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Disbelief Is Not A Choice

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posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 11:45 AM
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Originally posted by TheFlash
The reason for this has to do with Man's unique (in a religious sense) and fundamental quality of Free Will.


The "freewill argument" has a number of flaws in it. I understand the Christian assertion of it and primarily reject it. It is, in effect, the source of this thread: that I was perceived as a "chosen" atheist by someone deeply steeped in a choices-only philosophy.

To address your earlier point, I specified a scientific burden of proof to delineate from other varieties such as a legal or philosophical burden of proof.


So if you are trying to say that there is no scientific proof that a God exists then you are absolutely correct. If on the other hand you are saying that it is completely not possible for you to believe otherwise then I disagree wholeheartedly. Facts such as the billions of people who choose to do just that with similar or less knowledge than you should prove that. Beliefs in consciousness beyond mortal death, ET life and others are similarly and commonly held beliefs.


And as I've said I might be willing to concede that belief might be a choice but disbelief doesn't appear to be. Though you might contend I do have a choice to believe that which I disbelieve, I find that to be an impossible task. I could not choose to believe in Santa Claus tomorrow based on the information currently supporting the alleged existence of Santa Claus.




posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 11:52 AM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

And as I've said I might be willing to concede that belief might be a choice but disbelief doesn't appear to be. Though you might contend I do have a choice to believe that which I disbelieve, I find that to be an impossible task. I could not choose to believe in Santa Claus tomorrow based on the information currently supporting the alleged existence of Santa Claus.


I'm sorry, but I just had to laugh when I read this. Can't you see what 'belief of' and 'disbelief of' are the two sides of the exact same coin? The two are simply different choices as to the same issue. To say that you are free to make one of the possible choices but not the other amounts to saying that you can not make a choice, period. Either you can make a choice regarding an issue or you can not. And if you are free to choose that means that you can choose any possible option.



posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 12:36 PM
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Originally posted by TheFlash
I'm sorry, but I just had to laugh when I read this. Can't you see what 'belief of' and 'disbelief of' are the two sides of the exact same coin? The two are simply different choices as to the same issue.


I disagree. Just because there are options - even a simple yes or no - does not mean that one arrives at the conclusion as to which is correct on the basis of choices. Belief and disbelief are both positions taken on a given claim but do not constitute choices.



posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 01:02 PM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


"Correct"? I don't know what you are talking about. If I hold out my hands with an apple in one and an orange in the other what is the "correct" choice? Once again you are talking in absolute terms yet denying that you are doing so. Either you you have a choice (to pick either the apple or the orange) or you don't. Simple.



posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 01:14 PM
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Originally posted by TheFlash
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


"Correct"? I don't know what you are talking about. If I hold out my hands with an apple in one and an orange in the other what is the "correct" choice? Once again you are talking in absolute terms yet denying that you are doing so. Either you you have a choice (to pick either the apple or the orange) or you don't. Simple.


Amusingly, you apple/orange analogy is in this case, comparing apples and oranges. In the case of a claim, the claim is either true or false. The determination as to the truth of the claim is not concluded by choice.



posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 01:23 PM
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TD

I agree with you that the Christian chatter was unfair to describe you as a "chosen" atheist, if she meant that people "choose" the conclusions we reach about matters of opinion.

Although, are you sure she was questionning your beliefs, and not asking you why an atheist would choose to hang out in a Christian chat room? You don't choose your beliefs, but you do choose how you act because of them.

Beyond that, predictably, agreement betweeen us disspates with each subsequent word of the OP. We do choose how much we challenge our current beliefs, and in what ways. (Hmm, maybe that's what you were doing in the Christian chat room? ... No, probably not).

You did not choose to believe that there is no Tooth Fairy, but part of your confidence that you will not wake up tomorrow with a different view is that you have chosen to do nothing that could possibly persuade you to change your view between now and then. You didn't decide TF was ridiculous, but you did decide that it was ridiculous enough to devote yourself to other problems instead, and only to other problems.

Of course, I fully agree with your decision in that case, and chose likewise myself.

I think you have a very low opinion of the possibility of God's existence, too. To the extent that you may have decided that God is remote enough a possibility to dismiss the serious possibility of his existence (as opposed, perhaps, to the scrupulous acknowledgment of the logical possibility) and thus may have chosen to break off further investigation of the question of God, then you would fairly be called a chosen atheist, in that sense.

I don't agree with you in that case, and decided differently myself.

