is accurate or even makes sense....

    The atheist who maintains his definition above, to reply to the theist in a debate based on what the theist is saying/meaning/intending, means that the theist is saying (aka from the atheist's mind):


    A lack of belief in god(s) is untenable. Not having a belief one way or another is unreasonable. Not having a belief about a deity lacks support. As a philosophy, lacking a philosophy (lacking a position/belief) is unfounded and weak.


    But you see what happens here? It not only changes the meaning of what the theist's actual meaning is...it is nonsensical. It's an issue of equivocation and a potential strawman.

    We can acknowledge that in the vernacular, atheism can include the concept described in my previous post referred to as pracatheism. But this is a useless and utterly meaningless because a) it is not the position that theists are attacking/responding to...and b) as a "philosophy"...pracatheism poses no threat to any other philosophy or belief system because it has no position (it is actually not a philosophy)! It asserts nothing about the competing philosophies...it describes a state of mind of the individual. It is not saying "Theism is false" it is saying "I do not have the same belief." The subject being discussed has changed from a philosophy (theism) to self ("I"). We are not here to address what we as individuals personally believe...but rather the arguments and positions that are used to further particular philosophies.

    Theists...nor atheists...debate "states of mind." A state of mind is not a challenge to any philosophy. A state of mind addresses the individual, the self. A philosophy is independent of the self and would be applicable to others. That is...whether or not there is a God, it is a state of reality, not of the mind. Whether or not someone believes in that God, that is a state of mind, a psychological state of being...not of reality. In the former, we are discussing reality (metaphysics), in the latter we are discussing the self (psychology).

    2. What do you call someone who has never bothered to consider such a question? Such as the baby or cat etc...
    Apatheist - practical atheism, pragmatic atheism, the question of the existence of gods is neither meaningful nor relevant to his or her life.

    In my post above, I refer to them (to remove formal labels and instead, focus on merely the concepts), pracatheist. They don't think about the issue of God's existence...they don't further the position, they don't attack the position, nor defend it. They simply go about their lives, practically, as an atheist, without God being an issue in their lives. This is not a philosophical position, but a state of mind.

    One could say they do not believe in god since it is clearly something they do not actively do. But your scheme of definitions rules this state out of Atheism, but offers no definition for it. So long as that state is undefined, its naturally going to be put to the closes fit term and that i think would be Non-Theism or Atheism in your chart.
    Right..."non-atheism" in the chart...but more technically, "apatheism." It isn't in the chart because the chart denotes philosophical positions that can be argued for, defended, attacked, reasoned, etc...and all are about the state of nature...or the state of reality. They are metaphysical views.

    A theist does not attack a psychological state of mind...there is nothing to attack. A psychological state of mind cannot attack or compete against a metaphysical view. It simply lacks the properties to do so. You can reject a metaphysical view of course, but merely doing so does not mean that it is in itself, a position that is forwarded or can even be defended. All that is being done is a premise of an argument is being denied. It's possible for example, for a theist to deny a premise of the KCA...merely by doing so doesn't mean that the theist is actually an atheist.

    3. For what you might call a natural atheist (someone who has always held a non-theist or atheist view) the notion of believing in god does hold a kind of nonsense quality, as in I could believe any number of random ideas such as purple magic bananas or Squidleflibbles, or Gay Unicorns. You were a non believer before you heard of it, and hearing of it didn't really change your mental state at all. It just remains some imaginary thing someone thought up that isn't part of your world view.
    Right...it is a question that is irrelevant to my life. If someone were to forward it as a serious metaphysical position, I could accept or deny its involved premises. If it were to be forwarded as a metaphysical view, I could also forward a competing view. Me merely denying a premise or particular argument, doesn't introduce a NEW philosophical position to be considered. This is where a source of confusion comes in...and it's because the term "atheist" is so broad and has so many confusing meanings to those who are only familiar with its vernacular use and perhaps, unfamiliar with philosophy or serious debate.

    We can't say "I deny your premise that supports Gods existence...I don't at this point believe in God ('m an atheist). Therefore, atheism is superior to theism."

    See what happened there? We went from attacking a view about reality (state of being/reality/philosophical position/metaphysical view), then making a statement about the self (state of mind) then trying to forward that state of mind as a view about reality. The subject "hops" from reality to self to reality. There's a lot of equivocating going on there.

