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Anti-theist murders three Muslim students in North Carolina

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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    We don't say there isn't a christian community, or that "christian" isn't a useful identifier of philosophy because there are various christian sects and even non-practicing people who still sort of believe

    But I suspect we wouldn't find it particularly useful to talk about 'the larger christian community' as though all of these groups had much in common

    it was the smallest on the list but
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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    Julius wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    I reject that "I am an atheist" is not a valid answer to the question "What is your personal philosophy?"

    It may not always be a complete answer, but that doesn't mean it isn't a descriptive and useful definition.

    For some people it might even be a complete answer!

    Giving you a list of jobs I don't have might be useful for determining what my job is but it is not an actual answer to the question of what my job is.

    That the term atheist is useful and descriptive has nothing to do with whether it's a personal philosophy. The term non-engineer may have a lot of use at an engineer convention but that doesn't make non-engineer a job, even if everyone at the convention including the non-engineer themselves uses the term and accepts it as an answer to the question of what their job is.

    This analogy is comparing apples to oranges, in my opinion.

    One can compare apples to oranges easily enough (both round, fruit, sour) but my point is that the usefulness of "atheist" as an answer is merely due to current societal demographics and not because it is a real answer. Suppose that 95% of the world was atheist for example, would "atheist" still be an useful answer? "Catholic" and "Secular humanist" would retain their usefulness as answers because those are actual "personal philosophies" that make several positive assertions about what is real/in the world.

    But you agree that currently in society "atheist" is an answer to the question

    You just don't like it, because of a strict interpretation of the definition of the word

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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    "What's your philosophy?"

    "I'm an atheist"

    "Yeah, but atheist only means the lack of belief in a deity and you aren't using that word correctly when you apply it broadly to a personal philosophy without defining your beliefs more specifically"

    "So how about that weather?"

    Arch on
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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    it represents a 'philosophy' only in the sense that in western society it tends to correlate with some degree of anti-religiosity

    I mean if somebody tells me they're an atheist I can make a series of assumptions about how they view the world that might be accurate, but that doesn't mean 'atheism' represents a coherent philosophy in the sense that a codified religion does.

    If 'atheism' were a philosophy, we would expect it to have rules or precepts useful in reasoning, but it doesn't really; or if it does, they're so broad as to be barely useful

    it was the smallest on the list but
    Pluto was a planet and I'll never forget
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    DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    Alinius133 wrote: »
    I never said that rejecting your old morals is required, but it is one of several possibilities. In fact, I would grant that most people who convert to Atheism probable keep their old morality system to some degree or another.

    At the risk of being accused of caring too much about semantics, can we please not use the term "convert to atheism"?

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    JuliusJulius Captain of Serenity on my shipRegistered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    I reject that "I am an atheist" is not a valid answer to the question "What is your personal philosophy?"

    It may not always be a complete answer, but that doesn't mean it isn't a descriptive and useful definition.

    For some people it might even be a complete answer!

    I do not think it's a real answer to that question. If someone responded to that question with "I am French" I would find that answer similarly lacking.

    Even a response of "Christian" is a rather paltry answer that only suggests what to fill in the blanks with with little assurance. But "I am an atheist" doesn't really say anything much at all.

    I admit and agree that it invites numerous assumptions which may be correct. But answers? Not really.

    No single descriptor of personal philosophy will be complete. We don't (or shouldn't) act like it is useless, and I think you aren't being realistic or fair when you compare "I am an atheist" to "I am French" as an answer to the question posed.

    You say it yourself- even "Christian" is an incomplete answer.

    That doesn't mean it isn't a useful descriptor for orientation and future questions (if one wishes)- or if one only wants a rough answer to the question.

    While no single descriptor of personal philosophy will be complete and that is indeed a reason to admit non-complete descriptors it strikes me as absurd that we therefore must admit near-incomplete descriptors, particularly negative ones.

    I mean, "I am not a Christian" is then also an answer that informs you and may in particular contexts even be enough of an answer but it seems silly to claim non-Christian is a personal philosophy. (Though maybe Magic Pink's BF may claim that as his personal philosophy I suppose. It is not impossible.)

