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Disbelief Is Not A Choice

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posted on Oct, 6 2011 @ 11:01 PM
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Originally posted by TheFlash
Once again, you make me laugh. What is the difficulty? Are you more concerned with Truth, or your own ego?


Bah. No need to go there. This is dialectic, not debate.


Here is another analogy for you. Like any analogy it is not perfect but it serves to illustrate the point I wish to make. Let's say you were alive during WW II and one of the millions of unfortunate people who were interred in a Nazi concentration camp. Of course you think often of escape as does everyone else. The fact is that you are unable to believe, based on available evidence that you have any chance of successfully escaping. Then again you think back to stories you have heard before being captured and imprisoned about a fortunate few who did escape successfully! So with the information you have you are able to at the very least make a guess as to what your odds might be of escape, small though they may be. Is it possible for you to believe that you still might escape one day despite the miniscule odds?


I see where you're going but I see problems in each of the analogies you've presented - in that the inflection of belief and disbelief are divorced from the concept of estimating the validity of a claim. The above example relies heavily on hope and despair; emotional and irrational impulse, instead of carefully meted assessment of the validity of a claim. But sure, ya got me I guess, when the SHTF and I know there's no way out I'll still have hope that there is one.


So come on drummy - you are a sharp and informed guy. Let's have a ballpark estimate as to what you figure the odds of God existing are. Unless this is all just a mental masturbation game you play because you have nothing better to do. What do you do for a living anyway? Do you even have a job?


Ah. I thought we were having meaningful dialogue. We can do that dance if you'd like though. You big, fat dumdum.


As for your claim that you are "not avoiding anything", you are most certainly avoiding answering my question. The Truth shall set you free my friend. Don't be afraid of it...


Your mother.




posted on Oct, 6 2011 @ 11:17 PM
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Originally posted by sensibleSenseless
Not sure whether the definition of atheist includes those who haven't chosen to "not believe in God" - There is by way of your argument, still room for those who have chosen "not to believe".


If one chooses not to believe something it would be a case of denial. The apparent "choice" of disbelief is an illusion, since it's not truly disbelief but simply an irrational refusal to accept that which is already believed to be true.

I can, however, think of a case in which an atheist may be defined as had chosen to not believe in god. If one converted Raelism you must accept a belief that there is no god.



posted on Oct, 7 2011 @ 03:24 AM
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reply to post by Dasher
 


Ok I think I can play this game

my go:
The seagull of the spirit flies backwards over the harbour of eternity which is filled with the trees of the chimera. but it does this to keep the wind of nakedness out of it eyes. but the seagull never knows when the rhinoceros of folly will suddenly appear on its flight-path with its head down


Now all of that’s very spiritual and if you don’t understand it then that means I’m far more spiritual than you - so I win



posted on Oct, 7 2011 @ 04:42 AM
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TD


I hope that clears up any confusion you may have had about my experiences in the christian forums.

Thank you for your concern, but I didn't have any confusion. I understood why you went to a Christian chat room. Conversation, just as you say.

Nevertheless, there does seem to be a great deal of choice in your approach to "disbelief." That would tend to support the Christian lady's statement, even if her phrasing needs improvement.


To segue back into the topic, unless someone establishes the existence of a deity I have no options to choose from. Disbelief is the only option.

You have the option of dismissal, breaking off from discussion without a finding. For example,

You tell me "There are blueberry muffins in the foyer." Well that's nice, if true. As it happens, I am neither hungry nor interested in a stroll just now. Our conversation ends with my "Thank you." I have adopted no credal stance on the presence of the muffins, either way. In fact, I really don't know. Those muffins move pretty fast. Because of the choice I made, I'm not going to investigate. I do not, however, disbelieve your muffin report. I dismiss it.

So could you dismiss God reports, but you don't. As you say, you look for conversation, which is incompatible with dismissal, the resolution not to discuss an uncertain factual hypothesis. That's a choice. If you then find yourself running out of options, that's just what making a choice means, pick one = pass on the alternative(s) available to you, which is what you did.

