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Old 02-13-2013, 10:33   #601
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Originally Posted by void * View Post
Of course. I never claimed that it was something that happened to them. I claimed that you cannot infer intent or motivation from the mere fact that something is an act. Yet, your argument demands that the mere fact it is defined as an act require that the act be non-conditional - because it has to be a non-conditional, non-provisional act for the act to be equivalent to the act of a theist believing in a deity on the basis of faith.

So your argument rests on an unjustified assumption that merely being an act says something about the motivation behind the act.



I'm not requesting that you generalize. I'm requesting that you stop generalizing, because your entire argument rests on an untrue generalization.



I am not pretending everyone is the same. Why do you make statements worded to imply that the person you are talking with has claimed something they haven't? You've done so twice in your response so far.



This may well be true, if it were possible to prove the posit "There are no deities" (which, imho, it is not) - but every time the question 'What would convince you otherwise' is asked, the people who respond "Nothing" are invariably theists. This is not to say that all theists would respond with nothing, or that all atheists would claim something - just that when it actually happens, in threads on this forum, you can bet money on many theists claiming "Nothing" or the equivalent - yet I can't recall a single time a self-identified atheist has done so, and if there has been such a case (I'm sure there's probably at least one atheist out there who holds such a position), they are *far* outnumbered by the theists who do so.

That piece of data ought to tell you something - but, of course, I can't expect you to admit that the sides have different probability of answering the question "What evidence would change your mind" with "nothing", because your entire argument rests on the idea that there cannot be such a differential in attitude towards beliefs held, they both have to be "religion". So - you must ignore the evidence, right? No matter how convoluted your argument must become, no matter how obvious you have to make it that you avoid answering simple questions (such as "Do you believe?"), you cannot admit that people who reject the posit "There is a deity" can do so with a different basis than those who accept the posit.

You can't even admit that as an agnostic, you yourself have to be rejecting the posit "There is a deity", since you're at the very least provisionally rejecting it if you cannot truthfully say you accept it - and a provisional rejection is still a rejection.

I accept that the posit that a deity has existed may be possible. It's also possible that one has not. Live and let live. A first amendment approach is that any person has a right to choose to believe what they want and freely participate, as long as they are not hurting anyone else. Yes there will be differences of opinion on certain positions, such as abortion, but for the most part, there is currently a reasonable accommodation. A woman can get one if they want one. I consider that about as elective as a breast augmentation in the absence of disease. It should be paid for by the individual that wants it.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:50   #602
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Occam's razor: Therazor states that one should proceed to simpler theories until simplicity can be traded for greater explanatory power.

Please tell me how that applies to you stating "Things happened precisely they way they happened."?
The fewest number of assumptions possible would be zero.

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Assumptions about what? Supernatural isn't about perspective, it's about what we know and can prove regarding the physical laws of the world we live in. Are you honestly trying to argue that an omnipotent, omnipresesnt, omniscient creator that has always existed is *not* supernatural? Really?
If, and it's a big if, with all being assumptions, but if an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent being existed and created the universe and life, that would be natural. You'd have to ask that deity to find out how it used it's natural ability to accomplish all of that. It would only appear magical until you were made to understand.

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When did I ever claim the BBT was supernatural?
You didn't directly claim it, but said "Supernatural based on what we understand as natural laws today." The BBT includes a time at which the laws of physics as we know them today did not apply. I'm pointing out is that is the way it happened, it's not supernatural either.

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If it was started by a god, in the way that the VAST majority of civilizations describe gods, it would most certainly be supernatural. Controversial? Certainly that, as well. What's your point?
.

Only just what I said.

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Powerful argument.
If you're looking for how what is came to be, I don't know, you'll have to ask someone else and decide what to believe on your own.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:54   #603
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A vacuous truth and a reasonable analogy for all of CavDoc's posts.
Nature may abhor a vacuum. On how we got here, humans most certainly do most often and fill in the blanks with a version of atheism or theism the way they choose to.

It is interesting that atheists are outnumbered by agnostics. Seems like GTRI is a demographic anomaly.

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Old 02-13-2013, 11:56   #604
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I accept that the posit that a deity has existed may be possible. It's also possible that one has not. Live and let live.
Accepting it as possible is not the same as accepting or rejecting that it is true. Yet again you make a statement that implies something never argued.

Many things are possible. It is possible there is an incorporeal duck pulling incorporeal strings that fire particular neurons of yours that eventually result in your expression of your position that atheism is a religion - no one can prove or disprove it. It's in exactly the same place as the posit that a deity created everything, with respect to provability. Yet I'd bet that, whether you admit it or not, you've already rejected the idea that there is an incorporeal duck pulling incorporeal strings that fires your neurons - and I'd bet you don't consider that rejection religious, either. So why can't you just admit that it is possible that there are atheists who are not lying when they say their rejection of the posit 'there is a deity' is done in a like manner that does not make it religious?

Oh, yeah - because that would require you to admit that your position doesn't hold water.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:35   #605
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Accepting it as possible is not the same as accepting or rejecting that it is true. Yet again you make a statement that implies something never argued.