    Someone with this perspective would find your rather rigid definition contrary to the perspective of their life experience and thus a poor definition for how they are thinking.
    Right...because they are simply unaware of the distinction between the position that there exists no God(s) and that of lacking a belief in God(s). The former is a position that actually does compete, and thus, poses a threat to theism, the latter is a state of mind that speaks to the self (not of reality) and it poses no threat to any position about reality itself.

    In debate, we forward views that we say are true about reality, we don't forward personal preferences or states of mind. There's nothing to debate (in the latter). It's like debating which is the better tasting flavor...vanilla or chocolate. That you may like vanilla in no way competes with 1) the fact I like chocolate and 2) the fact that chocolate is made from cocoa beans.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; June 2nd, 2013 at 08:07 PM.
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  18. #36
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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    Very well explained Apok. I'd include those distinctions when you break down Atheism, perhaps in a footnote for non-philosophical mind states or some such.

    And I think part of the challenge here is only a certain number or Atheists are of a mind to make the philosophical claim of no god. You will on rare occasion find such an argument but in general most Atheists (common meaning) are simply attacking supports for God in specific or general claiming that the supports for Theism are unpersuasive or faulty. That is certainly the case with me. I hold no great truth that there are no gods. Gods seem to me a possibility but simply one that is not well supported and as a poorly supported notion isn't worth acting on. So if you told me I could wish money out of the air I wouldn't even try unless you had some compelling reason to believe it that overcomes my skepticism that such a thing is not normally possible.

    So I am not standing on a position that money cannot be imagined into existence, I am merely stating I doubt any claim that it can and will make no practical action based on such a belief. On the other hand I do have enough trust in the idea there are natural immutable laws that I will act as if that claim is true and have found doing so is quite rewarding to my needs.

    Or to take another tack, because I find it impossible to hold proof of a things non existence especially a thing said to have infinite power and thus could hide from you quite effectively if it chose too. So baring the ability to say it doesn't exist, I just look for any positive signs it does and weigh them against alternate ideas in terms of probability. So on your chart, for the question of god not existing, I take a Strong Agnostic view, it is not possible to know with certainty there is no god so I cannot be a philosophical Atheist. However... As of yet, I find no sufficient evidence there is a god so no god is a more likely truth. I'm certainly Non-Theist, but I'm also not truly agnostic, I act as if there is no god because I highly doubt there is a god and act accordingly.

    I don't see my position as lacking philosophical merit. It is very much about knowledge, the bounds of what I can know, and using what I know to at least make an educated guess at truth. I'm not just flipping a coin, but neither am I 100% certain. I am simply working with uncertainty and measuring probability.

    So what would you say my philosophical position is? Do they have a sufficient description for this?
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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    This is what atheism REALLY is (vs the more modern, pop-culture, philosophy bashing variation that atheism = mere lack of belief)...and this is a copied response from other threads where this common mistake is made by atheists (so a couple statements may seem out of place as they are a direct response to them, not necessarily you...but for the most part, it applies here):
    Lol... our entire exchange started with you responding to a post of mine where I clearly stated that we were using the term "atheist" as shorthand for "agnostic atheist".

    Of course you are not obligated to abide with that. However, if you are going to debate me (especially if that debate starts with you quoting that very post) then you are going to have to point out that you don't accept that definition. You don't wait until you are cornered and then reject it.

    It seems rather poor form to try to switch back to some other definition mid way... even worse that you would then provide a long lecture to me as though I don't know the difference... when the very first post you quoted from showed that I knew the difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    In short, your use of the term here is one done with equivocation. A psychological state of mind has no place in a philosophical debate of positions.
    As I've stated, I clearly identified that the word was being used as shorthand for "agnostic atheist". You replied to that very post and you made absolutely no indication that you objected to using that meaning for the purpose of our discussion. Therefore the word wasn't used with equivocation... except by you.

    All of that said, now that you are saying you want to use the other definition for the word then that is what we will NOW use. And I am willing to now accept your prior statement using the new definition... so you don't have to copy and paste it.

    However, you should now note that in that same post that you quoted from I also stated that in regards to agnostic atheists:

    "I would suspect that most non theists fall into this category and that everyone just calls themselves atheist as a kind of shorthand since most they meet probably fall into the same category."

