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Will the real Atheists please stand up

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posted on Jan, 1 2011 @ 10:44 PM
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reply to post by Joecroft
 


I gave you a star.

Thank you kindly, Joe.


Both observation, and reason are necessary to arrive at true knowledge. In the field of the cosmology and cosmogony however, while empiricism is of primary importance, it can only take us so far.

And what eight bits might call 'autoepistemic reasoning' will get us absolutely nowhere.


Knowledge is what helps us to form our beliefs, so to say that the two are somehow separate, doesn’t make any sense.

Why not? What we know helps us form our beliefs about what we don't know. Knowledge and belief are not only separate, they are mutually exclusive.


In your opinion, do you think the “I don't know”, combined with the “I don’t Believe” position, should be considered primarily as an Atheistic one?

Third time of asking. The answer remains the same!




posted on Jan, 2 2011 @ 02:54 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 





Originally posted by Joecroft
Knowledge is what helps us to form our beliefs, so to say that the two are somehow separate, doesn’t make any sense.



Originally posted by Astyanax
Why not?


Knowledge and belief are both different depending on the context but one helps to form the other.

Knowledge is not separate however, when it is being used to form a position that we hold (Atheist, Agnostic or Theist), and the knowledge being computed in our minds, is used to help form a position around one subject matter. IMO This is the reason why, in the context of forming a position, that knowledge and belief are not separate.



Originally posted by Astyanax
What we know helps us form our beliefs about what we don't know.


Yes, exactly, now your getting it, which is the reason why the Agnostic-Atheist position, needs to be seen as encompassing 100% of the pie, of in persons overall knowledge.

What we know helps us to form our beliefs is true but also what we don’t know, helps us to form beliefs or non beliefs as well. Although, having said that, if you can cast your mind back to the conversation on Maddnessinmysouls thread, most Atheists were insisting that a non-belief, was not actually a belief in itself, which kind of leaves me with a big dilemma, especially when an Agnostic-Atheist states, that their Agnosticism is based on knowledge, and their other position is related to belief!

Just because one position is apparently classified as a belief (non-belief) and the other (Agnosticism) is not, is besides the point, because they are both positions, which are using the same overall knowledge, on the same subject, to help form their overall position.

One point to bear in mind, is that someone who is purely Agnostic, is 100% Agnostic and 0% belief or disbelief. This is of course based on their overall knowledge or/and lack of, around one subject area.

What you have actually described above, can’t be 100% “I don’t know” because some of their knowledge (on the same subject), is also helping to form that persons belief, so IMO a person can’t be 100% “I don’t know” and hold a belief at the same time, without having some percentage reducing influence, on their Agnostic position.

For example, someone who has some evidence of Aliens existing but is not completely sure, might say “I don’t know” but “I do believe”, my point is that their “I don’t know” position, is not 100% purely Agnostic, because they actually do have some evidence that it’s possible. So it’s seems to make more sense to give their “I don’t know” position a reduced percentage. In other words they don’t know for sure, but they are certainly not 100% Agnostically “I don’t know”.



Originally posted by Joecroft
In your opinion, do you think the “I don't know”, combined with the “I don’t Believe” position, should be considered primarily as an Atheistic one?



Originally posted by Astyanax
Third time of asking. The answer remains the same!


But you haven’t given an answer to it, and I was asking for your opinion, not an absolute perfect response.

Here’s what you posted, in reply to that similar question above…



Originally posted by Astyanax
…The fact is, nobody knows whether or not God exists; it's one hundred percent 'I don't know' for everyone, believers, atheists and agnostics alike. And it's one hundred percent 'I believe', 'I don't believe' and 'I'm not sure what I believe' for all of them, too.


All you have said, was that everyone is in the “I don’t know” position and everyone is in the “I believe” or '”I don’t believe” position.

But you didn’t answer the question, which was, do you think the Agnostic-Atheist position, should be considered as an Atheistic one?


- JC



posted on Jan, 2 2011 @ 04:11 AM
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Astyanax

Happy New Year!


The question of whether a largest prime pair exists (or some basketball team wins a national championship in a distant foreign country) makes not a whit of difference to me.

