Do religious people love their neighbors? Yes—some neighbors, study finds

Jan 24, 2014
Credit: iStockphoto

Most religions teach their followers to "Love thy neighbor"—including those of different races, nationalities or beliefs. But is religiousness really related to love of neighbors?

A Baylor University study provided partial support for that idea. When factoring out the level of right-wing authoritarianism (RWA), researchers found a positive association between being religious and having loving attitudes toward other racial and but not toward those who violated their values.

The study was published in the journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.

The study was based on analysis of data collected from 389 religiously diverse adult Americans in a 200-question online survey. Among participants were Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, those with no religion and "others." "Religiosity" generally was defined in terms of frequency of . Researchers studied toward different groups, such as African-Americans, atheists, gay men and lesbians.

Previously, researchers usually tested the " thy neighbor" hypothesis indirectly by measuring degrees of prejudice or withholding generosity, said researcher Wade Rowatt, Ph.D., professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences. Prior research indicated that religiousness is not positively associated with love of neighbors.

But that approach did not account for the role of rigid ideologies – such as right-wing authoritarianism – in influencing the relationships, said researcher and lead author Megan Johnson Shen, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Prejudice or not giving resources is different from liking or compassion toward a group that is not one's own, the researchers noted.

"Until now, we've never really tested whether religiosity is related to love of " as evidenced by positive or tolerant attitudes toward those of different races, religious beliefs or sexual orientation, Rowatt said.

Shen said that the present study addressed prior limitations by examining the relationship between religiosity and liking or "love" of one's neighbor once the influence of RWA has been removed from this relationship.

The right-wing authoritarians were identified by how strongly they agreed to such statements as "There are many racial, immoral people in our country today, trying to ruin it for their godless purposes, whom the authorities should put out of action;" and how strongly they disagreed with such statements as "Everyone should have their own lifestyle, and sexual preferences, even if it makes them different from everyone else."

"Statistically speaking, right-wing authoritarianism appears to suppress the positive relationship between religiosity and love of neighbor," Rowatt said. "The bottom line is that religiousness is linked with love of neighbor, as measured with surveys. The next step is to observe actual rates of volunteerism and helping to see if what people say and do match."

Explore further: Reproductive issues are key in predicting religiosity, psychologists say

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foolspoo
3.7 / 5 (11) Jan 24, 2014
Religion, by definition, is intolerance. very hopeful for a world without such hate and bigotry
TechnoCreed
3.4 / 5 (10) Jan 24, 2014
Religion, by definition, is intolerance. very hopeful for a world without such hate and bigotry


All of us have some level of awkwardness toward differences. Your comment exactly refflects that. The main danger of our beliefs is integrism and it applies to atheism to.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (7) Jan 24, 2014
@TechnoCreed: Agreed. What foolspoo was noting wasn't the degree, but the systematics, of intolerance ("by definition"). Atheism is not a belief, a social invention for exclusion of other groups. Atheism is simply a result of skepticism.

And most skeptics are skeptic towards claiming undefined "differences" or better observed differences between groups without statistical evidence.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (5) Jan 24, 2014
@TechnoCreed: Agreed. What foolspoo was noting wasn't the degree, but the systematics, of intolerance ("by definition"). Atheism is not a belief, a social invention for exclusion of other groups. Atheism is simply a result of skepticism.

Could not agree more with that, than even if a GOD said it.

And most skeptics are skeptic towards claiming undefined "differences" or better observed differences between groups without statistical evidence.


in and of itself statistically derived....:-)
Torb, you provides some of the most cogent, informed and reliable comments on this site. I am just here to try and provide a little comedy relief...
Cocoa
4.8 / 5 (10) Jan 24, 2014

"Among participants were Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, those with no religion and "others."

Even researchers who are studying this stuff don't understand that atheism means having no religion - sigh....
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (6) Jan 24, 2014

"Among participants were Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, those with no religion and "others."

Even researchers who are studying this stuff don't understand that atheism means having no religion - sigh....

I found it quite amusing...:-)
Kron
1.8 / 5 (14) Jan 24, 2014
Atheism is as much a religion as theism. Followers of theism believe in God, while atheists believe they're wrong. Neither side has evidence to support their stance. Both have their beliefs. The only objective stance on the issue of God is that of agnostics. An agnostic will tell you that God may/may-not exist. Since no physical evidence is available, you cannot derive a probability. Claiming oneself an atheist is as unscientific as a theistic label. Both are belief systems, which one has faith in. Therefore, religions.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.6 / 5 (10) Jan 24, 2014
All of us have some level of awkwardness toward differences. Your comment exactly refflects that
Religion by DESIGN is intolerance.

"18 "He that believeth in Him is not condemned; but He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation: that Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." John3 [The flip side to 3:16 which xians always fail to acknowledge]

-The only reason to love your evil, godless neighbors is to entice them to join.
Cocoa
5 / 5 (10) Jan 24, 2014
Kron - Atheism is not as much a religion as theism. I am an atheist. I do not believe in god. I believe in things for which there is evidence. I also do not go to any place of worship, or pray to any deity. Most importantly - I do not have a fixed set of beliefs - the day evolution is proven incorrect, and a new explanation replaces it - that will be just fine. The meme about Atheism being a religion seems to be spread by religionists who are finally seeing their monopoly crumbling.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (2) Jan 24, 2014
All of us have some level of awkwardness toward differences. Your comment exactly refflects that
Religion by DESIGN is intolerance.

"18 "He that believeth in Him is not condemned; but He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation: that Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." John3 [The flip side to 3:16 which xians always fail to acknowledge]

-The only reason to love your evil, godless neighbors is to entice them to join.

Dang... I just had an image of Sam Jackson saying that while holding a tasty burger....
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.6 / 5 (9) Jan 24, 2014
Atheism is not a religion. It doesn't promise adherents special favors. It doesn't promise to grant their wishes or give them immortality. It doesn't maintain an unfinished list of commandments which begins with 'You won't be able to obey any of these laws unless you love the god who made them up.'

And it doesn't have a book full of stories about events which never happened and people who never existed. In short it is not based on bigotry and lies. Shorter still, it shares none of the traits which all religions depend on to exist.
Kron
2.3 / 5 (8) Jan 24, 2014
There is nothing wrong about believing that God does not exist. Belief, however, is purely subjective. It has no place in a scientific discussion. Should ever a time arise that humans devise a *test to verify Gods existence, atheist and theists would both be producing highly questionable conclusions as they'd be entering the experiment with a bias. You can believe what you like, but when it comes to science, leave your beliefs at the door.

*Gods existence can never be falsified, as any set of parameters being discounted would only discount those specific attributes, which would leave infinitely more to test before all possibilities are explored. Therefore, only proof positive is possible.
Kron
2 / 5 (9) Jan 24, 2014
Any scientist entering a discussion pertaining to God with anything other than "who knows?" is a liar or does not have a scientific mindset. Which category do you fall under Dr. Dawkins?
TechnoCreed
1.3 / 5 (4) Jan 24, 2014
The way anybody qualify atheism is only rhetoric; it all depend on the person point of view. For me it is surely a belief: Someone is an atheist because he believes that there is no god. Like I said earlier, the main problem is integrism (When you think that there is no way you could be wrong, even remotely). It does not matter what your faith is, in a world where everybody would accept that there is no absolute truth, there would not be any intolerance because of or toward any religion.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.8 / 5 (4) Jan 24, 2014
Any scientist entering a discussion pertaining to God with anything other than "who knows?" i s a liar or does not have a scientific mindset. Which category do you fall under Dr. Dawkins?
Science has proven conclusively that the major events described in the bible DIDNT HAPPEN. Therefore the god who wrote that book is either incompetent or a liar, and is certainly NOT the omniscient, omnipotent, morally immaculate creature he describes himself to be in his book. THAT god cannot and does not exist.

But of course Dawkins knows full well that a book full of mistakes, contradictions, adulterations, plagiarisms, forgeries, graffiti, and LIES was written by humans. Because he's not stupid you know?
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.8 / 5 (5) Jan 24, 2014
in a world where everybody would accept that there is no absolute truth
The absolute truth is that archeologists have been digging in the holy land for a century and have found ONLY contradictory evidence which convinces them beyond a reasonable doubt that the bible stories are myths.

Further, they know enough about prior religions to know where many of these myths originated, including the well-heeled one about the godman born on the solstice to a virgin.

Further, exegists have examined the book and can see where it has been adulterated. They can see where 4 or more people authored the Pentateuch. They can see that upwards of 40% of the Pauline works were written by others. They can see that Peter 1 and 2 are blatant forgeries. They KNOW that most of the bible was not written when it claims to have been written.

And yet people are willing to kill and be killed on the strength of the promises they find in this and similar holy books. We do NOT have to tolerate this any longer.
Cocoa
4.3 / 5 (6) Jan 24, 2014
Kron: "There is nothing wrong about believing that God does not exist."

It is odd how you religionists seem incabable of understanding the difference between these two statements -

'I do not believe that Santa Clause exists'

'I beleive that Santa Clause does not exist'

The first statement is the position of the atheist. There is no evidence for the existence of Santa Clause. Therefore - we do not trouble ourselves with concern about the existence of Santa Clause.
TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (3) Jan 24, 2014
And yet people are willing to kill and be killed on the strength of the promises they find in this and similar holy books. We do NOT have to tolerate this any longer.


Exactly what I said before: The problem is integrism. Otherwise, what does it change in your life if people believes in fairy tales.
Nestle
1.3 / 5 (4) Jan 24, 2014
Religious people tend to be conservative like the mild autists, the conservatives are forming less frequent but stronger and deterministic relationships (you may imagine it like the density fluctuations connecting the nodes of foam inside of boson condensate or black hole). The progressives are liberal and they tend to form more frequent but superficial interactions (like the particles outside of black hole which are bouncing each other). Analogically the conservatives tend to form close lobbyist groups with respect to government, whereas the progressives force the changes from bottom up. Note that economical relations are perceived in exactly the opposite way with both groups: the conservatives are libertarians, whereas the progressives do favor the socialist, centrally driven economy. The conservatives maintain only limited social relationships, but they do want to make business with each other. The progressives don't mind various artificial rules, which are restricting the market.
Nestle
1.3 / 5 (3) Jan 24, 2014
As you may guess, I'm completely neutral with respect to both groups. The socialistic tendencies of progressives work better at long-term macroeconomical level, in times of economical depression in particular . The conservative approach works better at the microeconomical level, where the governmental interventions often fail flagrantly. The liberal microeconomical politics works better at short-term level, especially in the times of economic boom. On the other hand, the free market economy operates with actual prices only, so it cannot apply to various strategical and long-term decisions, where it often fails instead. Do you like this model? Just think in balanced unbiased way of mutual dualities: don't seek for single universal solution, seek for their dynamic equilibrium.
Cocoa
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 24, 2014
Kron: "Any scientist entering a discussion pertaining to God with anything other than "who knows?" is a liar or does not have a scientific mindset. Which category do you fall under Dr. Dawkins?"