Many things are possible. It is possible there is an incorporeal duck pulling incorporeal strings that fire particular neurons of yours that eventually result in your expression of your position that atheism is a religion - no one can prove or disprove it. It's in exactly the same place as the posit that a deity created everything, with respect to provability. Yet I'd bet that, whether you admit it or not, you've already rejected the idea that there is an incorporeal duck pulling incorporeal strings that fires your neurons - and I'd bet you don't consider that rejection religious, either. So why can't you just admit that it is possible that there are atheists who are not lying when they say their rejection of the posit 'there is a deity' is done in a like manner that does not make it religious?

Oh, yeah - because that would require you to admit that your position doesn't hold water.
We've been talking for a while, I have long said that many self described atheists do not seem religious, but there are many that are.

BTW: notice how that was answered without any ridicule or thinly veiled ad Homs. Try it sometime.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:38   #606
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Nature may abhor a vacuum.
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Old 02-13-2013, 13:23   #607
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And then there are the evangelical atheists. It seems there is a higher percentage of those here than in the general populace.
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Old 02-13-2013, 14:15   #608
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CavDoc, can we agree that a person either holds a belief in dieties or lacks a belief in dieties?

If so, which camp do you find yourself in? Please notice I said "belief" not "able to prove" or "believe is possible". You either believe that one or more gods exist, or you lack that belief. There is no middle ground when it comes to faith.
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Old 02-13-2013, 14:16   #609
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We've been talking for a while, I have long said that many self described atheists do not seem religious, but there are many that are.
Yet you still describe atheism as a religion - and you tell those self described atheists that they are not atheists, but agnostics. Despite the fact that they describe themselves as both atheist and agnostic. So you're effectively claiming that their self-identification is not true.

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BTW: notice how that was answered without any ridicule or thinly veiled ad Homs. Try it sometime.
What, precisely, was an ad-hom?

It is entirely true, for instance, that if you admitted that holding the position that deities do not exist, on a provisional and conditional basis, is not the same as holding the position that deities exist on faith, your argument that atheism is a religion entirely collapses. It also appears to me that you think that people who self-identify as atheist are misidentifying themselves (and therefore effectively lying). Both are relevant in the context of the point I was making. They're not ad-homs, given that they are both apparently true *and* explain the fact that you have been unwilling to make certain admissions.

If it's not true that you hold that people who self-identify as atheist, yet hold the position that there are no deities on a provisional basis in a manner which mean that their position is not religious, are actually 'agnostics' and should not self-identify as atheists (despite the fact that many of them, including myself, plainly state that they are *also* agnostic), please plainly state so, and I will gladly retract my statement. If you do so, of course, I would expect that in the future you would not claim that atheism is a religion, but merely what it actually is - the lack belief in deities.

So fess up, CD: Is it your contention that the people who self-identify as atheists, in this forum, but whose disbelief is conditional and therefore not religious, are actually atheist, or not? Do you think they're lying to themselves (whether they know it or not) when they self-identify as atheist, or do you think they're telling the truth?
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Last edited by void *; 02-13-2013 at 14:26..
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Old 02-13-2013, 14:21   #610
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The fewest number of assumptions possible would be zero.
And how do we get to that point of zero assumptions? By creating a theory and testing it, correct? Along the way we end up with evidence that either supports or detracts from the original theory. Saying "It happened exactly how it happened" gets us no closer to figuring out anything.



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If, and it's a big if, with all being assumptions, but if an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent being existed and created the universe and life, that would be natural. You'd have to ask that deity to find out how it used it's natural ability to accomplish all of that. It would only appear magical until you were made to understand.
It would be natural for that being, yes. However, that being is outside of our natural world, by necessity. Hence, still supernatural to us and our reality.



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You didn't directly claim it, but said "Supernatural based on what we understand as natural laws today." The BBT includes a time at which the laws of physics as we know them today did not apply. I'm pointing out is that is the way it happened, it's not supernatural either.
It would be outside of our laws of physics currently, yes, but not at that point in time. At that time, it may not have been supernatural, but we don't know that portion of the BBT is correct. It's just our best guess up to this point - with evidence to support it.

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If you're looking for how what is came to be, I don't know, you'll have to ask someone else and decide what to believe on your own.
I already know what I believe to be most probable. When did I ask you, of all people, to decide that for me? I'm trying to decipher what YOU think, not what I think.
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Old 02-13-2013, 14:29   #611
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Originally Posted by hooligan74 View Post
CavDoc, can we agree that a person either holds a belief in dieties or lacks a belief in dieties?

If so, which camp do you find yourself in? Please notice I said "belief" not "able to prove" or "believe is possible". You either believe that one or more gods exist, or you lack that belief. There is no middle ground when it comes to faith.
Honestly, there is middle ground. I believe that either possibility is possible. Yes, No & Maybe are all valid answers to the question.
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Old 02-13-2013, 14:33   #612
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Yes, No & Maybe are all valid answers to the question.
Sure.