    The key phrase that I'm referring to is "most non theists". As in most non theists probably are agnostic atheists.

    And Talthus agreed with that comment. And you did not object to either of us in this regard. Since you are now backtracking on the shorthand use of the term "atheist" for the purpose of this exchange then does that mean you are also backtracking on your apparent silent agreement on this as well?

    I think it is important to know before we procede. Because if we are in agreement that most non theists probably fall into the agnostic atheist category then your example is pretty weak. One could probably even call it stereotyping. I mean, you don't see me trying some cheap shot like talking about extremist religious cults and trying to imply they represent all theists. They might be a good example of where religion can lead but that doesn't mean it is right to imply they represent all theists.

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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    You need to support that I, and other theists make assumptions instead of conclusions.

    Challenge to support a claim.

    If you don't know either way, then that is fine...but then you are forwarding a position you cannot possibly know to be true. If you do know that I operate from assumption instead of reaching a conclusion through reason, then you need to have evidence and this evidence is subjective to evaluation.

    So...either you must retract the claim or you must provide evidence. Merely saying "I don't know" is insufficient to claim something is true.
    I think you are misunderstanding my position. I'm not claiming you aren't making conclusions. I don't even see how you could be a theist if you haven't come to a conclusion yet. I'm just saying your conclusions are based on what boils down to be an assumption.

    If it wasn't then you and other theists would have absolutely no problem providing at least a half way reasonable proof. From listening to you talk, you are extremely well educated in this area... yet, you won't even make a stab at a proof. And you apparently can't even find a reasonable proof in any of your research. To me that speaks volumes.

    Btw, please don't think that I'm claiming theists are making the wrong conclusion. The only way I could say that is if I could prove God doesn't exist. I'm just saying that until you or ANY theist can provide a solid proof that God exists then your conclusion can't possibly be based on a solid proof. Seems pretty simple to understand to me.

    They only way you could deny this as a reasonable reply to your challenge would be if you claim theists do have a solid proof that God exists but they are just unwilling to provide it. However, I HIGHLY doubt you would expect anyone with a brain to believe that.

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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    And I think part of the challenge here is only a certain number or Atheists are of a mind to make the philosophical claim of no god.
    I would for the most part, agree with you. Most of the time here at ODN, it is typically a theist assertion or a challenge of a theist assertion that is discussed or objected to. It is less common (but it does happen) that the claim is made that it is more reasonable to hold that there is no God.

    But once someone argues this...that it is more reasonable that there is no God...then we have an actual metaphysical view we can evaluate. A simple denial of a theist argument or premise is not sufficient to say it is more reasonable for there not to be a God. A simple denial is simply that...denying that the particular premise or argument is accurate, sound, valid, true, etc... We cannot move from that simple denial to a full blown metaphysical position.

    But we do get the occasion where the atheist will make the statement that it is more reasonable to not believe in God than to believe. And what this means is that it is more likely to be the case that God does not exist...or it is a more reasonable position to have, that God does not exist, than God does exist. Once we have that statement, then we have a metaphysical position we can evaluate, challenge, attack, defend, etc...

    The atheist here does not necessarily need to be so explicit and claim God does not exist then provide several reasons for it in order for the metaphysical position to surface. Often times, it's implicit. Libre has done just that in this thread (and I suspect he is unaware of it judging by his posts).

    Or to take another tack, because I find it impossible to hold proof of a things non existence especially a thing said to have infinite power and thus could hide from you quite effectively if it chose too. So baring the ability to say it doesn't exist, I just look for any positive signs it does and weigh them against alternate ideas in terms of probability. So on your chart, for the question of god not existing, I take a Strong Agnostic view, it is not possible to know with certainty there is no god so I cannot be a philosophical Atheist. However... As of yet, I find no sufficient evidence there is a god so no god is a more likely truth. I'm certainly Non-Theist, but I'm also not truly agnostic, I act as if there is no god because I highly doubt there is a god and act accordingly.

    I don't see my position as lacking philosophical merit. It is very much about knowledge, the bounds of what I can know, and using what I know to at least make an educated guess at truth. I'm not just flipping a coin, but neither am I 100% certain. I am simply working with uncertainty and measuring probability.