One way to distinguish between dismissal and disbelief is that dismissal is necessarily symmetric between a hypothesis and its contrary. If I dismiss "there are muffins," then I do not discuss it, and neither do I discuss "there are no muffins." I dismiss both, and I dismiss both even if I only mention one alternative, or have a different attitude about one alternative than the other. If I disbelieve "there are muffins," then I obviously do not necessarily disbelieve "there are none."



posted on Oct, 7 2011 @ 05:03 AM
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reply to post by eight bits
 


Muffins are not extraordinary, but if you said there’s a unicorn in the foyer - what do you think would happen then?



posted on Oct, 7 2011 @ 05:36 AM
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reply to post by eight bits
 


What if there are additional qualifiers to the blueberry muffins information?

If for example you say:
”there are blueberry muffins in the foyer but you just have to take their existence on faith – also if you fail to have faith in the existence of these muffins you will burn for ever and ever in a bad place, the good news is the guy who told me about these muffins runs a support group for muffin believers and he only charges 10% of your wages to join”

So do you think the additional qualifiers might be important information regarding your belief in the blueberry muffins?



posted on Oct, 7 2011 @ 05:58 AM
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reply to post by eight bits
 


Would you consider temporary dismissal of a claim disbelief? I wouldn't view it that way. Especially if the dismissal relies on "not being hungry or feeling mobile". Motivations inspired by hunger or sloth simply temporarily distract one from assessing the claim. Postponing the investigation is hardly a case of disbelief to me.



posted on Oct, 7 2011 @ 06:00 AM
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Originally posted by racasan
reply to post by eight bits
 


What if there are additional qualifiers to the blueberry muffins information?

If for example you say:
”there are blueberry muffins in the foyer but you just have to take their existence on faith – also if you fail to have faith in the existence of these muffins you will burn for ever and ever in a bad place, the good news is the guy who told me about these muffins runs a support group for muffin believers and he only charges 10% of your wages to join”

So do you think the additional qualifiers might be important information regarding your belief in the blueberry muffins?


Not for me. On those claims alone I am ready and willing to convert to Muffinism. I have no problem or shame in becoming a Blueberrian.



posted on Oct, 7 2011 @ 06:41 AM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


Remember the muffins love you – but they will have to hurt you if you don’t say you love them back



posted on Oct, 7 2011 @ 06:51 AM
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reply to post by racasan
 


We are all flour and water until we are redeemed by the One True Oven. Only then can we be assured the glorious afterlife of providing nutrients to The Devourer.



posted on Oct, 7 2011 @ 07:13 AM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


Well, you have made yourself very clear now. This is most definitely all a game for you. Your goal is not to determine what is real or true but rather to play and win at all costs. Your non-answer responses to my questions have made that most evident. When someone gets to the point of childish name calling and referring to another's mother it's all as plain as day....

Don't bother trying to deal with this person fellow members. He is not sincere and his mind is closed. He is not seeking the truth he is playing a game.



posted on Oct, 7 2011 @ 07:37 AM
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Originally posted by TheFlash
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


Well, you have made yourself very clear now. This is most definitely all a game for you. Your goal is not to determine what is real or true but rather to play and win at all costs. Your non-answer responses to my questions have made that most evident. When someone gets to the point of childish name calling and referring to another's mother it's all as plain as day....

Don't bother trying to deal with this person fellow members. He is not sincere and his mind is closed. He is not seeking the truth he is playing a game.


For a while I thought you were presenting some formidable arguments. But after I countered what you thought was your victory you descended into smug condescension along with another poor analogy. Still though, I gave you two things in my above response: an intellectual retort to your analogy, and a sardonic response to your condescensions. You chose to react to the sardonic instead of hammering out the dialectic and resorted to more ad hominem. That's a shame, as I didn't reckon someone with good reasoning skills to crack so easily nor stoop to lower nonsense. Oh well. Thanks for the conversations.



posted on Oct, 7 2011 @ 10:54 AM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


Hey, you're startin' to get it!
May the forks be with you!



posted on Oct, 7 2011 @ 11:21 AM
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reply to post by TheFlash
 


