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Atheists who hate atheists? - Comments

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 1 by Schrodinger's Cat

I think a lot of people become atheists intellectually, but still hold all the old religious baggage emotionally. I suspect a lot of people emotionally would still like to believe.......but no longer have sufficient logical reason to do so. The world is probably full of quasi-atheists, who'd be quite happy to discuss logical arguments against God.........but not to the point of total disbelief or in any way 'insulting' their former emotional crutch. A form of mental 'Pascal's wager' comes to mind, with people hedging their bets. I think it's down to how long a person takes to fully mentally identify themselves as an atheist. With some it may take days, with others it may take years.

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 12:24:39 UTC | #848166

healthphysicist's Avatar Comment 2 by healthphysicist

Wondernerd:

Your discussion is very timely...I recently submitted one that is similar, but never got posted.

Anyway, I find myself criticizing atheists frequently, though not to the degree you mention. Many atheists don't realize the logical fallacies they are making in their arguments.

If you are an atheist and your atheism rests on science, then you are completely arbitrary. Science explains atheism just as well as it explains theism.

Science can prove certain claims wrong, like the claim to a global flood (usually considered to be a religious claim) or the claim of the ether (usually considered to be a scientific claim).

But theism or atheism is a belief, with no data to support.

The most honest position is agnosticism (we don't know because we don't have enough data).

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 12:36:37 UTC | #848171

angry_liberal's Avatar Comment 3 by angry_liberal

This is an incredibly pressing problem for me at the moment. Probably my health and sanity rest on finding a solution. A very liberal friend, who I would guess is an atheist, told me to shut up when I tried to raise the subject. We have since resolved the issue by email to the point of offering mutual apologies, but the whole situation in that group of friends is very awkward. I very much have the perception that I am perceived of being one step away from a mental asylum. I probably do share quite a lot of the blame because my efforts to raise the subject were undoubtedly garbled. However I was in desperate need of discussing the issues that religion raises with people who were friends (and not work colleagues or family) and I did nothing to prepare the ground.

I am working on reading books that help me understand the minds of believers more and think through some of the core societal issues. But the more I think about it feels like the the people on this site have just woken up to discover that most of the world consists of cocaine addicts, cocaine pushers and fervant defenders of cocaine usage, and that whilst we may earnestly wish to warn against the dangers of cocaine we have to take a deep breath and think very carefully about how we go about it.

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 13:01:43 UTC | #848179

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 4 by Jos Gibbons

Atheists who hate atheists?

In my experience they don't hate themselves, and therefore only hate the "bad" (i.e. non-silent) atheists. However, they may still take stances which are unfair to atheism. Take Nick Clegg for example, who is having his children brought up in Catholicism in a faith school. No doubt this is entirely because of his wife's assistance. But surely, if you think a doctrine is unreasonable, by letting your children be inculcated in it you are doing a disservice to your own opinions, even if you do not hate all people with said opinions because you yourself are a counterexample.

other people who fit the definition of an atheist/agnostic so well, but they for some reason take the side of religion, or even actively oppose nonreligious groups.

There have been quite a few, yes. The interesting consequence of their doing so is they end up making statements largely indistinguishable from their religious fellow anti-atheism people. Take for example the time someone I spoke to (while in a lunch queue) said he thought Dawkins et al were worse than the Taliban. On which criteria that view could be defended I've no idea, bu I bring it up to make the following point - I have no way of telling whether that person is religious or not. That really should not be the case; such comments, be they sensible or ridiculous, really should be limited to the religious. (On any honest consequentialist analysis, one would think it would be limited to Muslims. As he was a white Briton in the University of Oxford I'll go out on a limb & guess he wasn't one.)

without having any knowledge whatsoever of my religious belief or lack thereof, he started accusations that I am an arrogant bible-basher, and that I believe in Social Darwinism.