    That the line between personal philosophy and not a personal philosophy is vague does not mean there is no line, it just means we need to let context count. But I don't think singular negative assertions can ever count as a personal philosophy, regardless of the context.

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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    We don't say there isn't a christian community, or that "christian" isn't a useful identifier of philosophy because there are various christian sects and even non-practicing people who still sort of believe

    But I suspect we wouldn't find it particularly useful to talk about 'the larger christian community' as though all of these groups had much in common

    But there are uniting themes between them- namely a belief in jesus as lord etc etc

    Similarly while atheists may all have different specifics, none of them believe in a deity, and generally that means the deities of other modern religious (but also presumably ancient, dead religious deities)

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    Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    I don't think you need to be even particularly rational to get the whole "do unto others" thing. It's like, the first conclusion you'll reach as soon as you're confronted with people who aren't your obligated caregivers (which would be early childhood, during school, for most people) and requires little more than not being a sociopath. Very few people actually try to treat others nicely because of fear of god, they do it in hopes they'll be treated nicely too.

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    MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    We don't say there isn't a christian community, or that "christian" isn't a useful identifier of philosophy because there are various christian sects and even non-practicing people who still sort of believe

    But I suspect we wouldn't find it particularly useful to talk about 'the larger christian community' as though all of these groups had much in common

    But there are uniting themes between them- namely a belief in jesus as lord etc etc

    Similarly while atheists may all have different specifics, none of them believe in a deity, and generally that means the deities of other modern religious (but also presumably ancient, dead religious deities)

    I'm not sure that's actually that useful. (That's why included my denomination earlier)

    Other culutural specific information could make it useful though, like race/geograhpic area etc.

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    ShandoShando Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    What I think people who make the "atheism is just another kind of faith" argument miss is that atheism is not a belief or value system, it is a conclusion that is reached due to a belief or value system, such as skepticism or rationality.

    I don't have faith in atheism, I have confidence that the reasons I used to reach that conclusion are valid, right up until I find some evidence otherwise.

    Edit: Not that people here are saying atheism is "just another kind of faith," but I see some similarities with the "is it a philosophy" debate that is happening.

    Shando on
    your troll just berserked on us.
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    zakkielzakkiel Registered User regular
    Julius wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    I reject that "I am an atheist" is not a valid answer to the question "What is your personal philosophy?"

    It may not always be a complete answer, but that doesn't mean it isn't a descriptive and useful definition.

    For some people it might even be a complete answer!

    Giving you a list of jobs I don't have might be useful for determining what my job is but it is not an actual answer to the question of what my job is.

    That the term atheist is useful and descriptive has nothing to do with whether it's a personal philosophy. The term non-engineer may have a lot of use at an engineer convention but that doesn't make non-engineer a job, even if everyone at the convention including the non-engineer themselves uses the term and accepts it as an answer to the question of what their job is.

    This analogy is comparing apples to oranges, in my opinion.

    One can compare apples to oranges easily enough (both round, fruit, sour) but my point is that the usefulness of "atheist" as an answer is merely due to current societal demographics and not because it is a real answer. Suppose that 95% of the world was atheist for example, would "atheist" still be an useful answer? "Catholic" and "Secular humanist" would retain their usefulness as answers because those are actual "personal philosophies" that make several positive assertions about what is real/in the world.


    (For the record, "theist" and "agnostic" aren't very useful answers either. While theism does make a positive assertion about the world it is only a single one. )

    If 95% of your community is Catholic, no one bothers to identify as Catholic either.

