Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

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Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby jasonjannajerryjohn » Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:02 am

So I'm honestly dying to here what people want to ask an atheist. I am open to any and all questions. Keep in mind that I am no scientist or historian, I'm not an expert, but I can answer questions with as much knowledge that I have gleaned from various books and high school/college classes, as well as the internet. The internet is a wonderful place. ;)

Hopefully I can clear up some misconceptions and assumptions. Whenever I talk to any theistic person (whatever the religion may be) they tend to have some misconceptions about what an atheist is and what an atheist thinks. So ask away! :D
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby Christian A. » Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:28 am

Are you sure you're an atheist and not an agnostic? An atheist, one who declaratively states that there is no God, would have to have all knowledge to be sure that there is no evidence for God. How do you know that somewhere, in the knowledge you haven't explored, there's no evidence for God? Wouldn't it be more appropriate to label yourself as an agnostic, one who doesn't know for sure that God doesn't exist, but who's not ready to believe in such a Being?
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby jasonjannajerryjohn » Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:39 am

Christian A. wrote:Are you sure you're an atheist and not an agnostic? An atheist, one who declaratively states that there is no God, would have to have all knowledge to be sure that there is no evidence for God. How do you know that somewhere, in the knowledge you haven't explored, there's no evidence for God? Wouldn't it be more appropriate to label yourself as an agnostic, one who doesn't know for sure that God doesn't exist, but who's not ready to believe in such a Being?


That is a very good question and one I get asked quite a bit. There really is very little difference between atheists and agnostics, functionally, I think. Certainly many people think of atheists and agnostics as the same. It's really an argument over terms and definitions.

I don't think we'll be able to figure out if there is a god especially because the term has so much religious baggage weighing it down. It's really quite hard to pin down what "god" even means, but I don't think we can prove the existence of the traditional Judeo-Christian god that most of us on here are familiar with and grew up believing in, no.

However, I do think we can get a probability of how much such a god would exist. Fifty fifty is not really a reasonable stance to take on the issue. The evidence for a god is not really a coin toss. I am more inclined to think that there isn't one with a lack of evidence and arguments for god falling flat. Until you have the hard evidence for something, not believing is the more appropriate response. For instance, I don't believe that there are fairies holding up my house right now instead of wood, plaster, moldings, and everything else that goes into building a house because there is no evidence for the fairies. I am an a-fairiest. I don't take an agnostic position on the question because it's not a coin toss on whether they exist.

And I end this answer with a question. Presumably you don't believe in many gods that people have worshiped over the millennia. I would assume you don't believe in Krishna, Vishnu, Zeus, Ra, or the Muslim version of the Christian god. And what about Egyptian Pharaohs? Do you believe they were gods as well? You are an atheist about many gods as well. Isn't it appropriate to label yourself an agnostic about these gods and say, well maybe they exist and maybe they don't because maybe there's something you haven't looked at?
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby sheltiez » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:32 am

So if you do not believe in God at all, why do you listen to Odyssey?
Also, what is your evidence that the Bible is a false, uninspired book and that God is made up?
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby John Chrysostom » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:36 am

You can't prove a negative. (Sorry for the rudeness earlier)

Who are some of the thinkers that influenced you?
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby Astronomer » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:53 am

Why do you believe in evolution? I would think there is as much evidence that evolution (macro-evolution) is true, as there is evidence that there are supernatural beings.
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby snubs » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:38 pm

Do you believe Jesus lived? And do you believe anything else in the Bible ever happened?
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby jasonjannajerryjohn » Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:43 pm

sheltiez wrote:So if you do not believe in God at all, why do you listen to Odyssey?


I was wondering when this one would show up. Didn't think it would be so soon though. I don't listen to it anymore, unfortunately. I think I've grown out of it. However, I love AIO and this forum, both have been instrumental in shaping my life and life changing for me. Even so, I enjoy a lot of religious art, and not just Christian art. Religion has been one of the greatest forces for art throughout history. There are many beautiful religious paintings, music, sculpture, drama, and other things. Just because I'm not a Christian or any other type of religion doesn't mean I can't enjoy their art.

sheltiez wrote:Also, what is your evidence that the Bible is a false, uninspired book and that God is made up?


As Rand somewhat rudely pointed out (emulating your name there? ;) ) you can't prove a negative. I take the position of a skeptic for virtually everything that I think. That is, I ask for evidence before I believe something. It is the person who asserts something's responsibility to prove what they assert. For instance if someone told me that unicorns are a real thing, they couldn't tell me that "you can't prove that unicorns aren't real." It'd be that person's responsibility to prove that unicorns are real.

Ayn Rand wrote:Who are some of the thinkers that influenced you?