Neither Kron - I do not believe in God. On the topic of belief. This is a very problematic word. You say belief has no place in science. Well in this context it does. "I believe that the earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old" "I do not believe the earth is flat" Do you see how that works?
Nestle
1 / 5 (4) Jan 24, 2014
what does it change in your life if people believes in fairy tales
Unfortunately, modern people just replaced the belief in classical tales with belief in these scientific ones. The informational explosion actually makes laymen people even more superficial and religious, than the people of medieval era: because they have no time to verify each information separately, they're simply forced to believe in it and they're more dependent on intersubjective groupthink and meritocracy, than they're willing to admit. The cannot argue, just upvote or downvote blindly. Which is bad, because the ignorance has no adjectives. It doesn't matter, whether you're believing in something from solely religious or political reasons or just because of your lack of free time and good will to verify it - the final result is always the same. The belief is just a belief.
Cocoa
5 / 5 (7) Jan 24, 2014
Nestle "The belief is just a belief."

Poppycock. I believe that my cell phone works - cuz when I call my mom's phone number - it works. It is called evidence. I don't have to understand the complexities of the science - I just have to know how to push the buttons.
Nestle
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 24, 2014
Both scientific theories, both religion deal with defined sets of objects or phenomena. The religion says anything about your particular mobile, neither the science. Which is the reason, why every alleged miracle is judged with Vatican jury first for evidence of miracle. So your particular mobile cannot be a subject of any scientific theory, neither religion. But we can have a theory or belief about common way, in which ALL mobile phones are communicating, for example. You may believe in radiowaves (although you cannot see it), or you can believe in telepathy or God messenger in this connection. Such a belief becomes religious or scientific, if it fits the context of some scientific theory or religion accordingly. But until you cannot provide some reasoning, such a conviction remains just a belief.
Cocoa
5 / 5 (6) Jan 25, 2014
Nestle "But until you cannot provide some reasoning, such a conviction remains just a belief."

Again - popycock. It is not JUST a belief. It is supported by evidence. If something is repeatable - then it can be verified. Science most certainly does say a lot about my mobile. It was developed by scientists - who did experiments - and developed the technology. Stop trying to make science into a religion - it is not - it is science.
Sinister1812
5 / 5 (8) Jan 25, 2014
I'm an atheist, but I don't know anyone (religious or not) who loves all of their neighbours. Some people are just better off avoided.

The next step is to observe actual rates of volunteerism and helping to see if what people say and do match."


Now that would be an interesting experiment and would be interesting to see the results of this too.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (4) Jan 25, 2014
@Zephyr
The religion says anything about your particular mobile, neither the science

what exactly does this mean?
I dont understand the point you are making with that, especially given that science has a lot to say about how a mobile phone works...
or were you referring to something else?
It doesn't matter, whether you're believing in something from solely religious or political reasons or just because of your lack of free time and good will to verify it - the final result is always the same. The belief is just a belief

now this is something I can believe! Pun intended

but I also agree with this point...

however...
I dont agree with your assertion that science is a religion.
You can say that some USE science as though it is a religion
just like some USE atheism like a religion
but to state that science IS a religion is nonsense, IMHO
kochevnik
3 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2014
@Kron Atheism is as much a religion as theism. Followers of theism believe in God, while atheists believe they're wrong.
Atheism isn't defined by religion. However, religion is defined by ignorance and exclusion
kochevnik
3 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2014
"Love thy neighbor"

It was essential in Rome that conquered peoples become integrated at some level into Roman society. This meant "Don't kill your neighbor.", not to "love" them. Stupid chrisitans blurred this fact, as they blurred the Greek god of wine Dionysus into their plagiarized zombie Jew, Jesus. They "sacrifice" Dionysus by drinking wine and calling it his blood, which is plagiarized from the blood letting ritual of the temple of Osiris
Whydening Gyre
4.3 / 5 (3) Jan 25, 2014
The religion (doesn't) says anything about your particular mobile, neither (does) the science

I changed it a little to say what I think he meant...
I don't understand the point you are making with that, especially given that science has a lot to say about how a mobile phone works...

Science is, in it's purest form, simply a methodology for seeking out, finding and cataloguing the myriad observed set of phenomena in our Universe. The phone is a PRODUCT of science, not actual science. A "symbol" of it, if you will.
The driving "belief" in science is that the set of what is knowable is undefined.
"Religion" is a methodology for defining a particular knowledge set as closed and not open to discussion. The definers of which, have been phenomenally (scientifically) observed using it as a tool for control).
Anger displayed at being challenged in a belief is usually an indication that the believer lacks full confidence in that belief, for whatever reason.
primitiveman
5 / 5 (6) Jan 25, 2014
It is interesting to see religious people speak for atheists -- to claim to know what atheists really believe or don't believe. And then to claim that non-belief is really belief, and further, that non-belief is itself a form of religion. Just think of all the things you don't believe. Is not believing in alien abductions really a belief, and further, like a religion?

And there are all kinds of hidden assumptions in what is meant by god. If you are referencing a deistic or pantheistic conception, then I am an agnostic. But if you are referencing the outrageous moral monster in the bible, then I'm a full fledged atheist. I am both an agnostic and an atheist depending on the context. Once you start asserting specific characteristics and actions of a god, then you have the burden of proof. Without it, such claims can be easily dismissed. I can ignore your god as easily as you ignore other conceptions of god, other religions.

alfie_null
1 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2014
Love as a prescribed part of a doctrine is not even remotely the same as altruistic I-expect-nothing-in-return love. The word is abused. Realizing the latter is not a conscious decision. In this study, they might better have expressed the attitude as "not hateful" or "friendly".
Nestle
1 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2014
that science has a lot to say about how a mobile phone works...
The science has nothing to say about how your particular phone works. It could be tuned, upgraded and rebuilt and nobody has published an article about it.The science does care about general mobile phone principle and about repetitive, reproducible phenomena.
Noumenon
2.1 / 5 (7) Jan 25, 2014
It is interesting to see religious people speak for atheists -- to claim to know what atheists really believe or don't believe.


How do you even know that kron is a religious person? Typically religious people get defensive when one 'attacks' their faith. Is your atheism likewise your faith?

I don't believe in god either, but recognize that kron is speaking purely logically and is in fact correct.

The essential difference between Atheism and Agnosticism as defined, grants one ability to speak of what atheists believe or not believe, despite those atheists not understanding that essential difference themselves.
Noumenon
2.3 / 5 (6) Jan 25, 2014
And then to claim that non-belief is really belief, and further, that non-belief is itself a form of religion.


An Atheist who goes out of their way to state, 'I don't believe in god',... is making a positive statement about the non-existance of god. By definition of being a Atheist, they are making a conclusive statement about the Possibility of there being a god. Whereas, only if one was born into a society that never developed the notion of god, could an observer properly say that such non-belief was not itself a belief.

Noumenon
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 25, 2014
... to claim that [..] non-belief is itself a form of religion.


I think what kron meant, or rather, the way I would have stated it,... is that both Theism and Atheism have the same quality of justification for their respective positions, which is to say unscientific ones.

Metaphysics is NOT the realm of science, and so cannot be a source of knowledge at all. Any positive or negative statement about a god is not compatible with the scientific method.

You COULD disprove statements in the bible that reference physical things that ARE amenable to the scientific method, but this in itself does not disprove gods existance, only interpretations written by man.
Noumenon
2.8 / 5 (5) Jan 25, 2014
Just think of all the things you don't believe. Is not believing in alien abductions really a belief, and further, like a religion?


But 'alien abductions' fall within the scope of scientific enquiry, and therefore the proper statement is not one of non-belief, but of lack of evidence to compel one to believe.

In this anology, your Atheist, to bother even being an 'Atheist', ...would not in fact simply state that "he does not believe in alien abductions". Rather, he would make claims with respect to the Possibility of "alien abductions", and it is THIS claim that is a belief in the religiousness sense.

Many times people who call themselves Atheists, are really Agnostic, but just don't understand the distinction nor why there is one.

Noumenon
1 / 5 (3) Jan 25, 2014
The above is nothing more than bias leftist political propaganda cloaked as another research "study",... the entire point of which is to present the notion of "right-wing authoritarianism" in negative relief.

Of course the author is an imbecile, as natural reactions and biases toward other groups has zero to do with politics, and all to do with human nature. The "study" is thus a fraud for having even mentioned the term "right-wing".

But, they know young impressionable know-nothings will lap this subliminal medication up, as "scientific validation" that "right-wingers" are evil. The NAZI's likewise built up such caricatures of Jews, slowly, "scientifically", and through the media.

Kron
4.3 / 5 (6) Jan 25, 2014
Suppose I tell you that the maximum speed of information transmission is that of light. To that you counter that a pair of entangled particles instantly transmit their states to one another. To this I counter by saying that we at the macro level observe these particles to be separated but that the particles at the micro level are actually right next to one another, that the space we see between them is non-existent, that the particle pair separation is the result of the stretching of space. You counter by pointing out that my macro and micro levels are contradictory, there cannot be space present at the macro level, and no space at the micro. To this I say that the space at the macro level is an illusion, on the micro level there is a wormhole (a tunnel whose volume is infinitely close to zero) joining the particles. You say "I don't believe wormholes exist".

My theory might be wrong, there may be no information exchange at all, but your non-belief disproves nothing.
primitiveman
5 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2014

The essential difference between Atheism and Agnosticism as defined, grants one ability to speak of what atheists believe or not believe, despite those atheists not understanding that essential difference themselves.


No one else can speak for what I do or do not believe. Atheism means for me atheos (a - without, theos - god) -- the etymology of the term. It is simply without belief in a god. Theism is belief, atheism is no belief.

Gnosticism is the claim to have knowledge of god. Agnosticism is not to claim to have knowledge of god. Assertions of knowledge and belief are not identical. You could be a gnostic or agnostic theist, or similarly, a gnostic or agnostic atheist.

But let us assume that not having a belief is really its opposite. A theist responding to a belief about god would have to assert, as components of their belief systems something like: I believe god a exists, I believe god b does not exist, I believe god c does not exist in the thousands.
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 25, 2014

All of us have some level of awkwardness toward differences.

How much tolerance is in statements like: "follow my belief or burn in hell forever"
(or "follow my belife or by my slave in the afterlive", etc. )?

As a side note: I'd find it difficult to include atheists as a group in that study, since atheism isn't a belief. It's the absence of a belief.
It'd be like trying to find a common denominator in people who don't particularly care for tabeltennis. That's not going to correlate with how well they like their neighbor.
The study only makes sense for those groups that have an active statement towards compassion (be it positive or negative).
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 25, 2014
Metaphysics is NOT the realm of science, and so cannot be a source of knowledge at all. Any positive or negative statement about a god is not compatible with the scientific method.
Metaphysics is a nonsense word which is useful for describing nothing. It is a placeholder invented to wean people off the notion of heaven. It is useful for generating lunch money for idiot philos.

