Atheism, Non-Theism Question

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Darias
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Atheism, Non-Theism Question

Post #1

Post by Darias »

I don't mean to beat a dead horse that's been beat to death before... but I have a few questions.

I've heard it said here that Atheism does not equal a belief that there is no god(s), rather it simply indicates a disbelief in any and all gods which are believed to exist by others.

I know that the distinction is stressed so that a Theist can't attribute unprovable belief to a Non-Theist. It is also stressed because a number of Non-theists don't want to be associated with the word "belief."

But literally speaking, if I say: "I do not believe in the existence of any god(s)"

Does it not logically follow that because "I do not believe in the existence of any god(s)" that "in my opinion(AKA I believe) there is no god(s)"

Does not the former ultimately lead to the latter?

I understand that one is phrased in a way that places the burden of proof on those who believe in gods, and the other is phrased in a way that makes it out to be a positive assertion; so I understand the debate-significance of the distinction.

However, it is hard for me to separate the two - unless the person who states the former is more of an Agnostic Non-Theist...

If you are an Atheist, how can you honestly say one without at least feeling the other?

Isn't saying "To be an Atheist is to not believe in any gods, Atheism does not assert that gods do not exist."

just like saying "The car is around me, but I am not in the car"?


You can't really state one position without the other being true as well.

If I didn't believe that gods existed, I would certainly say gods don't exist, even if I couldn't prove it.

It makes no sense to say "I don't believe in gods, but that doesn't mean I deny their existence."

Does it?

Help me out here seriously. :confused2:

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Re: Atheism, Non-Theism Question

Post #2

Post by Question Everything »

The best way to put it is that I have no reason to believe that a god exists. I would change my mind very quickly if I came across strong enough evidence for one.
"Oh, you can''t get through seminary and come out believing in God!"

current pastor who is a closet atheist
quoted by Daniel Dennett.

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Re: Atheism, Non-Theism Question

Post #3

Post by Darias »

Question Everything wrote:The best way to put it is that I have no reason to believe that a god exists. I would change my mind very quickly if I came across strong enough evidence for one.
But you and I both know that no such evidence exists. Which brings me back to my original question.

You have no reason to believe that gods exist, because there is no evidence for the existence of gods, ergo there are no gods -- unless evidence magically arises to prove the existence of gods -- in which case that will never happen.

Therefore, back to square one.

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Re: Atheism, Non-Theism Question

Post #4

Post by Darias »

Darias wrote:
Question Everything wrote:The best way to put it is that I have no reason to believe that a god exists. I would change my mind very quickly if I came across strong enough evidence for one.
But you and I both know that no such evidence exists. Which brings me back to my original question.

You have no reason to believe that gods exist, because there is no evidence for the existence of gods, ergo there are no gods -- unless evidence magically arises to prove the existence of gods -- in which case that will never happen.

Therefore, back to square one.

I'll rephrase my question.

1. You have no reason to believe that gods exist

1. Because there is no evidence for the existence of gods

2.
Ergo there are no gods



So, if 1 + 1 = 2, how is 2 not equal to 1 + 1? You can't simply have 1 and 1, without carrying it through to its logical end -- 2.

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Re: Atheism, Non-Theism Question

Post #5

Post by Goat »

Darias wrote:
Question Everything wrote:The best way to put it is that I have no reason to believe that a god exists. I would change my mind very quickly if I came across strong enough evidence for one.
But you and I both know that no such evidence exists. Which brings me back to my original question.

You have no reason to believe that gods exist, because there is no evidence for the existence of gods, ergo there are no gods -- unless evidence magically arises to prove the existence of gods -- in which case that will never happen.

Therefore, back to square one.
And since there isn't any evidence for any god/gods/goddesses/demons/devils/and angels, there is no reason to believe in any of them.

