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Thu Jun 14, 2018, 10:36 AM

Some atheists say that they believe there are no gods or deities.

I am not one of those atheists. I have no belief in that regard. I simply DO NOT BELIEVE that any deities or other supernatural entities exist. Further, I CANNOT BELIEVE such a thing. I am UNABLE TO BELIEVE that such things exist.

I don't argue about this with atheists who state that they believe there are no deities. I simply have a different way of looking at the question of everything that is outside of the natural universe and for which there is no evidence. Belief is not involved.

I make my own statements about belief and disbelief. Others make theirs. I do not allow people to make statements about what I do or do not believe. Such people are completely incompetent to make such statements about me.

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Reply Some atheists say that they believe there are no gods or deities. (Original post)
MineralMan Jun 2018 OP
exboyfil Jun 2018 #1
MineralMan Jun 2018 #2
Croney Jun 2018 #3
MineralMan Jun 2018 #7
Croney Jun 2018 #12
Major Nikon Jun 2018 #32
MineralMan Jun 2018 #34
Act_of_Reparation Jun 2018 #4
MineralMan Jun 2018 #8
Voltaire2 Jun 2018 #15
Act_of_Reparation Jun 2018 #16
thbobby Jun 2018 #5
MineralMan Jun 2018 #13
The Velveteen Ocelot Jun 2018 #19
MineralMan Jun 2018 #21
The Velveteen Ocelot Jun 2018 #23
MineralMan Jun 2018 #26
Igel Jun 2018 #30
MineralMan Jun 2018 #35
The Velveteen Ocelot Jun 2018 #6
MineralMan Jun 2018 #9
The Velveteen Ocelot Jun 2018 #14
Pope George Ringo II Jun 2018 #20
Pope George Ringo II Jun 2018 #10
MineralMan Jun 2018 #11
The Velveteen Ocelot Jun 2018 #17
MineralMan Jun 2018 #18
Pope George Ringo II Jun 2018 #22
aka-chmeee Jun 2018 #24
The Velveteen Ocelot Jun 2018 #25
marylandblue Jun 2018 #27
Bretton Garcia Jun 2018 #28
MineralMan Jun 2018 #29
LakeArenal Jun 2018 #31
Major Nikon Jun 2018 #33
Lordquinton Jun 2018 #36
guillaumeb Jun 2018 #37

Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 10:43 AM

1. I don't know

I do know that no evidence has been provided. I do think that it is culturally convenient to worship and support the faith of my family so long as it doesn't metastasize into something hurtful. I also think, so long as the beliefs of others do not encroach on the rights of others, that individuals should have freedom of conscience in their beliefs and actions.

As a scientist (actually I am an engineer) I believe that the default position should always be that there is a physical explanation for all observations. If you ever make a special pleading to the supernatural or miracles, then you immediately shut down the scientific method from further inquiry. This approach has worked well so far and has sweeped away a tremendous amount of hurtful nonsense.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 10:45 AM

2. I've always thought that it was none of my business what others

believe or disbelieve. Only their actions that affect others are my business, since I am one such other. That seems to me to be the best approach to matters like that.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 10:51 AM

3. I believe there are no gods. You don't believe any exist.

Whatever the difference, I am content to call the two views highly compatible.

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Response to Croney (Reply #3)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 11:00 AM

7. There is a semantic difference, which some religionists try to exploit.

They say that atheists "believe," just as they do. They try to infer from statements that someone believes that there are no gods or deities, that the person is a "believer," just as they are.

That's why I put my disbelief forward. I have no belief whatever in dieties, gods, or supernatural entities of any kind. I find no possible reason to hold such beliefs. I am a disbeliever.

It's semantics, of course, but religionists seize on anything they can in their arguments. I don't give them anything to argue about.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #7)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 11:08 AM

12. Oh. I get it. So I don't believe anything either.

Except that what a fool believes he sees
No wise man has the power to reason away.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #7)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 07:51 PM

32. I'm not an atheist. I'm an unaffiliated apatheist

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #32)

Fri Jun 15, 2018, 08:31 AM

34. A fair and thoughtful description, I think.

Also a reasonable response to the whole matter.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 10:53 AM

4. "Soft" Atheism is the null hypothesis of the God question.

No one on the right side of sanity would bother making the case that people who do not believe in leprechauns have faith that there are no leprechauns. There is no evidence of leprechauns, ergo we must assume they do not exist.

The only reason we're having this discussion is because theism's most popular apologetic to date is essentially "I know you are but what am I".