As such it has no place in a science forum and you're using it will only derail a thread. Guaranteed.
But 'alien abductions' fall within the scope of scientific enquiry
There is nothing that does not fall within the scope of scientific enquiry. If some god exists then only scientists are qualified to find him. They have already concluded that none of the book gods are him.

Sconce gives us increasing confidence that there is nothing which is not physical. NOTHING.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4 / 5 (4) Jan 25, 2014
I would like to meet the idiot scientist who invented spellcheck.
primitiveman
5 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2014

I think what kron meant, or rather, the way I would have stated it,... is that both Theism and Atheism have the same quality of justification for their respective positions, which is to say unscientific ones.


My atheism is just a lack of belief in any of the specific gods proposed throughout human history. The justification is simply the lack of any evidence whatsoever -- how is that unscientific?

However, if you are talking about some metaphysical concept of a god, something that is inherently beyond evidentiary confirmation, then I don't know. I am agnostic. I don't have enough information or knowledge to form a belief one way or another.

Do you see the difference? That is why the context, what you mean by god is relevant. That is why the difference between knowing (gnosticism) and believing are relevant.
Noumenon
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 25, 2014
You could be a gnostic or agnostic theist, or similarly, a gnostic or agnostic atheist.


Lets examine the redundant phrase "agnostic atheist", from the man who first put it forth,....

"[A=] If a man has failed to find any good reason for believing that there is a God, it is perfectly natural and rational that he should not believe that there is a God; and if so, he is an atheist... [B=] if he goes farther, and, after an investigation into the nature and reach of human knowledge, ending in the conclusion that the existence of God is incapable of proof, cease to believe in it on the ground that he cannot know it to be true, he is an agnostic and also an atheist – an agnostic-atheist...."

This logic is faulty and is desperately convoluted,... since the subsequence evolution of his thought in becoming an Agnostic [B], rendered his original stance based on evidence [A] superfluous.

Assertions of knowledge and belief are not identical.

Exactly the point of agnosticism.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (3) Jan 25, 2014
I like what Sam Harris has to say about atheism .

" I think that "atheist" is a term that we do not need, in the same way that we don't need a word for someone who rejects astrology. We simply do not call people "non-astrologers." All we need are words like "reason" and "evidence" and "common sense" and "bullshit" to put astrologers in their place, and so it could be with religion."
http://www.samhar...atheism/

-Personally I prefer 'antireligionist' as it circumvents the whole nonsense of superstition and focuses on the institutions which are the real problem. It focuses on the trappings of religion, the tricks that religions play in order to sustain themselves. And it emphasizes the damage that they do, and threaten to do, to our civilization at this critical point in its adolescence.

Religions WILL end. Most all that ever existed have ended. The question is whether we will allow them to end us in the process.
primitiveman
5 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2014

But 'alien abductions' fall within the scope of scientific enquiry, and therefore the proper statement is not one of non-belief, but of lack of evidence to compel one to believe.
......
Many times people who call themselves Atheists, are really Agnostic, but just don't understand the distinction nor why there is one.

Any claims that involve our natural world can be investigated, including claims of supernatural intervention in natural events. Claims of faith healing and raising the dead are made now, by various religions (including Christians).

Not believing in something says nothing about possibilities -- it is simply that there is not sufficient evidence to push one over the threshold into belief. Not having sufficient evidence for belief is not having a belief.

It seems to me that you are projecting your own conceptions of atheism and agnosticism into the minds of others -- that you think you truly can speak for them. What explicitly to these terms mean to you?
Noumenon
3 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2014
My atheism is just a lack of belief in any of the specific gods proposed throughout human history. The justification is simply the lack of any evidence whatsoever -- how is that unscientific?


But you don't need to put on the 'Atheism' hat just to not believe in the particularities of religions that are amenable to scientific equiry. The point of invoking the notion of Atheism, is to go further than this, and claim there is no god on account of this. The point of Agnosticism is to recognize that evidence is not even relevant.

I don't have enough information or knowledge to form a belief one way or another.


But that's not why you're an Agnostic,... rather it is why you are a Atheist. As you stated, you're an Agnostic because the notion of god is "inherently beyond evidentiary confirmation".
Cocoa
5 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2014
Kron: "You say "I don't believe wormholes exist".

But the existence of wormholes can be proven with evidence. Perhaps we do not currently have the tools to measure wormholes - but of course we will one day.

Kron and Noumenon et al are always so insistent on making things more complicated than they need to be. I don't believe in God - because there is no evidence to support believing in God. I do believe in chickens - because there is evidence to support the belief in chickens. I don't believe in leprechauns (etc. etc.) - you should get the point.
Cocoa
5 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2014
Noumenon: the notion of god is "inherently beyond evidentiary confirmation".

No it is not. Bring god over to my place tonight - and I will acknowledge that he/she exists. If you want to believe in magic - that is your choice. It is not unreasonable for me to say 'show me the proof'. You can say 'well my magic is beyond evidentiary confirmation - because I can use my magic to distort your perceptions.' I however live in the real world - and am willing to say 'show me the proof - otherwise I don't believe in your magic'
Noumenon
3 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2014
Not believing in something says nothing about possibilities -- it is simply that there is not sufficient evidence to push one over the threshold into belief.


Again, you don't need to invoke "Atheism" for that, so it is NOT 'simply that' which defines an Atheist. For example, a pre-twentieth century physicist would never consider himself an 'Atheist' wrt the existence of matter beyond that known, despite his belief that atoms are the only matter. An atheist would speak, like GhostofOtto, in a catagorical sense,... i.e. there IS NO god.

It seems to me that you are projecting your own conceptions of atheism and agnosticism into the minds of others -- that you think you truly can speak for them. What explicitly to these terms mean to you?


The terms are unambiguous as defined in themselves. I can not project misapprehensions of those definitions onto the minds of others.
Cocoa
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014
Noumenon: " An atheist would speak, like GhostofOtto, in a catagorical sense,... i.e. there IS NO god"

Again Noumenon continues to make things more complicated than they need to be. Of course we may live in a multiverse. And in some distant universe - that we will never encounter - there may be little green creatures called leprechauns. So it is quite adequate to say - 'I do not believe in leprechauns - as there is no evidence that would support a belief in leprechauns' Otto's quote from Sam Harris about astrology sums the whole thing up very neatly. Some just have to be sophists.
Noumenon
3 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2014
Noumenon: the notion of god is "inherently beyond evidentiary confirmation".

No it is not. Bring god over to my place tonight - and I will acknowledge that he/she exists. If you want to believe in magic - that is your choice. It is not unreasonable for me to say 'show me the proof'. You can say 'well my magic is beyond evidentiary confirmation - because I can use my magic to distort your perceptions.' I however live in the real world - and am willing to say 'show me the proof - otherwise I don't believe in your magic'


That was primitiveman's quote.

Despite me and you both rejecting the notion of god, we still must abide by the definition as given to us and not bend into a form easy and conveniently delt with, ...... an 'omnipotent, omniscient being that exists beyond the physical realm' and so not amenable to scientific demonstration.
Cocoa
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014
Noumenon "an 'omnipotent, omniscient being that exists beyond the physical realm' and so not amenable to scientific demonstration."

And who gets to control the definition of god? Your definition makes no sense to me. What could it mean to 'exist beyond the physical realm?' If god exists 'beyond the physical realm' - then god will have no interaction with my 'reality' - so is irrelevant to me. You can debate philosophy all you want - I prefer science - which is the exploration of the physical realm.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2014
An atheist would speak, like GhostofOtto, in a catagorical sense,... i.e. there IS NO god
You didn't read my posts. I said if there is a god only scientists would be able to find him. And this god would certainly not be the theist bookgods because scientists have already concluded that, according to evidence, THOSE gods can't exist.
Noumenon
3 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2014
in some distant universe - that we will never encounter - there may be little green creatures called leprechauns. So it is quite adequate to say - 'I do not believe in leprechauns - as there is no evidence that would support a belief in leprechauns'


Then that would NOT make you an Atheist wrt leprechauns if you admit that "there MAY be little green creatures called leprechauns".

In anycase, you have used various physical descriptions, "little", "green", "creature", to describe your Being, all of which fall within the scope of science. Because of this, there is no need to go through the extra trouble of saying you're Atheist about it.

Being an Atheist is not simply in saying "there is no evidence for a thing",.. otherwise everyone would be an atheist and so the generalization would render the term pointless. They are saying 'they don't believe in god on account of lack of evidence'.
Budding Geologist
5 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2014
I think we need to keep in mind that atheism, and agnosticism are binary classifications, when irreligious opinions exist along a spectrum from virulent atheism, to someone who might identify as agnostic but still have diest sympathies and occasionally pray. I'm always skeptical of names attached to humanity as they ignore how sophisticated and varied we are, although I'll grant they do help us make a mental construct of others.
Cocoa
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014
Noumenon "Being an Atheist is not simply in saying "there is no evidence for a thing"

It certainly is for me - it is exactly what I mean when I say 'I am an atheist'.

"otherwise everyone would be an atheist"

How could you say something so clearly false? Millions of people are religionists - ie - they believe in god - despite there being no evidence to support that belief.

Why don't you think about the fact that you say nonsensical things? What could it possibly mean to 'exist beyond the physical realm?'.

Noumenon
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 25, 2014
There is nothing that does not fall within the scope of scientific enquiry.


Categorical religious'esque pronouncement that is unscientifically founded.

If some god exists then only scientists are qualified to find him. They have already concluded that none of the book gods are him.


This assumes that god is made out of cheese. But if god is the Creator and is omnipotent by definition of those proposing it, ....it seems unlikely that he be made out of the same stuff that he created.

[Science] gives us increasing confidence that there is nothing which is not physical. NOTHING.


Science makes zero such claims. Absolutley false.
Noumenon
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 25, 2014
Noumenon "Being an Atheist is not simply in saying "there is no evidence for a thing"

It certainly is for me - it is exactly what I mean when I say 'I am an atheist'.

"otherwise everyone would be an atheist"

How could you say something so clearly false? Millions of people are religionists - ie - they believe in god - despite there being no evidence to support that belief.


How could your comprehension of what I wrote be so nonsensical?

The term atheist was not invented simply to descrbe one's lack of belief in evidentiary based things. It is a specific statement about the non-existence of god,... and given the definition of god, a lack of evidence is not even relevant.
primitiveman
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014

Lets examine the redundant phrase "agnostic atheist", from the man who first put it forth,....
.....
This logic is faulty and is desperately convoluted,... since the subsequence evolution of his thought in becoming an Agnostic [B], rendered his original stance based on evidence [A] superfluous.