For the most part my deconversion itself was a product of self-exploration and self-discovery. Taking ideas that I thought were sacred and allowing myself to question them. When I actually started doing that, and debating in here (ironically), I started to realize that those ideas I had always held just didn't hold water. They didn't actually make sense. So I had to make myself reject them because they weren't true. It was hard, I'll admit, but I'm better for it. Allowing myself to see reality how it is rather than how I wish it to be is a very enlightening experience. It's like I threw off the blindfold I had been wearing and can see the way reality really works.

After my deconversion, I was influenced by a couple internet sites. Dawkins was also a rather large influence. Other than that I can't think of anyone else off the top of my head though I'm sure there were others.


Astronomer wrote:Why do you believe in evolution? I would think there is as much evidence that evolution (macro-evolution) is true, as there is evidence that there are supernatural beings.


That is not true. There is a mountain of evidence supporting evolution. Tests, experiments, observations, fossils, DNA, our own work in creating new species (artificial selection), and the best evidence of all, the fact that we are different from our parents. There is so much more evidence for evolution and the way it works than any sort of "supernatural" being.

Also, I should make note that in science there is no distinction between "macro and micro-evolution." I have never heard that among scientists, only ID advocates. It seems like a way to try to have their cake and eat it too. It seems they want to both believe that evolution happens (because of the mountains of evidence) but say that it doesn't happen because they want to continue to believe the creation myth. The problem here is that reality doesn't care what you believe. Reality is the way it is regardless of any one person's belief. My goal is to aline my beliefs as close as possible to reality.

Supernatural beings, by the very name, are nearly impossibly to prove. That is the point. If their impossible to prove, you can't disprove them either and so it makes it easier to believe in them. But the problem is there is little to no evidence for supernatural beings whether they be angels, ghosts, genies, or other beings that have been in mythologies around the world. I wouldn't have a problem believing in it if it was true, no more than I would have a problem believing in giraffes or koalas, but there just isn't any evidence. The other problem with "supernatural" beings is that when they are proven, they are no longer supernatural, they are natural. So you can't believe in them anymore if you want to believe in something supernatural. Thousands of years ago, we thought the sun was supernatural. We've thought blood was supernatural. We thought the brain was supernatural. But none of this stuff is. If you want to continue believing in something "supernatural" you have to give up that belief once it's proven. So in a sense, I don't ever believe anything "supernatural" because the very name implies unproven.


snubs wrote:Do you believe Jesus lived? And do you believe anything else in the Bible ever happened?


I'm not entirely certain of these questions as I'm not a historian, but I'll do the best I can. I do think it is likely that Jesus existed, I generally give it the benefit of the doubt that he was real. However, I don't believe that he had any of the magical powers that he has in the Bible. If he existed, he would have been one of numerous messiahs that had risen at the time. It was a time of great revolution, everyone was looking for a messiah to lead the people in rebellion against the Roman empire and establish an independent country of Israel. Everyone was looking for someone, so it is easy to see how the story of Jesus became prominent.

Well I'm fairly certain many places and people who are written about in the Bible existed. That doesn't mean, however, that things in it happened. There isn't very much evidence for the Jewish people being in Egypt, but the Egyptian empire was a real place and Ramses was a real person. Babylon was a real country. Nebuchadnezzar was a real person. I'm not entirely sure how accurate the "history" portion of the Bible is, as I'm not a historian, but I'm fairly certain that the magical things didn't happen. Extraordinary things require extraordinary evidence, and there is very little to support the magical events.
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby ~JCGJ~ » Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:51 pm

jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:That is not true. There is a mountain of evidence supporting evolution. Tests, experiments, observations, fossils, DNA, our own work in creating new species (artificial selection), and the best evidence of all, the fact that we are different from our parents. There is so much more evidence for evolution and the way it works than any sort of "supernatural" being.

Also, I should make note that in science there is no distinction between "macro and micro-evolution." I have never heard that among scientists, only ID advocates. It seems like a way to try to have their cake and eat it too. It seems they want to both believe that evolution happens (because of the mountains of evidence) but say that it doesn't happen because they want to continue to believe the creation myth. The problem here is that reality doesn't care what you believe. Reality is the way it is regardless of any one person's belief. My goal is to aline my beliefs as close as possible to reality.

Supernatural beings, by the very name, are nearly impossibly to prove. That is the point. If their impossible to prove, you can't disprove them either and so it makes it easier to believe in them. But the problem is there is little to no evidence for supernatural beings whether they be angels, ghosts, genies, or other beings that have been in mythologies around the world. I wouldn't have a problem believing in it if it was true, no more than I would have a problem believing in giraffes or koalas, but there just isn't any evidence. The other problem with "supernatural" beings is that when they are proven, they are no longer supernatural, they are natural. So you can't believe in them anymore if you want to believe in something supernatural. Thousands of years ago, we thought the sun was supernatural. We've thought blood was supernatural. We thought the brain was supernatural. But none of this stuff is. If you want to continue believing in something "supernatural" you have to give up that belief once it's proven. So in a sense, I don't ever believe anything "supernatural" because the very name implies unproven.