We all make unjustified assumptions of others, including assuming ill of them, from time to time. What is odd here is assuming ill of those in one's own camp. It all amounts to "I'm better than the rest of us lot". The Social Darwinism assumption is especially bizarre. I can't think of any group of which that assumption is non-tautological but nonetheless statistically warranted.

an atheist (whether she likes to use the word or not)

There do seem to be a lot of words these days for - how can I put it? People who don't want to be honest. It makes things hard for those who try naming our organisations. One feels like "Atheists & pals" or "Atheists & cowards" or something along those lines could be resorted to in the conclusion of a fictional example of such a naming challenge in a comedy sketch.

when she sees me reading anything from Darwin to Sagan to Hawking she starts arguing that I am some radical intolerant anti-religious elitist, when the most radical thing I've ever done is have online discussions with my Creationist friends.

That you even have such friends refutes the charges. How odd it is that any of those would result because you read those scientists. At least if that had been a reaction to you reading RD the "he makes a big deal about that topic" argument could kind of make sense, provided the item being read was TGD.

As for your last paragraph, if I had advice I'd give it.

A former colleague of mine who was a "Unitarian" - as far as I'm concerned she was an atheist, though she'd never admit that - disliked the phrase "Freedom from Religion Foundation", assuming it meant they wanted to put a stop to religion, when all they want is to make sure both the to and from sides of the first amendment are defended (and, in America, the to basically takes care of itself). She also insisted that thinking few people are 7s on the Dawkins scale was as dogmatic a claim as any religious one, until I said there had been research on the matter by the FFRF. (I can't remember whether I knew that to be true or not - it was over 3 years ago.)

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 13:14:17 UTC | #848180

mmurray's Avatar Comment 5 by mmurray

Comment 2 by healthphysicist :

Wondernerd:

Your discussion is very timely...I recently submitted one that is similar, but never got posted.

Anyway, I find myself criticizing atheists frequently, though not to the degree you mention. Many atheists don't realize the logical fallacies they are making in their arguments.

If you are an atheist and your atheism rests on science, then you are completely arbitrary. Science explains atheism just as well as it explains theism.

Science can prove certain claims wrong, like the claim to a global flood (usually considered to be a religious claim) or the claim of the ether (usually considered to be a scientific claim).

But theism or atheism is a belief, with no data to support.

The most honest position is agnosticism (we don't know because we don't have enough data).

Atheism is a lack of belief in gods. So you have to ask not what the evidence for atheism is but what the evidence is for belief in gods. I would suggest there is none but perhaps you have something to offer up we haven't seen before.

Michael

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 13:26:58 UTC | #848181

The Alchemist's Avatar Comment 6 by The Alchemist

Atheists who hate atheists?

Do you wish that all atheists would act and behave in a manner that would give the impression that they all belonged to one big homogeneous group called atheism? I don't think it could ever become a possibility. Just like a large religion has many 'sects' in it, atheism too must have different 'sects' or schools of thought in it. Yes, not every atheist would agree with Richard Dawkins, and not every Muslim would agree with Dr Zakir Naik. Disagreements are good and fun, aren't they?

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 13:35:06 UTC | #848183

RDfan's Avatar Comment 7 by RDfan

The trouble is with the world "atheist". The word is used often enough, but on closer inspection it is not clear that people have a uniform understanding of it. For me, atheism is simply a disbelief in god/gods. For others, it is a disbelief in god/s based on scientific analysis of the probability of there being a divine being/s. For others still, it is a disbelief in god/s based on science and also a morally compelling position spurring them to other acts, say, striving for a secular society etc. Others yet associated atheism with reason and being rational; I do not. In fact, there are many non-god-believing societies that are yet filled with irrational beliefs. The Chinese and Japanese are good examples. Whilst many of them (accept Evolution and) do not believe in god/s, they do however hold on to all kinds of culturally sanctioned superstitions and irrationalities to guide their everyday lives (ancestor worship and so on). These cultures are atheistic but irrational.

