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Will the real Atheists please stand up

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posted on Jan, 5 2011 @ 01:29 PM
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Originally posted by Joecroft
reply to post by Annee
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”


It was around 1964. I did not have information of UFOs. I found out later that my description fits the description of others - - especially the "self illuminating" part.

I believe very strongly there are many civilizations - - probably some far more advanced then us - - probably even involved/monitoring Earth/human progression/development. Maybe even intervening in some areas.

But - I still would not say there is verified factual knowledge of this. Belief and Knowing - - are just not the same thing.




posted on Jan, 7 2011 @ 06:33 PM
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reply to post by Sherlock Holmes
 


Yes, as you pointed out my opinion is very subjective. I do apologize for being human.



That is the ''argument from ignorance'' logical fallacy. It is patently illogical to believe that something isn't true, just because you haven't personally seen any evidence to support the hypothesis.

Only today, it was reported that there was a new shark species discovered by researchers in India. If everybody believed in the idea that ''there's no evidence of nsert phenomenon or phenomena>, therefore I believe that this phenomenon and phenomena doesn't exist'', then they'd be continually proved wrong on a regular basis. That shark would have gone from ''non-existence'' to ''existence''.


I will not argue your logic here you are correct that my wording was flawed logically. Perhaps I should have said "I believe there is no God because evidence has yet to be presented to entertain ones existence".

By the same logic fail from my original statement one could argue that while being ignorant of God for lack of evidence you are also ignorant of God's nephew Juju, the tractor riding squid who battles him for supremacy of the cosmos. No evidence can be presented for either side therefore they should both be given the same credence.



That is a circular argument.

If there is a ''God'' that is responsible for everything in existence, then quite clearly God would be needed to explain everything, and every question could not be answered without God.

You would have to know the truth value of the of the statement ''God exists/ is needed for existence'' first, before declaring whether a God was necessary or unnecessary for any explanations pertaining to existence.


Once again I agree with your logic, I admit I may have given off the air of some sort of scientific authority in my OP when I was actually just stating an opinion. Your statement here is one fork in the possible road. For if God does not exist then the statement is just as valid the other way around. I suppose neither should be overlooked without sufficient evidence.

As far as science finding all the answers that truly was just an opinion, while the point at which that would occur isn't quantifiable. I believe that for myself at least, it would be.



The evidence at your disposal is only verifiable in your mind, just as the evidence to those who believe in God, ghosts, or aliens, is only verifiable in their minds, as well.

There is no evidence you've ever come across that is more worthy than any evidence that anybody else has come across.

The sooner people realise this, perhaps the more tolerant they will be.


This is the only part of your argument that I really disagree with. I consider evidence to be things such as tangible objects, and repeatable experiments with consistent results. That is at least my personal opinion on the definition of evidence.

I enjoyed your critique though, and I enjoyed writing this reply. Thanks for that. Since you mentioned tolerance I'll also add that I personally do not pass judgement on anyone for their beliefs no matter what they may be. Unless of course it infringes upon my daily life, then I would have an issue.

Also on a side note : I apologize for taking so long to reply, I just happend to scan this thread again and notice your post. Is there a way to see when someone has replied to a post you have made in someone elses thread more easily? Perhaps I have missed it.

edit on 7-1-2011 by cycondra because: typo

edit on 7-1-2011 by cycondra because: added note



posted on Jan, 10 2011 @ 02:08 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
This is, of course, true in philosophical theory.

In practice, things are a little different.


It is pretty much the same in practice, as it is in principle.

''Knowledge'' and ''belief'' can only ever be encountered on a personal level, and there is no autonomous source that we can validate our knowledge with, other than our own mind.

It is not possible to successfully argue the case for the veracity of one person's knowledge over another's, as the truth value of the belief is only relevant or provable to the person who holds it.

As the human mind is occasionally flawed in its perception process and interpretation of evidence, then to attempt to validate your own ''knowledge'' can never be assured to be done with 100% accuracy, therefore, even something as seemingly self-evident as the sun rising in the morning can only ever be regarded as a belief.

The line in someone's mind between what they consider to be personal belief and personal knowledge is arbitrary, abstract, and intangible, so a comparison between two different people's beliefs and knowledge can not be ascertained, as what one person may identify as a ''strong belief'' may constitute ''knowledge'' to another person with exactly the same thoughts.