You also must realize, however, that there is more than one way to interperet the evidence.

For example, I have "good" evedence that I have a little brother.

I can see him.

I can feel him when he tugs on my jeans.

I can smell him when he doesn't take a bath.

I can hear him when he screams at me.

I could taste him if I really wanted to... But I shall not... ;)


Anyway, my senses provide evedence that he is there.

However, I had a dream a few nights ago about my little brother.

I could see him, feel him, hear him, etc.

However, he was not truely there.

He was simply a (very vivid) figment of my imagination.

So, if my "dream brother" (whom I believed to be real at the time) wasn't real, how can I prove that my "real" brother really is real, and not just a figment of my imagination?

I can't.

Sure, the evedence may point very clearly in one direction (that direction being that my brother truely is real), but there's no way I can really be absolutely certain that he is real...


Now, I, too, am a skeptic at heart, but I have come to realize that some things just cannot be proven.

I have come to realize that I have to choose to believe that my brother actually is there (ie. have faith that he is real), in much the same way I must choose to have faith that God is real.


So, my question to you, is, do you believe that the world truely is all around you, or do you require conclusive evedence?

(Please, don't come back with a witty remark at how my argument was flawed.
(I, too was a debator, and in our debate team, we consider it quite rude to point out your opponents' mistakes.)
You do not need to answer my question. I am simply trying to show you that you cannot avoid not having faith in anything.
So, you must choose what you put your faith in.
I choose to put my faith in someone who (I believe) was there at the beginning of the universe, and has given us accounts (yes, through the writings of men...) of how he created it.
Sure, it may seem foolish to go against the evedence presented by scientists, but I would much rather take the chance of being wrong on the Earth, and go to Heaven with God, then to just go with the evedence and go to Hell, seperated from God for eternity.

If He isn't there, and I die, I'm no worse off then I would have been if I didn't believe in Him (ie. I would simply be gone. It wouldn't matter one lick whether I was right or wrong. I would simply be non-existent).

However, if He is there, I would much rather have been ridiculed on Earth, than to be rejected by God.

That's not a gamble I'm willing to make.)
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby jasonjannajerryjohn » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:22 pm

There's a lot of stuff here so this is probably going to be a long post. You bring up some rather good points. I don't know what it has to do with the post you were quoting, but it's fine.

~JCGJ~ wrote:You also must realize, however, that there is more than one way to interperet the evidence.

For example, I have "good" evedence that I have a little brother.

I can see him.

I can feel him when he tugs on my jeans.

I can smell him when he doesn't take a bath.

I can hear him when he screams at me.

I could taste him if I really wanted to... But I shall not... ;)


Anyway, my senses provide evedence that he is there.


I just want to point out that senses are not the only thing scientists use to figure out the way things work. It's nearly impossible to sense things like air, the universe, and microscopic life and numerous other things. The fact that our senses have evolved to help us get along in this world of "big" things. If we had evolved in the world of the microscopic or living in space, it would be different.

~JCGJ~ wrote:However, I had a dream a few nights ago about my little brother.

I could see him, feel him, hear him, etc.

However, he was not truely there.

He was simply a (very vivid) figment of my imagination.

So, if my "dream brother" (whom I believed to be real at the time) wasn't real, how can I prove that my "real" brother really is real, and not just a figment of my imagination?

I can't.

Sure, the evedence may point very clearly in one direction (that direction being that my brother truely is real), but there's no way I can really be absolutely certain that he is real...


This is true. How do we know we aren't all in the Matrix? Or we're all dreaming? Or something else. But the fact is that we don't live like that. We all must still go to school and work, do our taxes and our homework. It's true we could not really be here. "Could" being the key word here. There isn't any evidence for something like that, so for the time being we live in the world that we're in. Until it's proven that we're dreaming or in the Matrix or something else we need to keep our heads in the reality we're in.

It's true that you can't be certain of something. But you can get a percentage. Nothing in science is ever certain. Anything can be refuted by new evidence. Everything is on the table for chopping if new evidence goes against it. In fact, the first thing that scientists try to do when a new experiment comes out is prove it wrong. If I had a revolutionary evolution destroying experiment, I would publish it in all the science journals and collect my Nobel prize.



~JCGJ~ wrote:Now, I, too, am a skeptic at heart, but I have come to realize that some things just cannot be proven.

I have come to realize that I have to choose to believe that my brother actually is there (ie. have faith that he is real), in much the same way I must choose to have faith that God is real.