And there is a sense in which pious people do choose their religions, which, after all, isn't quite the same as "choosing their beliefs" anyway. Obviously, people who change religions choose to change (which is very common in the United States where, contrary to some atheists' teaching, people do shop around among the fabulous variety of religious affiliations on offer here). But even those who don't change, and don't even shop, have decided not to investigate alternatives, probably for a splendidly rational reason, that their current spiritual service provider performs satisfactorily, and information, such as information about the numerous competing providers, is costly to acquire and process.

If it's all BS anyway, or every religion is a crap shoot, then why work very hard on it? If the current provider is cheap, efficient, and conducive to a rewarding social life, then why switch?

That is what rational decision looks like, TD. Recall also that many, many religions don't especially care what you believe, so long as you don't rock the boat. That includes religions that have official dogma, but leave compliance enforcement to supernatural agents, unless you write a book or something, something you would choose to do.

Also, you can't fairly complain that people use shorthhand. The phrase "choose between heaven and hell" as an action recommendation obviously means to expose your current non-heaven-pointing beliefs to the possibility of encountering evidence and experience that might challenge them. Many Christians hold the opinon that if God wants you, then your openness to change will, in fact, result in your changing. "Seek and you will find."

And if not, well, the Calvinists believe that God may not want everybody. So, you can always console yourself with that. You know that bumper sticker, "God created me as an atheist, who are you to challenge his widsom?" Some Christians would think, "Well, he's probably right about going to hell, but at least his theology is sound."



posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 01:34 PM
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Originally posted by eight bits
I think you have a very low opinion of the possibility of God's existence, too. To the extent that you may have decided that God is remote enough a possibility to dismiss the serious possibility of his existence (as opposed, perhaps, to the scrupulous acknowledgment of the logical possibility) and thus may have chosen to break off further investigation of the question of God, then you would fairly be called a chosen atheist, in that sense.


Here is where I disagree. If I have dismissed the serious possibility of god's existence I do not then break from further investigation on the question. I have merely accepted that the claims about a god's existence have not met their burden of proof - and it is the claimant, not me - that is tasked with further investigation. I can still investigate further if and when the claimant refines his/her required proofs. In such an example I have not chosen anything, rather, I've assessed a burden of proof.



posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 01:39 PM
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Originally posted by eight bits
Also, you can't fairly complain that people use shorthhand. The phrase "choose between heaven and hell" as an action recommendation


And usually I don't get hung up on it. But in this case her use of the term "chosen atheist" prompted a side-tangent in which she refused to conceptualize any individual arriving at atheism in any manner other than by choice. Her insistence that I had made a conscious choice was central to her argument and general philosophy as a christian.



posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 02:19 PM
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TD


If I have dismissed the serious possibility of god's existence I do not then break from further investigation on the question.

That's interesting. Why would you bear the costs and nuisance of investigation if there's no serious possibility of it turning out differently than, say, an investigation of the tooth fairy?

That's not an argument, I just don't follow what you're saying. Maybe you haven't actually dismissed it as a serious possibility, maybe that's just an impression I got.


I have merely accepted that the claims about a god's existence have not met their burden of proof - and it is the claimant, not me - that is tasked with further investigation.

OK, but speaking of choices, framing an ontological question (Is there a God?) as an adversarial question (Here comes someone who claims something, have they met their burden of proof?) is a choice. Certainly it is a choice to frame the question that way exclusively. There is an obvious alternative, and you have chosen not to pursue that alternative.

I think of it like Goldbach's Conjecture. I must have heard about it from somebody, and they probably said that "I believe that there is some really big even number that isn't the sum of two odd primes," or maybe it was the contrary. Anyway, obviously, I've never thought about Goldbach's as having anything to do with the guy I happened to hear about it from, and as you can see, I can't even remember which claim he'd have the burden of proof for. What difference could that possibly make anyway? It's true or it isn't, and if I'm going to investigate, then I'll investigate it, not the guy who happened to make me aware that there was a question to investigate.

And yes, that is a choice, and we know that because you made the opposite choice in an analogous problem.

That is an argument.


Her insistence that I had made a conscious choice was central to her argument and general philosophy as a christian.

OK, that resolves my questions about what she meant, then. So, yes, you and I are in agreement that that is an unreasonable and inaccurate account of human belief formation, regardless of the subject matter of the belief. The lady errs.



posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 02:42 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by TheFlash
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


"Correct"? I don't know what you are talking about. If I hold out my hands with an apple in one and an orange in the other what is the "correct" choice? Once again you are talking in absolute terms yet denying that you are doing so. Either you you have a choice (to pick either the apple or the orange) or you don't. Simple.