    The idea of atheism as consisting of a single four-word statement is kind of precious. Self-described atheists, with few exceptions, believe in several things:

    - The circumstances of your life, and the existence of life itself, are a matter of pure chance
    - Materialism
    - That life ends at death

    and I'm sure with some thought we could come up with a bunch more that aren't required to disbelieve in deities, but nonetheless apply to most atheists who actually use that label. Note, of course, that there are many people who don't believe in any god but do believe in things like spiritualism, prophetic dreams, ghosts, fate, and so on. I doubt that many of them would term themselves atheists, however, so I think atheism is a perfectly good word to describe someone with the beliefs I just outlined, and more importantly, that's what everyone thinks of when they hear the term atheist. All this loud trumpeting about how atheism is only a rejection of belief is kind of like white people talking about how there is no white culture.

    Account not recoverable. So long.
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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    well, the argument would be that atheists do not place faith in atheism per se (aside from in the pure logical sense that one cannot really prove the nonexistence of the abrahamic god), but do place it in some other value system

    it was the smallest on the list but
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    DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    I don't think you need to be even particularly rational to get the whole "do unto others" thing. It's like, the first conclusion you'll reach as soon as you're confronted with people who aren't your obligated caregivers (which would be early childhood, during school, for most people) and requires little more than not being a sociopath. Very few people actually try to treat others nicely because of fear of god, they do it in hopes they'll be treated nicely too.

    A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
    -- Albert Einstein

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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Materialism most likely represents most atheists in the West, but I'm not sure about the rest of the world. Even in the West, a lot of atheists believe in various magical ideas.

    Incenjucar on
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    zakkielzakkiel Registered User regular
    I don't think you need to be even particularly rational to get the whole "do unto others" thing. It's like, the first conclusion you'll reach as soon as you're confronted with people who aren't your obligated caregivers (which would be early childhood, during school, for most people) and requires little more than not being a sociopath. Very few people actually try to treat others nicely because of fear of god, they do it in hopes they'll be treated nicely too.

    Works right up until you have power over people.

    Account not recoverable. So long.
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    _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    well, the argument would be that atheists do not place faith in atheism per se (aside from in the pure logical sense that one cannot really prove the nonexistence of the abrahamic god), but do place it in some other value system

    Let's skip to the end of this line of inquiry: 1=1 is not a faith claim. This is the case with all analytic tautologies.

    Starting there, one can construct a system of thought that in no way involves faith.

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    Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    zakkiel wrote: »
    I don't think you need to be even particularly rational to get the whole "do unto others" thing. It's like, the first conclusion you'll reach as soon as you're confronted with people who aren't your obligated caregivers (which would be early childhood, during school, for most people) and requires little more than not being a sociopath. Very few people actually try to treat others nicely because of fear of god, they do it in hopes they'll be treated nicely too.

    Works right up until you have power over people.

    But when has religion ever restrained people with real power?

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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Even accepting the limits of knowledge, you can live a life wholly on best guesses, understanding that you may be wrong about various things.

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    JuliusJulius Captain of Serenity on my shipRegistered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    I reject that "I am an atheist" is not a valid answer to the question "What is your personal philosophy?"

    It may not always be a complete answer, but that doesn't mean it isn't a descriptive and useful definition.

    For some people it might even be a complete answer!

    Giving you a list of jobs I don't have might be useful for determining what my job is but it is not an actual answer to the question of what my job is.

    That the term atheist is useful and descriptive has nothing to do with whether it's a personal philosophy. The term non-engineer may have a lot of use at an engineer convention but that doesn't make non-engineer a job, even if everyone at the convention including the non-engineer themselves uses the term and accepts it as an answer to the question of what their job is.

    This analogy is comparing apples to oranges, in my opinion.

    One can compare apples to oranges easily enough (both round, fruit, sour) but my point is that the usefulness of "atheist" as an answer is merely due to current societal demographics and not because it is a real answer. Suppose that 95% of the world was atheist for example, would "atheist" still be an useful answer? "Catholic" and "Secular humanist" would retain their usefulness as answers because those are actual "personal philosophies" that make several positive assertions about what is real/in the world.

    But you agree that currently in society "atheist" is an answer to the question

    You just don't like it, because of a strict interpretation of the definition of the word

    Well in my society "atheist" really isn't much of an answer, as it is pretty much the default in my circles. (The younger Dutch aren't generally religious, and philosophers certainly aren't.)