There is more evidence for your brother's existence than there is for god's existence. So it's more likely that your brother exists than god exists. That's what skeptics and scientists go by, the percentage that something exists and works as nothing is ever a sacred idea.

~JCGJ~ wrote:So, my question to you, is, do you believe that the world truly is all around you, or do you require conclusive evidence?


Good question. The fact is that we can't ever be certain of anything. Sure the world could all fall down around us randomly. We could be in the Matrix, on a holodeck, or any other one of numerous scenarios. But that is fantasy. The fact is that we have to live in the reality that we're in, as I said further above. Given everything we know, it is more likely that the world we live in is a real one. Until new evidence goes against that, that's what I'll think. It's pretty impossible to get "conclusive" evidence, because there is no conclusion to scientific ideas. (see above) It's much like people who thought the earth was flat hundreds of years ago. It was the most likely thing given the evidence of the time, it was the reasonable position to take. But when new evidence came in showing that the earth was not flat, people changed their minds. Gradually, thinking the earth was flat was no longer the reasonable position. It is much the same with whether reality exists or not. Given the evidence we have, reality existing is the reasonable position to take.

~JCGJ~ wrote:(Please, don't come back with a witty remark at how my argument was flawed.
(I, too was a debator, and in our debate team, we consider it quite rude to point out your opponents' mistakes.)


I find this statement amusing actually. Pointing out how your opponent's argument is flawed is the entire point of debating. What else would you be doing when you're debating?

~JCGJ~ wrote:You do not need to answer my question. I am simply trying to show you that you cannot avoid not having faith in anything.


Well that of course depends on how you define "faith." If you think faith is belief without evidence, than no, I don't have faith in anything. I don't believe anything without the evidence for it. Well, most things. If someone told me they say a bird outside this morning, I wouldn't have a problem believing that because it is fairly likely. If someone told me they saw a purple dinosaur dancing the samba in a blue tutu, I'd want hard evidence for that. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

If you mean faith as in just believing something, than yes I do have faith because there are plenty of things I believe. I believe I'm typing on a computer. I believe the Olympics are over (sadness). I believe I'm sitting in a house right now. I believe these things because there is evidence to support them. A whole lot of evidence.

Also nitpicking just cause you told me not to: you used a double negative. The statement you wrote says that you can avoid having faith in anything, removing the negatives in the statement. I think you mean: You can't avoid having faith in something.


~JCGJ~ wrote:So, you must choose what you put your faith in.
I choose to put my faith in someone who (I believe) was there at the beginning of the universe, and has given us accounts (yes, through the writings of men...) of how he created it.


And this comparison isn't justified though. I don't see the jump in logic:

We can't ever know for sure that reality is real, therefore God exists and wrote the Bible.

It just doesn't make any sense. It's like you're saying that just because we don't know something for sure, we can just believe anything. Intellectual anarchy. It seems to be a bad case of writing the conclusion at the end of the paper and than trying to make the arguments and the evidence fit the conclusion.


~JCGJ~ wrote:Sure, it may seem foolish to go against the evedence presented by scientists, but I would much rather take the chance of being wrong on the Earth, and go to Heaven with God, then to just go with the evedence and go to Hell, seperated from God for eternity.

If He isn't there, and I die, I'm no worse off then I would have been if I didn't believe in Him (ie. I would simply be gone. It wouldn't matter one lick whether I was right or wrong. I would simply be non-existent).

However, if He is there, I would much rather have been ridiculed on Earth, than to be rejected by God.

That's not a gamble I'm willing to make.)


Have you ever heard of the Koran? In it, God says that you need to obey the five pillars. That you need to testify that God is the only god and that Mohammad is his prophet. That you need to pray five times a day. That you need to give 2.5% of your income directly to the poor and others who need it. That you need take a month off for fasting. And that you need to take a pilgrimage to Mecca once in your life. Why take the risk and not do all that, just in case the Muslims have it right? You could end up in Hell. That's not a gamble you would want to make is it? What about Buddhists? Do you want to be caught in the perpetual wheel of reincarnation?

There are many religions and many things they say that you need to do otherwise something bad happens. Just because someone claims something doesn't make it true. What if I told you that God told me exactly what you need to do: you need to play soccer with your friends at least once a week to go to heaven. Why not do that just in case I actually did hear this directly from God? Why don't you do everything ever single religion ever said to do just in case they got it right? The answer, of course, is because of where you were born and raised. You'll notice that most people born in the United States are Christians, most people born in Pakistan are Muslims, most poeple born in Thailand are Buddhists. Why do you think that is? Why do you think you don't see numerous people from other religions converting to Christianity en masse "just in case."