Amusingly, you apple/orange analogy is in this case, comparing apples and oranges. In the case of a claim, the claim is either true or false. The determination as to the truth of the claim is not concluded by choice.


No. Once again you confuse facts and opinions. Science and beliefs. Truth and unknown. I am certain that you can not prove that God does not exist (nor that anything does not exist for that matter). So in factual terms the issue is 'open'. No proof exists one way or the other. In such cases one can hold an opinion or belief on the matter. There is no right or wrong. You don't seem to be listening or understanding what I am saying. One is free to choose based on any evidence he wishes to peruse whether he believes (apple) or does not believe (orange). Your disbelieving is no more correct than someone's believing. If you believe otherwise then prove to me that you are "correct" or that your position is "truth".



posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 02:44 PM
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Originally posted by eight bits
OK, but speaking of choices, framing an ontological question (Is there a God?) as an adversarial question (Here comes someone who claims something, have they met their burden of proof?) is a choice. Certainly it is a choice to frame the question that way exclusively. There is an obvious alternative, and you have chosen not to pursue that alternative.


Indeed, the question of whether a burden of proof has been met could be a matter of choice. But the truth or falsehood of the claim is not a choice, nor is one's determination of the truth of a claim decided by choice.



posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 02:58 PM
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Originally posted by TheFlash
No. Once again you confuse facts and opinions. Science and beliefs. Truth and unknown. I am certain that you can not prove that God does not exist (nor that anything does not exist for that matter). So in factual terms the issue is 'open'. No proof exists one way or the other. In such cases one can hold an opinion or belief on the matter. There is no right or wrong. You don't seem to be listening or understanding what I am saying. One is free to choose based on any evidence he wishes to peruse whether he believes (apple) or does not believe (orange). Your disbelieving is no more correct than someone's believing. If you believe otherwise then prove to me that you are "correct" or that your position is "truth".


Again, I disagree. Any given claim is either true or false. We can choose to believe the claim or not, and for different reasons, but there is a correct answer. For those propositions to which there is no apparent evidence for either proof or disproof we have a condition identical to an unfalsifiable claim. The default position is disbelief until the claimant establishes the truth of their claim.

The claim "you have $1 million in your bank account" is either true or false and has a correct answer. One may either believe it or not, but belief and disbelief do not carry equal merit. Either the believer or disbeliever is correct.



posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 04:06 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by TheFlash
No. Once again you confuse facts and opinions. Science and beliefs. Truth and unknown. I am certain that you can not prove that God does not exist (nor that anything does not exist for that matter). So in factual terms the issue is 'open'. No proof exists one way or the other. In such cases one can hold an opinion or belief on the matter. There is no right or wrong. You don't seem to be listening or understanding what I am saying. One is free to choose based on any evidence he wishes to peruse whether he believes (apple) or does not believe (orange). Your disbelieving is no more correct than someone's believing. If you believe otherwise then prove to me that you are "correct" or that your position is "truth".


Again, I disagree. Any given claim is either true or false. We can choose to believe the claim or not, and for different reasons, but there is a correct answer. For those propositions to which there is no apparent evidence for either proof or disproof we have a condition identical to an unfalsifiable claim. The default position is disbelief until the claimant establishes the truth of their claim.

The claim "you have $1 million in your bank account" is either true or false and has a correct answer. One may either believe it or not, but belief and disbelief do not carry equal merit. Either the believer or disbeliever is correct.


Apparently you are confused drummer. In your initiating post of this treat your wrote "we do not typically believe and disbelieve things as a matter of choice". In your previous post, as quoted you said "Any given claim is either true or false. We can choose to believe the claim or not, and for different reasons". So which is it - can you choose what you believe or not?

Here is another good analogy. Are you familiar with the game of Three Card Monte drummer? Whether you are or not, take a look at the game being played in the youtube video linked to below.

www.youtube.com...

The 'dealer' has 3 cards with one 'target' card. He then shows you the card then mixes them up and you pick which one is the target. If you are right you win, if you are wrong you lose. So, you have information from watching the cards start and being mixed up, then you are presented with a choice. And for the sake of argument there IS a correct answer. Are you free to choose any card from the 3 or are you not? Is anyone playing the game free to choose any card and believe it is the target card or are there some constraints you would like to point out?