    So what would you say my philosophical position is? Do they have a sufficient description for this?
    Well, as far as I can tell, your philosophical position is that of a strong-agnostic. Plain and simple. You living your life in a practical way without God is not a philosophical position, it is a manner of behavior that is affected by your psychological state.

    Metaphysically, you are a strong-agnostic.
    Psychologically and socially, you are an apatheist.

    These are the most accurate terms IMO, that would define you.

    ---------- Post added at 09:08 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:01 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by libre View Post
    Lol... our entire exchange started with you responding to a post of mine where I clearly stated that we were using the term "atheist" as shorthand for "agnostic atheist".

    Of course you are not obligated to abide with that. However, if you are going to debate me (especially if that debate starts with you quoting that very post) then you are going to have to point out that you don't accept that definition. You don't wait until you are cornered and then reject it.

    It seems rather poor form to try to switch back to some other definition mid way... even worse that you would then provide a long lecture to me as though I don't know the difference... when the very first post you quoted from showed that I knew the difference.
    I'm not switching back and forth...you are. You equivocated in your own post. While you defined atheism in the loosest and most broad possible way, you changed its meaning the moment you gave it context and argued it was a more reasonable position. You went from defining it to be a psychological state of mind to suggesting it is the most reasonable philosophical position. A psychological state of mind (apatheism) is not a metaphysical position.

    Furthermore, you cannot attack a metaphysical position (theism) with a psychological state of mind (apatheism). It's fallacious, a category mistake. It's like saying "Blue smells like butter." Colors do not have properties of smell. Likewise, psychological states of mind do not have properties of reason (the principles thereof).

    This is a huge mistake that "pop-atheists" (for lack of a better term, and not intending to offend...I'd be more than willing to change if a better description is available) often make, and one I explained further in my post to Sig:

    ================================================== ============

    When we say "I do not believe in God" or "I lack the belief in God", this is not atheism, but rather agnosticism and/or pracatheism (see my previous post).

    A good way to explain this is by swapping the terms for the concepts they represent.


    1. Defining terms

    According to some Atheists (the ones I'm seeking to correct), the terms are defined as:

    theism - belief there is at least 1 deity
    atheism - absence of belief in any deity

    According to Theist (and traditional philosophy IMO), the terms are defined as:

    theism - the position that there exists at least 1 deity
    atheism - the position that no god(s) exist


    -----

    2. What theists mean when they attack atheism

    With that being said, when a theist attacks atheism, which is always the case in a debate here or elsewhere...that are saying:

    Atheism is untenable. It is unreasonable. It lacks support

    It is saying that as a philosophy (a position, a statement about reality itself), it is unfounded and weak.

    -----

    3. Swapping the terms for their alleged concepts

    With THAT being said, let's swap the terms for the concepts or understandings of both parties to see if it is accurate or even makes sense....

    The atheist who maintains his definition above, to reply to the theist in a debate based on what the theist is saying/meaning/intending, means that the theist is saying (aka from the atheist's mind):


    A lack of belief in god(s) is untenable. Not having a belief one way or another is unreasonable. Not having a belief about a deity lacks support. As a philosophy, lacking a philosophy (lacking a position/belief) is unfounded and weak.


    But you see what happens here? It not only changes the meaning of what the theist's actual meaning is...it is nonsensical. It's an issue of equivocation and a potential strawman.

    We can acknowledge that in the vernacular, atheism can include the concept described in my previous post referred to as pracatheism. But this is a useless and utterly meaningless because a) it is not the position that theists are attacking/responding to...and b) as a "philosophy"...pracatheism poses no threat to any other philosophy or belief system because it has no position (it is actually not a philosophy)! It asserts nothing about the competing philosophies...it describes a state of mind of the individual. It is not saying "Theism is false" it is saying "I do not have the same belief." The subject being discussed has changed from a philosophy (theism) to self ("I"). We are not here to address what we as individuals personally believe...but rather the arguments and positions that are used to further particular philosophies.

    Theists...nor atheists...debate "states of mind." A state of mind is not a challenge to any philosophy. A state of mind addresses the individual, the self. A philosophy is independent of the self and would be applicable to others. That is...whether or not there is a God, it is a state of reality, not of the mind. Whether or not someone believes in that God, that is a state of mind, a psychological state of being...not of reality. In the former, we are discussing reality (metaphysics), in the latter we are discussing the self (psychology).