If you're wrong and God doesn't exist, you'll have wasted your life, the only one you have, on a lie, wasting time and money on something that's not true. That's something I'd like to avoid.
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby snubs » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:01 pm

Since you don't believe in God or anything, and you believe in evolution...that you were just randomly put on this earth. I mean, you were just randomly dropped here to live and die, nothing else. Doesn't that make you think your life is worthless?
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby jasonjannajerryjohn » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:47 pm

snubs wrote:Since you don't believe in God or anything, and you believe in evolution...that you were just randomly put on this earth. I mean, you were just randomly dropped here to live and die, nothing else. Doesn't that make you think your life is worthless?


I don't believe in any god because the likelihood of a god existing is low because of a distinct lack of evidence. I do believe evolution happens because the likelihood is very high given the mountains of evidence. I don't know what the "or anything" part means, though.

Evolution, however, is not random. It works according to natural selection, that those with genes that make them just a bit fitter to survive are the ones that survive and reproduce. Evolution, also, is not a philosophy of life. It offers no moral counsel and no guide on how to live your life because it is simply something that happens. It is no more a philosophy than gravity.

Well, we ourselves define purpose and worth for ourselves. There is no objective purpose floating around out there that we are supposed to follow. Everyone defines what they think their purpose is. For many of the world's population, a good 84% at least, that purpose is some religious purpose. Meaning is also self-assigned. I believe we should be working for a better future for ourselves and our descendents as well as maintaining this planet because it's the only one we've got, at least for the moment. As well as making the most of our lives because it's the only one we've got. Further the cause of human rights so that we treat ourselves better. And eventually try to build to a world with no political borders. That is something of a dream, though, and rather hard to do with all the division that is in the world.
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby Astronomer » Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:08 pm

What is your opinion of murderers? If we define morality for ourselves, then are murderers not merely saying that morality is whatever they wish? Since you define only your own morality, would it be wrong to impose such a morality on others?
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby Kait » Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:12 pm

It is technically a logical fallacy to conclude that something is not true because there is no evidence to support it being true. Just as it is a logical fallacy to conclude that something is true because there is no evidence that it isn't true.

For this reason, I tend to be more of a theistic agnostic than anything. I realize the existence of God cannot be proven, but based on my own personal experiences, I have concluded that he is real. However, should evidence to the contrary be presented I am open to modifying my view.

All of this is to say that being a staunch atheist is as much of a logical fallacy as being a staunch theist. Thoughts?
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby jasonjannajerryjohn » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:28 pm

Astronomer wrote:What is your opinion of murderers? If we define morality for ourselves, then are murderers not merely saying that morality is whatever they wish? Since you define only your own morality, would it be wrong to impose such a morality on others?


I was also wondering when this one would show up, thank you for pointing it out. For this one we have to make a very important distinction between morality and law. I would also like to point out that thus far I haven't said anything to indicate that I wouldn't believe in an absolute morality. Though it is true that I don't, I don't think there is some morality floating around out there that we all have to conform to.

On the one hand, morality is a set of ideas one how we think people should and should not behave. These rules are slightly different for every society, but many rules (no murdering and no incest) are nearly universal for societies throughout history. Morality is a product of our evolution. We evolved in groups, and our morality focuses on groups. We think it's important to have friendships and be polite and courteous. Not murdering or raping someone (at least in your group) is also relatively important. These are things that we feel strongly on because of that evolutionary instinct to protect our own group. Whenever we form our own morality on other things, however, we have to decide what we think is important as the basis for it. For most moralities is is based on treating our fellow human beings better. Some moralities are based on protecting this planet we live on from harm.

When it comes to law, however, that is a different story. Countries generally feel the need to protect their citizens from harm, both from harm from fellow citizens and harm from foreigners. Doing so is fairly essential to keeping order and maintaining a government at all and preventing widespread anarchy. Thus laws are maintained that further those goals: preventing harm of citizens and maintaining order. Most laws are based on these goals.

As for whether it is right or wrong to do so, I would say yes, as per my own morality. I believe it is important to protect and support our fellow human being because we're all in the same boat here. We all live on this planet and we all want to make a better life for ourselves and posterity. I do believe that laws should be in place. And it's kind of selfish as well, but I want laws kept in place to protect me from having anything bad happen to me.


Kait wrote:It is technically a logical fallacy to conclude that something is not true because there is no evidence to support it being true. Just as it is a logical fallacy to conclude that something is true because there is no evidence that it isn't true.

For this reason, I tend to be more of a theistic agnostic than anything. I realize the existence of God cannot be proven, but based on my own personal experiences, I have concluded that he is real. However, should evidence to the contrary be presented I am open to modifying my view.

All of this is to say that being a staunch atheist is as much of a logical fallacy as being a staunch theist. Thoughts?


