Atheist Christmas Advertising

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Greyarcher
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Greyarcher » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:56 pm UTC

bobjoesmith wrote:Would not evangelical atheism just be another religion?
Nah. Atheism is fundamentally just, "We don't accept those religious beliefs". Evangelical atheism might have a set of arguments they think are good reasons, making it "We don't accept those religious beliefs because of X, Y, and Z." But really, evangelical just means they'd try and convince other people that they don't have good reasons for believing (or there are good reasons not to believe).

Trying to convince people of something doesn't make you a religion.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Glass Fractal » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:04 am UTC

bobjoesmith wrote:Would not evangelical atheism just be another religion?


A religions are sets of beliefs. Atheism is one belief. So atheism can never be a religion, though a religion could conceivably be created that includes atheism.

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Greyarcher » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:13 am UTC

Glass Fractal wrote:Atheism is one belief.
Possibly zero beliefs. "I don't believe in gods; I've never seen enough reasons to" would basically be zero belief atheism.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Xeio » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:26 am UTC

bobjoesmith wrote:Would not evangelical militant atheism just be another religion?
Fix'd

Though wikipedia puts atheism under the heading irreligious. So it's more accurate to say it's the lack of any other religion.

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby mmmcannibalism » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:05 am UTC

You were doing fine right until the bold part. Accepting a statement as true without being able to prove it is illogical. 'God exists' and 'god does not exist' are both unproven propositions, so strictly speaking, being certain of either one is illogical. Formally speaking, every rational person is agnostic. (Or would be, if there were such a thing as a rational person.)


Rational people could consider the concept of god deductively impossible or possible for certain definitions of god. This then becomes a debate over whether the proof is valid.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby doogly » Mon Dec 06, 2010 2:29 am UTC

Xeio wrote:
bobjoesmith wrote:Would not evangelical militant atheism just be another religion?
Fix'd

No, that fixes nothing. It is exactly as greyarcher said: trying to convince people of something doesn't make it a religion. The same goes even if you utilize weaponry as a technique to convince people.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Cryopyre » Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:33 am UTC

Xeio wrote:thus capitalism is still good

Good one ol' chum.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby duckshirt » Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:10 am UTC

Greyarcher wrote:
Glass Fractal wrote:Atheism is one belief.
Possibly zero beliefs. "I don't believe in gods; I've never seen enough reasons to" would basically be zero belief atheism.
I'd still say that's a belief that "God probably doesn't exist." At least, in a practical sense, they aren't automatically excused from having to defend their position...
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Aetius » Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:13 am UTC

duckshirt wrote:
Aetius wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:It's a fair point you make, that religion is a problem because it can convert nonasses to asses.


I think it was Steven Weinberg who put it: "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion. "
And for evil people to do good?


Economics.

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby sje46 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:36 am UTC

Glass Fractal wrote:
bobjoesmith wrote:Would not evangelical atheism just be another religion?


A religions are sets of beliefs. Atheism is one belief. So atheism can never be a religion, though a religion could conceivably be created that includes atheism.

There are two types of atheism.

Strong atheism: No gods exist.

(that's a belief!)

Weak atheism: lack of belief in god

(that's not a belief!)

You are correct that atheism by itself can not be a religion, even strong atheism, since that's only one belief. There are indeed atheistic religions, however.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Dargon Cophe » Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:54 am UTC

Spoiler:
Off-topic, thus spoiled. What's it called when you believe but have a lack of faith in God(s)? Because I totally believe in Mantorok.


Uh...being apathetic is still a belief. If you only response was "Who gives a shit?", then you would lack a belief; you must have never come to a conclusion on the subject. Which is damn near impossible with all the billboards and such.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby doogly » Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:55 am UTC

The strong/weak thing is just nonsense. If you don't believe in gods, you believe in no gods. These are not different things.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:58 am UTC

I think it's more active denial versus no evidence to support this hypothesis.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby doogly » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:00 am UTC

Are these supposed to represent different modes of thought, or modes of conversation? Because I still don't see how they represent functionally different thoughts. If you think there is no evidence for something, you believe in not-it.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Nath » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:18 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:
You were doing fine right until the bold part. Accepting a statement as true without being able to prove it is illogical. 'God exists' and 'god does not exist' are both unproven propositions, so strictly speaking, being certain of either one is illogical. Formally speaking, every rational person is agnostic. (Or would be, if there were such a thing as a rational person.)