These are the main reasons that I can't see knowledge as anything other than an extension of belief, rather than two distinct concepts in reality.


Originally posted by Astyanax
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.


The problem is that ''sufficient inductive support'' will vary from one person to another.

Some people say that the fact that anything exists at all is enough supporting evidence for them to conclude that God exists.

While, of course, the above conclusion is not sound from a traditional logical perspective, a logical principle is only self-evident to someone who subscribes to it.

In the end, there is nothing to say that one opinion on a matter such a this is any more or less correct than another.


Originally posted by Astyanax
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 presume you say that ''they can't all be true'' because you adhere to the fundamental notion that something can't be both true or false at the same time.

Some people may claim that everybody has an individual reality that surrounds them, where consequently the Christianity, Islam, or any other religion or non-religion could be true to the person who believes it.

While I don't personally believe in that idea, the only thing that ''invalidates'' that idea is the principle of contradiction, which, again, only becomes relevant to someone who personally believes it to be self-evident; therefore, making the belief that multiple conflicting realities can't all be true, as impossible to prove as correct, as someone who believes that multiple realities are true.


Originally posted by Astyanax
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.


I have to strongly disagree with you, especially when you look at the discussions that take place on ATS !

Debates tend to be evenly contested and contributed to here, which means that for every alternative claim or opinion posted, there will always be the unfairly maligned ''sceptics'' to offer a counter-argument to it.

I don't consider someone who is offering a naturalist argument against someone's claim of a ''paranormal'' phenomenon, to be ''defending their belief'', or take it as a sign that their faith in a materialistic world-view is being tested.

If I posted a thread claiming that the Earth is flat, then I can guarantee you that within a few minutes I would receive dozens of replies from people offering up their view that the Earth is round. I doubt that their need to defend their position is based on insecurities about the views that they hold.


I am aware that some people's constant need to defend their beliefs or non-beliefs may be a sign of insecurities inside their mind, about the validity or truthfulness of their beliefs, but I certainly don't think that it's as cut and dried as you appear to make out.


Originally posted by Astyanax
Either way, there is a body of knowledge – or, if you prefer, strong belief – that is generally and consensually accepted as true.


Probably about 90% of the world's population believe in God, and if you include other supernatural beliefs, then that number would probably rise to 95%+.

In fact, I'm sure that the number of people who form the opinion that God and/or the supernatural exist, would constitute - what could be referred to as - a general consensus, and furthermore, the people who hold the view that God is true, no doubt far outnumber the people who believe in the body of knowledge that you are referring to.


The number of people who believe in God does not, of course, have much relevance on whether God is true or not, just as any general consensus on the validity of any other body of knowledge has no impact on the truth of what this body of knowledge holds to be true.


Originally posted by Astyanax
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.


We like to think that our senses can be trusted, but we only have our own senses to corroborate this, which sends us down a rather circular road.

While I agree with you that we can generally assume that our senses are accurate, as we can constantly predict the outcome of our actions, and the expected outcome usually follows. This doesn't mean that we are correct, though, as the conclusions that people draw from their observations and perceptions contradict the conclusion that someone else has drawn from their experiences.

Through our individual senses, we know that all three Abrahamic versions of God are true, as well as Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, shamanism, animism, deism, pantheism etc. ; we also know that an unintended, meaningless and nihilistic reality is also true...

This is, of course, if you believe that peoples' perceptions on reality are based upon trustable senses.


The belief that the sun will rise tomorrow is just as much down to memory as it is down to rational appraisal.

I know that memory stores observations that we've made, but the fact that we're aware of the sun rising every morning that we can remember, means that the belief that the sun will rise tomorrow is based more upon an ''educated guess'' than any tangible knowledge.

If I can't find my keys in the morning, then I ''know'' that they'll be in the right-pocket of the trousers that I'd worn the previous evening. This is just an educated guess ( that is invariably correct ) based upon memorising my habits !

If someone prayed to God about something, and their troubles were alleviated by these prayers, then that memory would help them form the belief that ''God'' would also answer their prayers in the future.


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.


You see, my position is that neither of those two suggestions are ideal for finding out the truth, and also in some cases, the two views are not mutually exclusive.