That's a good point, however I don't quite think that's true. If that were the case we couldn't believe anything ever, intellectual anarchy, because everything is on the table, open to new evidence. Sure we might be proven wrong on something that we think right now, but that's no reason not to believe it right now. It is the reasonable position to believe that gravity is what keeps the earth in orbit around the sun and keeps us on the earth. It is reasonable to conclude that based on current evidence. Now, new evidence might come along to disprove that making it no longer reasonable to believe that, but until such a time it is reasonable to say that gravity exists. I gave the example further above of people believing the earth was flat centuries ago. It was the reasonable belief at the time given the evidence, but gradually it became the unreasonable position.

If it was true that agnosticism was a more reasonable position, than we would have to be agnostic on virtually everything. Fairies, unicorns, leprechans, santa clause, other gods, even our own modern day fiction. How do you know there isn't a magical school in England right now? We'd have to be agnostic on every little claim that comes out and we just don't live like that. We can get a percentage of how likely something is true, and that is the best we can do. We want to align what we believe as best we can with reality.

Because those who claim something are responsible for proving that claim's truth, we can get a percentage. Because there is little to no evidence for the existence of a god, that percentage is low. Therefore a fifty fifty shot on whether god exists (agnosticism) is not really a reasonable position because god's existence is not fifty/fifty. We have to take the reasonable position, whatever that is. And if new evidence comes in we are of course free to change our minds. That's the benefit of no idea being sacred.
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby John Chrysostom » Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:32 am

For most moralities is is based on treating our fellow human beings better. Some moralities are based on protecting this planet we live on from harm.

You say this is an evolutionary trait but wouldn't it make more sense for humans to evolve to say that while everyone within your group/tribe is to be treated with respect anyone outside is fair game? Globalism and Nationalism are fairly recent developments and not evolutionary, therefore why treat others better or protect our planet? I mean obviously murder and rape is extreme but why not go around stealing from others if we can get away with it? Evolution is about traits that help the individual survive right? So why would we evolve general niceties?
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby sheltiez » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:14 am

This is my proof for God's existence. It is from my Bible Doctrines book from school, and I will give it to you in parts because it is kind of long.

"To the one who says, 'Prove that there is a God,' we can reply, 'Prove that there is no God.' To prove that there is no God, one would have to go to every corner of the universe and look under every rock to show that He is not there. BUt while that person was looking for God on one planet, God may be on another. Therefore it would be neccessary for the indivudual to be everywhere at the same time. Hence in his desire to prove that there is no God, he himself must possess one of the characteristics of God -- omnipresence.

Intuition
It is natural for man to believe that there is a God. The abnormal mind is the only kind that cannot accept the fact of God's existence.
'The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.' Psa. 14:1
'Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.' James 2:19
' All the evidence points to the conclusive fact that this universal faith in the exsistence of God is innate in man, and comes from rational intuition.' --William Evans

Tradition
It has been the common characteristic of all peoples throughout history to believe that there is a God and life after death. History proves that man is basically a religious creature. After a detailed study of some of the remote tribes of Africa, David Livingstone concluded that all people have a cpnception of GOd which they have passed on from generation to generation.

Reason
By looking around us it seems obvious to us that Someone with intelligence created, ordered, and organized this marvelous universe.
'For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.' Rom. 1:20

Cause and effect
Man's observations of this world corfirm a marvelous 'effect.' HIs rationale demands a cause. What is the Cause behind all that man can see? Surely it must be an omnipotent Creator.

Design and Designer
It is extremely doubtful that man will ever be able to create life. But what if God allowed man to have that privilege? What would it prove? Only that intelligence is required to create and order this world. Design demands a Designer. "

Next I will post proof of God in science.
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby jasonjannajerryjohn » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:18 am

Ayn Rand wrote:
For most moralities is is based on treating our fellow human beings better. Some moralities are based on protecting this planet we live on from harm.

You say this is an evolutionary trait but wouldn't it make more sense for humans to evolve to say that while everyone within your group/tribe is to be treated with respect anyone outside is fair game? Globalism and Nationalism are fairly recent developments and not evolutionary, therefore why treat others better or protect our planet? I mean obviously murder and rape is extreme but why not go around stealing from others if we can get away with it? Evolution is about traits that help the individual survive right? So why would we evolve general niceties?


Yes, you're absolutely correct. I thought I had made that distinction clear with a parenthesis, but I must be mistaken. We have evolved to protect our own groups/tribes for sure and don't particularly feel as much of that protection towards people in other groups. This is why you have nationalism and patriotism. This is why you have such bi-partisan politics in the US- well the democrats say this is what we should vote for (take your pick- abortion, gay marriage, global warming, and numerous others) so we have to vote against it. This is why you have religious lines- these people believe the wrong thing so are going to hell. And numerous other hard and soft divisions.

