Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

Atheism, secularism & freethought etc.

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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#61  Postby Keep It Real » Aug 13, 2018 8:05 pm

BlackBart wrote:
Keep It Real wrote:Much as with Sadam's WMDs, Nessie could have been moved on the sly, no?

Do you have evidence for either being moved? No? Why would I need to accept they have then?

I don't and you wouldn't, the point is that Nessie/WMDs existence is not completely falsifiable, as with gods'


BlackBart wrote:
Keep It Real wrote:Which Gods? I seem to recall a certain mountain climbing exercise involving mount Olympus...


And how would that make them falsifiable exactly?


The ancient Greeks believed their pantheon of gods lived on top of mount Olympus. When it was eventually climbed there was nothing there so the existence of the pantheon was falsified (to an adequate degree). Why the existence of Yahweh isn't adequately falsified by the suffering of the innocents alone is a mystery, to me at least.
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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#62  Postby Fallible » Aug 13, 2018 8:26 pm

Keep It Real wrote:
Fallible wrote:
Keep It Real wrote:Well, back to the margarine, I'd hardly call it a Herculean struggle to believe there isn't any in the fridge, more a position where one has slid off the fence (perhaps the margarine was used to grease it).


I didn't say how hard it was to believe. I merely asked you why you would waste the energy. Even if it's only a tiny effort, why bother expending it to believe in not-god?

It's less effort than naming the country of which Trump is president, or stating how many fingers you've got. I know you work hard but it really is an infinitesimal amount of effort, if any at all.


I asked you why you would bother.

Yes, it does.


No, it doesn't.

2) The words we use are not without utility. Seriously?


Seriously what? Again, why would you care how it sounds over whether it is apt?

Fallible wrote:
and given how much religion poisons everything sliding off said fence in such a way might make mrs atheist more "tooled up" - seems that way to me anyway.


Question 1 - who is 'mrs atheist'?

Question 2 - what do you mean 'tooled up'?

Statement - your false equivalence is showing regarding belief and religion.


1) Any/all atheists
2) With effective "weapons" at ones disposal (NB. Irrelevant to the apathetic/uninterested atheist).


Then no, it wouldn't make mrs atheist 'tooled up'. I guarantee you, most atheists don't bother believing in not-god. They just go about their day. They don't go around sliding off fences in order to have effective weapons at their disposal. They just sit there. Weapons effective for what, by the way?

I dislike both religion and belief in all guises so far encountered :dunno:


So do you believe in not-god, or do you lack belief? Your OP seems to suggest believing in no margarine (no god) is fair and reasonable. Perhaps you only dislike beliefs that you personally don't hold.

Also, your personal taste has no bearing on you incorrectly equating religion to belief by using said quote. The quote is not 'belief poisons everything'.
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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#63  Postby BlackBart » Aug 13, 2018 9:18 pm

Keep It Real wrote:
BlackBart wrote:
Keep It Real wrote:Much as with Sadam's WMDs, Nessie could have been moved on the sly, no?

Do you have evidence for either being moved? No? Why would I need to accept they have then?

I don't and you wouldn't, the point is that Nessie/WMDs existence is not completely falsifiable, as with gods'


BlackBart wrote:
Keep It Real wrote:Which Gods? I seem to recall a certain mountain climbing exercise involving mount Olympus...


And how would that make them falsifiable exactly?



The ancient Greeks believed their pantheon of gods lived on top of mount Olympus. When it was eventually climbed there was nothing there so the existence of the pantheon was falsified (to an adequate degree).

The ancient Greeks believed their pantheon of gods lived on top of mount Olympus.




Not quite. The claim is they could move around - Poseidon manifested in the oceans and Hades lived in the Underworld and Zeus vanquished Typhon at Mount Etna - they weren't limited to Olympus. Their absence there isn't a falsification of the claim that Greek Gods exist.




Why the existence of Yahweh isn't adequately falsified by the suffering of the innocents alone is a mystery, to me at least.