The first one is problematic because it is formed on a fundamental assumption that has yet to be verified by the person who has already decided that that position is the truth. While some assumptions can be useful, I believe that they are best to steered away from when using them as an axiom of your world-view ( I realise that this is probably impossible to do ).

The second one is self-defeating because we can observe in ourselves and in other people, just how unsynchronised our sensory perceptions can be at times.


The cliché of someone who is ''insane'', not knowing that they are mentally unstable, is a perfect and extreme example of how there is nothing other than your own sensory perceptions to corroborate the accuracy of these same sensory perceptions, and how it's impossible to get beyond personal ''belief'' or ''knowledge'', outside of an unverifiable personal perspective.

Also, there is nothing to stop someone adopting view number one, based upon their observations from initially believing in view number two.


Originally posted by Astyanax
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?


This is where the philosophical discussions on these matters become a futile exercise in circular reasoning, and attempting to surmount the insurmountable obstacles of forming a logical argument for or against any truth just reinforces the fact that ''truth'' can only ever be obtained on a personal level.

As you say, ''Cogito ergo sum'' is still preceded by the initial thought of existential truth. But, thinking about where these thoughts arise from - as per the Nietzsche comment that you cite - may lead us to believe that these ''involuntary thoughts'' may come from the mundane functionality of our neurological system.

However, we still have to, at first, think, before our thoughts may lead us to the conclusion that our genetics, coupled with environmental stimuli, is the main reason for how we think in the first place.

This inescapable circularity in analysing the origins of our thoughts seems to lead us to the conclusion that thought is the basis of everything - and while I'm aware that thousands of people before me have come to the same conclusion - it still leaves the very basis of reality in complete and utter turmoil.


Also, the Nietzsche comment that you mentioned, about thoughts ''involuntarily entering'' people's minds was based on his own experiences. For all he knew, this scenario mightn't have been relevant to the mind of Descartes; therefore, his thoughts on this matter were formed on just as much of an assumption as the original thought of Descartes was.

Although, I haven't actually managed to read past page 20 of any Nietzsche book; not because I necessarily disagree with his thoughts, or am incapable of comprehending his writings, but because I find his whole philosophy so depressing and self-indulgent that I really don't think that it's worth my while to persevere with his musings !


Originally posted by Astyanax
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.


I believe that the concept of a priori knowledge is a contradiction in terms.

What is personally ''known'' through experience, has to form the basis of an a priori assumption, thus making the formation of this belief actually a posteriori...


Originally posted by Astyanax
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.


Sadly, your ''impeccable a priori assumptions and immaculate logic'' are only so in your own mind, which makes your beliefs as provable as my impeccable a priori assumptions and immaculate knowledge that supports my ( hypothetical ) belief in the existence of Santa Claus !

It's all down to personal beliefs.


Originally posted by Astyanax
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.


But this simple criteria isn't self-evident.

Consistent, emphatic truths drawn from the posited, tested hypothesis, only satisfies someone who first forms the belief that the conclusion of the experiments and/or observations is admissible or acceptable to their preformed personal beliefs on what would pass as conclusive on the subject.

''Instruments'', as well, are only acceptable to someone who has faith in the accuracy of them, and how they'll perform under a set of circumstances.

There is nothing to say that a belief in reading tea-leaves to gauge the weather for the next day is any more valid an ''instrument'' to forecast the weather, than a state-of-the-art digital weather station is.


Originally posted by Astyanax
Something only becomes ''falsified'' if someone firstly, believes that the original hypothesis was correct, and secondly, if they believe that the grounds for falsification are valid for their beliefs on the subject.


Yes, that's true in a scientific sense, but you have to first adhere to the scientific method - and the results that are found by testing hypotheses through the method - to accept the findings that will subsequently be found.

If Santa Claus is ''falsified'' by these means, then there is absolutely no onus on me to accept any evidence that may falsify his existence.


Originally posted by Astyanax
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.


Good man.


I believe that we are both largely in agreement on most of the philosophical points that we are discussing, but it seems that you want a more tangible objective reality, whereas I've resigned myself to never really knowing anything other than my own personal beliefs and disbeliefs.

It's not like either of us are ''wrong'' or ''right''; it's just two people discussing our thoughts on an internet message board.