Who are you quoting? That is one characterization, but not inclusive of all that comes under gnosticism/agnosticism. Gnosis is knowledge. One can be without knowledge without reaching the conclusion that such knowledge cannot be demonstrated. I don't know if Spinoza's assertion of a pantheistic god is true and I don't understand his arguments sufficiently to conclude that they are unprovable. I am agnostic, without knowledge of his god.
I'm also an a-pantheist, without belief in his god due to lack of credible evidence. Not knowing and not believing are not contradictory, despite your desperately convoluted attempts to make them so.
primitiveman
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014

But you don't need to put on the 'Atheism' hat just to not believe in the particularities of religions that are amenable to scientific equiry. The point of invoking the notion of Atheism, is to go further than this, and claim there is no god on account of this. The point of Agnosticism is to recognize that evidence is not even relevant.


No, I don't confuse the difference between philosophical/metaphysical speculations about god, and specific assertions about this or that god. When I assert my atheism in reference to Jehovah, I am not asserting claims about any metaphysical arguments for god (theists, deists or pantheists). It is simply I don't believe in your biblical god.

I've had few discussions limited to the metaphysical concepts of god. But I've had many with religious believers where my lack of belief, my atheism, is relevant to their particular claims. There is no point to make beyond that.
Noumenon
5 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2014
It is meaningless to concatenate the two words together. If the subsequent evolution of his thought became the realization that he cannot prove or disprove the existence of god, even in principal [B], then this renders his original bases for his atheism [A] obsolete. He evolved from Atheism to Agnosticism.

One can be without knowledge without reaching the conclusion that such knowledge cannot be demonstrated.


Forget about the notion that Agnosticism simply means "without-knowledge" in the context of existence of god. It doesn't. It is the belief that god is intrinsically unknowable, even in principal.

I don't know if Spinoza's assertion of a pantheistic god is true[...] . I am agnostic, without knowledge of his god.


I wasn't quoting Spinoza, ....but his pantheistic god is all around you, as he equates god with the universe.
Noumenon
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014
When I assert my atheism in reference to Jehovah, I am not asserting claims about any metaphysical arguments for god (theists, deists or pantheists). It is simply I don't believe in your biblical god.


But then you would not need to proclaim yourself an Atheist for that purpose, as evidenced by the fact that even Theists throughout mans history have discounted each others flavour of god.

I've had few discussions limited to the metaphysical concepts of god. But I've had many with religious believers where my lack of belief, my atheism, is relevant to their particular claims. There is no point to make beyond that.


The claim of Atheism though, naturally leads to discussions of the metaphysical notion of god, at least it should if such a person is to be consistent. Rejecting religion is an easy target, and it doesn't graduate you to Atheism.
Cocoa
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014
Noumenon: " and given the definition of god, a lack of evidence is not even relevant."

You just keep going around in circles - and never answer the question I keep posing. 'What could it possibly mean to 'exist beyond the physical realm?'.

Summation - if you want to live in a fantasy world of magic (existing beyond the physical realm) - that is up to you. I live in the real world - and knowledge is derived from evidence (that is called science). I am an atheist - which means I have no interest in your fantasy world of magic. Talking around and around in circles does not mean we have said anything meaningful. It is very simple for me - I do not believe in God - and thus call myself an atheist. I think it is interesting to watch someone like you argue yourself around and around in circles - but so willing to evade the simple question.
Noumenon
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014
What could it possibly mean to 'exist beyond the physical realm?


I have been answering such questions with each post, you have just been failing to read them. For example, you state "if you want to live in a fantasy world of magic (existing beyond the physical realm)....",... even though I have stated several times above that I, Noumenon, do not believe in god, and in fact would say that I'm an agnostic. This would imply that "exist beyond the physical realm" is unknowable, which in turn is an answer to your question, no?
TechnoCreed
3 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2014
Thank you Noumenon for your refreshing and enlightening analysis. I have put the highest appreciation note everywhere I could, to entice everyone to come and read them (Except for the politically driven one which I found to be a highly debatable generalisation. I just restrained my appreciation). You showed a lot of respect and patience toward others; with all the nonsensical comments that this article has generated, your attitude deserves a tip of the hat. I look forward to debate with you on other subjects. On this one, sadly, we can only agree.
primitiveman
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014
[An atheist would speak, like GhostofOtto, in a catagorical sense,... i.e. there IS NO god.

The terms are unambiguous as defined in themselves. I can not project misapprehensions of those definitions onto the minds of others.


There you go again, asserting how atheist would speak. So if Dawkins doesn't quite reach the categorical sense (he is 6 or 6.9 on his scale of 7) he is not speaking like an atheist?

If the meanings of the terms are so clear to you, why not just go ahead a give us your definition. Better yet, give us a couple examples of use. Let's say one in response to a metaphysical claim about a god (your choice) and a couple of specific religious gods -- Jehovah and Shiva? How would you use the terms to express you state of knowledge/no knowledge, belief and no belief?
Cocoa
5 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2014
Noumenon: "This would imply that "exist beyond the physical realm" is unknowable, which in turn is an answer to your question, no?"

No - absolutely not. If something is unknowable - then we cannot discuss it - I can say it is big, and you can say it is small - and we will never know if it is big or small - because it is unknowable. In other words - it is nonsensical to try discuss something that you declare is 'unknowable'. I am only interested in discussing what is knowable - all else is nonsense.

TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2014
Science makes zero such claims. Absolutley false
It's absolutely false to refer to science as a thing capable of making claims. Your meta-nonsense comes from people like Wittgenstein...

"...at the basis of the whole modern view of the world lies the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanations of natural phenomena."

-Philos write poetry at the expense of clarity and understanding. Science can and will explain everything.

"Throughout history the domain of knowledge amenable to science has only ever changed in one direction: at the expense of all others... to underestimate the boundaries of what it can say is a fallacy committed only by those who misunderstand or deny the power of the scientific method... As a way of knowing, there are limits to what science can reveal, but those limits are ever decreasing. Is there a sensible reason why it can't tell us about love, or psychology, or God or the composition of quarks? Abso-bloody-lutely not." -Adam Rutherford
Noumenon
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014
Your meta-nonsense comes from people like Wittgenstein...

"...at the basis of the whole modern view of the world lies the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanations of natural phenomena."

-Philos write poetry at the expense of clarity and understanding. Science can and will explain everything.


I don't want to enter into a debate about the validity and relevance of epistemology to science, which is what Wittgenstein was referring to. I can only refer you back to this thread, where I provide quotes of like comments from prominent physicists.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2014
The scientific method is the only reliable way we have of explaining anything.

"Empirical discoveries continue to tell us that the Universe is the way it is, whether we like it or not, and 'something' and 'nothing' are physical concepts and therefore are properly the domain of science, not theology or philosophy. (Indeed, religion and philosophy have added nothing to our understanding of these ideas in millennia.)" -Krauss
where I provide quotes of like comments from prominent physicists
-Who as I recall were largely senile mystics and fascists? There is no 'epistemology' of anything. As Krauss says the universe is what it is and there is no abstract way of understanding it, which is implied by your epi-philo-word. It is only more pseudo-intellectual deception. Save it for your coffee club.
Noumenon
5 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2014
If the meanings of the terms are so clear to you, why not just go ahead a give us your definition


I have made 30 posts in this thread the majority of which were made to draw the distinction and to define them.

"Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities." - wiki

["Rejection of belief" and "there are no deities",.... NOT simply "lack of belief" as you don't require a special term for that.]

"Agnosticism is the belief that the truth values of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, as well as other religious and metaphysical claims—are unable to be known." - wiki

.[..even in principal since they're incompatible with scientific method.]
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2014
Take a look at this philo guy. He's the one who wrote the scathing review of krausses book, and caused Krauss to rightfully explode at his ignorance.
http://youtu.be/9nbbEw6SctA

-This is the face of contemporary philosophy. An assumed expert in science theory who speaks in binary -ums, and who has to describe causality for an educated audience as a series of 'this causes this causes this' idiocy.

I see both Sam Harris and Dan dennett in the audience. How embarrassing for them.
Noumenon
5 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2014
where I provide quotes of like comments from prominent physicists

-Who as I recall were largely senile mystics and fascists?


Nope, prominent physicists including Hawking, Heisenberg, Rees, Weinberg, Einstein, Bohr, D'Espagnat, etc.,... your ad hominems not withstanding.

There is no 'epistemology' of anything.


It's an existent term that denotes a valid subject, ....an obviously valid subject especially wrt science and the present topic.

I'm not surprised that you think you can deny it so sweepingly without really knowing what it is you're denying, given that you are the same person who finds it a simple matter of denying the existence of consciousness.
Captain Stumpy
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014
The science has nothing to say about how your particular phone works. It could be tuned, upgraded and rebuilt and nobody has published an article about it.The science does care about general mobile phone principle and about repetitive, reproducible phenomena

@zephyr
thank you for this clarification

if you are referring to:
As W Gyre put, Science, as a methodology
for seeking out, finding and cataloguing the myriad observed set of phenomena in our Universe

I can agree with this

if you are referring to science as:
systematized knowledge in general
OR
knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study

Then I would disagree, as the knowledge is the underpinning of all technology and speaks volumes about degree's of sophistication as well as technological level, etc
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2014
"Unknowable"? you DON'T know that, not can't... The instant you establish/assert something AS unknowable, you accept that there is a metaphysical realm of some sort. That makes you a "something-ist"... And it establishes a "now self imposed" limit on your own self which you wish to impose on others around you for whatever purpose. Thusly, making you no different than the "religionist".
I do know this - any person asserting this has a secret, control-freak desire to watch others get dizzy.

God, I can't wait for the day when we finally DO discover/realize that we really DO know all there is to know...

Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2014
As an aside,
In regards to philosophies (beliefs), all those quoted people of reknown weren't establishing empirical fact, they were expressing an opinion - an un-established theory. It is the READER who establishes his/her belief in the validity of a those opinions.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2014
It's an existent term
"existent - being or occurring in fact or actuality; having verified existence; not illusory; "real objects"; "real people; not ghosts"; "a film based on real life"; "a real illness"; "real humility"

-Ever try not using fatuous and pretentious philo words?
that denotes a valid subject
-Valid to philos... worthless to everyone else.
wrt
More pretentious philo shorthand.

"[Dan Dennett sciphilo extraordinaire] self-identifies with a few terms: "[Others] note that my 'avoidance of the standard philosophical terminology for discussing such matters' often creates problems for me; philosophers have a hard time figuring out what I am saying and what I am denying. My refusal to play ball with my colleagues is deliberate, of course, since I view the standard philosophical terminology as WORSE THAN USELESS—a major obstacle to progress since it consists of so many errors."
primitiveman
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014

Forget about the notion that Agnosticism simply means "without-knowledge" in the context of existence of god. It doesn't. It is the belief that god is intrinsically unknowable, even in principal.


If agnosticism is an assertion of belief (intrinsically unknowable), on what basis is that belief supported? If your arguments don't convince me to believe, and I also lack belief in the assertion that god is knowable, then I am simply back to not believing any assertion of belief about god's existence/non existence in a metaphysical sense. In a way, I'd be an atheist about your agnostic beliefs.