Because the existence of suffering could also mean that this 'Yahweh' was merely an arsehole.
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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#64  Postby BWE » Aug 13, 2018 9:24 pm

or that we somehow misunderstand the nature of suffering.
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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#65  Postby laklak » Aug 14, 2018 2:46 am

Gets you closer to Jebus. This is actually true, I banged my finger today with a hammer and the first thing I said was "Jesus Fucking Christ!"
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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#66  Postby Hermit » Aug 14, 2018 3:15 am

Keep It Real wrote:Well, back to the margarine, I'd hardly call it a Herculean struggle to believe there isn't any in the fridge, more a position where one has slid off the fence (perhaps the margarine was used to grease it). "I lack belief in gods" sounds wishy-washy, weak, lame, avoidant, non-commital etc and given how much religion poisons everything sliding off said fence in such a way might make mrs atheist more "tooled up" - seems that way to me anyway.

Unlike your tub of margarine, god is defined in such a way that his existence cannot be tested for. John Wisdom illustrated this with this little story*:

GODS

Two people return to their long-neglected garden and find among the weeds a few of the old plants surprisingly vigorous. One says to the other, “It must be that a gardener has been coming and doing something about these plants.” Upon enquiry they find no neighbour has seen anyone at work in their garden. The first man says to the other, “He must have worked while people slept.” The other says, “No, someone would have heard him and besides, anyone who cared about the plants would have kept down these weeds.” The first man says, “Look at the way these are arranged. There is purpose and feeling for beauty here. I believe that someone comes, someone invisible to mortal eyes. I believe that the more carefully we look the more we shall find confirmation of this.” They examine the garden ever so carefully and sometimes they come upon new things suggesting the contrary and even that a malicious person has been at work. Besides examining the garden carefully, they also study what happens to gardens left without attention. Each learns all the other learns about this and about the garden. Consequently, when after all this, one says, “I still believe a gardener comes,” while the other says, “I don’t,” their different words now reflect no difference as to what they have found in the garden, no difference as to what they would find in the garden if they looked further, and no difference as to how fast untended gardens fall into disorder. At this stage, in this context, the gardener hypothesis has ceased to be experimental; the difference between one who accepts and one who rejects is now not a matter of the one expecting something the other does not expect. What is the difference between them? The one says: “A gardener comes unseen and unheard. He is manifested only in his works with which we are all familiar.” The other says, “There is no gardener.” And with this difference in what they say about the gardener goes a difference in how they feel toward the garden, in spite of the fact that neither expects anything of it which the other does not expect.
(My emphasis)

In short, you cannot disprove the existence of something that cannot be made subject to an empirical test. All you can do is to say: "In the absence of empirical evidence I lack a belief in this thing's existence."

*Wisdom, John, “Gods” from Proceedings of the Aristotelean Society, Vol. XLV, 1944-5, p. 45
God is the mysterious veil under which we hide our ignorance of the cause. - Léo Errera


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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#67  Postby Cito di Pense » Aug 14, 2018 4:51 am

Hermit wrote:
In short, you cannot disprove the existence of something that cannot be made subject to an empirical test. All you can do is to say: "In the absence of empirical evidence I lack a belief in this thing's existence."

*Wisdom, John, “Gods” from Proceedings of the Aristotelean Society, Vol. XLV, 1944-5, p. 45


Well, that's what comes of John Wisdom's sniffing the glue of the logic that is not formal logic. Such as he will narrow the definition of empirical testing until it has nothing to do with the gathering of empirical knowledge and reverts to creating definitions of cases that prohibit empirical testing. This divides the study of religion from the study of human history and culture. What John Wisdom (strange name for a guy like that) has done is to transform the problem of gods into generating confusion about what 'empirical' denotes until it means nothing more than turning over a stone to inspect the mud, the way a five-year-old would do science.