Rational people could consider the concept of god deductively impossible or possible for certain definitions of god. This then becomes a debate over whether the proof is valid.

True; for certain definitions of 'god', you can quite easily disprove its existence. But it's also pretty easy to come up with definitions for which this isn't the case. It's important not to run around disproving strawgods.

doogly wrote:Are these supposed to represent different modes of thought, or modes of conversation? Because I still don't see how they represent functionally different thoughts. If you think there is no evidence for something, you believe in not-it.

Not really. I just rolled a (possibly biased) die. Do you believe that I rolled a six? There's no reason to believe that. Do you believe that I didn't roll a six? There's no reason to believe that either. The rational position is to be agnostic about whether or not I rolled a six. You can come up with a probabilistic estimate for how likely I was to roll a six, based on your knowledge and intuition (Am I likely to have a biased die lying around? How strongly biased would it be?).

That's basically the weak atheist position, with dice instead of gods. There's not enough information to believe that god does or doesn't exist. But based on your biases, you might think that god probably does or does not exist. Many weak atheists (including me) think that the probability that god exists is very, very small, and I'm comfortable ignoring that slim possibility. So in a sense you're right; for most practical purposes, I might as well be a strong atheist. But I can't claim to be certain that god does not exist, so I don't truly qualify.

Of course, this is all kind of meaningless until somebody defines god.

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Zanmanoodle » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:22 am UTC

Aetius wrote:
duckshirt wrote:
Aetius wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:It's a fair point you make, that religion is a problem because it can convert nonasses to asses.


I think it was Steven Weinberg who put it: "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion. "
And for evil people to do good?


Economics.


As an Econ major, you just made my day so much better. Thank you, sir.

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby uncivlengr » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:25 am UTC

doogly wrote:Are these supposed to represent different modes of thought, or modes of conversation? Because I still don't see how they represent functionally different thoughts. If you think there is no evidence for something, you believe in not-it.
An atheist doesn't necessarily think there is no evidence for God.

Someone who says, "I'm not believing in a God until I find evidence that it exists," is an atheist, but isn't making any statement on the matter of whether or not God exists, or whether they believe such evidence exists - only on what information is available to them.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby doogly » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:30 am UTC

So who do you think "strong" atheists are?
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Dark567 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:31 am UTC

doogly wrote:So who do you think "strong" atheists are?
I am pretty sure they don't exist. Even Dawkins allows the small possibility that god exists.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby uncivlengr » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:44 am UTC

doogly wrote:So who do you think "strong" atheists are?
A so-called "strong atheist" would make the claim that there's no evidence for God because God doesn't exist.

In reality, this aren't discrete positions that one either holds or doesn't - rather, they're reference points to judge how confident a person is in their assessment of the evidence they have. An atheist is somewhere on a scale somewhere between weak ("I have no confidence in the evidence that suggests to me that there is no God") and strong ("I have full confidence in the evidence that suggests to me that there is no God").
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Gelsamel » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:45 am UTC

"Give up here?"
- > No
"Do you accept defeat?"
- > No
"Do you think games are silly little things?"
- > No
"Is it all pointless?"
- > No
"Do you admit there is no meaning to this world?"
- > No

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby mmmcannibalism » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:45 am UTC

Dark567 wrote:
doogly wrote:So who do you think "strong" atheists are?
I am pretty sure they don't exist. Even Dawkins allows the small possibility that god exists.


Hitchens?
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Gelsamel » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:49 am UTC

Hitchens is an agnostic atheist
"Give up here?"
- > No
"Do you accept defeat?"
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"Is it all pointless?"
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby sje46 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 6:56 am UTC

doogly wrote:Are these supposed to represent different modes of thought, or modes of conversation? Because I still don't see how they represent functionally different thoughts. If you think there is no evidence for something, you believe in not-it.