It does leave the door open for those people who are making the positive claim that <insert favorite god here> is real can provide evidence.
“What do you think science is? There is nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. So which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?�

Steven Novella

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Re: Atheism, Non-Theism Question

Post #6

Post by Darias »

Goat wrote:
Darias wrote:
Question Everything wrote:The best way to put it is that I have no reason to believe that a god exists. I would change my mind very quickly if I came across strong enough evidence for one.
But you and I both know that no such evidence exists. Which brings me back to my original question.

You have no reason to believe that gods exist, because there is no evidence for the existence of gods, ergo there are no gods -- unless evidence magically arises to prove the existence of gods -- in which case that will never happen.

Therefore, back to square one.
And since there isn't any evidence for any god/gods/goddesses/demons/devils/and angels, there is no reason to believe in any of them.

It does leave the door open for those people who are making the positive claim that <insert favorite god here> is real can provide evidence.

Let's examine this again.


a.) In your opinion, you don't believe in the existence of gods.

b.) Because there is no physical proof for the existence of gods.
_____________________
c.) Ergo, in light of the absence of proof, there are no gods.


1.) [Question Everything] seems to agree with both a. and b., but is hesitant to embrace natural conclusion c., in case b. turns out to be false -- which it isn't.

If somehow b. was shown to be false, c. would be rendered false, and a. would remain the opinion that it already is.


2.) [Goat] argues that natural conclusion c. is avoided in case b. can be shown false, thereby proving the existence of god(s). Ultimately, c. is avoided in case believers can conjure up physical proof; so it's all for their benefit.


3.) While this thread isn't about Theism, it is important to note that a number of theists do not claim that God exists based upon physical evidence. This is because it is understood that one cannot prove the existence of a metaphysical god with physical substance; one cannot test God's essence in a tube.

Therefore for some Theists, including myself, b. is irrelevant to the issue. Science, facts and data do not deal with the metaphysical. Therefore they can't show one way or the other as to whether or not the I AM is.

Therefore, for Theists like me, b., while an understandable reason for not believing in god(s), is not a valid reason for claiming that god(s) cannot exist.

But for the Non-Theist who only believes what can be proven with hard evidence, b. should always lead to c. As [Goat] said, "there is no reason" to believe in God without documented proof of said deity. Therefore, Non-Theists should not hesitate to embrace c., because all of us who have posted so far know full-well that there can never be any physical evidence for a god.

Furthermore, if such evidence existed, the "god" in question would not be God; it would be a higher being of some-sort, but nevertheless a physical one which arose from this universe or another. Whatever the case, evidence of a god, would falsify the divinity of the subject.

This is why Theists like myself see the whole issue of "evidence" pointless. We believe in a God that exists outside the universe, not subject to physical law, and therefore unprovable by physical means. This is why Theists often argue belief in God via faith and reasoning, not data.

The data, my friends, is silent. You can't expect it to give you an answer as to whether or not God is out there.

In the end, in regards to the issue of God's existence, opinion is all there is. "Evidence" is helpful for neither side.

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Post #7

Post by Darias »

The only way for an Atheist to avoid conclusion c. is if they acknowledge the possibility of god(s) existence apart from physical proof/evidence (current and future).

And if they did that, they would no longer be an Atheist, but an Agnostic Atheist.

I myself acknowledge the possibility that God may not exist; I suppose that makes me an Agnostic Theist.

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Re: Atheism, Non-Theism Question

Post #8

Post by Goat »

Darias wrote:
Goat wrote:
Darias wrote:
Question Everything wrote:The best way to put it is that I have no reason to believe that a god exists. I would change my mind very quickly if I came across strong enough evidence for one.
But you and I both know that no such evidence exists. Which brings me back to my original question.

You have no reason to believe that gods exist, because there is no evidence for the existence of gods, ergo there are no gods -- unless evidence magically arises to prove the existence of gods -- in which case that will never happen.

Therefore, back to square one.
And since there isn't any evidence for any god/gods/goddesses/demons/devils/and angels, there is no reason to believe in any of them.

It does leave the door open for those people who are making the positive claim that <insert favorite god here> is real can provide evidence.