If it's just too much work to get beyond saying "I lack belief in deities", it's also way too much work to start leafing through the Proceedings of the Aristotelean Society for something with which to support this lack of belief.

The god that created the cosmos was invented by ignorant goat-roasters who knew nothing about modern physical cosmology or the scale of the universe, and who also knew nothing about neuroscience sufficient to understand their own raptures or wishes for an afterlife.

Forest sprites were invented by ignorant people with smaller-scale wishes just to be charmed, and you can lump Nessie and the Expanding Earth nonsense in with their cases.

What other gods would not be lame copies of these? Why would anyone reject taking in this empirical knowledge of human history and behavioral foibles in order to critique statements that "'there aren't any gods' is a belief unsupported by evidence". You have to descend to the depths of the Middle Ages to find people like Aquinas who thought it would be a good idea to divorce the study of religion from human history. It's understandable that the only folks with knowledge of history at that time would try a stunt like that.

Gods that haven't been described yet will be described by people who demonstrably should know better. Their efforts will be nothing more than the old search for something to worship, the aforementioned wish to be charmed.
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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#68  Postby Hermit » Aug 14, 2018 5:36 am

Cito di Pense wrote:
Hermit wrote:
In short, you cannot disprove the existence of something that cannot be made subject to an empirical test. All you can do is to say: "In the absence of empirical evidence I lack a belief in this thing's existence."

*Wisdom, John, “Gods” from Proceedings of the Aristotelean Society, Vol. XLV, 1944-5, p. 45


Well, that's what comes of John Wisdom's sniffing the glue of the logic that is not formal logic. Such as he will narrow the definition of empirical testing until it has nothing to do with the gathering of empirical knowledge and reverts to creating definitions of cases that prohibit empirical testing.

That piece was obviously not short and simple enough for you to follow. Try again when you're not so confused.
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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#69  Postby Cito di Pense » Aug 14, 2018 6:18 am

Hermit wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
Hermit wrote:
In short, you cannot disprove the existence of something that cannot be made subject to an empirical test. All you can do is to say: "In the absence of empirical evidence I lack a belief in this thing's existence."

*Wisdom, John, “Gods” from Proceedings of the Aristotelean Society, Vol. XLV, 1944-5, p. 45


Well, that's what comes of John Wisdom's sniffing the glue of the logic that is not formal logic. Such as he will narrow the definition of empirical testing until it has nothing to do with the gathering of empirical knowledge and reverts to creating definitions of cases that prohibit empirical testing.

That piece was obviously not short and simple enough for you to follow. Try again when you're not so confused.


The concept of gods is not really flexible enough to be made into something not subject to empirical testing in the ways I've indicated. To say that denying the possible existence of gods is a belief unsupported by evidence is itself nothing more than a belief constructed in a really lame, glue-sniffing example of non-formal logic. You haven't even managed that, and to salve the perceived insult at having seen such a lame effort dismissed, you resort to insulting me personally.

I'm not committed to persuading you to use your fucking brain, rather than just what feels to you like using your brain. You're welcome to whatever dogmatic system floats your boat. If your personal definition of gods includes their not being subject to empirical testing, then I say, "Wow. What a great way to preserve the concept of gods. Maybe they're useful, after all." But that is only the argument that the theists use, and you don't want to use their shit, do you?

My approach works best when arguing face to face with people who actually do believe in gods. You should try it sometime, but that would mean you'd have to master an argument, instead of citing your scriptures.
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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#70  Postby Hermit » Aug 14, 2018 6:43 am

Cito di Pense wrote:
Hermit wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
Hermit wrote:
In short, you cannot disprove the existence of something that cannot be made subject to an empirical test. All you can do is to say: "In the absence of empirical evidence I lack a belief in this thing's existence."

*Wisdom, John, “Gods” from Proceedings of the Aristotelean Society, Vol. XLV, 1944-5, p. 45


Well, that's what comes of John Wisdom's sniffing the glue of the logic that is not formal logic. Such as he will narrow the definition of empirical testing until it has nothing to do with the gathering of empirical knowledge and reverts to creating definitions of cases that prohibit empirical testing.