    But that it is an accepted answer does not make it a personal philosophy. Which was the point of my comparison. People may have any number of reasons for providing or accepting the answer without viewing it as a personal philosophy, and even if they do view it as one I feel more than comfortable with saying they are simply wrong. People can be wrong in their usage of words even if we adopt the view that the meaning of words depends on how people use them.

    I don't have a very strict interpretation of the word, but more importantly I don't think you are running with a very different interpretation.
    Arch wrote: »
    "What's your philosophy?"

    "I'm an atheist"

    "Yeah, but atheist only means the lack of belief in a deity and you aren't using that word correctly when you apply it broadly to a personal philosophy without defining your beliefs more specifically"

    "So how about that weather?"

    I'm confused, are you asserting that the atheist in your example does have a personal definition of atheism that includes a number of positive assertions about reality or are you saying that not asserting the reality of god is enough to qualify as a personal philosophy?

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    zakkielzakkiel Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    well, the argument would be that atheists do not place faith in atheism per se (aside from in the pure logical sense that one cannot really prove the nonexistence of the abrahamic god), but do place it in some other value system

    I think many religious people would identify some philosophical precursors to their religious belief as well, but that's often post hoc. Few people's important beliefs are actually worked out as a series of syllogisms with premises and conclusions neatly separated. If the heavens opened and angels came down from on high, I'm pretty sure it would shake your other supposedly prior philosophical beliefs, not just your disbelief in deities. That's why in the real world it doesn't make much sense to distinguish between the atheism and the philosophy that produces it.

    zakkiel on
    Account not recoverable. So long.
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    ShandoShando Registered User regular
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Materialism most likely represents most atheists in the West, but I'm not sure about the rest of the world. Even in the West, a lot of atheists believe in various magical ideas.

    And the great thing is, they can believe in any amount of magical spells they'd like, have next to nothing in common with Richard Dawkins, and still be just as much as an atheist as him as long as they don't believe in any deities.

    Atheism isn't the philosophy, it's the conclusion of a philosophy, and many differing philosophies can lead you to that belief.

    your troll just berserked on us.
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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.

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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    zakkiel wrote: »
    The idea of atheism as consisting of a single four-word statement is kind of precious. Self-described atheists, with few exceptions, believe in several things:

    - The circumstances of your life, and the existence of life itself, are a matter of pure chance
    - Materialism
    - That life ends at death

    I honestly believe that there is a possibility that some alien presence is observing and recording our conscious thoughts. Probably not, but I wouldn't say no afterlife is something I "believe." And I'm as atheist as they come!

    Now that this thread has turned into a semantic argument.... I would agree that the atheist "community" such as it is has very little in the way of ideology that binds them or serves as a basis for their beliefs. I was mostly think of the community in the sense of people who communicate with each other. And here there are some commonalities and cultural attitudes that I think are worth reflecting on.

    I felt the same way about the "gaming community" when the Gamergate crap was going down. Not to say that gamers are responsible or need to apologize, or even that the gaming community has any clear definition—but rather that the fact that this group of people erupted out of the gaming community might serve as an inflection point for an examination and critique of what exactly is going on, and what we might have the power to change.

    Qingu on
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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    Qingu wrote: »
    zakkiel wrote: »
    The idea of atheism as consisting of a single four-word statement is kind of precious. Self-described atheists, with few exceptions, believe in several things:

    - The circumstances of your life, and the existence of life itself, are a matter of pure chance
    - Materialism
    - That life ends at death

    I honestly believe that there is a possibility that some alien presence is observing and recording our conscious thoughts. Probably not, but I wouldn't say no afterlife is something I "believe." And I'm as atheist as they come!

    Now that this thread has turned into a semantic argument.... I would agree that the atheist "community" such as it is has very little in the way of ideology that binds them or serves as a basis for their beliefs. I was mostly think of the community in the sense of people who communicate with each other. And here there are some commonalities and cultural attitudes that I think are worth reflecting on.