I personally dislike the irrational type of atheist (as already described), or the ones who want religion to be crushed out of existence by brute means (e.g. by abuse of the religious as stupid or simple minded) rather than by force of subtle, factually based argument. So I guess I sometimes fall into the category of atheists who hate other atheists; but that depends on what kind of atheist you are talking about.

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 13:36:12 UTC | #848184

The Alchemist's Avatar Comment 8 by The Alchemist

Atheism is a lack of belief in gods. So you have to ask not what the evidence for atheism is but what the evidence is for belief in gods. I would suggest there is none but perhaps you have something to offer up we haven't seen before.

I raised that point before. We need 'gods' in both atheism and theism.

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 13:39:57 UTC | #848185

healthphysicist's Avatar Comment 9 by healthphysicist

@5 Michael:

Michael, I hate you! (Just kidding!)

You are making a fundamental error....where does one look for the evidence?

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 13:40:41 UTC | #848186

mmurray's Avatar Comment 10 by mmurray

Comment 9 by healthphysicist :

@5 Michael:

Michael, I hate you! (Just kidding!)

You are making a fundamental error....where does one look for the evidence?

Like to explain my fundamental error ? The way I see it

"no evidence for gods" = " I don't believe in gods"

not

"no evidence for gods" = " gosh I can't make up my mind so I'll call it 50/50"

Or are you arguing for "agnostic" = "we cannot know if there is a god"

Try it without gods:

"no evidence for elves" = "gosh I don't know maybe elves exist. I can't prove they dont'"

The only difference is you haven't been raised believing in elves.

Michael

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 13:48:43 UTC | #848188

SoHelpMeReason's Avatar Comment 11 by SoHelpMeReason

Comment 5 by mmurray :

Comment 2 by healthphysicist :

Wondernerd:

Your discussion is very timely...I recently submitted one that is similar, but never got posted.

Anyway, I find myself criticizing atheists frequently, though not to the degree you mention. Many atheists don't realize the logical fallacies they are making in their arguments.

If you are an atheist and your atheism rests on science, then you are completely arbitrary. Science explains atheism just as well as it explains theism.

Science can prove certain claims wrong, like the claim to a global flood (usually considered to be a religious claim) or the claim of the ether (usually considered to be a scientific claim).

But theism or atheism is a belief, with no data to support.

The most honest position is agnosticism (we don't know because we don't have enough data).

Atheism is a lack of belief in gods. So you have to ask not what the evidence for atheism is but what the evidence is for belief in gods. I would suggest there is none but perhaps you have something to offer up we haven't seen before.

Michael

To bring up a point, I'm sometimes made to wonder whether it's wise to use science in atheist discussions. To a degree, I see that it is unavoidable. I also know that it is extremely useful. But I wonder if we do a disservice to the scientific fields by psychologically associating things like evolution and cosmology to irreligion. Funding, public support, PR. I understand why scientific institutions tend to stray from commentary on any kind of theistic belief.

Could we be involuntarily dragging science down with us? I have to wonder.

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 13:51:34 UTC | #848189

mmurray's Avatar Comment 12 by mmurray

Comment 11 by SoHelpMeReason :

Could we be involuntarily dragging science down with us? I have to wonder.

I think it depends where you live. The US is a seriously strange place on this issue. Most educated people don't argue with evolution and cosmology as scientific theories. Neither do the major Christian religions except to fiddle with silly things like "maybe god guides evolution" etc.

Michael

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 13:54:28 UTC | #848192

healthphysicist's Avatar Comment 13 by healthphysicist

@10 Michael:

You didn't answer my question @ Comment 9!

Let's reframe the issue slightly:

"Is the Universe evidence for god"?

I don't know nor do you nor does Dawkins.

We have no data to suggest whether it is or not.

If you enter the debate with the arbitrary answer of "NO"...then whereever you look in the Universe you will find no evidence of god. You have already arbitrarily what counts as evidence.

If you enter the debate with the arbitrary answer of "YES"...then everything about the Universe is evidence of god.

Your choice is a belief....when you really don't know.