I read your discussions with Joe earlier in the thread, and it made good reading; both of you raised points that had to make me think and, more importantly, research some more !


Originally posted by Astyanax
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.


The perceived truth of a empiricist is surely equally as shaky.

Empiricism is base on foundations of sand, that, if one axiom is proved to be deficient, then the whole sandcastle may come crashing down.

I haven't got anything against empiricism, personally, other than the fact that I think it subdues and hinders the natural human tendency of curiosity and seeking more from life than a rigidly taught and accepted reality.

This mightn't be a bad thing, to some people, but humans aren't robots, and I think that empiricism probably stunts a human's mental growth, as much as it helps his material growth !


Originally posted by Astyanax
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.


This is the bracket that I may broadly be classed in; however, I adopt my philosophy from a mixture of the both.

Empiricism and rationalism aren't black-and-white, mutually exclusive concepts.


a priori assumptions of empiricists can not be proved - other than to similar minded adherents of this unprovable philosophical approach.


And here we return to the original point that was made in this conversation...


There is no autonomous source that we can refer to, there is no collective information that we can use, and there is no way that we can justify our own personal beliefs or ''knowledge'', other than on an unprovable, personal level.



posted on Jan, 10 2011 @ 02:28 PM
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Originally posted by Annee
If you want to go beyond the physical world we live in - - that would fall under belief.


I don't believe that is a valid or accurate distinction between the two.

The concept of numbers, for example, is an abstract, non-physical idea.

Do I ''believe'' that the number 5 exists ? Or do I ''know'' that the number 5 exists as a representation of five individual objects that I am classifying together for purposes of clarification.


Linking the concepts of knowledge/belief with the differences between physical/non-physical, respectively, is flawed.

Following your argument, that would mean that the existence of bigfoot ( a supposed physical creature ), would be ''knowledge'' amongst those who ''know'' that the being exists.



Originally posted by Annee
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.


How do you that ''science'' can explain the composite of the ground that you're standing on ?


What are the composites of the ground that you're standing on ?


Unless you can come up with a scientific appraisal of the ground and soil beneath your feet, then your beliefs are based upon faith, and can not be ''known''.


If you want to separate ''knowledge'' and ''belief'', then you must ''know'' the composite of soil beneath your feet, otherwise your point is just confirming my stance !



posted on Jan, 10 2011 @ 02:46 PM
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Originally posted by Joecroft
I kind of agree, beliefs are just strongly held opinions, derived from our own knowledge.


Yes, the only ''knowledge'' that exists is formed from our own personal experiences.

We may think that we have ''knowledge'' about something, but in reality, it is just an expression for something that we strongly feel to be true.


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


''Proven'' is the key word here.

How can you ''prove'' anything, other than to yourself ?

My ''proof'' has no relation to your ''proof''. If we both share facts and evidence, and we come to the same conclusion, then the ''proof'' is still dependent on each of us accepting it.


Originally posted by Joecroft
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.


What ''facts'' aren't subject to change, though ?

Cast iron facts are only facts to you, personally. There is no way that you can ''prove'' a fact to anybody else, if they are not receptive to the proposition and/or the conditions of the fact.


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.


But the thing is, every fact is a personal fact.

When I dispute the existence of facts, I'm questioning the completely unfounded and illogical notion that there is some kind of ''collective truth'' that someone can tap in to confirm their beliefs or non-beliefs.

Personal facts are the only kind of fact that exist, and - like ''knowledge'' - are purely subjective and are a matter of belief.



posted on Jan, 10 2011 @ 04:36 PM
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Originally posted by cycondra
Yes, as you pointed out my opinion is very subjective. I do apologize for being human.


I'm not having a pop at your personal beliefs or disbeliefs.

In no way am I criticising anybody's views on this matter; I have little interest in whether anybody else is a theist, atheist, or agnostic,

My interest in this topic is entirely from a philosophical point of view.


Originally posted by cycondra
I will not argue your logic here you are correct that my wording was flawed logically. Perhaps I should have said "I believe there is no God because evidence has yet to be presented to entertain ones existence".


Sorry, but that is still not logically sound !