Well, they were presented as examples. Obviously, you are a better judge than I am of what makes a difference to you personally.

As it happens, local basketball interests me, and also presents possibilities which I am unable to resolve here and now. There must be something like that for you, too. And all I was saying is that you do manage to carry on in the face of that uncertainty. So, you may assume my experiences surrounding a possible, but not personally believed in, God are probably parallel to your experiences with whatever interesting uncertainty engages you.


If some version of the Judaeo-Christian God (as described by the various scriptural and ecclestiacal authorities) exists, you and I may be in very deep trouble.

Agreed that the worst case is very bad indeed. But one version of the Judaeo-Christian God is Swedenborg's. After we die, we get to make a fully informed choice. Lol, a square deal. Imagine that.

In the end, so what that I don't know the stakes? That there is no upper bound on how important the right answer might be offers no clue at all about what the right answer is.

I am a big believer in deliberating about what is true separately from deliberating about what I'd like to be true. That means I put aside the "potentially high stakes" aspect, and focus on what's what. At least, I think that's what I should do, and so I try to do that. With this question, anyway, I pretty much succeed in keeping the two aspects separate.


You may well say (as I do) that the existence of such a God is a laughable impossibility, but that isn't going to satisfy Joecroft.

No, you and I stand differently relative to Joe. I acknowledge as a serious possibility (and so neither an impossibility nor a merely laughable possibility) that Joe is substantially correct.



posted on Jan, 2 2011 @ 05:25 PM
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''Knowledge'' is just a word to describe a strongly held belief. I think any distinction between ''knowledge'' and ''belief'' is rather moot.

The only distinction that can be made between the two is an arbitrary line that we define ourselves, and there can be no impartial determination to separate our personal ''knowledge'' and ''belief'', thus making any difference between the two, pointless and irrelevant to anybody else other than the person who makes the difference between the two in their mind.



posted on Jan, 3 2011 @ 09:21 PM
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reply to post by Sherlock Holmes
 


''Knowledge'' is just a word to describe a strongly held belief. I think any distinction between ''knowledge'' and ''belief'' is rather moot. The only distinction that can be made between the two is an arbitrary line that we define ourselves, and there can be no impartial determination to separate our personal ''knowledge'' and ''belief'', thus making any difference between the two, pointless and irrelevant to anybody else other than the person who makes the difference between the two in their mind.

This is, of course, true in philosophical theory.

In practice, things are a little different. When sufficient inductive support exists for a strongly held belief, then it can surely be accepted as true. Thus our 'knowledge' that the sun will rise tomorrow can be held as true, even though a day will come for all of us (and, eventually, for the Earth) when the sun does not rise.

Sometimes mere consensus is enough (or nearly enough) for a strong belief to be accepted as true. Such is the case, for example, with belief in Christ among the people of mediaeval Europe, or belief in Muhammed's prophecies among Muslims. Of course, such beliefs can't all be true.

I think the difference is simply that holders in the first kind of belief rarely feel called upon to defend their beliefs, whereas believers of the second kind find their faith (for that is what it is) continually tested.

Either way, there is a body of knowledge – or, if you prefer, strong belief – that is generally and consensually accepted as true. The sun will rise tomorrow, gravity makes things fall towards the centre of the Earth, the evidence of our own senses can usually be trusted – such things we are bound to accept as true, provisionally at least, because arguing that they are not is so much more difficult, and conjectural, than simply accepting them. The evidence is against us.

This brings us back to the great epistemological divide I discussed briefly with Joecroft earlier. It seems to me that if we discount revealed authority, the truth of any belief can be judged true in only two ways: (1) because it is logically immaculate and consistent with what is already known (or strongly held) to be true, and (2) because it is always in agreement with the evidence of our senses.

The first of these, which Democritus judged 'legitimate', is actually fraught with difficulty. First, it depends on the truth of certain a priori assumptions; Descartes thought he had cracked that problem by reducing the number of assumptions to one – 'I exist' – but if you notice, even he had to base this on an empirical predicate – 'I think' – and though this eliminates the possibility that my senses may be playing tricks on me, the subject may not be as directly linked to the predicate as Descartes thought; is it really 'I' that think? If so, as Nietzsche cruelly asked, why is it that thoughts mostly appear in the mind involuntarily, as though arriving there from somewhere else?