You are correct, globalism is a fairly recent trend, I'd say within the last two-three hundred years. We are gradually becoming more inclined towards protecting everyone because we're becoming more and more dependent on everyone in the world. The world really is becoming a smaller place. We can talk to people across the world on video screens and with IM instantly. We depend on everyone in the world for products as well. We have seen morality evolving, undergoing this gradual shift from "barbarians on the outside" to "white man's burden" to "globalization" and what we have today. We've started to realize that people on the outside of our groups are people too, just like us.

Environmentalism is also a recent evolution in morality because the earth has been threatened like never before within the last two hundred years. The industrial revolution and the rise of the corporation has made the pollution go up with harmful effects to the environment. Global warming has become a recent issue thinks to our industrial efforts. Thus morality has changed and evolved to fit the time.

Morality is not the same for ever, it evolves just like everything else as humans evolve. This is one mistake I see ID advocates who think evolution is a lie make many times over. I made it myself a couple times. They think that evolution was just something that happened and than didn't happen anymore. But the fact is that evolution is something that happens all the time. It's a gradual process. We can observe it happen. Humans have made it happen throughout history.

You also have to realize that humans have undergone massive evolution just from the start of the period of recorded history. We can't see a lot of it (though we can look at the constantly breaking world records in sports) but we see the products of it. We've changed significantly since we first started writing stuff down along with our culture and morality. Evolution is also different now because we keep people alive who wouldn't survive and reproduce on their own. It's no longer about survival for the most part.

Stealing hurts those in the community and it doesn't really help you survive any better because you pee off the person you stole from and all his friends. You could end up creating new groups that way.

Yes, evolution is about traits that not only help you to survive, but also to reproduce. Those are the two most basic instincts: survival and sex. We evolve "general niceties," as you put it, because it helps us better get along in groups. We are better able to survive amongst the group and, more importantly, find a potential mate.


-- 14 Aug 2012 10:44 am --

Ho boy, well I've refuted some of these already. Or at least answered them, but I'll go ahead and write answers to them again.

sheltiez wrote:This is my proof for God's existence. It is from my Bible Doctrines book from school, and I will give it to you in parts because it is kind of long.

"To the one who says, 'Prove that there is a God,' we can reply, 'Prove that there is no God.' To prove that there is no God, one would have to go to every corner of the universe and look under every rock to show that He is not there. BUt while that person was looking for God on one planet, God may be on another. Therefore it would be neccessary for the indivudual to be everywhere at the same time. Hence in his desire to prove that there is no God, he himself must possess one of the characteristics of God -- omnipresence.


Well, that depends on what definition of "god" you are referring to. But, as I've said before, it is not my responsibility to prove that something doesn't exist. It is the believers responsibility to prove that something does exist. If someone were to tell me that leprechauns are real, they couldn't than tell me to disprove that leprechauns are real. It would be their responsibility to prove their statement. This is the same for everything in science. You must prove your own experiment before it is regarded as correct. In fact, the first thing that scientists around the world do when a new experiment comes out is try to prove it wrong.

sheltiez wrote:Intuition
It is natural for man to believe that there is a God. The abnormal mind is the only kind that cannot accept the fact of God's existence.
'The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.' Psa. 14:1
'Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.' James 2:19
' All the evidence points to the conclusive fact that this universal faith in the exsistence of God is innate in man, and comes from rational intuition.' --William Evans


I don't know about rational, but it is true, we are inclined to believe in God. Otherwise we wouldn't be here talking about it. But this is not a supernatural intuition placed into our minds by a god (and even if it was, how would you go about proving that?), this has evolutionary origins. We are more inclined to believe in a god because of several things, which, you'll have to forgive me, I'm to tired to answer right now. I promise I'll come back and answer this later, I'm just about to collapse from lack of sleep. >_>

Though one important point, just because there is an innate predisposition to believe in a god, that doesn't mean that a god really exists. It simply means there is an innate predisposition to believe it exists. It'd be like saying that since there's an innate predisposition to believe in magic that magic is a real thing. Or to believe in fairies or ghosts or whatever.


sheltiez wrote:Tradition
It has been the common characteristic of all peoples throughout history to believe that there is a God and life after death. History proves that man is basically a religious creature. After a detailed study of some of the remote tribes of Africa, David Livingstone concluded that all people have a cpnception of GOd which they have passed on from generation to generation.