Let's examine this again.


a.) In your opinion, you don't believe in the existence of gods.

b.) Because there is no physical proof for the existence of gods.
_____________________
c.) Ergo, in light of the absence of proof, there are no gods.


1.) [Question Everything] seems to agree with both a. and b., but is hesitant to embrace natural conclusion c., in case b. turns out to be false -- which it isn't.

If somehow b. was shown to be false, c. would be rendered false, and a. would remain the opinion that it already is.


2.) [Goat] argues that natural conclusion c. is avoided in case b. can be shown false, thereby proving the existence of god(s). Ultimately, c. is avoided in case believers can conjure up physical proof; so it's all for their benefit.


3.) While this thread isn't about Theism, it is important to note that a number of theists do not claim that God exists based upon physical evidence. This is because it is understood that one cannot prove the existence of a metaphysical god with physical substance; one cannot test God's essence in a tube.

Therefore for some Theists, including myself, b. is irrelevant to the issue. Science, facts and data do not deal with the metaphysical. Therefore they can't show one way or the other as to whether or not the I AM is.

Therefore, for Theists like me, b., while an understandable reason for not believing in god(s), is not a valid reason for claiming that god(s) cannot exist.

But for the Non-Theist who only believes what can be proven with hard evidence, b. should always lead to c. As [Goat] said, "there is no reason" to believe in God without documented proof of said deity. Therefore, Non-Theists should not hesitate to embrace c., because all of us who have posted so far know full-well that there can never be any physical evidence for a god.

Furthermore, if such evidence existed, the "god" in question would not be God; it would be a higher being of some-sort, but nevertheless a physical one which arose from this universe or another. Whatever the case, evidence of a god, would falsify the divinity of the subject.

This is why Theists like myself see the whole issue of "evidence" pointless. We believe in a God that exists outside the universe, not subject to physical law, and therefore unprovable by physical means. This is why Theists often argue belief in God via faith and reasoning, not data.

The data, my friends, is silent. You can't expect it to give you an answer as to whether or not God is out there.

In the end, in regards to the issue of God's existence, opinion is all there is. "Evidence" is helpful for neither side.
Your premise and conclusion is out of order.

A) There is objective evidence for any deity.
B) All ontological proofs rely on unproven assumptions, equivocations, and bad logic.

Therefore

There is insufficient evidence to believe in any deity.

You are assuming, incorrectly, that a disbelief in God comes before the examining of the evidence. This assumption of yours is known as a 'straw man'.

Any evidence that can pass the 'show me' test can cause the conclusion to be reevaluated.
“What do you think science is? There is nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. So which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?�

Steven Novella

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Re: Atheism, Non-Theism Question

Post #9

Post by Darias »

Goat wrote:Your premise and conclusion is out of order.

A) There is objective evidence for any deity.
B) All ontological proofs rely on unproven assumptions, equivocations, and bad logic.

Therefore

There is insufficient evidence to believe in any deity.
Is this your conclusion? Because I never said any of that. My post examined the issue of evidence and how irrelevant it is to Theists like myself.

Goat wrote:You are assuming, incorrectly, that a disbelief in God comes before the examining of the evidence. This assumption of yours is known as a 'straw man'.

Any evidence that can pass the 'show me' test can cause the conclusion to be reevaluated.
No, I argue that a disbelief in god(s) - opinion a. - rests upon a lack of assumed physical proof of god(s). And that this lack of proof (assuming there would be physical evidence of a metaphysical entity) leads to the conclusion c.

That is how I logically show that "non-belief in god(s)" ultimately leads to the belief that "god(s) don't exist."

The only way c. is avoided is if b. is taken out of the picture. And this is done when one acknowledges the possibility of god existing apart from physical proof. If this is acknowledged, a. does not lead to c. but only because the individual is now an Agnostic Atheist.

b. would also be rendered untrue if and only if somehow physical evidence of a metaphysical god(s) existed and was discovered, documented, tested, and proven. If this was done, then evidence for God would be shown.

However, I argue that is impossible because any physical evidence of God would eliminate the possibility of that being's divinity. It would just be an alien at that point, born in our universe or another.