That piece was obviously not short and simple enough for you to follow. Try again when you're not so confused.

The concept of gods is not really flexible enough to be made into something not subject to empirical testing in the ways I've indicated.

Seems you have not heard of the Divine Watchmaker, the argument that maybe god doesn't want to be empirically evident, and various other devices by which gods escape empirical testing. Many Christian denominations are particularly keen on the latter. We are after all supposed to have faith in skydaddy.
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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#71  Postby Cito di Pense » Aug 14, 2018 6:45 am

Hermit wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
Hermit wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:

Well, that's what comes of John Wisdom's sniffing the glue of the logic that is not formal logic. Such as he will narrow the definition of empirical testing until it has nothing to do with the gathering of empirical knowledge and reverts to creating definitions of cases that prohibit empirical testing.

That piece was obviously not short and simple enough for you to follow. Try again when you're not so confused.

The concept of gods is not really flexible enough to be made into something not subject to empirical testing in the ways I've indicated.

Seems you have not heard of the Divine Watchmaker, the argument that maybe god doesn't want to be empirically evident, and various other devices by which gods escape empirical testing. Many Christian denominations are particularly keen on the latter. We are after all supposed to have faith in skydaddy.


The Divine Watchmaker is nonetheless a creator god.

If you want to be beholden to the theists' own definitions of what constitutes a god, you're more than welcome to do that. I think they're full of shit, and I'm not interested in finding ways to be sympathetic to their plight, or at least not to have to use such harsh terms with them. You don't actually find the Divine Watchmaker argument compelling, do you? The fact that theists will continue to counter my argument with ever-more-creative ways to tuck their god away where I can't attack it is their problem, and not mine.

The point, again, is even the Divine Watchmaker is a lame copy of the creator god invented by the ignorant goat-roasters. If you disagree, how is it creative enough for you to suggest that this is what makes gods not subject to empirical testing rather than a crude shell-game? The goat-roasters decided that the cosmos itself is evidence of their deity, but that's something you recognize as a circular argument in your signature line.
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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#72  Postby Keep It Real » Aug 14, 2018 6:58 am

Cito di Pense wrote:The fact that theists will continue to counter my argument with ever-more-creative ways to tuck their god away where I can't attack it...


Not just theists, by the looks of things. Talk about god of the gaps.
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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#73  Postby Cito di Pense » Aug 14, 2018 7:06 am

Keep It Real wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:The fact that theists will continue to counter my argument with ever-more-creative ways to tuck their god away where I can't attack it...


Not just theists, by the looks of things. Talk about god of the gaps.


This whole dust-up now seems to swing not least in the direction of whether or not to take theists seriously. My response to the Divine Watchmaker argument is that it sounds suspiciously like the creator god with a tummy tuck, fresh eyeliner, and lipgloss.

That some people find theistic arguments compelling does not speak to whether the concept of deities is really not subject to empirical inspection.
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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#74  Postby Keep It Real » Aug 14, 2018 7:16 am

If there are gods it seems glaringly obvious to me they want us to believe they don't exist, as evinced by their leaving sweet FA pointing to their existence along with, for example, the suffering of the innocents.
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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#75  Postby Cito di Pense » Aug 14, 2018 7:23 am

Keep It Real wrote:If there are gods it seems glaringly obvious to me they want us to believe they don't exist, as evinced by there leaving sweet FA pointing to their existence along with, for example, the suffering of the innocents.