I could have a pet mongoose. You don't know if I do or not. Chances are that I don't, because I don't think most households have pet mongoose, but some do.

Now, is the lack of belief in me having a pet mongoose the same as the belief that I don't have a pet mongoose? One is saying "I...really don't know. I doubt it, but I'm not going to say he definitely doesn't" Because I really could, you know. Saying that I don't is a fact which you could be wrong about.

I don't mind you not knowing and asking about this, but I would appreciate if you didn't say "That's just nonsense". I gave you the terms, and the definitions on Wikipedia are pretty clear. It's pretty arrogant to just say "It's just nonsense" when you didn't take the time to fully understand it (which I'm fine with if you simply ask in this thread).

EDIT: It's my understanding that most atheists, or at least most educated atheists are level 6. I am, and Dawkins is. Only a few say "He definitely doesn't exist". It's a real possibility that some being I would refer to as a god would exist, but it just seems extremely low.

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby doogly » Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:21 am UTC

So who, other than strawmen, actually are 7?
I mean, I could see being a 7 regarding particular gods which make nonminimal claims about their existence. I'm a 7 with regards to jesus, who is supposed to have done a bunch of miraculous fucking with the natural world. I have zero evidence irrelevant gods (ie, deist folks preferred gods). I have overwhelming evidence against the claim that I am god. Most gods are in between at some finite value, but for a claim regarding "any god," the irrelevant options prevent anyone from being a 7.
I suppose one could call the noncognitivist position a 7, since it denies any gods are even candidates for existence. If so then I suppose there are more actual 7s in the world, and I might be one.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Gelsamel » Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:29 am UTC

I'd say definitions of 'God' for which one is a noncongnitivist are outside the scope of that scale.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby sje46 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:37 am UTC

doogly wrote:So who, other than strawmen, actually are 7?
My sister. Or at least she was. She's generally pretty iconoclastic. i can't think of any famous atheists who are 7s, but I only know one famous atheist very well (I haven't read Hitchens or Dennet, only Dawkins).

I mean, I could see being a 7 regarding particular gods which make nonminimal claims about their existence. I'm a 7 with regards to jesus, who is supposed to have done a bunch of miraculous fucking with the natural world. I have zero evidence irrelevant gods (ie, deist folks preferred gods). I have overwhelming evidence against the claim that I am god. Most gods are in between at some finite value, but for a claim regarding "any god," the irrelevant options prevent anyone from being a 7.
I suppose one could call the noncognitivist position a 7, since it denies any gods are even candidates for existence. If so then I suppose there are more actual 7s in the world, and I might be one.

Noncognitivists are not 7s. They have no value. They don't think "God" is a coherent concept, so how can they even begin to say whether it exists or not? Saying "God doesn't exist" means you accept "God" as a cognitively coherent concept.

I think I'm a noncognitivist in regards to the deistic God. When people say stuff like "God is love" or "God is everything" or "God is the reason why we're here". The most liberal definitions seem very wish-washy. When you consider the absolute minimum definition, "God is what created the universe". What does that even mean? It doesn't say he did it with anything approaching a personality. That definition means "The Big Bang" could be considered God. If you add "and is the arbiter of morality" that still doesn't mean anything, because...what? How can you say it exists if you can't see its effects at all? If you add "and decides whether you go to Heaven and Hell after you die", well, that's actually something you can observe (although not in the mortal sphere), and with that, I'm a 6. I'm no longer a noncognitivist at that point.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby davidstarlingm » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:00 am UTC

sje46 wrote:
doogly wrote:Are these supposed to represent different modes of thought, or modes of conversation? Because I still don't see how they represent functionally different thoughts. If you think there is no evidence for something, you believe in not-it.

I could have a pet mongoose. You don't know if I do or not. Chances are that I don't, because I don't think most households have pet mongoose, but some do.