It truly is more important that we express eternal things than it is that we agree on the rationalization of such. The reality is that we operate by eternal matters and manifest grace daily (hopefully), understanding, patience, kindness, etc, even if we are blind to the depths of those things. And where traditionaldrummer exhibits those attributes which accelerate/foster wisdom or brotherhood, we should be glad despite any disagreements. The truly grievous issue is when people who know better tear each other down.

traditionaldrummer claims no ill intent regarding his inquiry, so either continue gracefully sharing with him or gracefully return to your own affairs. Any other option will cause strife. Seriously, things are potentially going to get pretty tough for many very soon. Let us manifest godliness more than we talk about it. I think everyone can agree with that despite any system of faith or lack thereof.



posted on Oct, 7 2011 @ 04:02 PM
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racasan


Muffins are not extraordinary, but if you said there’s a unicorn in the foyer - what do you think would happen then?

Unicorns are (for me) in a different category than either the muffins or god claims. Unicorns are decided, IMO. As I've already posted, I have concluded that there are no unicorns, based on evidence and the results of active investigation. Here's what I wrote:


Unicorns have been searched for thoroughly enough that if they existed, then searchers almost certainly would have found them or their mortal remains. Such mortal remains as have been offered turned out to be narwhal tusks. Some people also have affirmative knowledge of the variability of equine phenotypes. No horns. Thus, the rest of us conclude there are no unicorns.

So, "what would happen then" depends on who was doing the saying, what they said, maybe how they answered a few questions, and definitely what else I was doing at the time. It would help if they mentioned why it's my problem if there is a unicorn in the foyer. That sort of thing.

So, recapping muffins, gods and unicorns, for me:

unicorns: believed not to exist, not now under investigagtion

muffins: no credal finding, not now under investigation

gods: no credal finding, currently under investigation

As to the ampified muffin report in your second reply post, long story short, are there muffins in the foyer or not? If there are, then faith has nothing to do with it. I'll go there and eat them, if I am interested. If faith has something to do with it, then in what sense could there be muffins in the foyer? Inedible muffins are uninteresting to me, edible muffins wouldn't require faith.

And for a 10% cut, I'd have to be persuaded that those are some extraordinary muffins. I know where I can get heaven in a paper baking cup for 3 bucks a pop.


TD


Would you consider temporary dismissal of a claim disbelief?

No, as I posted, dismissal is symmetric to the hypothesis and its contrary. There is no credal or heuristic finding about either, and there is no further investigation of either. Disbelief requires an adverse credal or heuristic finding about at least one, and does not require any of that about the other. I might also continue investigation despite disbelief, as you evidently do. If I've dismissed them, then they're off the table, for now at least.


Especially if the dismissal relies on "not being hungry or feeling mobile".

Dismissal is a decision, I think it's worth my effort to investigate or I don't. If you decide that question on different considerations than I do, then fine, you investigate the muffins. My dismissal leaves more for you, if there are any. And in case it was unclear, I'm not reopening the muffin question. If they ever were there, either they aren't anymore or they're likely stale by now.


Postponing the investigation is hardly a case of disbelief to me.

Great. So you understand that dismissal and disbelief are different, incompatible things.


Not for me. On those claims alone I am ready and willing to convert to Muffinism. I have no problem or shame in becoming a Blueberrian.

I freely admit that if there was anything I could do standing that up that would lure me to the foyer, blueberry muffins would be near the top. That dismissal was a hard decision for me.
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edit on 7-10-2011 by eight bits because: as if I'd know.



posted on Oct, 8 2011 @ 03:13 AM
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reply to post by eight bits
 


i just want to clear up some things

Muffins:
If there are additional conditions and qualifiers regarding the muffins such as a requirement to have faith the muffins are there (on no other evidence than the claim itself) or that failure to have faith in these muffins will result in you been burned for ever and ever in a bad place and whose representatives require 10% of your wages

Means that we are no longer dealing with a simple report about muffins but instead the muffins are most likely part of a deception

In which case you would be right to be sceptical about these muffins until they are produced and shown to have the properties claimed for them

Unicorns:
Are legendary animals symbiotic of purity and grace and can only be captured by a virgin – they aren’t just horses with horns on there head