Even if we assume that our a priori assumptions are correct (and we must assume it, for how can we ever prove it?), rationalist understanding then falls into the bear-pit of dispute – who says the logic is immaculate? We can never be sure, because there may always be one more as-yet-unadduced argument that refutes it.

And even my rationalist 'knowledge' based on impeccable a priori assumptions and immaculate logic may crumble if it is shown to be in disagreement with actual experience. Such has been the case with many sacred cows of the intelligentsia: examples include phlogiston, the Philosopher's Stone and the perfectibility of humankind.

Against this, knowledge – or, if you prefer, strong belief – derived from the evidence of the senses is judged by simpler criteria. A propostion is held to be true as long as the evidence of our senses, augmented if necessary with suitable instruments, is in agreement with it. As soon as it is established that they do not agree, the proposition is invalidated – the usual word, coined I believe by Karl Popper, is falsified. In some cases, the proposition may yet be thought true within a certain ambit of reference. Such is the case with Newton's laws of motion.

So you are right, as I admitted earlier: in the end, there is only belief, more or less strongly held. Notice that the foregoing is in full agreement with what I have been saying to Joecroft so far.

The shakiness of perceived truth is really no problem for an empiricist; as long as his hypothesis agrees with experience he considers himself entitled to hold it as true, but will cheerfully abandon it whenever it is falsified and seek another hypothesis that explains the evidence better. A rationalist – one who believes that true knowledge comes from mentation, and whose belief in, say, the existence of God or the perfectibility of Man is derived from a priori assumptions that cannot be proved – is not so lucky. When fact and theory disagree, he must either abandon his cherished belief or say, with Hegel, 'so much the worse for the facts!' and retreat into irrationalism or solipsism. For him, there is no possibility of a happy ending.



edit on 3/1/11 by Astyanax because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 4 2011 @ 12:23 AM
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Originally posted by Sherlock Holmes
''Knowledge'' is just a word to describe a strongly held belief. I think any distinction between ''knowledge'' and ''belief'' is rather moot.


Knowledge. What is KNOWN.

Where exactly does belief come in?



posted on Jan, 4 2011 @ 05:12 PM
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Originally posted by Annee
Knowledge. What is KNOWN.


''Known'' according to who ?

''Knowledge'' can only be obtained on a personal level, and there is no authority or consensus that can be used to make one person's ''knowledge'' or ''belief'' any more valid than the other.

You may think that you ''know'' the world is round, yet, I may ''know'' that the world is flat ( hypothetically speaking
).

Please explain to me how someone's ''knowledge'' that the world is flat or spherical is different from someone's ''belief'' that the world is flat or spherical ?


Originally posted by Annee
Where exactly does belief come in?


I would have thought that that was obvious.

I wasn't born ''knowing'' that the world is spherical; I believe it is, based upon the factors that I personally believe constitutes enough evidence for me to draw a conclusion that the world is round.


There is no difference between ''knowledge'' and ''belief''.


Earlier on in this thread, I asked another poster what term would be used to describe someone that ''knows'' that God exists; they claimed that they would be called a ''gnostic theist''. This makes no sense whatsoever, and is tautological.

If people want to differentiate between ''knowledge'' and ''belief'', then that is fine, but they shouldn't come out with illogical and contradictory statements when their view doesn't stand up to scrutiny.


As you are clearly someone who believes that ''knowledge'' and ''belief'' are two separate concepts, then I'll pose the same question to you, and hopefully get a more coherent answer: What do you call someone who ''knows'' that God exists, or someone who ''knows'' that God doesn't exist ?



posted on Jan, 4 2011 @ 05:20 PM
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reply to post by Sherlock Holmes
 


I believe many things.

I know what has been proven to be fact or is known through factual experience.



posted on Jan, 4 2011 @ 05:35 PM
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Originally posted by Annee
I believe many things.

I know what has been proven to be fact or is known through factual experience.