But I still think your definitions of atheism and agnosticism do not reflect how the terms are being used by many non-believers. A word derived from knowledge has now come to represent a belief. A word derived from a concept, without god, had now come to represent an assertion of god's non-existence. Atheism is not an ideology, there is no authority, no "must do" or "must say".
Noumenon
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014
If agnosticism is an assertion of belief (intrinsically unknowable), on what basis is that belief supported?


Science. IOW it is the claim that nothing can be known beyond observable material phenomena. Since the assertion of a metaphysical being, god, is beyond the scope of observable material phenomena, it is beyond the scope of science. Science can not address such questions, nor has science ever claimed to be able to. Science does not make claims about what does not exist, only about things that are observable and the effects between them.

Noumenon
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014
if your arguments don't convince me to believe, and I also lack belief in the assertion that god is knowable, then I am simply back to not believing any assertion of belief about god's existence/non existence in a metaphysical sense. In a way, I'd be an atheist about your agnostic beliefs.


Given A) knowledge of the realm of science and scientific method (which you agree with), and B) the definition of god as given to you by believers, ... you are not an atheist of agnosticism, because you accept A and you're not entitled to redefine B the way you want.

But I still think your definitions of atheism and agnosticism do not reflect how the terms are being used by many non-believers

This I think we can agree on. But if one purports to wield superior reasoning than ones opponent, as in atheists vrs theists, then they ought to be critical about definitions and logic,... otherwise their pronouncements are of no better quality.
primitiveman
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014

The claim of Atheism though, naturally leads to discussions of the metaphysical notion of god, at least it should if such a person is to be consistent. Rejecting religion is an easy target, and it doesn't graduate you to Atheism.


First, I don't reject religion, I find it fascinating. I just don't believe in any of its manifestations. So, what are the metaphysical arguments that are going to demonstrate that god cannot exist? That is what I'd need to "graduate", right? With evidence so convincing that I'm won over to believing and asserting god does not exist. Well, I'm skeptical that any metaphysical question/issue can be resolved with such finality. I'm not yet a believer.

Aside from philosophers and theologians, the vast majority of the religious believe in concrete gods with specific attributes, actions and history. The idea that abstract metaphysical debate is superior to evidence based debate seems vastly misguided and ineffective for these people.
Noumenon
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014
So, what are the metaphysical arguments that are going to demonstrate that god cannot exist? That is what I'd need to "graduate", right? With evidence so convincing that I'm won over to believing and asserting god does not exist.


But science cannot provide such evidence, as it is not the role of scientific method to demonstrate what does not exist,... but rather only to demonstrate what does, and the interactions resulting. It does not answer questions of 'why', only 'how'.

Aside from philosophers and theologians, the vast majority of the religious believe in concrete gods with specific attributes, actions and history. The idea that abstract metaphysical debate is superior to evidence based debate seems vastly misguided and ineffective for these people.


And I would agree here that atheists win those individual battles over empirical claims, .... but they lose the war consistently by their naiveté.
primitiveman
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014

Given A) knowledge of the realm of science and scientific method (which you agree with), and B) the definition of god as given to you by believers, ... you are not an atheist of agnosticism, because you accept A and you're not entitled to redefine B the way you want.

Let's try again. You asserted agnosticism is the belief that god is in principle unknowable. Without sufficient supporting evidence, I cannot share that belief. It is about your belief and definition of agnosticism and god, not the thousands of others. I entitle myself to use atheism as without belief in god. But yes, I should have coined a new term, like a-agnosticism to indicate that I don't share (I'm without) your agnostic belief.
primitiveman
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014

But science cannot provide such evidence, as it is not the role of scientific method to demonstrate what does not exist,... but rather only to demonstrate what does, and the interactions resulting. It does not answer questions of 'why', only 'how'.


Yes, I understand what science deals with. Just tell me what led you to the belief that god is in principle unknowable. I assume it is not science, but rather some metaphysical argument. After all, you claim that atheism naturally leads to metaphysical considerations of god. Further, that atheism must categorically proclaim that god does not exist. I don't see any science at all, and can only assume the your beliefs are grounded in metaphysics. Care to clarify?
primitiveman
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014

But science cannot provide such evidence, as it is not the role of scientific method to demonstrate what does not exist,... but rather only to demonstrate what does, and the interactions resulting. It does not answer questions of 'why', only 'how'.


Yes, I understand what science deals with. Just tell me what led you to the belief that god is in principle unknowable. I assume it is not science, but rather some metaphysical argument. After all, you claim that atheism naturally leads to metaphysical considerations of god. Further, that atheism must categorically proclaim that god does not exist. I don't see any science at all, and can only assume the your beliefs are grounded in metaphysics. Care to clarify?
Noumenon
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014
You asserted agnosticism is the belief that god is in principle unknowable.


Correct. The definition of god as beyond material substance, 'omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent',... means beyond the realm of scientific investigation.

Without sufficient supporting evidence, I cannot share that belief.


Correct, which is why you are afflicted with atheism, because you wrongly believe that in principal god can be disproved.

The sufficient supporting evidence for you to accept agnosticism is the scientific method itself,.... that it is inapplicable to metaphysical questions.

It is about your belief and definition of agnosticism and god


The definitions are unambiguous here.
Noumenon
3 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2014
But science cannot provide such evidence, as it is not the role of scientific method to demonstrate what does not exist,...


Yes, I understand what science deals with. Just tell me what led you to the belief that god is in principle unknowable.


I just did in that quote,... The scientific method is it, along with the given definition of god,.. it's why I just told you about the role of science.

I assume it is not science, but rather some metaphysical argument.

Nope.

After all, you claim that atheism naturally leads to metaphysical considerations of god.

If by 'atheist' one claims that "there is no god", ...that is a metaphysical assertion since it cannot be demonstrated to be true by use of science.

that atheism must categorically proclaim that god does not exist.


It doesn't? What then is the point of being an atheist (?),... a general lack of belief does not require another term, atheist. Even other theists can hold non-belief .
Cocoa
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014
Noumenon: "It doesn't? What then is the point of being an atheist (?)"

For me - the point of being an atheist is to identify myself as one who does not believe in superstition. This is very important to me. I live in a shit mess of a world - and most of that mess is caused by religionists who insist on killing each other - and anyone else who happens to be in the vicinity - in the name of this god or that god. Our progress as a species will be light years faster - when we leave superstition in the dustbin of history - and focus on learning what there is to be learned. I will be happy to refer you to the instances of men raping and killing women, or throwing acid in their faces etc. etc. in the name of this god or that god - if you are not already aware of them.

So you see Noumenon - all your philosophical contortions are a distraction - and my interest is in living in a culture of universal human rights. Getting past superstition will be a great step.
kochevnik
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014
@Noumenon It is a specific statement about the non-existence of god,... and given the definition of god, a lack of evidence is not even relevant.
No, it's not
primitiveman
5 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2014

Correct. The definition of god as beyond material substance, 'omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent',... means beyond the realm of scientific investigation.

Agreed.

Correct, which is why you are afflicted with atheism, because you wrongly believe that in principal god can be disproved.


Absolutely not. I do not believe that god can be proved or disproved. There is a complete absence of all belief concerning the supernatural. Again, my atheism is lack of belief, but you again claim to know what is in my mind, what I believe.

The sufficient supporting evidence for you to accept agnosticism is the scientific method itself,.... that it is inapplicable to metaphysical questions.


Yes, science is inapplicable to any belief about the supernatural/metaphysical. That is why forming a belief about the unknowability of some speculative supernatural entity (your agnosticism) is pointless, a metaphysical jaunt.

mooster75
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 25, 2014
Atheism is as much a religion as theism. Followers of theism believe in God, while atheists believe they're wrong. Neither side has evidence to support their stance.

Wrong. Atheists do not believe in God. If you can't see the difference between "I don't believe in God" and "I believe there is no God" then I can't help you.
Whydening Gyre
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014
We only "know" a thing through it's phenomic effect upon the accepted senses, as they are observed and interpreted by our neural network. We only see our sensory interpretation. Hence, Noumenon.
However, this description is in a moving reference frame, each causally derived by virtue of the fact that in order to view any reference frame you have to create (move to)a new one. The new reference frame, being directly next to the first reference... And yada, yada, yada...
interestingly, this thread can be construed as a metaphor which, coincidentally, exactly describes the motion of any particle (reference frame) in relation to another.
So... where is all this taking me, anyway? Dang, that's the unknowable part.... Just have to wait til I get there.
primitiveman
5 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2014

It doesn't? What then is the point of being an atheist (?),... a general lack of belief does not require another term, atheist. Even other theists can hold non-


Yes, there are enormous numbers of "non-beliefs" held by everyone. Atheism is a specific lack of belief in god/s. So let's look at two phrases: I don't believe in god; and god doesn't exist. You claim it is appropriate to use another term for one phrase but not the other. Why?

Actually, in all my conversations with believers, I've had no problem communicating my "lack of belief" atheism. Sure, some start out believing that all atheists assert god doesn't exist, but it is easy to clarify. And it can be useful to point out our common absence of belief for thousands of other gods.

Even though I've clearly explained my atheism here, you seem to repeatedly conflate your conception with whats in my mind. We spin wheels.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2014
What then is the point of being an atheist (?)

There's as much a 'point' to it as you having to declare yourself as "non-tabletennis sportsfan". In a world where most people couldn't care about that you don't need that label.
The label 'atheist' only seems to be needed because some religious people are so mentally retarded that they can't wrap their heads around the idea that belief in imagined entities does not figure in some people's lives.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2014
Correct. The definition of god as beyond material substance, 'omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent',... means beyond the realm of scientific investigation
No, this is the def that the theist gods give themselves in their books. And as science has shown these gods have either unknowingly or deceptively recorded events which we know didn't happen, and things which we know never existed. And so we can conclude that THEY don't exist, as many scientists such as Dawkins have.

But if you're referring to deist gods, there's no indication that 'omniscient, omnipotent, or omnipresent' applies to them whatsoever. And by indication I mean evidence.

They could be anything and nothing. They certainly don't have to be perfect. But as I say there is no evidence for their existence at all, that they created anything, nor that they particularly care about what happens to us.

But if there is evidence to be discovered only scientists are capable of properly finding and evaluating it.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2014
Absolutely not. I do not believe that god can be proved or disproved.
Well evidence in this thread suggests that you are referring to the theist bookgods when you say this. And so, again, you're WRONG. The bookgods have all been thoroughly and convincingly trashed. Science triumphs once again. Amen.
Jimee
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014
Religion was created in order to control and maintain power. Hell fire is what you get for defying the righteous. The unrepentent were shunned, to death if necessary, so the Church could retain its power. Simple as that. That does not mean there is not some part of truth/god? involved in the miracle of life, but it most probably has nothing to do with a religion.
dtxx
not rated yet Jan 25, 2014
Anything that cannot be proven or disproven is entirely worthless as a consideration. What, do you "know in your heart" Jesus is real? Or Zeus, or Shiva? Or maybe you'll quote scripture and put me in my place. That sure is convincing.