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Response to Act_of_Reparation (Reply #4)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 11:01 AM

8. Exactly. Religionist's arguments in that regard are simply specious.

And yet, the argument arises again and again.

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Response to Act_of_Reparation (Reply #4)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 11:23 AM

15. Just show me some gods.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #15)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 11:45 AM

16. Exactly.

I don't know why this standard of evidence is so unreasonable. If it's good enough for gravity and germ theory, it's good enough for gods.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 10:54 AM

5. Repeated theme in Science Fiction is

how a primitive people will judge a technologically advanced entity to be diety. No one can know or prove a deity doesn't exist. Quoting a line from And the Band Played On: "I can't prove the sun won't turn into a bran muffin next Thursday". I believe what I have evidence of.

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Response to thbobby (Reply #5)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 11:13 AM

13. Cargo Cult thinking, eh?

Sure. My dogs look to me to deliver all things they need. Do they see me as a deity? I doubt they are capable of that level of thought. However, if I go into the kitchen, they follow, in hope of food being delivered unto them. I disappoint them most of the time, but at appointed times I bestow delicious nourishment upon them.

My dogs' most cherished belief is: "Food can come from anywhere."

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #13)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 12:04 PM

19. Dogs think, "My human feeds me and cares for me. He must be a god."

Cats think, "My human feeds me and cares for me. I must be a god."

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #19)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 12:07 PM

21. Oh, yes. Cats know the truth.

They know everything. They watch what we do, and catalog our doings. Nothing gets past a cat.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #21)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 12:38 PM

23. So then may we say you believe in Cat?

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #23)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 12:49 PM

26. When you live with a cat, there's no choice.

Even the dogs obey the cat. They know.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #13)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 04:56 PM

30. Feynman's "cargo-cult thinking" is a bit different.

It's one thing to see a more powerful being or entity as a kind of deity. We've done it with kings; many weak-thinking people believe it of scientists or government or politicians. Children do it with parents, and if there's one thing that we're good at, it's making our children infantile long past they're sexually mature. We do it with pets, too; my wife has a number of cats that are convinced I'm their all-powerful mommy, I can call them or with a low grow cause them to hunker down and look away, chastened.

They could rip me to shreds. I fully expect a cat revolution should they realize this. And, were they human, they would be humiliated by my cunning in making them think an oppressor was their benefactor. Theomachy redux.

It's another quite another thing to misconstrue the outward trappings of an event as the trigger for an event--setting up a hut with something that looks like a radio transmitter next to a clearing that looks like a runway, donning fake earphones, and muttering into a fake mic and say, "This will bring the planes back!"


However, your point is valid. There are atheists who, in arguing, merely argue for agnosticism and say while they can't think there's a god their real point is that there's no need/evidence/proof of one. Then there are atheists whose principled position is a certainty that there is no god. The first kind of atheist is an agnostic who comes down on the "no god" side of things, for the most part; the usual agnostic is one who sort-of-kind-of comes down on the "okay, maybe there is a god" side of things.

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Response to Igel (Reply #30)

Fri Jun 15, 2018, 08:35 AM

35. Cats tolerate humans and more or less control their attacks.

We have opposable thumbs, which makes us useful tools in their quest for global control. Only occasionally do they attack, and then only when we give great offense.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 10:55 AM

6. How many nonexistent angels are dancing on the head of that pin?

Seems to me that the result is the same no matter how you describe it. In your universe there are no supreme beings, whether you phrase it as believing there are no gods or not believing there are gods.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #6)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 11:02 AM

9. It is all part of a purely semantic argument made by

some religionists. I refuse to play, so I do not use the word "believe" in any way when describing my opinion.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #9)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 11:15 AM

14. I'm not sure how pointing to the use of the word "believe" advances any religious argument.

Religious people believe in a god or gods. You don't. The "religious" point that you object to seems to be that believing and not believing are somehow equal in the sense that the belief that there is no god is still just a belief, and therefore no more valid than the belief that there is one. To me that is arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, even if you don't believe in angels. Your non-belief is the equivalent of the averment that there are no gods in your universe, but I'm not sure there's any point in arguing with people who don't accept the underlying premise.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #14)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 12:05 PM

20. Outside of the negative, "believe" is not my favorite word here either, FWIW

I'm more comfortable calling it a conclusion, an opinion, an educated guess, or really just about anything else. It's not so bad in things like credibility assessments, but when we're talking about magic "belief" conjures some unfortunate connotations.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 11:04 AM

10. The "no gods" idea really depends on the impossibility of proving a negative

There is some intellectual honesty in leaving the door open at least a crack. Then again, I also can't prove a little gnome doesn't run out and turn off the light when I close the refrigerator door either, but the odds do approach zero very closely. And it must be admitted that anything which is potentially divine has done such a brilliant job of playing hide-and-seek that trying to intuit what it wants is an act of pure folly.