You are arguing that ''there is no God'', whereas the logical conclusion to a perceived lack of evidence to any phenomenon, should be to not believe in it, yet not rule it out ( eg. agnosticism ).


Originally posted by cycondra
By the same logic fail from my original statement one could argue that while being ignorant of God for lack of evidence you are also ignorant of God's nephew Juju, the tractor riding squid who battles him for supremacy of the cosmos. No evidence can be presented for either side therefore they should both be given the same credence.


This is the first time that I'm aware of the positive claim for the existence of this character !

I don't believe in the tractor riding squid's existence, but that doesn't mean that I actively disbelieve.

Why should I be anything other than non-committal on this ?

I don't need to believe, nor do I need to actively disbelieve, and I am agnostic towards your claims ( I don't believe, but I have no reason to actively disbelieve ).

Strangely enough, I just get on with my life, without these concerns about tractor driving deities, yet you, and others on this thread, seem to be compelled to argue against a notion that you claim is as preposterous as tractor driving squid !

Very strange, and very insecure from a lot of people on here !



Originally posted by cycondra
Once again I agree with your logic, I admit I may have given off the air of some sort of scientific authority in my OP when I was actually just stating an opinion. Your statement here is one fork in the possible road. For if God does not exist then the statement is just as valid the other way around. I suppose neither should be overlooked without sufficient evidence.

As far as science finding all the answers that truly was just an opinion, while the point at which that would occur isn't quantifiable. I believe that for myself at least, it would be.


That's cool.


I was not attempting to discredit or criticise your personal opinion on the issue, but I was arguing along traditional logical grounds, as was unaware that you were stating your personal opinion on the matter.


You say: ''For if God does not exist then the statement is just as valid the other way around. I suppose neither should be overlooked without sufficient evidence.''


Absolutely. My comment works both ways.

The problem is that we will never know what is or isn't required for us to exist, as we would have to first know the truth value of the proposition, before we come to a conclusion !



Originally posted by cycondra
This is the only part of your argument that I really disagree with. I consider evidence to be things such as tangible objects, and repeatable experiments with consistent results. That is at least my personal opinion on the definition of evidence.


But evidence varies from person to person. You even say ''I consider evidence''...

Someone praying to the divinities in an attempt to get the crops to grow, may conclude that it was a consistently repeatable experiment, and the fact that the crops grew, confirmed the ''fact'' that the gods helped him make them grow.

There's always got to be a personal slant on any evidence.


Originally posted by cycondra
I enjoyed your critique though, and I enjoyed writing this reply. Thanks for that. Since you mentioned tolerance I'll also add that I personally do not pass judgement on anyone for their beliefs no matter what they may be. Unless of course it infringes upon my daily life, then I would have an issue.


You've made me feel bad now.


Although I often may argue my points belligerently or forcefully, I always ''play the post, not the poster'', and my comments are never intended to be personal !

I didn't deliberately post my initial reply as a negative critique on your personal views on this matter, I was just under the misapprehension that you were arguing along a traditional scientific/logical view, rather than a personal one.

My apologies.


Originally posted by cycondra
Also on a side note : I apologize for taking so long to reply, I just happend to scan this thread again and notice your post.


Don't worry about not replying, it is not always necessary on ATS !

What I personally consider to be my 3 or 4 best and most well thought out, constructive, and thoughtful posts on ATS, have probably averaged about 1 star and reply between them.

Yet, one of my perfunctory, throwaway posts, barely scraping past the 2-line minimum, will often get about 8 stars and 6 replies !




Originally posted by cycondra
Is there a way to see when someone has replied to a post you have made in someone elses thread more easily? Perhaps I have missed it.


Yes, if you click on the toolbar at the top of the screen, where it says 'TOOLS'', then, after you've clicked ''TOOLS'', below that on the left hand side, it should say ''messages''. Once you click ''messages'', you should have ''INBOX'' in white lettering, and ''REPLIES', ''OUTBOX'' and ''SAVED'' in green, on the left-hand side of your screen.

Click ''REPLIES'', and all the replies to your posts will be displayed.


I've probably made that sound more complicated than it actually is.



edit on 10-1-2011 by Sherlock Holmes because: Syntax.



posted on Jan, 10 2011 @ 04:44 PM
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reply to post by Sherlock Holmes
 


I'm not going to argue numbers with you. Aren't numbers a type of measurement?