However, is "Maybe" the same thing as "Yes?". That's the point here - if you're not honestly answering "Yes", you do not believe it, even if your answer is "maybe".
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Old 02-13-2013, 14:36   #613
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Honestly, there is middle ground. I believe that either possibility is possible. Yes, No & Maybe are all valid answers to the question.
I believe that either of the two is *possible*, as well. That's not an answer.

Either you do *believe*, not "know" or "can prove" or "allow for the possibility of" gods, or you do not. There is absolutely no third option when it comes to whether or not you believe something exists. You either do or you don't. It's completely binary.

If I said "CavDoc, do you believe gods exist?" and you answer "I believe gods could possibly exist." that doesn't answer the question.

Either you believe gods exist, or you lack a belief that gods exist.

I lack a belief that gods exist while still recognizing the possibility that they might.
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Old 02-13-2013, 14:37   #614
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Yet you still describe atheism as a religion - and you tell those self described atheists that they are not atheists, but agnostics. Despite the fact that they describe themselves as both atheist and agnostic. So you're effectively claiming that their self-identification is not true.



What, precisely, was an ad-hom?

It is entirely true, for instance, that if you admitted that holding the position that deities do not exist, on a provisional and conditional basis, is not the same as holding the position that deities exist on faith, your argument that atheism is a religion entirely collapses. It also appears to me that you think that people who self-identify as atheist are misidentifying themselves (and therefore effectively lying). Both are relevant in the context of the point I was making. They're not ad-homs, given that they are both apparently true *and* explain the fact that you have been unwilling to make certain admissions.

If it's not true that you hold that people who self-identify as atheist, yet hold the position that there are no deities on a provisional basis in a manner which mean that their position is not religious, are actually 'agnostics' and should not self-identify as atheists (despite the fact that many of them, including myself, plainly state that they are *also* agnostic), please plainly state so, and I will gladly retract my statement. If you do so, of course, I would expect that in the future you would not claim that atheism is a religion, but merely what it actually is - the lack belief in deities.

So fess up, CD: Is it your contention that the people who self-identify as atheists, in this forum, but whose disbelief is conditional and therefore not religious, are actually atheist, or not? Do you think they're lying to themselves (whether they know it or not) when they self-identify as atheist, or do you think they're telling the truth?
In short, I agree with the MW definition of atheist.

Everyone has their own opinion on how they see others, and how they see themselves.
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Old 02-13-2013, 14:38   #615
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Sure.

However, is "Maybe" the same thing as "Yes?". That's the point here - if you're not honestly answering "Yes", you do not believe it, even if your answer is "maybe".

Bingo.
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Old 02-13-2013, 14:39   #616
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Sure.

However, is "Maybe" the same thing as "Yes?". That's the point here - if you're not honestly answering "Yes", you do not believe it, even if your answer is "maybe".
I tend to avoid digital answers when another would be more honest for me.

But I'm not trying to get anyone to change their belief, just explaining my own. I do not have faith that any particular deity is one that may exist or have existed, or even that it has correctly been identified.

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Old 02-13-2013, 14:47   #617
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I tend to avoid digital answers when another would be more honest for me.

But I'm not trying to get anyone to change their belief, just explaining my own.
But you're not explaining your own belief, that's the point we're making.

Saying "it's possible" is not answering or explaining what YOU believe *is*.
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Old 02-13-2013, 14:51   #618
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It would be outside of our laws of physics currently, yes, but not at that point in time.
The math used to model the laws doesn't have any meaning at that particular point. It's somewhat like a divide by zero.

That's a different ball of wax than CD's statement that the laws of physics as we know them today did not apply. Our understanding of the laws of physics may not be complete, or it may not be possible to describe that particular state using any mathematical model, etc. Saying that it means 'physical laws as we know them did not apply' is a stretch.
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Old 02-13-2013, 15:04   #619
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But you're not explaining your own belief, that's the point we're making.

Saying "it's possible" is not answering or explaining what YOU believe *is*.
That's a good description of what an agnostic is. I don't claim to know what happened hundreds of millions of years ago with any certainty. I can still channel surf on the TV and figure out what I feel like watching, pick what to have for lunch, even what career I want to work in.

It causes me no pain or discomfort to accept that. As I've said before, it rarely comes up in conversation outside of GT.

Why do you think so many that describe themselves here as atheists and agnostics evangelize so aggressively?

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Old 02-13-2013, 15:07   #620
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That's a good description of what an agnostic is. I don't claim to know what happened hundreds of millions of years ago with any certainty. I can still channel surf on the TV and figure out what I feel like watching, pick whatnot have for lunch, even what career I want to work in.
And none of that addresses whether you believe gods exist or not. Knowing != believing.


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It causes me no pain or discomfort to accept that. As I've said before, it rarely comes up in conversation outside of GT.
It causes me no pain to accept that I don't *know* whether gods exist, either. What's your point?

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Why do you think so many that describe themselves here as atheists and agnostics evangelize so aggressively?
I certainly have no idea, nor do I care. Why are bringing this up? It's certainly not part of the discussion at hand.

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