    I felt the same way about the "gaming community" when the Gamergate crap was going down. Not to say that gamers are responsible or need to apologize, but that the fact that this group of people erupted out of the gaming community might serve as an inflection point for an examination and critique of what exactly is going on, and what we might have the power to change.

    I think I agree with this and it is what I am trying to convey, but I have to think about it more

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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.

    That didn't answer my question, really

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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    well, the argument would be that atheists do not place faith in atheism per se (aside from in the pure logical sense that one cannot really prove the nonexistence of the abrahamic god), but do place it in some other value system

    Let's skip to the end of this line of inquiry: 1=1 is not a faith claim. This is the case with all analytic tautologies.

    Starting there, one can construct a system of thought that in no way involves faith.

    I may be guilty of using 'faith' overbroadly

    any moral system has to begin with value judgments; people are probably not arriving at those via a coldly rational analysis of utility maximization, and even if they are we have to talk about what 'utility' is

    the process that leads one to a strong belief in a religious god is probably fairly similar to the one that leads to strong disbelief; only the early-life inputs are different

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    MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Shando wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Materialism most likely represents most atheists in the West, but I'm not sure about the rest of the world. Even in the West, a lot of atheists believe in various magical ideas.

    And the great thing is, they can believe in any amount of magical spells they'd like, have next to nothing in common with Richard Dawkins, and still be just as much as an atheist as him as long as they don't believe in any deities.

    Atheism isn't the philosophy, it's the conclusion of a philosophy, and many differing philosophies can lead you to that belief.

    I like that, and I'm stealing it.

    Personally I don't know how I got to the conclusion of athiesm, just kind of drifted there without losing the NGK moral base of my childhood, so I'm quite comfortable saying I'm a NGK Christian depending on the context of the question, since it still provides a ton of useful information about me.

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    rockrngerrockrnger Registered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Nope, different things.

    One is a positive, one negative. Negative you just haven't been shown sufficient evidence of god. Positive is you have been shown sufficient evidence of the nonexistence of god.

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    zakkielzakkiel Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    zakkiel wrote: »
    I don't think you need to be even particularly rational to get the whole "do unto others" thing. It's like, the first conclusion you'll reach as soon as you're confronted with people who aren't your obligated caregivers (which would be early childhood, during school, for most people) and requires little more than not being a sociopath. Very few people actually try to treat others nicely because of fear of god, they do it in hopes they'll be treated nicely too.

    Works right up until you have power over people.

    But when has religion ever restrained people with real power?

    Oh, all the time. The historical examples of kings and such flouting religion are the most memorable for their shock value, but that doesn't mean that others did not frequently constrain themselves by religious dictates. Arguing otherwise is arguing that religion has never had significant influence on powerful people, which is clearly false. My point isn't that religion supplies moral behavior that atheism can't. It's just that the difference between real morality and go-along-get-along becomes quite sharp when you have power differentials. I think many nihilists like to think this isn't so, that embracing the nonexistence of objective morality has no real consequences because rational self-interest will produce the same behavior in a civilized society. I think this is a delusion, and a dangerous one.

    zakkiel on
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    _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    @Arch

    Excellent question! How would one reformulate the negative claim of non-being into a positive assertion? For an answer, let us turn to Quine - On What There Is
    A curious thing about the ontological problem is its simplicity. It can be put in three AngloSaxon monosyllables: „What is there?‟ It can be answered, moreover, in a word—"Everything‟—and everyone will accept this answer as true. However, this is merely to say that there is what there is. There remains room for disagreement over cases; and so the issue has stayed alive down the centuries.

    Suppose now that two philosophers, McX and I, differ over ontology. Suppose McX maintains there is something which I maintain there is not. McX can, quite consistently with his own point of view, describe our difference of opinion by saying that I refuse to recognize certain entities. I should protest, of course, that he is wrong in his formulation of our disagreement, for I maintain that there are no entities, of the kind which he alleges, for me to recognize; but my finding him wrong in his formulation of our disagreement is unimportant, for I am committed to considering him wrong in his ontology anyway.