    ================================================== ============

    In short, you cannot address theism by objecting as an apatheist, pracatheist, or identifying your psychological state of mind. It's a category mistake.

    ---------- Post added at 09:26 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:08 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by libre View Post
    I think you are misunderstanding my position. I'm not claiming you aren't making conclusions. I don't even see how you could be a theist if you haven't come to a conclusion yet. I'm just saying your conclusions are based on what boils down to be an assumption.
    Then to clarify, it's that theists use assumptions to base their conclusions on instead of evidence. Thanks for the clarity, but it does not change the objection.

    And in the realm of reason, that which is based on evidence is stronger than that which is based on assumption. This means, that that which is based on evidence is more reasonable (and likely to be the case) than that which is built on assumptions.

    That being said, by extension you are claiming that your position is more reasonable than the theist position.

    A psychological state of mind however, is not a position. As explained above, you got wrapped up in the term and tried to define it, but you did not really mean it. Since we are addressing concepts here, not labels, and you clearly are arguing for a position (not a psychological state of mind), then it is the position we must address, not a psychological state of mind (since they cannot be addressed by evaluation of logic and they hold no threat to competing views).

    If it wasn't then you and other theists would have absolutely no problem providing at least a half way reasonable proof.
    This is the fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantiam, (aka appeal to ignorance, arguing from ignorance).

    And to put the record straight, the theists on this board do not "assume" we do in fact, use evidence. Some of the reasons why theists believe that God's existence is more reasonable is due to various arguments, all of which rely on evidence:

    Cosmological Argument
    Teleological Argument
    Moral Argument
    Jesus Resurrection
    etc...

    Nothing is "assumed."

    Lastly, I've noticed you've ignored several key points in my posts. One of many of course, was my summary of:


    Lastly, you completely ignored my post and provided a red herring fallacy. Whether or not you are claiming there exists a God is 100% irrelevant as a response to my objection.

    For example...

    1) it doesn't address the fact: that we are talking about anecdotal evidence.

    2) it doesn't address that: it does not follow that in order to prove that religious people use evidence, that I must present to you an argument or evidence for the existence of God. Me offering evidence or an argument for the existence of God only illustrates my understanding and my reasoning, not that of other people.

    3) it doesn't address the fact: that it is not not the case that all theists, and thus, all religions, are equitable in their approach to reason and support. However, this is largely irrelevant if we are sticking with the issue of the mere existence of God (as there is no need to further define a God into a particular religion, only show that a being that could be described or referred to as God, exists). Which takes us to #4.

    4) it doesn't address the fact that: it does not follow that in order to prove that a particular group of theists may use more reasoning or have evidence for their particular belief, that all religions do.

    If you wish to refine your argument, that's fine. But let's not pretend your latest post sufficiently defends your first...it doesn't in any way, shape, or form.


    Shall we then consider this an implicit concession of these points?
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  22. #40
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    Re: How should Atheists treat Theists?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Well, as far as I can tell, your philosophical position is that of a strong-agnostic. Plain and simple. You living your life in a practical way without God is not a philosophical position, it is a manner of behavior that is affected by your psychological state.

    Metaphysically, you are a strong-agnostic.
    Psychologically and socially, you are an apatheist.
    One small wrinkle though. I would say it is possible to prove God does exist if indeed god is real. So I think it is possible to prove god, but not possible to disprove god. I get the impression a strong agnostic would say neither is possible.

    ---------- Post added at 12:00 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:54 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by libre View Post
    They only way you could deny this as a reasonable reply to your challenge would be if you claim theists do have a solid proof that God exists but they are just unwilling to provide it. However, I HIGHLY doubt you would expect anyone with a brain to believe that.
    You are not giving credit where it is due. There is a legacy of thousands of years of sophisticated Theist arguments for the existence of god in a general sense and God in a specific case. I find most of them to have some fatal flaw but they certainly have rebuttals wtihin rebuttals for nearly any attack you care to make. Being dismissive of them is not good debate. (And yes Thesits can be awfully dismissive themselves at times.)

    Its one thing to say that we as thinkers find flaw in the opponents arguments, and another to dismiss them all as unreasonable. Many theist arguments are very well reasoned. Perhaps not flawless but still pretty well put together. They do have a couple thousand years of practice in the matter.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

 

 
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