The only other type of physical proof for God that could exist was if our universe was perfect (whatever that means), and it is not, therefore physical proof is non-existent.

Ergo, Atheists should either stick with a. --> b. --> c.

Or acknowledge the Theist argument that "physical proof" is pointless in determining Theism. And that physical proof does nothing to prove or disprove the existence of god(s).

If this is done, then one becomes an Agnostic Atheist. AKA retaining the disbelief in god(s), while admitting the possibility that god(s) could exist apart from any physical proof AND because it is impossible to ever know (based on proof) that god(s) do not exist.

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Re: Atheism, Non-Theism Question

Post #10

Post by Goat »

Darias wrote:
Goat wrote:Your premise and conclusion is out of order.

A) There is objective evidence for any deity.
B) All ontological proofs rely on unproven assumptions, equivocations, and bad logic.

Therefore

There is insufficient evidence to believe in any deity.
Is this your conclusion? Because I never said any of that. My post examined the issue of evidence and how irrelevant it is to Theists like myself.
That is not the point that it was attempting to make in your opening post. Your second post had the conclusion as a premise, which is inaccurate and a straw man.

Your opening post was an Atheism, non-theism question.. which immediately misrepresented the atheist, non-theism thought processes. I corrected that.

If you wanted to make a point that 'Evidence doesn't mean anything to me', and 'I'll believe what I want to", you are going the wrong way about it. The way you aproached the subject makes it look like you are trying to equate believing with no evidence is exactly the same as lacking a belief without any evidence.. and no, it isn't.

You do the same thing with very many things. I am sure you lack a belief in Djinn, Nagas, or genies. And, I am sure that the people that believe in those mythical beings don't care about evidence either.
Goat wrote:You are assuming, incorrectly, that a disbelief in God comes before the examining of the evidence. This assumption of yours is known as a 'straw man'.

Any evidence that can pass the 'show me' test can cause the conclusion to be reevaluated.
No, I argue that a disbelief in god(s) - opinion a. - rests upon a lack of assumed physical proof of god(s). And that this lack of proof (assuming there would be physical evidence of a metaphysical entity) leads to the conclusion c.

That is how I logically show that "non-belief in god(s)" ultimately leads to the belief that "god(s) don't exist."
Which, of course, is trying to tell people what they believe. It might ultimately lead to that belief, but you are attempting to tell others what their beliefs are, and the source of their beliefs. That is utter nonsense. That is similar to the declaration of some people about what 'Fundamentalist Christianity' is, one massive straw man. It would also be the same as someone arguing that believing in Christianity will cause people to use Rods to beat their kids as punishment.
The only way c. is avoided is if b. is taken out of the picture. And this is done when one acknowledges the possibility of god existing apart from physical proof. If this is acknowledged, a. does not lead to c. but only because the individual is now an Agnostic Atheist.

b. would also be rendered untrue if and only if somehow physical evidence of a metaphysical god(s) existed and was discovered, documented, tested, and proven. If this was done, then evidence for God would be shown.

However, I argue that is impossible because any physical evidence of God would eliminate the possibility of that being's divinity. It would just be an alien at that point, born in our universe or another.
Hey,to me, that shows evidence that 'divinity' is imaginary, and nothing but wishful thinking and word games.
The only other type of physical proof for God that could exist was if our universe was perfect (whatever that means), and it is not, therefore physical proof is non-existent.

Ergo, Atheists should either stick with a. --> b. --> c.


or acknowledge the Theist argument that "physical proof" is pointless in determining Theism. And that physical proof does nothing to prove or disprove the existence of god(s).

If this is done, then one becomes an Agnostic Atheist. AKA retaining the disbelief in god(s), while admitting the possibility that god(s) could exist apart from any physical proof AND because it is impossible to ever know (based on proof) that god(s) do not exist.
All I have to say is that it is turning out your argument is one massive equivocation, and trying to redefine what atheists think.
“What do you think science is? There is nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. So which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?�

Steven Novella

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