So the claim of a Unicorn in the foyer would require you to find out if it’s just a horse with a horn on its head (misidentified) or a symbol of purity and grace (highly unlikely)

God(s):
The claim of a god in the foyer has the same problems as the Unicorn claim

If you are told Thor is in the foyer then it could be an actor playing Thor (misidentified) or it could be Thor god of storms, son of the all-father (highly unlikely)

The god in the foyer claim might also suffer for the same problems as the mystic muffins

For example
If the claim is a constipated Sumerian volcano god who created the 14.5 billion year old universe with all its physical laws/stars/planets ect 6000 years ago and who had to come to earth as his own son to be killed because a lousy two bit talking snake (beeped) the whole thing up, despite said god being all knowing didn’t manage to see that coming - and who’s existence you simply have to accept on faith or be burned for ever and ever in a bad place and whose representatives require 10% of your wages, is in the foyer


Then it most likely a deception and would simply require you to point and laugh at anybody who fell for it.



posted on Oct, 8 2011 @ 01:10 PM
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racasan

Yes, but I'm trying to distinguish between what is a belief and what is a decision about an investigation. There are many other aspects to having beliefs, like what people who believe in something believe ought to be done about it.

Personally, I'm still working on whether a god exists. So, whether there is a god who expects faith, or runs a concentration camp for dissidents, or created the Universe but now needs me to chip in to to pay his public relations staff, all that can only wait until there is some god I believed in.

Of course, god hypotheses that contain elements I don't believe to be serious possibilities (the Earth began 6,000 yeas ago) or that I find unlikely (God is the Swedish-looking fellow currently seated in the foyer) can be decided against, right here, right now.

Nevertheless, the general question of god remains open, at least for me. Investigating non-starter hypotheses would simply be a waste of time. They have nothing to tell me about whether a god exists.

And as for things that I believe don't exist,


Unicorns: Are legendary animals symbiotic of purity and grace and can only be captured by a virgin – they aren’t just horses with horns on there head

If I believe that there are no horses with horns on their heads, then I believe that no virgin can capture one.

As it happens, I enjoy legend, mythology and folklore, but that has nothing to do with what I believe really exists. I do not take every story as a historical claim. The very symbolic character of unicorns makes me doubt that their story was originally offered as history. But, those narwhal tusks showed up in the local market, and suddenly the waters are muddied.

I mean, who can believe there's a mammal who looks like a fish, lives year-round in the frigid ice water of the top of the world, and has a horn in his head? Get real. It's a horse's horn, just like in the pictures.



posted on Oct, 9 2011 @ 05:54 AM
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Originally posted by eight bits
racasan

Yes, but I'm trying to distinguish between what is a belief and what is a decision about an investigation. There are many other aspects to having beliefs, like what people who believe in something believe ought to be done about it.


I think these are the key points that need to be considered:

There is the nature of claim (from mundane to fantastical) and if that claim needs to be accepted on faith (with no evidence than the claim itself)

The delivery of the claim – is the information presented in a clear way

who is delivering the claim – the motive for providing the claim, is it someone you trust and so on

Who is being told the claim – does it fit in with someone’s experiences and world view

So
if I where being screamed at by some religious fundamentalist to kneel down and accept jesus – I would have fits of laughter

If a Buddhist told me to meditate in such and such a way and I would get some effect – I would be tempted to try it (given that I could test his claim by doing the mediation)

Me (a sceptic), two fanatic claims, two different out comes



Personally, I'm still working on whether a god exists. So, whether there is a god who expects faith, or runs a concentration camp for dissidents, or created the Universe but now needs me to chip in to to pay his public relations staff, all that can only wait until there is some god I believed in.


Understood, my solution to this is:
“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
― Marcus Aurelius


Of course, god hypotheses that contain elements I don't believe to be serious possibilities (the Earth began 6,000 yeas ago) or that I find unlikely (God is the Swedish-looking fellow currently seated in the foyer) can be decided against, right here, right now.


Word to the wise: don’t upset Thor



Nevertheless, the general question of god remains open, at least for me. Investigating non-starter hypotheses would simply be a waste of time. They have nothing to tell me about whether a god exists.