Atheism is a religion just as much as theism....they are beliefs as to whether or not the Universe is evidence of god.

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 13:54:54 UTC | #848193

mmurray's Avatar Comment 14 by mmurray

Comment 13 by healthphysicist :

If you enter the debate with the arbitrary answer of "NO"...then whereever you look in the Universe you will find no evidence of god. You have already arbitrarily what counts as evidence.

No I haven't. Let's say you tell me there are green men on the back of the moon. I say rubbish I don't believe you. You say lets look and we go and look and they are not there. Then they are not there because they are not there. Simple isn't it.

It is just as simple for gods. They are not there until we find some evidence for them. Or are you assuming everything exists unless it can be proved it doesn't ?

We can look for evidence. Let's see if god could have created life. Well it doesn't look designed so no evidence there. Let's see if god answers prayers ? No evidence. God loves us all. Let's look for evidence. Strange the world is full of evil and suffering. Every time we look gods are MIA.

No evidence little green men no little green men. No evidence gods no gods.

Ah but you say god is beyond space and time.

Good night I say.

Michael

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 14:05:10 UTC | #848196

mmurray's Avatar Comment 15 by mmurray

Comment 13 by healthphysicist :

If you enter the debate with the arbitrary answer of "YES"...then everything about the Universe is evidence of god.

False. If you enter with the arbitrary answer "YES" everything has to be twisted to fit that. That's what theology does. Have you seen the hoops people jump through to deal with the absence of evil ? Backing up the non-existent with the unbelievable.

Now I really do mean good night.

Go Cadel.

Michael

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 14:07:53 UTC | #848197

Alexandreina's Avatar Comment 16 by Alexandreina

Comment 6 by The Alchemist :

Atheists who hate atheists?

Do you wish that all atheists would act and behave in a manner that would give the impression that they all belonged to one big homogeneous group called atheism? I don't think it could ever become a possibility. Just like a large religion has many 'sects' in it, atheism too must have different 'sects' or schools of thought in it. Yes, not every atheist would agree with Richard Dawkins, and not every Muslim would agree with Dr Zakir Naik. Disagreements are good and fun, aren't they?

I don't know that I could say disagreements are good and fun as I do find it irritating when ANY group of people insists that anyone who is included in their group can think only one way and they must all agree with one another 100% or else suffer, at the very least, verbal abuse and people telling them that they are idiots or going to hell. The problem is that, in any group, there will be jerks. And these jerks tend to make the group look bad. As an agnostic with some rather strange ideas on what MIGHT constitute a "deity" IF one were to exist, however, I find myself always coming down on the side of the atheists if for no other reason than because there is no "Big Book of Atheism" that either condones or exhorts the KILLING of non-atheists unlike, oh say, Christianity and Islam, which I view as being pretty much one and the same.

That said, I do think it would be nice if secularists could all just play nicely together despite their differences since, it seems to me, their main aim is the same, to stop religion from writing law and stymieing science. If that alone were accomplished, while it would in no way destroy religion, it would accomplish the far more IMPORTANT goal of destroying religion's stranglehold on the lives of people who do not agree with it. In this article http://www.suite101.com/content/american-atheists-the-new-silent-majority-a378686 the atheist author states that in the US, "...16.1% of Americans who describe themselves as having ‘No religion’." He then wonders why such a large group has no political clout when compared to a group like AIPAC which has only 1.7% of the US population. Well, my contention is that "no religion" does not necessarily mean one is an atheist and does indeed cover a large amount of people who are not, strictly speaking, atheists. You could, I suppose, realize that people who claim "no religion" can be people who are simply too lazy to form an opinion on the subject and such people are likely to also be too lazy to get into political activism! LOL Within that 16.1%, of "no religion" folk, even if they WERE all atheists, you'll indeed find many different "sects" and, much like the various Christian sects, they often not only do not agree with one another but actively dislike one another. And THAT is really why they can't get anything done. If you can figure out a "cure" for atheists who hate each other... and even more broadly, for those atheists who hate those who support their broader agenda of a secular society without, necessarily, being strict atheists (or even atheists at all, I strangely know many Christians who believe religion has no place in government) that would be quite a feat. i'd even go so far as to call it a miracle. ;)

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 14:13:03 UTC | #848200

healthphysicist's Avatar Comment 17 by healthphysicist

The theists view is that the Universe is god's creation.