Having said that, we can definitively say particular gods certainly do not exist. Cthulhu and the Jehovah Monster, for example. We can also clearly say that the non-existence of particular gods is an absolutely good thing. Like with Cthulhu and the Jehovah Monster again.

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Response to Pope George Ringo II (Reply #10)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 11:07 AM

11. It's really just a technical difference.

It has no particular weight, really. I'm specific about it only because so many religionists want to argue the question. I don't mind if they are able to believe in such things, so I wonder why they care whether I do or not. That's the real puzzle.

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Response to Pope George Ringo II (Reply #10)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 11:56 AM

17. Be careful what you say about Cthulhu.

He's still imprisoned in R'lyeh but will return someday. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #17)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 12:00 PM

18. Easy for you to say...

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #17)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 12:16 PM

22. I've always been more of a Hastur fan, myself

I always think of Jan Brady saying, "Hastur! Hastur! Hastur!"

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #17)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 12:45 PM

24. I've always thought he(?) was sleeping! nt

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Response to aka-chmeee (Reply #24)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 12:46 PM

25. Now, yes. But not forever...

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 02:08 PM

27. I don't like the word "believe"

It has too many different meanings. It can express knowledge or doubt. Fact or opinion. Evidence or faith.

People take advantage of these multiple meanings to obscure the intent of what you really are trying to say.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #27)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 02:25 PM

28. Logicians know about such words.

They call them "weasel words."

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #27)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 02:31 PM

29. Yes. It's like many other words in that way.

I try not to use it much at all. If someone tells me something and I have confidence in that person, along with other evidence, I might say, "I believe you" to that person.

Generally, when someone says, "I believe in...." something, it generally means that they are putting their trust into something they can't observe, or for which they can't show any evidence. Such statements, really, are meaningless to me, so I don't say that I believe in anything.

If I can see, measure, or observe something, I don't have to "believe" that the thing exists. I will just say, I observed, measured, or saw the thing. If someone else saw, observed, or measured something and tells me about it, I will agree that it exists if I have past experience with that person and know that person to be truthful. If not, then I will want to examine whatever it is for myself.

I believe that my mother loves me. I believe that my wife loves me. I cannot see or measure love, but I can experience how I am treated by people. My belief in that non-physical thing is based on what I have observed over time. I believe that love exists, because I have seen evidence of it in action. I cannot prove its existence, but I can provide evidence at any time of it. Emotions are like that. they exist, but can only be observed through actions over time.

I cannot, however, believe that deities exist. That is impossible for me. I can see how people who do believe they exist behave. That record of behavior encompasses all possible behaviors of human beings, though, so it's evidence of nothing. It tells me nothing of what the attributes of a deity might be, so it is not evidence that deities exist.

I am unable to believe that deities exist. I cannot imagine that I would ever be able to believe they exist. There's simply no there there. Deities are created as ideas in the minds of humans. Each human has its own ideas of what a deity is. That is evidence of nothing but the fact that people have ideas about things.

Believing is evidence of nothing. It is simply a way of speaking about things.

As you say, it has so many meanings that it is meaningless as a general term.






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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 06:37 PM

31. There so such thing as divinity...

In humans, deities, gods, goddesses, horses, dogs, grails, shrouds, arks..

PS Except for fudge,as someone pointed out at one point. Mmmm fudge.

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Response to LakeArenal (Reply #31)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 08:09 PM

33. ...

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Fri Jun 15, 2018, 03:56 PM

36. I'd go a step further and say that all evidence has been disproven

That faith requires a lack or evidence is relatively new to the whole thing. For millennia it was accepted that God(s) exist, and there was much accepted as evidence. With advancements like plate tectonics, germ theory, lightning rods and so on, the proof of the divine was chipped away until all that's left is "because I say so"

The current argument needs to believe( ) that the debate started last Tuesday so they can ignore the thousands of years they've been wrong.

But wait, is that Dawkins breathing?

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat Jun 16, 2018, 07:24 PM

37. So when you make your own statements,

and those statements define atheism as a belief, what are we to conclude?

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