Nothing has been proven to be fact.

It is up to each person's personal belief of what constitutes a ''fact'' to them.


I am still waiting to hear the difference between ''knowledge'' and ''belief'', but as I know ( ''know''. Get it ? LOL ) that any difference is intangible, subjective and irrelevant, then I think I'll have to be waiting a very long time for the answer !



posted on Jan, 4 2011 @ 05:54 PM
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Originally posted by Sherlock Holmes

Originally posted by Annee
I believe many things.

I know what has been proven to be fact or is known through factual experience.


Nothing has been proven to be fact.

It is up to each person's personal belief of what constitutes a ''fact'' to them.



If you want to go beyond the physical world we live in - - that would fall under belief.

Right now I'm going to stand on the physical ground I live on. Science can explain what the composite of that ground is. That would be facts in this physical world.



posted on Jan, 4 2011 @ 09:40 PM
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reply to post by Annee
 

Although somewhat hesitant to engage with you again after the very distressing experience of our last conversation, may I just point out that you may understand what Sherlock is getting at a good deal better if you would read my last post, which is a reply to him.



posted on Jan, 4 2011 @ 10:34 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by Annee
 

Although somewhat hesitant to engage with you again after the very distressing experience of our last conversation, may I just point out that you may understand what Sherlock is getting at a good deal better if you would read my last post, which is a reply to him.


The sun rising is factual science. If it does not rise - - that would also be factual science. It has nothing to do with me believing the sun will rise in the morning.

Do I believe when my granddaughter leaves for school in the morning she will get there?

Do I know she will get there? NO I don't. And one day - even though I believed she would get there - - just like she always did - - she didn't - - because she ditched.



posted on Jan, 5 2011 @ 12:50 AM
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reply to post by Annee
 


The sun rising is factual science.

Surely you know that it is not? The sun does not rise, it is the horizon that descends.

But whichever way to look at it, you have only your eyes to tell you that it happens, and your ears to confirm it by the report of others. What if your eyes and ears play you false? What if both eye and ear are mere illusions, hallucinations wrought by your brain? What if the real world is nothing like what it appears to the human senses? That is 'factual science', too.

There are questions that may legitimately asked concerning even the most uncontroversial examples of fact. Most of what we think of as 'knowledge' is far more dubious than a sunrise. The difference between Sherlock and me is that I am far more willing willing to accept empirical evidence, and knowledge derived from it by induction and deduction, as being true in some absolute sense. In other words, I am probably nearer your position than his. However, I recognize the existence of a doubt. No-one who has read a little philosophy can honestly deny it.

Yes, I know, a little learning is a dangerous thing.



posted on Jan, 5 2011 @ 01:09 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by Annee
 


The sun rising is factual science.

Surely you know that it is not? The sun does not rise, it is the horizon that descends.


Did I use the sunrise analogy?

Uh NO. That was you.

I was just responding.



posted on Jan, 5 2011 @ 04:25 AM
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reply to post by Annee
 


Did I use the sunrise analogy?

Uh NO. That was you. I was just responding

I did not say 'the sun rising is factual science.'

Anyway, that lets me out. Clearly you have not changed at all since our last encounter.


edit on 5/1/11 by Astyanax because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 5 2011 @ 12:09 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 





Originally posted by Astyanax
This brings us back to the great epistemological divide I discussed briefly with Joecroft earlier. It seems to me that if we discount revealed authority, the truth of any belief can be judged true in only two ways: (1) because it is logically immaculate and consistent with what is already known (or strongly held) to be true, and (2) because it is always in agreement with the evidence of our senses.


Regarding empiricism (knowledge derived from the senses) and rationalism, (knowledge derived from reason) scientists are aware through predominantly that of empiricism, that our universe has a large number of cosmological constants, which if slightly off by a fraction, would result in us not existing.

It is well known to science through empiricism, that had our universe expanded to fast, or to slow, by a tiny fraction, then conditions would not have been right for the creation/happening of the elements on the periodic table and life as we know it. This knowledge, has led some to believe, that there could be a creator/God, which although is a rationalist jump, it is at least based on empiricism.