You don't find evidence of the Ford company if you examine the workings of a Ford car.....you find brakes, transmission, etc. You can explain how the car works (science).

Similarly, you can examine the Universe and explain how it works. But whether or not you believe it was built by a god or not, is just a belief you bring to the table.

The evidence for god may be all around you, but you have failed to accept it. That is an a priori choice you've made...the Ford company isn't within the Ford car.

Just because we call the Big Bang the "Big Bang" is just a label. We could call it "God's Creation".

Everything about the Universe can be equally well described in theistic or atheistic terms.

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 14:13:14 UTC | #848201

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 18 by ZenDruid

Everything about the Universe can be equally well described in theistic or atheistic terms.

That's not even wrong.

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 14:41:14 UTC | #848208

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 19 by AtheistEgbert

We must all face one very obvious fact--atheism does not mean rationality. My atheism does not form the centre of my world view, it only describes what I am not.

Many of us--who are becoming more critical of our fellow atheists--are beginning to recognize the same old religious patterns from them. As if nothing has changed whatsoever.

Not only are our criticisms unwelcome and uncomfortable among fellow atheists, they often go unheard or fall silent. We are told to shut up or stop quibling for the greater cause.

This is not a problem that exists only among atheists, but also so-called liberals and so-called scientists. Some of the things liberals say within the media are complete illiberal, and some of the things scientists say are completely unscientific. What madness! Hence why many of us become completely demoralized, we lose all motivation and interest in the things we hold dear, because the very people who are supposed to be our allies turn out to be in fact our familiar enemy from within.

Meanwhile, the barbarians and horrors of religious and political oppression grows stronger and more influential day by day.

As RDFan states: atheism is a disbelief in god/gods. That's not even a position but lack of position. It's not a philosophy or dogma or method or doctrine. How can we possible organize ourselves as 'atheists' and hope to form any common agenda or goals? It is simply not possible.

But there is a far greater problem than that above--our lack of identity. Some of said that atheism is like herding cats. Rather timid and confused cats whenever gathered together in a group. It is rather like animal farm, liberating ourselves from one master called 'God' we find that our fellow human animals begin behaving like lords or gods themselves and exactly the same inequalities and irrationalities form to replace the religious ones.

My solution is to simply start again. We use critical thinking both rationally and psychologically, rather than ignore the unconscious forces that soon overwhelm us whenever we begin to gather into groups.

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 14:42:00 UTC | #848209

healthphysicist's Avatar Comment 20 by healthphysicist

@19 AtheistEgbert

Well said...my point is believing or not believing in gods is completely arbitrary. In that way, atheism and theism are equally supported.

Those atheists who use science to support their atheism, don't understand the a priori assumptions they've made.

They start out assuming the Universe is NOT evidence of god, then use science (which is a priori restricted from appealing to a diety) to convince themselves that they have examined the evidence and there is no god.

That is concluding your initial assumptions.

Very much like most theists.

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 14:56:49 UTC | #848211

Bipedal Primate's Avatar Comment 21 by Bipedal Primate

To understand that oneself does not need religion but still claim that others might need it; isn't that just condescension towards those 'others'?

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 15:14:59 UTC | #848217

Caudimordax's Avatar Comment 22 by Caudimordax

You don't find evidence of the Ford company if you examine the workings of a Ford

It's called a VIN (vehicle identification number). Depending on the model, it might be:

  • On the door frame/door post of the front doors (usually driver's but sometimes passenger's)
  • On the dash near the windshield
  • On the engine itself (machined pad on front of engine)
  • On the car's firewall
  • In the left-hand inner wheel arch
  • On the steering wheel/steering column
  • On the radiator support bracket
  • Just trying to help.