Now, is the lack of belief in me having a pet mongoose the same as the belief that I don't have a pet mongoose? One is saying "I...really don't know. I doubt it, but I'm not going to say he definitely doesn't" Because I really could, you know. Saying that I don't is a fact which you could be wrong about.

I think most of the problem has more to do with the theists than with the atheist/soft atheist/agnostic response. Like doogly (may have) implied, I would say that one can only be 7 with respect to specific deities, not to the concept of God in general. However, thanks to theists, the concept of God has been expounded so broadly as to make a novel concept of God well-nigh incomprehensible. If one holds to the 6 position overall but has taken the 7 position with respect every deity conceivable (at least, as far as he knows), the inconceivability (yes, it means what I think it means) of other concepts of God actually existing will make him into a 7 overall.

One could separate possible god-concepts into two categories:
  • Gods which ought to have real and proximate effects on the observable universe by action of their nature
  • Gods which have no effects that could possibly be measured (either by virtue of a noninterference policy or a faith-is-necessary policy)
He might first presume (based on experience) that all god-concepts must fit into one of these categories (the fairly reasonable presumption that irrelevant options are irrelevant). He would further rule out any deities in the former category (for which cases the absence of evidence really is evidence of absence) because he sees no effects, and he would rule out deities in the latter category on the basis that no legitimate excuse for such policies could exist (not a totally bad conclusion once he has heard a thousand illegitimate excuses).

doogly wrote:I mean, I could see being a 7 regarding particular gods which make nonminimal claims about their existence. I'm a 7 with regards to jesus, who is supposed to have done a bunch of miraculous fucking with the natural world. I have zero evidence irrelevant gods (ie, deist folks preferred gods). I have overwhelming evidence against the claim that I am god. Most gods are in between at some finite value, but for a claim regarding "any god," the irrelevant options prevent anyone from being a 7.

You're a 7 with regard to Jesus, who is supposed to have performed a bunch of miracles? You know that a guy named Jesus didn't exist 2000 years ago? Or you know that no one named Jesus performed miracles 2000 years ago? Ostensibly, you weren't there; do you fit into either of the "7" categories I listed above?

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby uncivlengr » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:04 am UTC

sje46 wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectrum_of_theistic_probability
Dawkins makes the typical mistake of confusing agnosticism with "something halfway between atheism and theism".

I were absolutely impartial to the notion of whether or not a God exists, I would be a #4 on the scale, which he lists as an agnostic. However, I could very well believe that it still may be possible to demonstrate either way.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Gelsamel » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:14 am UTC

If his book is targeted towards people without degrees in philosophy then why does it matter that he uses the popular definition of agnosticism when he is describing his scale? If it really bothers you that much then just replace it in your mind with a term you believe is suitable, like "indifferent/don't know".
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby doogly » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:18 am UTC

A lot of guys named Jesus existed. My sister lives with a guy named Jesus. That sort of thing isn't a problem. It is definitely the stuff bout loaves and fishes and virgins of guadalupe and resurrection of the dead and what all have you that is a bit of an issue.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby davidstarlingm » Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:11 am UTC

doogly wrote:A lot of guys named Jesus existed. My sister lives with a guy named Jesus. That sort of thing isn't a problem. It is definitely the stuff bout loaves and fishes and virgins of guadalupe and resurrection of the dead and what all have you that is a bit of an issue.

A guy named Jesus C. (not even kidding) broke my nose a couple of months ago because he was drunk and disorderly. Stupid twerp. I should have taken his little head off....

Loaves, fishes, resurrection, and the virgins of guadeloupe? Okay. So is that a 7-because-I-see-no-evidence-even-though-I-ought-to, or a 7-because-the-concept-doesn't-sound-justifiable?

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Thirty-one » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:51 am UTC

Does "7-because-if-the-end-goal-is-to-make-people-believe,-performing-miracles-in-a-very-narrow-timespan,-in-an-age-where-they'd-be-very-poorly-documented-isn't-the-way-to-go-about-it" work? I guess it's the long form of "7-because-if-he's-so-clever,-how-come.."?".