Show up to a court of law during a criminal trial. Ask to testify and tell them that you have no evidence to show of any kind towards either guilty or innocent but that you completely believe with every fiber of your being that the defendant is guilty. See how much difference that makes in the outcome of the trial. Try not to bump your head when they shove you in the padded rubber pen in the back of the crazy truck. Don't worry, your preacher will bail you out.

Cocoa
5 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2014
Antialias "There's as much a 'point' to it as you having to declare yourself as "non-tabletennis sportsfan"

But something the religionists don't want us talking about is the destructive side of superstition. This is just the latest of thousands of examples of women who have been raped and tortured in the name of some hideous god.

http://www.washin...ory.html

"The woman belongs to a tribe that has its own religious traditions, and elders frown upon marriage and romantic relationships outside that group."

So perhaps declaring oneself an atheist is to stand in solidarity with people around the world who suffer these crimes - and tying oneself in Noumenon philo contortions is not helping.
primitiveman
5 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2014
Absolutely not. I do not believe that god can be proved or disproved.
Well evidence in this thread suggests that you are referring to the theist bookgods when you say this. And so, again, you're WRONG. The bookgods have all been thoroughly and convincingly trashed. Science triumphs once again. Amen.

No, that comment was made directly in response to the metaphysical/supernatural definition advanced by Noumenon. I don't think metaphysical arguments are superior and favor direct evidence based arguments against the gods people actually believe, their "bookgods". Don't confuse me with Noumenon, check the "evidence" more carefully.
Noumenon
5 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2014
You guys are making a false distinction between "bookgods" and metaphysical gods. ALL gods are metaphysical in the sense that they are purported to be the Creator and so transcend physical matter and are beyond restraint by physical law.

In fact one of the premises of religions is that it is not supposed to be easy to believe. If it was simply a matter of evidence then any corrupt person could accept it autonomously, rendering the requisite faith redundant.

And I am not making a "metaphysical argument". It is just what a "god" is said to be from time immemorial,.... it's not "my" definition,... and if your point is to argue against that belief you must start with that definition as given to you by believers, for otherwise you presuppose what it is you claim to be able to disprove.

However, if as both of you seem to have clarified, you concede that you can't disprove that notion of god, and I can agree on your diluted form of atheism, then we can agree to that extent.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2014
So perhaps declaring oneself an atheist is to stand in solidarity with people around the world who suffer these crimes

Agreed. But there's no real point of otrganizing an atheist movement. if an argument against superstition is good coming fom one preson it won't be any better coming from a few billion.
I would classify myself as an atheist - but not as someone who belongs to an 'atheist movement'. Being atheist is a personal choice. Just because I don't see invisible firneds/demons as being part of the way I view reality doesn't mean I'm somehow now in the "brothehood of people who don't, also" and have to fight for a common cause.

I stand in solidarity with people against those crimes. Not against the religious per se. I have nothing against people who practice religion in their homes and don't act vile because of it against other people (and as long as they give their children the chance to make up their own minds about whether or not they want to be religious).
Cocoa
not rated yet Jan 26, 2014
But there's no real point of otrganizing an atheist movement.

Agreed - we do not need another religious hierarchy.

I have nothing against people who practice religion in their homes

Not directly - but the problem for me is that I am interested in seeing us evolve as a species. This involves ending war, violence, crime, etc. I believe these things will end - as we shift our value system to one that promotes knowledge, education, science, etc. and as we stop funding things like the war machine, and develop a culture that does not value superstition. The U.S. government actively promotes superstition (tax exemption for churches for example). So I do have an investment in speaking against the things in our world that enable this dark side to our species.
Cocoa
not rated yet Jan 26, 2014
I am having trouble getting to work on physorgs comments. Can someone point me to a resource to figure it out.

Thanks.
Cocoa
not rated yet Jan 26, 2014
That was meant to say that I am having trouble getting blockquotes to work on physorg.

Thanks.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2014

Not directly - but the problem for me is that I am interested in seeing us evolve as a species.

Me too. But I only see that happening through setting an example - not through coercion. Though the avoidance of coercion does take a back seat to protection.

I believe these things will end - as we shift our value system to one that promotes knowledge, education, science, etc

I'm not so sure. Crimes, intolerance, and the like are an emotional problem. we won't deal with those by focusing on technical/cognitve factors alone (like science, education, ...).
There are some highly educated, nasty people around, which are the most dangerous kind of nasty people you can have. We need to structure the world in a way that makes empathy a valuable thing to have - unlike it is now where everything is inconsequential next to having cash.

blockquotes

Use [ q ] and [ / q ] (without the spaces)
Noumenon
not rated yet Jan 26, 2014
But something the religionists don't want us talking about is the destructive side of superstition.

So perhaps declaring oneself an atheist is to stand in solidarity with people around the world who suffer these crimes


The religionists would simply respond that false interpretations of their religion or in using their religion to amass political control, leads to what you call the destructive side,... and so it is again man and not the religion itself.

Since most anthropogenic mass deaths were caused by the political idealism of controlling government, ....by your reasoning I would expect more solidarity by declaring oneself a political conservative, as to promote liberty and to be counter to socialism, 'liberal progressivism', communism, fascism.
Noumenon
5 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2014
We need to structure the world in a way that makes empathy a valuable thing to have - unlike it is now where everything is inconsequential next to having cash.


How do propose to "structure the world" the way you want it, while leaving liberty intact? Historical examples of government planning and design of society have failed. I provided a link above of the consequences of trying that.

To make "empathy a valuable thing to have" is what religion was invented for,... but it is what big-government social engineering progressive-liberals, attack.

No force in human history has done more to improve mans condition than the purely natural egoistic based pursuit of personal interest in a free capitalist society.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Jan 26, 2014
How do propose to "structure the world" the way you want it, while leaving liberty intact?

The way (good) parents do: Leading by example.

You may have noticed that there was a time when people did think e.g. liberty was a value worth having and voted with their feet (to the point where some countries had to block their borders in order to avoid a drain of 'human resources') . Today that isn't happening much, as there is no place left in the world that is a beacon of liberty (befory you ask: least of all the US - their PR nonwithstanding).

To make "empathy a valuable thing to have" is what religion was invented for

Sure, but it didn't work. Reason being: It got subverted by powerhungry people. Religion institutionalized 'empathy' to the point where people now just simulate it in order to belong to a 'strong' community.
Empathy must remain an indvidual asset that each individual chooses on his/her own.
Cocoa
not rated yet Jan 26, 2014

Since most anthropogenic mass deaths were caused by the political idealism of controlling government

I think that is highly debatable - looking at the history of our world - and the amount of killing that has been done in the name of god (are you aware of the colonial history of Europe?) However - it is not necessary to make that calculation - as I share your interest in a free society. I am not so sure that the word Conservative fits in this construct. My political ideology is very poorly defined at this point - but I see Conservatives here in the U.S. as some of the most oppressive and controlling ideologues. Perhaps anarchism is is more about liberty.
Cocoa
not rated yet Jan 26, 2014

and so it is again man and not the religion itself.


But religion is a construct of man. People are clearly capable of great good, and also great evil. So what differentiates? It seems to me that it is the ideas that are presented to us as we learn about our world. Present the idea that all are equal, and we have a responsibility to each other - and you get Gandhi. Present the idea that you are privileged, and others are sub human, and you get Hitler. It seems to me that religion is one of the greatest influences that teaches people that they are privileged, and can hurt others. The fact that religion is also nonsense - gives me great confidence in concluding that our world would be better off without it. Oppressive political ideology also needs to go to - but they are often intertwined.
Noumenon
5 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2014
How do propose to "structure the world" the way you want it, while leaving liberty intact?

The way (good) parents do: Leading by example.
[...]
Empathy must remain an indvidual asset that each individual chooses on his/her own.


Oh, I mistook your comment "structure the world". I agree with you then.
Noumenon
5 / 5 (2) Jan 26, 2014
I see Conservatives here in the U.S. as some of the most oppressive and controlling ideologues.


Yes, the evangelical conservatives would be socially oppressive in some ways, but the core principal of American conservatism is to promote liberty and freedom. I can't stand evangelical conservatives that taint the conservative political ideology with their religion. Secular Atheist/Agnostic conservatives, libertarians, is a growing political force happily.

Perhaps anarchism is is more about liberty.


It is fallacious to equate 'limited-government' with 'no-government'. Conservatives advocate strong government in areas that are required to maintain their basic principals, protection of property rights, national defense.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2014
You guys are making a false distinction between "bookgods" and metaphysical gods. ALL gods are metaphysical in the sense that they are purported to be the Creator and so transcend physical matter and are beyond restraint by physical law.
Im surprised nou. You mean you haven't learned the difference between theist and deist gods yet? Theist gods make specific statements about themselves and the way they interact with the world. The bible god for instance claims to be omniscient but describes things we know didn't happen. This is evidence we can use to conclude that THAT god can't exist.

Does he destroy evidence and replace it with contrary evidence in order to find out how much his believers TRUST him? If so then he is a deceitful god and he can't be the one described in the book he wrote.

This is not MY argument. It was one favored by hitchens in 'god is not great' and others and the one I find most convincing.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Jan 26, 2014
ALL gods are metaphysical in the sense that they are purported to be the Creator and so blah
Well this is obviously not true. Most obsolete pagan gods as well as those in the Hindu pantheon were limited to being gods of fire, water, fertility and such. They too are easy to discount by examining the evidence in comparison to what they claim to have done.

But as to metaphysical gods, your statement is curious. You say that no info can come from this netherworld but if a resident were to someday reveal himself we would be getting info. And if science does reveal evidence for one of these characters, he would also become physical.

Are you saying the metaphysical is visitable like Perseus in hades, or that Jehovah could return to the metaphysical by obliterating all evidence that he created everything that is physical? Even the contrary evidence he left behind would be info from 'the other side' even if we never discovered its ersatz nature.

Explain using normal words please.
primitiveman
5 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2014

However, if as both of you seem to have clarified, you concede that you can't disprove that notion of god, and I can agree on your diluted form of atheism, then we can agree to that extent.

Well, it is good to have some agreement. I still don't see the point in engaging believers in the metaphysics of their supernatural god claims. For most believers, it is just an escape clause. Confront them with scientific evidence, contradictions in holy texts etc., and with no meaningful answer, they often jump to the supernatural -- god works in mysterious ways, we can't understand god's plan etc. I've found its better to bring them back to concrete issues then follow them.