This is a good analogy to the religious question in that:

- At the point of forming a belief (making a choice) the "correct" answer is not absolutely known.
- The choices are clear (though here there are 3 as opposed to 2 in the religious believing).

So the premise of this thread is that you do not have a choice to pick a "certain card". So in 3 Card Monte do you have a choice?



posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 04:47 PM
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Originally posted by TheFlash
So which is it - can you choose what you believe or not?


I have already conceded multiple times that belief can be a choice.


Here is another good analogy. So in 3 Card Monte do you have a choice?


That's not a good analogy. I'm talking about claimants supporting their claim. You are branching out into analogies divorced from this concept. Additionally this one relies on a trickster influencing a mark to make one of two incorrect choices.

Just so we're clear again: I concede belief can be a matter of choice. Disbelief does not appear to me to be a matter of choice.

You're right... I did say this:

"We can choose to believe the claim or not"

I guess you could technically declare victory if you'd like. I'll have to mind my grammar in the future.



posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 05:43 PM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


I'm glad we established that.

It's not who is right that is important to me, it is what is right.



posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 06:12 PM
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Hi guys,

If I may?:

Why should choosing have to be related only to the sphere of religion. Awareness of an alternative - this is what causes one to choose.

If you are unaware of an alternative - you haven't made a choice. How much you examine an alternative you are aware of, is immaterial.

If you are aware of alternatives, but haven't stepped up to look at what they are - this is the choice to remain unaware of the alternatives.

Can you be aware of an alternative and not choose. Yes. For instance there are red cats and white cats. I don't have either - so I haven't chosen between the two. But a belief is not the same - since you do not have to purchase it - it is something in your head - it is written there by choice... How it got there - each one to his own.

All IMHO.



posted on Oct, 6 2011 @ 05:49 AM
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Originally posted by TheFlash
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


I'm glad we established that.

It's not who is right that is important to me, it is what is right.




Except maybe I have simply just been loose with my language! Perhaps it is just me, unable to contemplate beyond my microcosm, but I am aware of two things. One is that I didn't choose disbelief in deities over belief. Two is that I am unable to choose to believe that which I don't. In fact,

I tried to believe - in many ways for many years. Once all of these deities revealed their unbelievability disbelief was the only option, all other "choices" removed. And there remains nothing left to choose from, unless I employ irrational reasoning or pure madness to believe that which I don't.

Are there ways to arrive at disbelief of a claim by choice? It certainly didn't seem to happen that way for me.



posted on Oct, 6 2011 @ 06:50 AM
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What if every belief can be given a value or score based on if it’s verifiable or that it supports other verifiable observations

So the belief that the sky is blue will have a high score – since people can just go out side and look up

The belief that the earth is a sphere also has a high score since it is base on observations (the shadow on the moon for example) and that it supports what is known about gravity – and so on

All beliefs would have a value or score, for example the belief that the earth is only 6000 years old has a certain value or score

But as more accurate observations about the earth have been made, the value or score of a much older earth has risen and overtaken the young earth belief

so if religionists try to make it look like the young/old earth belief is an either or question they must be unaware that the two beliefs are not equally as valid



posted on Oct, 6 2011 @ 08:25 AM
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Originally posted by racasan
so if religionists try to make it look like the young/old earth belief is an either or question they must be unaware that the two beliefs are not equally as valid


I believe a majority of them know quite well that despite their young earth beliefs that all of the evidence points in the other direction. However, they remain absolutely cocksure about the claims in their religious books and value devotion to religion much higher than devotion to knowledge.



posted on Oct, 6 2011 @ 08:27 AM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by TheFlash
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


I'm glad we established that.

It's not who is right that is important to me, it is what is right.




Except maybe I have simply just been loose with my language! Perhaps it is just me, unable to contemplate beyond my microcosm, but I am aware of two things. One is that I didn't choose disbelief in deities over belief. Two is that I am unable to choose to believe that which I don't. In fact,

I tried to believe - in many ways for many years. Once all of these deities revealed their unbelievability disbelief was the only option, all other "choices" removed. And there remains nothing left to choose from, unless I employ irrational reasoning or pure madness to believe that which I don't.

Are there ways to arrive at disbelief of a claim by choice? It certainly didn't seem to happen that way for me.


Let's eliminate the grammar and language issues and be clear about what you are saying.

Are you saying that It is impossible for you, personally to believe in any god? Based on information you have your deductive powers are so good ( a regular Sherlock Holmes) that you have concluded without any shadow of a doubt that God does NOT exist? ... even though you have no proof to support your belief?

Is that what you mean?



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