Is a number worth anything if not applied?

Numbers are not a belief. How they are applied can be to a belief.

Obviously numbers are not my thing. I really wish they were - but they're not.


edit on 10-1-2011 by Annee because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 10 2011 @ 07:07 PM
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Originally posted by Sherlock Holmes

Sorry, but that is still not logically sound !

You are arguing that ''there is no God'', whereas the logical conclusion to a perceived lack of evidence to any phenomenon, should be to not believe in it, yet not rule it out ( eg. agnosticism ).


I agree, I simply made the comparison to help and give an idea of my personal logic on the matter. I would hold both the idea of God and a his squid nephew on equal footing. Although my views are never set in stone and if evidence for either was presented to me in a personally acceptable manner, this would change.

Overall I most definitely agree with you, as far as a completely logical objective stance, agnosticism is the way to go.



the logical conclusion to a perceived lack of evidence to any phenomenon, should be to not believe in it, yet not rule it out ( eg. agnosticism ).


I'll also add that this actually is the approach I take on the subject myself. I have always perceived agnosticism as a belief in the possibility of a God in the sense that the idea is entertained and given at least some weight in their mind / decisions. Such as an agnostic being asked if they are religious and the answer being that they take no side on the issue, akin to being undecided on a poll. I'll admit I have never pulled out a dictionary and read it's definition, but what you supplied here is indeed my stance.

Nothing can ever be ruled out completely if there is no evidence to work with.



You've made me feel bad now.

Although I often may argue my points belligerently or forcefully, I always ''play the post, not the poster'', and my comments are never intended to be personal !

I didn't deliberately post my initial reply as a negative critique on your personal views on this matter, I was just under the misapprehension that you were arguing along a traditional scientific/logical view, rather than a personal one.

My apologies.


I apologize for not being clear, you mentioned tolerance so I simply added my personal stance on the subject. It was in no way directed at any of your comments and you did not infringe on my daily life in the least bit! On the contrary, I have enjoyed our conversation quite a bit.

These are the types of dialogues I had hoped for when moving from lurker to poster on ATS and at the very least I thank you for that!


I also owe you a big thanks on the explanation on how to see replies, I had always assumed the messages area was simply for private messages between members / staff.

I also assumed that I wasn't dumb, and look how that turned out...



posted on Jan, 11 2011 @ 03:34 AM
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reply to post by Sherlock Holmes
 


''Knowledge'' and ''belief'' can only ever be encountered on a personal level, and there is no autonomous source that we can validate our knowledge with, other than our own mind.

Therefore, all things are true in theory only...

I'm sorry, Sherlock, but I have no patience with dualist theorizing that eventually vanishes down the omphalos of solipsism. Frankly, I think people who hew to this kind of thinking are bound for navel-gazing paralysis.

Like cycondra, I have better things to do with my time. I prefer to be an empiricist and get on with life. If my empirical sandcastle comes crashing down, I simply acknowledge my error and build another. The experience brings me a little closer to reality--something no dualist strategy can ever achieve.

If you choose to do otherwise, that's fine by me. In the end, reality will always be on my side.


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



posted on Jan, 11 2011 @ 12:57 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
Therefore, all things are true in theory only...


Correct !

That is my personal belief, sorry, ''knowledge''.



Originally posted by Astyanax
I'm sorry, Sherlock, but I have no patience with dualist theorizing that eventually vanishes down the omphalos of solipsism. Frankly, I think people who hew to this kind of thinking are bound for navel-gazing paralysis.


Do you have no patience with it because you discount it, or do you have no patience with it because you know that it's ultimately true, which relegates your empiricist version of reality to the same level as someone who believes in a tractor-driving cosmic squid ?


Originally posted by Astyanax
Like cycondra, I have better things to do with my time. I prefer to be an empiricist and get on with life.


And of course that is entirely your prerogative. I am not attempting to change anybody's world-view or beliefs, but just sharing my opinions on the subject.


Originally posted by Astyanax
If my empirical sandcastle comes crashing down, I simply acknowledge my error and build another. The experience brings me a little closer to reality--something no dualist strategy can ever achieve.


