Are atheists born or made?

Creationism, Evolution, and other science issues

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wiploc
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Re: Are atheists born or made?

Post #11

Post by wiploc »

harvey1 wrote: I think there's a reasonable case to be made that some people have a physical predisposition toward atheism. Having talked to atheists for many years I notice a preference to these points as being reasonable beliefs:

1) Something can come from absolutely nothing.
It is theists who believe in creation ex nihilo.


2) There could exist a cause for every effect going back in time without any beginning.
It is theists who promote belief in an eternal god.


3) Fine-tuning presupposes a design objective that when nature is properly understood does not exist so there is no coincidence problem with the physical constants.
Unlike the others, this one seems fair to me. We don't look at the Mississippi river, and say, "What are the odds against that river accidentally being exactly there. The odds are extraordinary, so we must conclude that somebody wanted the river to be exactly there.


4) Consciousness is merely electrochemical processes in the brain that results (or is identical with) consciousness that is itself causally efficacious as an emergent system of the brain.
I doubt that this is a fair articulation of your point.

But, in any case, if an atheist did say that human consciousness is just electrochemical processes, that might sound as strange to you as it would sound to us if a theist said that Jehovah's consciousness is just magic.

5) Etc.
?


Now each of these beliefs strike me as ridiculous once we get to the nitty gritty as to what they actually mean. But, surprising to me, atheists continue to defend these beliefs, and not only defend they often expect others to think it is irrational to deny them.
The infinite regress seems to me no more ridiculous than an uncaused beginning. We don't like either of them. We find them indigestible.

A theist might arbitrarily pick one as true. Either, "A is true because B is ridiculous," or, "B is true because A is ridiculous."

An atheist might respond, "Well, one of them may be true, but I don't know which one."


So, given that these are often intelligent folks making these claims, this leads me to ponder whether there is a physical predisposition to see the world atheistically. It seems that there is reason to believe this is the case.
I might quibble with your word "physical," but I think people do have predispositions.

But predispositions aren't destiny. By behaving reprehensibly while claiming to be the party of religion, the Republicans may be overcoming the predispositions of millions of people who would otherwise be theists.

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Re: Are atheists born or made?

Post #12

Post by harvey1 »

[Replying to post 10 by Divine Insight]
Also, you keep talking about believing in what you WANT to believe in rather than believing in where the evidence actually points.

It's crystal clear that this is the basis of how you draw conclusions. You just believe what you would like to believe rather than what actually makes sense. And when others don't see merit in your conclusions you accuse them of not WANTING the same conclusions.
DI, surely you must realize that it would take a lot of time to thoroughly discuss these topics and if there's heavy psychological resistance it would be a hundred times longer before one of us gave up in exhaustion, right? I understand that you would want to know, and I don't doubt that, but you don't want to believe so wanting to know doesn't really help. Assume God exists for a second, how much effort has God taken to convince you of his existence? Minimal at best right? So, even if you were to believe in God we could both agree that you believing in him is not high on his priority list.

Of course we should believe where the evidence leads even if that's not what we want, etc., but we also have to think practically. If someone is bent on heavy psychological resistance of a belief, then they're not wanting to believe that becomes a major obstacle in them accepting where the evidence leads. So, for example, someone like Steven Weinberg or Lenny Susskind are both brilliant men, and they're both atheists. They both think that the evidence for fine-tuning calls out for an explanation and are pretty emphatic about it. Therefore, there's very little psychological resistance coming from them if we were to sit down and try to discuss what would be the best explanation for fine-tuning. We might vehemently disagree if the evidence is evidence for a god, but we would at least agree that there's a need for an explanation. So, we're at least in the position to have such a discussion that perhaps wouldn't take all that long.

This is not the case if someone is going to resist even what reasonable people like Weinberg and Susskind agree about. So, I hope that helps to explain myself a little better. I'm sure we can have some good discussions, but we ought to first consider which discussions would be low in cavils.
Last edited by harvey1 on Sat Sep 21, 2019 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
People say of the last day, that God shall give judgment. This is true. But it is not true as people imagine. Every man pronounces his own sentence; as he shows himself here in his essence, so will he remain everlastingly -- Meister Eckhart

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Re: Are atheists born or made?

Post #13

Post by harvey1 »

[Replying to post 11 by wiploc]

Good post. Not strong on cavils. Maybe a narrow topic discussion would bear some fruit at some point. I've been a way from this site for almost 14 years so just easing my way back in at the moment trying to become familiar with the posters. I post from my phone so I prefer a few lines of response.
People say of the last day, that God shall give judgment. This is true. But it is not true as people imagine. Every man pronounces his own sentence; as he shows himself here in his essence, so will he remain everlastingly -- Meister Eckhart

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Re: Are atheists born or made?