Sure, metaphysical discussions of the supernatural can be fun, but like Russell's orbiting teapot, the burden of proof lies on those making the supernatural claim. Attempting to disprove them is like following them down the rabbit hole.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Jan 26, 2014
you concede that you can't disprove that notion of god,

The onus of proof is on the one making the claim. Saying: "I know fromdlibuggers exist - and they must since you can't prove they don't" is not a viable argument. It's just idiocy.

we can't understand god's plan etc

Yet somehow they still know what he wants them to do and how he wants them to behave. weird, isn't it? It's just the extension of:
"You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."
--Anne Lamott

...i.e.: Self-righteous people fishing for a (psychological) reason to remain self-righteous.

And when it comes down to it: there is no worse human being than a self-righteous one.
Noumenon
5 / 5 (2) Jan 26, 2014
I still don't see the point in engaging believers in the metaphysics of their supernatural god claims


I never suggested that you do that.

In this thread, I am engaging Atheists in the metaphysics of supernatural gods, to point out that if they think they can disprove that they are mistaken, and any such claims that 'god does not exist' are of no better quality than the believers themselves.

Attempting to disprove them is like following them down the rabbit hole.


We'll we agree then.

you concede that you can't disprove that notion of god,


The onus of proof is on the one making the claim. Saying: "I know fromdlibuggers exist - and they must since you can't prove they don't" is not a viable argument. It's just idiocy.


If a believer tries to prove that god exists, then yes, he is no better than a Atheist who tries to disprove it. Most religious people feel no burden of proof at all to anyone. It is a matter of Belief.
Noumenon
5 / 5 (2) Jan 26, 2014
You guys are making a false distinction between "bookgods" and metaphysical gods. ALL gods are metaphysical in the sense that they are purported to be the Creator and so transcend physical matter and are beyond restraint by physical law.

Im surprised nou. You mean you haven't learned the difference between theist and deist gods yet?


What is your objection to what I wrote? They are both purported to be the Creator, yes?

Theist gods make specific statements about themselves and the way they interact with the world. The bible god for instance claims to be omniscient but describes things we know didn't happen. This is evidence we can use to conclude that THAT god can't exist.


I already addressed this above. You can disprove writings in the bible, but not the notion of a god.

The bible was written by interpretations of man on the notion of god. By disproving a claim in the bible you have managed to disprove some guy 3,500 - 2,000 years ago. Good job.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Jan 26, 2014
both purported to be the Creator, yes?
There are 1000s of theistic gods and very few of them are creators. Shiva for instance is the destroyer. Thor is the god of thunder. The demiurge (often associated with Jehovah) is the creator but the monad made him. The demiurge is considered malevolent because the world he created is flawed and full of pain.

None of these theist gods has anything to do with your deist god or gods which are toys you philos like to fiddle with. Deism was concocted to maintain the artifice of souls and consciousness and heaven, things you philos like to deem as metaphysical which is actually true I suppose because they don't exist either.

Theist gods are by and large personal gods who can intercede on our behalf. There is no indication that deist gods know that we are here nor care. There is no evidence for them whatsoever. At present people do not need them to explain anything at all.

If this changes I am sure scientists will let you know.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2014
Here's hitchens discussing the difference between theism and deism
http://youtu.be/jFaBbndExzg
Whydening Gyre
not rated yet Jan 26, 2014
Nicely cogent, well-thought out discussion here, today. High five to all the participants. Even Noumenon made complete sense...:-)
Just one thing I found a little humorous...
That this discussion (about gods) was done on a day typically set aside to celebrate the Christian god - Sunday...
As an atheist, I find the lack of evidence of a god as sufficient reason to have no opinion.
just my reference frame...
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2014
Most religious people feel no burden of proof at all to anyone. It is a matter of Belief.

Yet they talk about it as if it were real.
The whole point of talkinga bout it seems to convince others that it is real. So they are trying to prove that the figment of their imagination exists to others.

If it were just a matter of "either you believe it you don't" then no religious person would talk about it (least of all to anyone who doesn't believe). There'd be no point.

There's an itrinsic inconsistency here: Trying to argue while denying that argument applies. Accepting that the onus of proof is on the one making the claim while denying that onus for themselves. Claiming to know something about something they claim to be unknowable.

If that were coming from a child I could understand it as 'playing with words' in a silly manner. But coming from grown adults? Really?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 27, 2014
Heres one philo who knows exactly what god is.
http://www.youtub...rCc3VrmE

(Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance 2014 I might add - I guess they couldnt believe ozzy could sing the whole thing and live)
TechnoCreed
not rated yet Jan 28, 2014
Heres one philo who knows exactly what god is.
http://www.youtub...rCc3VrmE

(Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance 2014 I might add - I guess they couldnt believe ozzy could sing the whole thing and live)


I like your musical choice! Although poetry is a hole different topic; It reminds us here that our cogitations are just rhetorical exercises.
foolspoo
1 / 5 (1) Jan 29, 2014
Religion, by definition, is intolerance. very hopeful for a world without such hate and bigotry


All of us have some level of awkwardness toward differences. Your comment exactly refflects that. The main danger of our beliefs is integrism and it applies to atheism to.


no, it does not. comprehension is a dying skill, and you are certainly afflicted
TechnoCreed
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 30, 2014
Well foolspoo,

What can I say? My point of view seems to be different than yours. I disagreed to your initial statement so I replied. And it was the start of a very interesting debate. 129 comments so far, counting this one. I find it very odd that we have this kind off debate here; Phys.org is not about philosophy, it is about science and technology. Well I like philosophy, and so it seems do many other readers here. It should not be a surprise; philosophy and science are both about knowledge. So under a very short, badly written, politically biased, morally dubious article, you get a fine philosophical debate. You should be satisfied; without your initial comment, there is a high probability that there would not be any debate here.

Read my pseudonym... TechnoCreed; I had choose it because of my beliefs. Creed yes, like in credo: My credo is science, technology and humanity. Those are the foundation of my values, these are my beliefs. No religion there, but still beliefs and most importantly open-mindedness.

You do not have a clue about who I am. But the simple fact that we have divergence of ideas made you react with contempt:
Comprehension is a dying skill, and you certainly afflicted.

Do you even know what integrism is? You just made a demonstration of it: Dogmatism, fundamentalism, rigidity... no religion but still closed mind.

It is killing me to have to reply to you, because the debate has ended a long time ago.

It is killing me to have to reply to you, because you are a sensible man; I know I have seen your comment on "Helping families cope with autism and aggression".

It is killing me to have to reply to you, because you are a man of few words and will not be able to respond properly.

It is killing me to have to reply to you, because you have insulted me.

It is killing me to have to reply to you, but still I replied with respect, kindness and open mind.
Cocoa
5 / 5 (1) Jan 30, 2014
Technocreed - could you point me to a reference that discusses 'integrism' in the way that you are meaning it. I had never heard the term before - and was confused when I did some quick googling - the discussions I found did not appear to pertain to your context. Here is an example from

http://wiki.answe...ntegrism

"Today it used as a pejorative to "describe" those who adhere to traditional Catholicism."

I am really struggling with this statement of yours

The main danger of our beliefs is integrism and it applies to atheism to.


Thanks.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 30, 2014
like your musical choice! Although poetry is a hole different topic; It reminds us here that our cogitations are just rhetorical exercises.
Actually I prefer something a bit more emphatic.
http://www.youtub...5yN5QjXo
http://www.youtub...6V8zjgpo

Black metal - the final Authority on god. Ozzy is a cherub. BTW satan doesnt exist either, he only inspires dramatic music.
TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (1) Feb 02, 2014
Cocoa,

If the time you invested in this debate denotes the value you put in it, you are certainly worth an answer, and I am sorry that I could not respond more swiftly.

To this debate here, I will say that there is no simple answer. To your question, I will answer, but not without any contextualisation.

My 82 year old father is a devoted Christian, I am not; and I will not confront him with that. There is no need, for any reason, to make him sad. I never heard him say anything like; this person is not a good Christian or these people are not in the right religion. Because he is philanthropic and I thank him for this quality that he and I share. There is surely some awkwardness to his personality, but he always receives people with an open heart and an open mind. He will reject ideas categorically but he will never hate somebody for any divergence. So, my experience tells me that religion is not the problem, misanthropy is.

I am from the province of Quebec, Canada. Here, at this moment, there is a serious debate on religion versus the secularism of the state, and some legislation will come out of it. This situation made me put some serious thought into it. I have read all of your comments, and I assure you, we have many common concerns. So I think that I understand the point you are trying to make, especially concerning peacefulness, or the lack there of relations in our society. There is more in our awkward relations than the question of religiosity; there is political, racial and sexual polarisation too. To that I say; Imagine... exactly as John Lennon meant it.

So I will restate my position, just to clarify it. Although I do not believe in God, I cannot reject the possibility of it. In Cantor's theory of sets, Relativity is in a reality set, 1+1=0 is in a rejection set, and God is in a possibility set, as much as Tegmark's mathematics Universe or Krauss's quantum multiverse. If Max Tegmark is stating that mathematics is the universe, just like some would say that God is the universe, I have some serious objection to this idea; but I will certainly read his book. To Larry Krauss I would say; in some universe there is no God, in some others there is one and in a specific universe God is a mouse and... oups, I just stepped on it. In conclusion I will add that unlike Bertrand Russell and his celestial teapot analogy, for me the possibility of God has more value, but only in respect to others.

There is much more to reality then what we perceive. A few years ago atoms were solids, now, with Paul Dirac, they are empty energy fields in curved space time. A few years ago space and time were much defined entities, now with Albert Einstein it is a very confusing intertwine phenomenon. I can go on and on, that is reality. Have you any idea how many people reject empirical science? Just go read the comments under the article "why Einstein will never be wrong" you will be stunned. Do not forget that without Relativity our recent everyday tool 'GPS' is worthless. That is why rejections of possibilities are, for me, out of the question.

Now, for a definition of integrism, I will put it this way: It is the rejection of anything that seems to be in contradiction with your book (or your principles). Your book can be the Bible, the Quran or Science. For those who go only for Science; do not forget that this book is still under redaction, and is under constant revision. For those who only look in dictionaries for definitions, I will remind them that a word has no value out of context. So go ahead and use your dictionary, but with this kind of rigidity you will never understand poetry.

In conclusion, integrism is a problem because it generates misanthropy.
Cocoa
not rated yet Feb 02, 2014
Thanks Techno - 2 quick questions.

Could you provide a link to show where your definition/understanding of integrism comes from. If we don't have a common reference - then we are using words in a pretty arbitrary way - and should at least provide some definition of our meaning - so that others understand.

You say that integrism can be a problem for atheists. Are you proposing that we all make up and get along - and therefore do not talk about problems such as suicide bombers going into schools and killing children (just on example of many). I think that we must establish some base rules for living together - and be willing to challenge those who do such things as throw acid in women's faces, or rape etc. I am concerned that your abstraction of integrism could lead to apologism.