Again, I'm not saying that empiricism is not the correct way of finding an accurate account of reality ( if there is such a thing as a ''truth'' ), I am merely pointing out the seemingly unanswerable reality, that anybody's world-view, whether it be religious, empiricist, solipsist, or anything else, can only ever be true on a personal level, and there is nothing to validate it other than one's own mind.

While I tend to believe most current scientific theories on reality, I find the rigid inflexibility of adopting an entirely empiricist world-view to be too constrictive and closed-minded, which is why I would never be a fully committed empiricist.


Originally posted by Astyanax
If you choose to do otherwise, that's fine by me. In the end, reality will always be on my side.


Your reality will always be on your side, just as my reality will always be on my side.

How could it be any other way ?



posted on Jan, 11 2011 @ 05:59 PM
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reply to post by Sherlock Holmes
 





Originally posted by Sherlock Holmes

''Proven'' is the key word here.

How can you ''prove'' anything, other than to yourself ?

My ''proof'' has no relation to your ''proof''. If we both share facts and evidence, and we come to the same conclusion, then the ''proof'' is still dependent on each of us accepting it.


Any person’s experience, will be a fact to them, but may not be repeatable for everyone else.



Originally posted by Joecroft
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.



Originally posted by Sherlock Holmes
What ''facts'' aren't subject to change, though ?

Cast iron facts are only facts to you, personally. There is no way that you can ''prove'' a fact to anybody else, if they are not receptive to the proposition and/or the conditions of the fact.


Well, this is a tricky area, I was thinking more along the lines of scientific facts.

For example, a Photocorynus spiniceps, is considered to be the world smallest fish, which is a fact. But I don’t see this as a “cast iron fact” as I described in my other post, because not every part of the deepest depths of all the oceans in the world have been investigated, so there could possibly be a smaller fish, but as of now, the Photocorynus spiniceps, remains the smallest fish but that fact could be subject to change.

Facts which are not subject to change are things like occurrences which have happened in the past and can therefore not be changed (unless time travel is possible) Other facts are scientific experiments which repeatedly show the same outcome every time. Light traveling at a consistent speed, of 186,000 mi/sec. is a fact, it may have traveled faster than that at another point in time, but right now, all observation tells us, that it travels at the said speed. There doesn’t appear to anything, which could possibly change this fact.



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.




Originally posted by Sherlock Holmes
But the thing is, every fact is a personal fact.

When I dispute the existence of facts, I'm questioning the completely unfounded and illogical notion that there is some kind of ''collective truth'' that someone can tap in to confirm their beliefs or non-beliefs.

Personal facts are the only kind of fact that exist, and - like ''knowledge'' - are purely subjective and are a matter of belief.


This kind of reminds me of a famous quote by Bruce Lee, who said, “All knowledge, is ultimately self knowledge”

If someone witnesses something then it becomes a fact for him/her but not necessarily for everyone else, unless of course they experience something similar. Scientific facts on the other hand, are repeatable over and over again, to show the same outcome, so they kind of prove themselves.

I guess summing up, what I am trying to say is that personal facts, although not necessarily untrue, cannot be proven to anyone else in most cases. Scientific facts though, have been demonstrated to be repeatable, with consistent results.


- JC

edit on 11-1-2011 by Joecroft because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 01:08 AM
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reply to post by Sherlock Holmes
 

A moderate and civilized answer, Sherlock. You've fought your corner well. Thank you kindly, and let us leave it at that.

Here's a star for you.



posted on Jan, 17 2011 @ 07:04 PM
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Originally posted by Annee
I'm not going to argue numbers with you. Aren't numbers a type of measurement?

Is a number worth anything if not applied?

Numbers are not a belief. How they are applied can be to a belief.

Obviously numbers are not my thing. I really wish they were - but they're not.


I probably didn't provide the best example.

You said that you differentiated between knowledge/belief along physical/non-physical grounds.


The concept of a number, such as number 5, is a non-physical concept. The number becomes an actual reality when it is applied to physical objects, such as fingers or toes.


Still, though, if I mentioned the number 5 - a non-physical, abstract concept - then most people would ''know'' that it exists.

I just think that your definitions of knowledge and belief are not accurate, as the difference between a physical and an abstract concept is not really that relevant to these definitions.


edit on 17-1-2011 by Sherlock Holmes because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2011 @ 07:11 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
A moderate and civilized answer, Sherlock. You've fought your corner well. Thank you kindly, and let us leave it at that.