    Sun, 10 Jul 2011 15:25:14 UTC | #848221

    gr8hands's Avatar Comment 23 by gr8hands

    @healthphysicist 17 wrote:

    You don't find evidence of the Ford company if you examine the workings of a Ford car
    Actually, you'll see the Ford emblem all over the vehicle, inside and out. You'll see the word "Ford" all over the vehicle. You'll see information about where it was manufactured, tested, etc. All on the vehicle itself. It is unique. It is different from all other manufacturers and companies.

    You won't see the Mercedes Benz emblem or word anywhere on the vehicle. You won't see the Honda emblem or word anywhere on the vehicle. You won't see Schwinn, or Audi, or McDonalds or other emblems from companies (except the few they may have a special agreement as a subcontractor).

    If you can show us where "god" put an emblem and word all over the universe, which is unique and different from any other possible creators of the universe, then you have a point.

    Otherwise . . .

    Sun, 10 Jul 2011 15:25:57 UTC | #848222

    Sara12's Avatar Comment 24 by Sara12

    "They start out assuming the Universe is NOT evidence of god, then use science (which is a priori restricted from appealing to a diety) to convince themselves that they have examined the evidence and there is no god."

    Probably there are many scientists who do, as an everyday matter, assume that the universe is not evidence for a deity. But in the course of doing science this is not so. The reason you can't appeal to a deity when doing science is because there is no independent means for defining the deity in question and what that deity can and cannot do. That means you can't formulate a falsifiable hypothesis. If you can't do that, you can't do science. Doing science is predicated on the idea that you know what it would look like for an idea to be false so that you can know what it would look like to be true. The typical constructs of deities make everything unfalsifiable and therefore not useful in determining what is likely to be true and what is likely not to be true.

    Since "god(s) exists" is a positive assertion, it will always be on those who make it to make their case, not the other way around. In a criminal case, "innocent" is always the default unless and until the prosecution can make its case.

    I might also remind of the sliding scale Professor Dawkins mentions in The God Delusion of 1-7, one being an absolute belief that a deity exists and 7 being the absolute belief that one does not. He calls himself a six on that scale, which is an acknowledgment that hypothetically one could exist, but since it is so extraordinary and since as it currently stands there is no independent falsifiable positive evidence that one does, the only reasonable conclusion is that one does not. If someone were to come forth with such evidence then people who claim to be rational would have to seriously consider it. But that goes back to the concept of a deity having to be defined first. But when deities take the form of everything from a man in the clouds and burning bushes to "god is love" or "god is nature" then there is no definition from which one can derive a workable hypothesis.

    Sun, 10 Jul 2011 15:28:09 UTC | #848223

    Caudimordax's Avatar Comment 25 by Caudimordax

    Similarly, you can examine the Universe and explain how it works. But whether or not you believe it was built by a god or not, is just a belief you bring to the table.

    Ah - I think I see the problem. It's right there in the word "built." You are making the a priori assumption that if something exists, something else must have built it. But the evidence all points to life (not cars) having built itself (evolved). Anything "built" by an omnipotent/omniscient/benevolent being would surely not have the inefficient, haphazard and sometimes utterly bizarre structures which we see in living things.

    Sun, 10 Jul 2011 15:37:25 UTC | #848226

    healthphysicist's Avatar Comment 26 by healthphysicist

    @24 Sara12

    You'er repeating more dogma.

    We don't appeal to a diety in science, because science takes the Universe as is and explains it using the Universe itself. It's like explaining how a car works, without discussing the manufacturer at all. We can all easily go to school and learn how a car works, without knowing anything about how many vice-presidents Ford has or what they look like.

    Nonetheless...Ford has vice presidents.

    So science (or the study of automobiles) is intentionally, a priori blind to a diety, and proceeds with complete ignorance of acknowledgement of one. And makes great progress.

    That doesn't mean a diety doesn't exist, just that you've made progress denying the diety exists.