Thanks.
TechnoCreed
4 / 5 (1) Feb 02, 2014
In French Canada integrism is a synonym for extreme fundamentalism. I would describe McCarthyism or extreme secularism as forms of ideological integrism. I am sorry, you will not find any such dictionary definition of it, anyway there are plenty of philosophic article written on the subject. They come as some religious defence but when a text has a well balanced position, there are no reasons not to read it.

http://www.humani...intless/

If you are looking to have the last word here, go right ahead, I see no point to debate any longer.
Cocoa
not rated yet Feb 03, 2014
I see no point to debate any longer.


I tend to agree. I would encourage others to look at the site your article came from, and to listen to the video on the home page.

http://www.humani...ure.com/

It is so interesting how religious folks seem so threatened by non religious ideas in the world (eg. humanism), that they need to co-opt the ideas - and claim them for their own. Thus the development of 'Christian Humanism'.

Noumenon
not rated yet Feb 03, 2014
Most religious people feel no burden of proof at all to anyone. It is a matter of Belief.

Yet they talk about it as if it were real.
The whole point of talkinga bout it seems to convince others that it is real.


I think primarily what they talk about is Judeo-Christian philosophy (..etc), as a set of ethic principals, which is not something rationally deniable by atheists.

We don't see atheists formally preaching a set of moral standards. Why? We only see religious people do this. It is a noble thing to do for humanity, and with all the secular evil in the world, it is a respectable thing to do.

As I said above, and as I provided links to show, most mass human deaths have occurred on account of secular man and his political idealism, which was just as Wrong as religious beliefs. So, killing in the name of a religion is effectively a similar failure of man, not the religion per se, as the vast majority of the respective believers will confirm.
Cocoa
not rated yet Feb 03, 2014
Noumenon :
We don't see atheists formally preaching a set of moral standards. Why?


What rock have you been living under? Have you ever heard of secular humanism? You might want to google it.
Noumenon
not rated yet Feb 03, 2014
Noumenon :
We don't see atheists formally preaching a set of moral standards. Why?


What rock have you been living under? Have you ever heard of secular humanism? You might want to google it.


Well obviously the notion of a morality independent from a religious one, exists. I did not say otherwise. In fact, that movement started way back in the sixteenth century, at least to the extent of a separation of church and government.

I stated, 'we don't see atheists actively Preaching a morality in a formal way'.

Particularly, the far left Atheists who tend to wear it as a badge of superiority, despite logically being no better , ....attack religious peoples faith, but fail to supplant the what they aim to tare down with comparable noble aims.
Noumenon
not rated yet Feb 03, 2014
,... if only the political far left would take a like critical attitude toward their Own ideology, and it's historical failures and causes of human suffering,.. in socialism and communism.
Cocoa
not rated yet Feb 03, 2014
Noumenon -
I stated, 'we don't see atheists actively Preaching a morality in a formal way'.


I read what you stated - and you are wrong. Why do we have to keep answering the same questions - from people who do not take the time themselves to know what they are talking about?

Let me give you a couple of links.

http://www.youtub...qVbAzjng
http://www.youtub...cw2pb0ok
http://www.youtub...vWkRRxKQ
http://www.youtub...Jrr0tRXk
http://www.youtub...Ou_DiE5E

Just read freethoughtbloggs a little - and you will hear plenty of admonition to a more moral way of being - rants against rape culture, Catholic morality, inclusion etc. etc.
kochevnik
not rated yet Feb 03, 2014
,... if only the political far left would take a like critical attitude toward their Own ideology, and it's historical failures and causes of human suffering,.. in socialism and communism.
If only Noumenon could take time to get facts instead of regurgitating disproven lies, as with most conservaturds
Noumenon
not rated yet Feb 03, 2014
Noumenon -
I stated, 'we don't see atheists actively Preaching a morality in a formal way'.


I read what you stated - and you are wrong. Why do we have to keep answering the same questions - from people who do not take the time themselves to know what they are talking about?

Let me give you a couple of links.

http://www.youtub...qVbAzjng

Just read freethoughtbloggs a little - and you will hear plenty of admonition to a more moral way of being - rants against rape culture, Catholic morality, inclusion etc. etc.


Ok, thanks for that clarification, because I thought no atheist has ever made moral statements ever.
Cocoa
not rated yet Feb 03, 2014
Ok, thanks for that clarification, because I thought no atheist has ever made moral statements ever.


I got the sarcasm. It was not necessary. As an atheist - I am tired of the constant drivel from the rubes. The old - 'atheists can't have a moral conscience - only people who believe in God can have a moral conscience.' We get really tired of the drivel coming from people like you - who can't be bothered to listen to what we are saying.
Noumenon
not rated yet Feb 04, 2014
Ok, thanks for that clarification, because I thought no atheist has ever made moral statements ever.


I got the sarcasm. It was not necessary. As an atheist - I am tired of the constant drivel from the rubes. The old - 'atheists can't have a moral conscience - only people who believe in God can have a moral conscience.' We get really tired of the drivel coming from people like you - who can't be bothered to listen to what we are saying.


Why do I have to keep answering the same questions - from people who do not take the time themselves to know what they are talking about?

I have stated enough times above that I, myself, 'Noumenon', do NOT believe in god.

This must mean that I think atheists CAN have a moral conscience,... and it is in no way exclusive to religions. I don't know any religious people that think non-believers can't be good people.

I mentioned Judeo-Christian philosophy above for which even atheists could accept, sans the spiritual/god component.
Noumenon
not rated yet Feb 04, 2014
..... I asked above "we don't see atheists formally preaching a set of moral standards. Why?",... which I meant on a scale like religion (a church on every other block),... for example like in a 'westernized Buddhism'.
Cocoa
not rated yet Feb 04, 2014
which I meant on a scale like religion


Well you did not clarify that did you? And of course the answer is addressed many times over if you read anything from the new atheists. Firstly of course - atheists are still very much in a tiny minority in the world (estimates around 2% from a quick google). So why would you imagine that atheists would have a church on every other block? Secondly and more importantly - atheism are not organized in the way religion is. There is much discussion of the fact that we do NOT want to create a hierarchical system like religion. Thus - without churches to stand in - and being in such a small minority - atheists cannot be expected to be as visible as religionists. Your criticism seems pretty dumb to me - like saying - 'well how come physicists don't preach a formal set of moral standards [like religion]. They do preach a formal set of standards - just not from a pulpit, and not in the same numbers... Sheesh....
Cocoa
not rated yet Feb 04, 2014
which I meant on a scale like religion


Well you did not clarify that did you? And of course the answer is addressed many times over if you read anything from the new atheists. Firstly of course - atheists are still very much in a tiny minority in the world (estimates around 2% from a quick google). So why would you imagine that atheists would have a church on every other block? Secondly and more importantly - atheism are not organized in the way religion is. There is much discussion of the fact that we do NOT want to create a hierarchical system like religion. Thus - without churches to stand in - and being in such a small minority - atheists cannot be expected to be as visible as religionists. Your criticism seems pretty dumb to me - like saying - 'well how come physicists don't preach a formal set of moral standards [like religion]. They do preach a formal set of standards - just not from a pulpit, and not in the same numbers... Sheesh....
Noumenon
not rated yet Feb 04, 2014
I will concede your two good points, 'atheists are a minority', and ' tend NOT to want to create a hierarchical organization'. Probably the reason in the west, although as I mentioned, non-theistic Buddhism is the east is one of the fastest growing movements, so it's occurring there.

To summarize my point above once again, ...IF, the Atheists goal is to tear down religions, then replace that component of religions that is noble and beneficial to mankind,... or respect it for servicing that social need and keep your equal quality beliefs to yourself.

[I never said that Atheists should have churches on every corner, I said religions do, and those churches do good work for humanity,...;... being a physicist has nothing to do with being an atheist]
Cocoa
not rated yet Feb 04, 2014
and those churches do good work for humanity,..


A very complex topic. My take (and those of other vocal atheists such as PZ Myers) is that our world will be a MUCH better place when we have evolved beyond the need for religion. Yes religion has some benefits - but the negatives far outweigh them. The dominant religions of our world teach people to not think, but to blindly accept lies that are presented as truths. I would recommend reading 'Battlefield of the mind' by Joyce Meyer to get a good look at how much of the religious world thinks. Atheists support independent free thinking - and the development of a moral and intellectual person that is based on rationality - not superstition - a far better world. Your view - in my opinion - borders on apologism for the evils of terrible organizations called churches. The fact that they have some positive value does not negate the evil that they bring to our world.
kochevnik
not rated yet Feb 04, 2014
being a physicist has nothing to do with being an atheist
Yet more dubious Noumenon speculation
foolspoo
4 / 5 (1) Feb 04, 2014
tecnocreed


you made an assumption, you were incorrect. enjoy the ego
TechnoCreed
not rated yet Feb 04, 2014
Foolspoo,

There is no ego hurting as far as I am concerned; it was a polite debate. Cocoa and I could only beg to differ so there was no need to debate with him any longer. What is the purpose of debates if not to find some common ground? I am not here to advocate any ideology anyway.

If your ego was hurt, I am sorry but you went for a personal attack; I tried to reply kindly, but sometime there is no polite way to say things.

To this debate I will add one thing, since you open the door to it. For me good people will be good and it does not matter if they 'believe' or not, and so it goes for bad people. Those who promote intolerance should question where they stand between those positions. And if you only worry about wasted intelligence, you worry for nothing; a curious 'brain' will find the right answers.

TC
kochevnik
5 / 5 (1) Feb 04, 2014
Is intolerance universally bad? Should man have mated and integrated with neanderthals forever despite the introduction of disease genes for diabetes and infertility? Or should neanderthals be cut off as they apparently were? Should the earlier subspecies of sapiens be reintroduced in an effort to cultivate every possible variant of DNA recombination? At what point does a species leave the atavists behind and fully evolve? These are not simple questions to answer fairly on the individual or national scale. Some eggs need to be broken. Specicide is is as ugly as ubiquitous. Some choices have no guidelines and are perilous and irreversible, yet natural and we accept them without reservation as the "right" way when in fact they are products of pure chance and immense suffering
foolspoo
4 / 5 (1) Feb 05, 2014


To this debate I will add one thing, since you open the door to it. For me good people will be good and it does not matter if they 'believe' or not, and so it goes for bad people. Those who promote intolerance should question where they stand between those positions. And if you only worry about wasted intelligence, you worry for nothing; a curious 'brain' will find the right answers.

TC


George and Martin would be thoroughly disappointed in such apathy;

"Disobedience, the rarest and most courageous of the virtues, is seldom distinguished from neglect, the laziest and commonest of the vices."

" He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it"
TechnoCreed
not rated yet Feb 05, 2014
"Disobedience, the rarest and most courageous of the virtues, is seldom distinguished from neglect, the laziest and commonest of the vices."

" He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it"

Those quotes are surely good food for thought. But don't you think that George Bernard Shaw was one of those 'brains' that I was talking about? And isn't it odd that you use reverend Martin Luther King Jr to defend your point?