Here's a star for you.


Thanks, mate.

We just have slightly different views on this issue, and neither of us are ''wrong'' or ''right''; we just, at times, have differing views on some of the points that were raised in discussion.




posted on Jan, 17 2011 @ 07:21 PM
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Originally posted by Sherlock Holmes

Still, though, if I said mentioned the number 5 - a non-physical, abstract concept - then most people would ''know'' that it exists.


I can only use logic. Seriously wish I had mathematical skills - - but I don't.

Most people would know number 5 exists - - - because they can apply it to physical. Physical is something "real" [maybe :-)].

Belief is not tangible.



posted on Jan, 17 2011 @ 07:32 PM
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Originally posted by Cosmic.Artifact
Not many people are taking these personal preachers philosophy as hard evidence anymore and that is also becoming quite evident.


The bit that cracks me up is when he says: ''some people, and certain otherwise respectable dictionaries, define atheism as the belief that there is no God, with a capital ''G''.''


Yeah, that's right; ignore the definitions of the word from the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster, instead, take the word of some random guy posting on YouTube.



What the above comment from the video proves, is that:

1. 95% of YouTube videos are cack, and are a serious waste of time to watch.

2. Atheist ''evangelicals'' share all of the same traits that their religious counterparts do.
In this instance, taking themselves too seriously, and being unable to realise how idiotic their comments sound to everybody else !


Oh yeah, less of the anti-British rhetoric.



Edit to add: The YouTube video that we were discussing:



edit on 17-1-2011 by Sherlock Holmes because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2011 @ 08:12 PM
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reply to post by Sherlock Holmes
 


10:4 and apologies folks... that is residual noob left over from some flaming and reading in other sections on ATS when I first came.



posted on Jan, 17 2011 @ 09:00 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic

I PROMISE you, this video will clear it up for you....


where it became really clear is at the end of the video, also he is comparing in the start of the video how a majority decides if someone is innocent or guilty, but most all of the argument from that point on and the first flaw of not realizing that Monotheism already proclaims Love as their deity / God.

I am beside myself with all the non-biased sarcasm presented here too...

sounds like someone is either trying to make sense of it all, or they are trying to redefine God in their favor ?

the majority has already established that God is "Love" a few thousand years ago btw, and nothing much has changed since then, so the only problem I see with this video is lack of understanding.

tell you one thing, no one would want the maker of this video serving jury duty...

all clear, thanks Ben.



posted on Jan, 17 2011 @ 09:28 PM
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reply to post by Sherlock Holmes
 


lets begin at (0:15) into the video,

the video is flawed from the start because he is making "assumptions" in his favor claiming what people do in a given situation (hence the "let's automatically assume") people in a trial make decisions based on "fact" not as the speaker would claim ("other factors")

let' not assume and use established "fact" shall we ?

(0:44)
the undecided in this situation would be Agnostics, not seemingly having enough "perceived" information.

(0:55)
as the use of the professors statement, this is supported, Agnostics are engaged in critical thought, they are undecided, they have not decided "guilty" verdict for what the video is leading upto.

(1:13)
having resolutions does in fact grant the majority privileged status, proclaiming if something is true/false, guilty/innocent.



posted on Jan, 17 2011 @ 09:44 PM
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I was going to go further into the video but accidentally hit the reply button switching between pages watching this on youtube with other tabs open also.

but it really does not deserve the time because the basis of the whole establishment of the speakers argument is flawed in just over the first minute.

it is like a charlatan setting one up to keep their eye on the cup while the stone is tucked behind his sleeve, or dropped it off the table completely...

not even worthy of debate because it is not based on majority established "fact" or philosophical argument, but only (one persons) assumptions and perceptions, which are flawed at the start.

we need a real debate which is not dictatorial...

edit:
and to point out in the image of the video at its opening, there is an arrow pointing to "theistic claims" and the arrow reads "no valid foundation"

the valid foundation of "theism's claims" is majority which is quite evident considering the numbers of all theistic claims currently being currently at or above 92%


edit on 1/17/2011 by Cosmic.Artifact because: (no reason given)



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