It could be that I've taken being in touch with my inner child too far, of course. :)
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby sje46 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:08 pm UTC

It's foolish to be a 7 on any unfalsifiable matter.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Thirty-one » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:39 pm UTC

*shrug* I have to disagree. I think it's fair to presume that a god as vain as OT god would make sure people knew he was still around.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby sje46 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:44 pm UTC

Thirty-one wrote:*shrug* I have to disagree. I think it's fair to presume that a god as vain as OT god would make sure people knew he was still around.

OT god isn't unfalsifiable. He did actual physical things, things we know couldn't have happened.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Thirty-one » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:11 pm UTC

Given that Jesus claimed to be him and that's where his magical powers were supposed to come from, hasn't he then argued himself into implausibility then?
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Dec 06, 2010 2:09 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:
Thirty-one wrote:*shrug* I have to disagree. I think it's fair to presume that a god as vain as OT god would make sure people knew he was still around.

OT god isn't unfalsifiable. He did actual physical things, things we know couldn't have happened.
sigh.

No, we DON'T know they couldn't have happened. We can know that they didn't happen as laid out in the current version(s) of the Bible, and there may be individual events that we can rule out, like Noah's flood - it cannot have happened on this planet 6000 years without leaving scientifically verifiable evidence, and there isn't any. But we can't honestly say that God never spoke to Moses through a burning bush, and we can't honestly say that something similar-to-but-not-exactly-like Noah's flood never happened, either.

The Bible COULD be mostly true. But we can't verify it, and the only real evidence for its veracity is...itself, which isn't very convincing to atheists.

Honestly the turn this thread has taken has aggravated me; it's like people are trying to classify all the different sects of Christianity like Catholicism and Mormonism, except strong atheism and weak atheism and agnosticism are NOT rigid belief structures like any sect of Christianity is. They're not even belief structures at all; it's honestly pointless to debate the differences between "levels" of atheism, at least as far as any given atheist's plight of being atheist in the US. At the end of the day even the "weakest" atheist is firmly classifiable as non-Christian and also non-any-other-religion, which is classification enough for describing what one's religion is.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby sje46 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:00 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:
sje46 wrote:
Thirty-one wrote:*shrug* I have to disagree. I think it's fair to presume that a god as vain as OT god would make sure people knew he was still around.

OT god isn't unfalsifiable. He did actual physical things, things we know couldn't have happened.
sigh.

No, we DON'T know they couldn't have happened. We can know that they didn't happen as laid out in the current version(s) of the Bible, and there may be individual events that we can rule out, like Noah's flood - it cannot have happened on this planet 6000 years without leaving scientifically verifiable evidence, and there isn't any. But we can't honestly say that God never spoke to Moses through a burning bush, and we can't honestly say that something similar-to-but-not-exactly-like Noah's flood never happened, either.

The Bible COULD be mostly true. But we can't verify it, and the only real evidence for its veracity is...itself, which isn't very convincing to atheists.
:roll:

Neither can we truly say that you're not really part of a television show about you, a la The Truman Show. I sure as hell amn't giving it any creedence, and it's at a different logical level than putting myself at level 7 for a nonfalsifiable thing.

EDIT: I messed up the quote tags! How embarrassing; I'll never live this down! :P
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby davidstarlingm » Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:28 pm UTC

Thirty-one wrote:Does "7-because-if-the-end-goal-is-to-make-people-believe,-performing-miracles-in-a-very-narrow-timespan,-in-an-age-where-they'd-be-very-poorly-documented-isn't-the-way-to-go-about-it" work? I guess it's the long form of "7-because-if-he's-so-clever,-how-come.."?".

It could be that I've taken being in touch with my inner child too far, of course. :)

Ah, so it's the "No reasonable justification could exist" group.

Silly theists, pretending that atheism is the worst possible thing because their god really really wants people to believe in him. What bullocks. "The God from the religion I grew up in makes me uncomfortable, so let's invent one that just really wants everyone to believe in him one way or another and is terribly disappointed when people don't."


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