One of the major potential criticisms of the Anthropic cosmology, is the idea of the multiverse. Many Multiverses may have expanded at the wrong rate and may have only gotten as far as the hydrogen and Helium stage, resulting in a rather lifeless and ultimately dead universe. The general concept is that with many thousands or millions of universes expanding, ours just happened to hit lucky by pure chance.

The problem with the multiverse is that it is not based on empiricism/knowledge, because we simply don’t know what lies beyond our own universe, or indeed, even if there are, any other universes. What this essentially means, is that we are using rationalism, to try to refute the empirical knowledge, as to why the universe appears to have so many coincidental factors, for the creation/happening of life, as we know it. Science will of course claim that God is not falsifiable but then again, neither is the idea of the multiverse falsifiable.


- JC

edit on 5-1-2011 by Joecroft because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 5 2011 @ 12:24 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by Annee
 


Did I use the sunrise analogy?

Uh NO. That was you. I was just responding

I did not say 'the sun rising is factual science.'

Anyway, that lets me out. Clearly you have not changed at all since our last encounter.





Sometimes all you can do is laugh.



posted on Jan, 5 2011 @ 12:26 PM
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reply to post by Sherlock Holmes
 





Originally posted by Sherlock Holmes
''Knowledge'' is just a word to describe a strongly held belief. I think any distinction between ''knowledge'' and ''belief'' is rather moot.


I kind of agree, beliefs are just strongly held opinions, derived from our own knowledge.



Originally posted by Sherlock Holmes
Nothing has been proven to be fact.

It is up to each person's personal belief of what constitutes a ''fact'' to them.


I’m not sure what you mean by “Nothing has been proven to be fact.”

The way I see it there are two different kinds of facts. Firstly the one’s which are subject to possible change in the future, which I personally don’t see as pure facts. And secondly, what I call “cast iron facts”, which are facts that are not going to be subject to change and remain constant. Of course, defining whether a fact falls into one of these two categories is complex task in itself.

There are of course personal facts for an individual person. For example someone witnesses a UFO landing, then their knowledge/fact that UFO’s exist and are real, is going to be different for that particular person involved.


- JC

edit on 5-1-2011 by Joecroft because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 5 2011 @ 12:37 PM
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Originally posted by Joecroft

There are of course personal facts for an individual person. For example someone witnesses a UFO landing, then their knowledge/fact that UFO’s exist and are real, is going to be different for that particular person involved.



I have seen a UFO. I know I saw it. During the day - clear blue sky - it was saucer shape and self illuminating in a sort of orange/yellow glow. Then rose straight up till it was not visible anymore.

I don't believe I saw it. I know I saw it. It is fact I saw something.

It is fact I saw a UFO - - there is no fact on what I saw. I can believe it is a flying saucer - - but I can not say it is a flying saucer.



posted on Jan, 5 2011 @ 01:10 PM
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reply to post by Annee
 





Originally posted by Annee
Knowledge. What is KNOWN.

Where exactly does belief come in?




Originally posted by Annee
I have seen a UFO. I know I saw it. During the day - clear blue sky - it was saucer shape and self illuminating in a sort of orange/yellow glow. Then rose straight up till it was not visible anymore.

I don't believe I saw it. I know I saw it. It is fact I saw something.

It is fact I saw a UFO - - there is no fact on what I saw. I can believe it is a flying saucer - - but I can not say it is a flying saucer.


(Wow, I think you’re the forth person on ATS I have come across, who has witnessed a UFO.)
This is closely tied in with your question above, about where belief comes in.
Now you know you saw something, and that it was unidentifiable, the fact that you witnessed something is a fact, no doubt about it.

You have, based on what you have seen, a small portion of knowledge on UFO’s, assuming of course you haven’t done extra research into this field.
If you had 100% knowledge on UFO’s you would know they exist and belief wouldn’t really come into it. But if you had 80% or 70% knowledge on UFO’s you might make a leap of faith and just say what the heck “I believe UFO’s exist”

I think some people’s thresholds and leaps of faith or different depending on the amount of knowledge they have on a given subject. Some people might for example make a similar leap described above, based only on 20% knowledge.


- JC



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