Why would anyone who did not have a need for deities suggest there are gods that are hiding from us? The concept of gods was invented by ignorant goat-roasters, and then elaborated, and it is that concept you are suggesting now has the property of "wanting us not to believe in them". I mean, the ancient idiotic goat-roaster deities came pre-packaged with their very own desire and commands to be worshiped, so the "wanting us not to believe in them" is only the negation of that, which helps if you find the former sort of gods unsavory. Their opposite number should do the trick in a pinch. This isn't really about deities, but about the contortions endured by people with theistic inclinations.
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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#76  Postby Fallible » Aug 14, 2018 7:24 am

Keep It Real wrote:If there are gods it seems glaringly obvious to me they want us to believe they don't exist, as evinced by their leaving sweet FA pointing to their existence along with, for example, the suffering of the innocents.


Are you going to answer my question?
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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#77  Postby Keep It Real » Aug 14, 2018 7:39 am

Fallible wrote:Seriously what? Again, why would you care how it sounds over whether it is apt?

Because weapons and anyway I think it is apt.

Fallible wrote:Weapons effective for what, by the way?

Killing (spiritual?)belief/religion.

Fallible wrote:So do you believe in not-god, or do you lack belief?

As an illustrative example I'll say I 51% think there are no gods who give a fuck about planet earth and its inhabitants. That is, of course, not the whole story, but in the context of the question and the prevailing religions/beliefs of our time I do indeed believe in not-god.
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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#78  Postby BWE » Aug 14, 2018 8:17 am

Hermit wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
Hermit wrote:
In short, you cannot disprove the existence of something that cannot be made subject to an empirical test. All you can do is to say: "In the absence of empirical evidence I lack a belief in this thing's existence."

*Wisdom, John, “Gods” from Proceedings of the Aristotelean Society, Vol. XLV, 1944-5, p. 45


Well, that's what comes of John Wisdom's sniffing the glue of the logic that is not formal logic. Such as he will narrow the definition of empirical testing until it has nothing to do with the gathering of empirical knowledge and reverts to creating definitions of cases that prohibit empirical testing.

That piece was obviously not short and simple enough for you to follow. Try again when you're not so confused.

In cito's own, special way, I think his point is valid. We can empirically examine beliefs as generated from something. Any attributes pinned to a god were put there by a human and presumably were attempts to explain empirical experience. Knowing what models were available to historical people, we can dismiss magic as an incommensurable concept with the modern paradigm. It and all its progeny are a failed paradigm. Meaningless in the physics paradigm.
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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#79  Postby Fallible » Aug 14, 2018 8:22 am

Keep It Real wrote:
Fallible wrote:Seriously what? Again, why would you care how it sounds over whether it is apt?

Because weapons and anyway I think it is apt.


OK, you've got confused about what I'm saying and what you're saying. We are talking about the phrase 'I have no belief in'. I'm the one who thinks this is an apt description. You are the one who is more interested in how the phrase sounds, and seem to think it's not apt...even though you don't seem to have any reason to say so. I don't believe in any gods. It's not my fault that non-belief looks wishy-washy to you. I don't know what you mean by 'because weapons'. I don't need weapons.

Fallible wrote:Weapons effective for what, by the way?

Killing (spiritual?)belief/religion.


No, look, people who don't have any belief in god because they are happy to 'sit on the fence', as you put it, aren't arsed about killing spiritual belief or religion. They don't have need of weapons. Even those who believe in not-gods mostly aren't interested in killing anything.

Fallible wrote:So do you believe in not-god, or do you lack belief?

As an illustrative example I'll say I 51% think there are no gods who give a fuck about planet earth and its inhabitants. That is, of course, not the whole story, but in the context of the question and the prevailing religions/beliefs of our time I do indeed believe in not-god.


So how does that fit with your statement that you dislike belief in all its guises so far encountered?

I think you might want to refresh your memory about what we're discussing, and your position. You are getting a bit muddled up between no-god believers, non-believers and anti-theists, among other things.
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Re: Lack of belief in gods =/= believing there are no gods?

#80  Postby BWE » Aug 14, 2018 8:53 am

Meh. Have no belief is inaccurate in most cases. Mostly someone proposes a belief and we decide whether to believe it. It's more accurate for most people to say, no, I actively do not believe in the dumbass thing you are proposing.
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