    Whether you believe the diety exists or not, is unknown.

    Sun, 10 Jul 2011 15:41:37 UTC | #848227

    healthphysicist's Avatar Comment 27 by healthphysicist

    @23 gr8hands

    You have a priori knowledge of what the Ford emblem represents.

    You don't have a priori knowledge whether or not gravity, atoms, etc. represent God or not.

    Sun, 10 Jul 2011 15:43:24 UTC | #848228

    healthphysicist's Avatar Comment 28 by healthphysicist

    @25 Caudimordax

    No...I don't make the assumption that something MUST have built the Universe. That is what theists do. Atheists make the assumption that NOTHING built the Universe.

    I say...no one knows, the choice is arbitrary.

    Just because life evolves does not imply the Universe does or does not have a diety.

    You may have preconcieved notions of what dieties do or what evidence for or against a diety consists of.

    How do you come by this "knowledge"?

    Sun, 10 Jul 2011 15:53:09 UTC | #848231

    Sara12's Avatar Comment 29 by Sara12

    Comment 27 by healthphysicist :

    @23 gr8hands

    You have a priori knowledge of what the Ford emblem represents.

    You don't have a priori knowledge whether or not gravity, atoms, etc. represent God or not.

    That's why the god hypothesis is unfalsifiable.

    There is nothing intellectually inconsistent with acknowledging that something like a deity, whose existence is currently logically unknowable, could exist, and wanting sufficient, falsifiable evidence of such before accepting that one, in fact, does exist. I hold the same standard for things like string theory or multiple universes. They are intriguing ideas that at least have mathematical models to back them up (which the god hypothesis does not), but without the experimental evidence, you can't get very far. And at least the proponents of things like string theory are trying to work out how to gain that kind of (falsifiable) experimental evidence while the proponents of the god hypothesis are doing no such thing.

    This is the antithesis of dogma. If sufficient evidence requires that I change what I think is true, then I change. Dogma says don't change, no matter what.

    Sun, 10 Jul 2011 15:56:45 UTC | #848232

    Nick LaRue's Avatar Comment 30 by Nick LaRue

    Comment 20 by healthphysicist :

    @19 AtheistEgbert

    Well said...my point is believing or not believing in gods is completely arbitrary. In that way, atheism and theism are equally supported.

    Those atheists who use science to support their atheism, don't understand the a priori assumptions they've made.

    They start out assuming the Universe is NOT evidence of god, then use science (which is a priori restricted from appealing to a diety) to convince themselves that they have examined the evidence and there is no god.

    That is concluding your initial assumptions.

    Very much like most theists.

    I'm sure there's a name for the argument your presenting but I can't be bothered to find it.

    Since you haven't really stated, I'm assuming you to be a theist or someone who has some belief in some form of god? Maybe deist?

    In any case the points you are making have been made by many before and have been dealt with thoroughly, not only here but in many atheist blogs and books.

    Most of us who are atheists have come from some form of religion or other, We've been raised either culturally or fundamentally so our decisions to be an atheist is hardly arbitrary. When faced with the facts the idea of a god appears highly unlikely. Most atheist are 6.9 on Dawkins scale, we leave a little bit open for the possibility, however remote, of there being a god but live our lives (like some religious people do) as if there isn't one.

    Atheists use science to support their ideas simply because it's usually learning about science that makes one start to question the idea of a god. The more you know the less likely you are to believe. This doesn't mean that all atheists use science as a means of becoming an atheist, some just use their holy books.

    Most sophisticated theists use a form or deism as a means to bring science and religion in line with each other. Truth is most people who believe are not deists. They believe in their religion with some level of conviction and assume it is right. This is the difference between the religious and atheists. That's not to say that all atheists are like this but most are open to having their ideas questioned.

    To sum up my thoughts, where we come from is a rather simple philosophy. Prove us wrong. We have the whole of science backing us up, what does your god have?

    Sun, 10 Jul 2011 16:04:06 UTC | #848234