Post #14

Post by wiploc »

harvey1 wrote: [Replying to post 11 by wiploc]

Good post. Not strong on cavils. Maybe a narrow topic discussion would bear some fruit at some point. I've been a way from this site for almost 14 years so just easing my way back in at the moment trying to become familiar with the posters. I post from my phone so I prefer a few lines of response.
I hadda look up "cavils." Good word, thanks.

Welcome back.

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ttruscott
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Post #15

Post by ttruscott »

Are atheists born or made?

According to Pre-Conception Existence theology, atheists are self made by their free will decisions to put their faith (an unproven hope) in YHWH being a liar and a false god thus sinning the unforgivable sin and cutting themselves off from HIM eternally.

When they are sown into the world as men, Matt 13:36-39, they bring their sinful nature with them and live as reprobate tares for the edification and sanctification of the sinful elect.
PCE Theology as I see it...

We had an existence with a free will in Sheol before the creation of the physical universe. Here we chose to be able to become holy or to be eternally evil in YHWH's sight. Then the physical universe was created and all sinners were sent to earth.

This theology debunks the need to base Christianity upon the blasphemy of creating us in Adam's sin.

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Post #16

Post by Tcg »

ttruscott wrote: Are atheists born or made?

According to Pre-Conception Existence theology, atheists are self made by their free will decisions to put their faith (an unproven hope) in YHWH being a liar and a false god thus sinning the unforgivable sin and cutting themselves off from HIM eternally.

This is odd. I am an atheist and I haven't placed any faith in YHWH being a liar and a false god. I simply have found no reason to believe that YHWH exists.

Additionally, there is no reason to believe I, or any other human, will last an eternity. As far as I can tell, there is no HIM to cut myself off from nor an eternity for me to do so.

I realize of course that it is difficult to make valid arguments based on real atheists and therefore Straw Man myths will be created. This endeavor of course doesn't tell us anything about atheists. It does, however, tell us a great deal about those who willfully misunderstand and misrepresent them.


Tcg
To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

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I must assume that knowing is better than not knowing, venturing than not venturing; and that magic and illusion, however rich, however alluring, ultimately weaken the human spirit.

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Post #17

Post by harvey1 »

ttruscott wrote: Are atheists born or made?

According to Pre-Conception Existence theology, atheists are self made by their free will decisions to put their faith (an unproven hope) in YHWH being a liar and a false god thus sinning the unforgivable sin and cutting themselves off from HIM eternally.

When they are sown into the world as men, Matt 13:36-39, they bring their sinful nature with them and live as reprobate tares for the edification and sanctification of the sinful elect.
I don't think for a moment that is true. I'm quite sure God loves atheists as much as anyone else.
People say of the last day, that God shall give judgment. This is true. But it is not true as people imagine. Every man pronounces his own sentence; as he shows himself here in his essence, so will he remain everlastingly -- Meister Eckhart

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Re: Are atheists born or made?

Post #18

Post by harvey1 »

[Replying to post 14 by wiploc]

Thanks Wiploc. I feel like I travelled into the future to find the world has changed so much (or slept 40 years). Only Otseng is familiar to me.
People say of the last day, that God shall give judgment. This is true. But it is not true as people imagine. Every man pronounces his own sentence; as he shows himself here in his essence, so will he remain everlastingly -- Meister Eckhart

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Re: Are atheists born or made?

Post #19

Post by Willum »

Sorry wiploc, I didn't see your post... not that he answered it, so it bears repeating.

[Replying to post 1 by harvey1]
1) Something can come from absolutely nothing.
That is the theistic belief, not an atheistic one. Atheists simply do ot believe in gods.
2) There could exist a cause for every effect going back in time without any beginning.
That is the theistic belief, not an atheistic one. Atheists simply do ot believe in gods.
3) Fine-tuning presupposes a design objective that when nature is properly understood does not exist so there is no coincidence problem with the physical constants.
That is the theistic belief, not an atheistic one. Atheists simply do ot believe in gods. In addition, fine tuning is observed in every bubble, every puddle of water, every cloud shaped like a dragon.
4) Consciousness is merely electrochemical processes in the brain that results (or is identical with) consciousness that is itself causally efficacious as an emergent system of the brain.
Yup, good point, except evolved brain.

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Re: Are atheists born or made?

Post #20

Post by bluegreenearth »

wiploc wrote:
harvey1 wrote:
3) Fine-tuning presupposes a design objective that when nature is properly understood does not exist so there is no coincidence problem with the physical constants.
Unlike the others, this one seems fair to me. We don't look at the Mississippi river, and say, "What are the odds against that river accidentally being exactly there. The odds are extraordinary, so we must conclude that somebody wanted the river to be exactly there.
Having a Masters degree in geomorphology, I can assure you that the location of the Mississippi River where we observe it today is due in part to a Congressional decision. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is authorized by Congress to build and maintain control structures such as levees and spillways to keep the Mississippi River in its place. Otherwise, the Mississippi River would have long since changed its course as it once did continuously throughout its geological history prior to the actions of the USACE.

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