This actually reeks of 19th century before people fully knew the entire world and all the religions in it. The truth is that not all people throughout history have believed in a god or, for that matter, life after death. Many religions don't even have a god or there are gods, but they play relatively unimportant parts. Many religions, such as buddhism and hinduism, believe that people are reincarnated forever until they break the cycle and finally join with all of reality, effectively not existing anymore, no life after death. It is true that many people throughout history have believed in a god or gods, I'd say a good majority, but even so, like with the last one, that does not mean that there really is a god. The fact that many people believe something doesn't make it true. To quote Whit from an Odyssey episode: "A lie believed by a million people is still a lie."

sheltiez wrote:Reason
By looking around us it seems obvious to us that Someone with intelligence created, ordered, and organized this marvelous universe.
'For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.' Rom. 1:20


Just because something seems to be designed doesn't mean it is. Most of nature is far from perfect. Memory, for instance, is extremely unreliable. It doesn't "record" events like a camera might record them. The memory manipulates the memories, playing them backwards and forwards and mixing the order of them up. You can even plant false memories and make someone really believe them. The eye is not a perfect lens, like a camera lens. It has a blind spot and can not zoom and focus like our own created cameras. These are the types of things you would expect if life had evolved because evolution is not a perfect process, it is not attempting to shoot for perfect. Evolution is a blind process in which living things change to better suit their environment.

sheltiez wrote:Cause and effect
Man's observations of this world corfirm a marvelous 'effect.' HIs rationale demands a cause. What is the Cause behind all that man can see? Surely it must be an omnipotent Creator.


The first cause argument doesn't make a lot of sense. First of all, the conclusion contradicts the premise. The premise here is that everything has a cause and that god caused everything. But there isn't a cause for god here, he just exists. But another reason why this doesn't work is why insert this big complicated thing (god) to explain the existence of the universe when you can just say that the universe exists on its own? Why can't there be an infinite regression? Occam's razor. And even if there was a cause behind all the universe, why should we call it "god," especially since the word carries so much unwanted cultural baggage. Also, to say that god is the cause of something without knowing what is the cause is another way of saying "we give up, therefore god did it." Just because we don't know something now doesn't mean we can't know that something at all ever.

And than, of course, you run into one of the biggest problems here: "Who created God?"


sheltiez wrote:Design and Designer
It is extremely doubtful that man will ever be able to create life. But what if God allowed man to have that privilege? What would it prove? Only that intelligence is required to create and order this world. Design demands a Designer. "


Actually, we can already create life. We've been able to clone things as well as create an embryo in a laboratory. We can also create the building blocks of life (amino acids) from non-living materials. Just because we can do these things, that doesn't prove that they originally had to have a designer in the first place. This doesn't make a whole lot of sense. And that's all I'll leave it on for now, because again, I'm tired.

sheltiez wrote:Next I will post proof of God in science.


I would love to see the sources on that one. Goodness, the scientist who proved God's existence would be on the richest people in the world and have so many Nobel prizes. ;D

Also for being tired I really can think of quite a lot. ;D
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby thegr8stever » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:48 am

The proof for creation and that GOD is the one who made it all is everywhere archaeologists are finding whats called dinosaur graveyards a dinosaur graveyard is a place where a large pack of dinosaurs are found in a small area wich implys the a big event such as the flood wiped them out furthermore the fossils in these graveyards are all faceing the same way and the rock and dirt around them show signs of current such as a great flood. this is just one of many proofs of creation
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Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)

Postby ~JCGJ~ » Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:41 pm

thegr8stever wrote:The proof for creation and that GOD is the one who made it all is everywhere archaeologists are finding whats called dinosaur graveyards a dinosaur graveyard is a place where a large pack of dinosaurs are found in a small area wich implys the a big event such as the flood wiped them out furthermore the fossils in these graveyards are all faceing the same way and the rock and dirt around them show signs of current such as a great flood. this is just one of many proofs of creation

Ok, sure, proof for creation, I agree, but I must interject before Quad-J comes in and rips your arguement apart...

The evedence of a "Dinoaur Graveyard," as you call them, could be interpereted many different ways.

It's all about your pre-supositions.

If you go in to view the vedence, pre-supposing that there was a world-wide flood, etc., you are more likely to interperet the information in favor of a world wide flood.

However, if you go in, pre-supposing that there was no world wide flood, you might view it as many local floods that caused these graveyards.
And in order for the few-thousand local floods (that would be needed to create as many "graveyards") to happen, you have to pre-suppose that the Earth has been around for a long time.


That is the condensed version of a very slippery topic...

(Also, I assume you listen to the Jonathan Park series? It's a great series, but I feel that they don't do a great job of presenting the arguments... Sure, they work well in the show, but when you try to replicate them in real life, they don't work nearly as well. But I do love the series, because it does have some great stuff.)

Also, as I see that there are a few Newbies in here, I must warn you that, unless you are prepared to have a very heated debate that has the potential to cause you to doubt your personal beliefs, you should be careful when debating with Quad-J.

He is a debator at heart, and he knows his stuff.
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