Ok so how did you decide which are the “non-starter hypotheses”?


Unicorns: Are legendary animals symbiotic of purity and grace and can only be captured by a virgin – they aren’t just horses with horns on there head


If I believe that there are no horses with horns on their heads, then I believe that no virgin can capture one.

As it happens, I enjoy legend, mythology and folklore, but that has nothing to do with what I believe really exists. I do not take every story as a historical claim. The very symbolic character of unicorns makes me doubt that their story was originally offered as history. But, those narwhal tusks showed up in the local market, and suddenly the waters are muddied.

I mean, who can believe there's a mammal who looks like a fish, lives year-round in the frigid ice water of the top of the world, and has a horn in his head? Get real. It's a horse's horn, just like in the pictures.


You do know unicorns are in the bible and a lot of “narwhal tusks” where provided by christians to prove there really are unicorns (there have been a lot of liars for jesus over the years)



posted on Oct, 9 2011 @ 10:02 AM
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racasan

We are in agreement that if there is a claimant present, like your screaming fanatic or calm Buddhist or my bearer of muffin tidings, then it could make sense to treat the matter as a "claim" rather than as a simple hypothesis. The demeanor of the claimant or the witness could well be a factor in your reaction to the claim or testimony.


Ok so how did you decide which are the “non-starter hypotheses”?

Ah, the thread topic. Epic credal failure occurs involuntarily, IMO.

In one of your examples I was commenting on, part of the story said that the Earth is only 6000 years old. As I write this, I am sitting next to a gray wolf whose ancestors, I am persuaded, were domesticated longer ago than that. In your other example, the story made me laugh, an involuntary response, and not a good sign for the credibility of the tale.

So what I'm saying is that if the story doesn't pass the laugh test, or the storyteller is relieving himself on my leg and telling me it's raining, then I've got other things to do than investigate the story.

Conversely, if somebody who appears sensible tells me something that makes sense (a calm man says that if I sit down, shut up, and stay that way for a while, then I, too, will be calm), then I might make the time to check it out.


You do know unicorns are in the bible

Apparently, that depends on the translator. There's nothing specifically equine with a horn in the (Hebrew) Bible that I know of. If you've got something, then fire away.

Until then though, I think the causal arrow points the other way, that European disposition to believe in a unicorn "type" colored their translations, apparently all the way back to the Septuagint. Once something is in play as a serious possibility, whether you heard it from the Bible, from Pliny the Elder or from both, then that possibility might color your thinking about narwhal tusks. Involuntarily, even.



posted on Oct, 19 2011 @ 06:42 AM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer
Some religious people might be willing to concede that although sexual preference might not be a choice after all, they'll likely insist that religious preference is a choice.

Recently I visited a Christian chat room and for identification of my general stance referred to myself as an atheist. One of the respondents later referred to me as a "chosen atheist" (her italics), which was evidently the only way she was able to perceive me.

But we do not typically believe and disbelieve things as a matter of choice. I could not, for example, decide that tomorrow I'll choose to start believing in The Tooth Fairy. We have quite specific reasons for both believing and disbelieving everything, and those reasons can be good or bad. I have fairly good reasons for disbelieving unproven religious claims.

Most theists probably did not choose their religion either. They tend to adopt the dominant religion of the region they are born into. Religious inculcation in youth combined with pro-religion support from the community tend to corral large numbers of people into their various places of worship. Indoctrination and strong pressure for religious involvement are fairly poor reasons for believing unproven religious claims.

In either case choice is hardly a factor. But in the case of disbelief, choice is never part of the factor. Disbelief is the result of reasoned, rational examination presented for a claim. If the evidence fails to corroborate the claim there is no choice but to disbelieve it.

I have yet to meet a chosen atheist. Christians in particular often insist that one must "choose between Heaven and Hell", therefore as an atheist you've "chosen" Hell. If you have this belief, please consider again the way in which I've explained how we all come to disbelieve things.


You must choose between wrong or right, darkness or Light, who do You love?
edit on 19-10-2011 by Ashira because: (no reason given)



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