    When I try to formulate our difference of opinion, on the other hand, I seem to be in a predicament. I cannot admit that there are some things which McX countenances and I do not, for in admitting that there are such things I should be contradicting my own rejection of them.

    It would appear, if this reasoning were sound, that in any ontological dispute the proponent of the negative side suffers the disadvantage of not being able to admit that his opponent disagrees with him.

    This is a dilly of a pickle! Can it be solved? Yes, says Quine! But it is difficult.
    In order thus to subsume a one-word name or alleged name such as „Pegasus‟ under Russell‟s theory of description, we must, of course, be able first to translate the word into a description. But this is no real restriction. If the notion of Pegasus had been so obscure or so basic a one
    that no pat translation into a descriptive phrase had offered itself along familiar lines, we could still have availed ourselves of the following artificial and trivial-seeming device: we could have appealed to the ex hypothesi unanalyzable, irreducible attribute of being Pegasus, adopting, for its expression, the verb "is-Pegasus‟, or "pegasizes‟. The noun „Pegasus‟ itself could then be treated as derivative, and identified after all with a description: "the thing that is-Pegasus‟, "the thing that pegasizes‟.

    If the importing of such a predicate as "pegasizes‟ seems to commit us to recognizing that there is a corresponding attribute, pegasizing, in Plato‟s heaven or in the minds of men, well and good. Neither we nor Wyman nor McX have been contending, thus far, about the being or nonbeing of universals, but rather about that of Pegasus. If in terms of pegasizing we can interpret the noun „Pegasus‟ as a description subject to Russell‟s theory of descriptions, then we have disposed of the old notion that Pegasus cannot be said not to be without presupposing that in some sense Pegasus is.

    Our argument is now quite general. McX and Wyman supposed that we could not meaningfully affirm a statement of the form „So-and-so is not‟, with a simple or descriptive singular noun in place of "so-and-so‟, unless so-and-so is. This supposition is now seen to be quite generally groundless, since the singular noun in question can always be expanded into a singular description, trivially or otherwise, and then analyzed out à la Russell.

    Instead of saying "I do not believe in God", one would have to say "I do not believe in the thing that gods."

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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.
    Arch wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.

    That didn't answer my question, really

    Sorry.

    Weak atheism is basically is "I do not believe there are gods" while strong atheism is more "there are not gods." It's the closest thing to watch you mention that I am aware of.

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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    If there are two different kinds of atheism, one making a positive assertion and one making a negative assertion, then this undermines both my point of the utility of the term as well as everyone else who are handwaving about how atheism doesn't have a coherent set of beliefs because they are defined by the absence of a thing

    I think

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    zakkielzakkiel Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    @Arch

    Excellent question! How would one reformulate the negative claim of non-being into a positive assertion? For an answer, let us turn to Quine - On What There Is
    A curious thing about the ontological problem is its simplicity. It can be put in three AngloSaxon monosyllables: „What is there?‟ It can be answered, moreover, in a word—"Everything‟—and everyone will accept this answer as true. However, this is merely to say that there is what there is. There remains room for disagreement over cases; and so the issue has stayed alive down the centuries.

    Suppose now that two philosophers, McX and I, differ over ontology. Suppose McX maintains there is something which I maintain there is not. McX can, quite consistently with his own point of view, describe our difference of opinion by saying that I refuse to recognize certain entities. I should protest, of course, that he is wrong in his formulation of our disagreement, for I maintain that there are no entities, of the kind which he alleges, for me to recognize; but my finding him wrong in his formulation of our disagreement is unimportant, for I am committed to considering him wrong in his ontology anyway.

    When I try to formulate our difference of opinion, on the other hand, I seem to be in a predicament. I cannot admit that there are some things which McX countenances and I do not, for in admitting that there are such things I should be contradicting my own rejection of them.

    It would appear, if this reasoning were sound, that in any ontological dispute the proponent of the negative side suffers the disadvantage of not being able to admit that his opponent disagrees with him.

    This is a dilly of a pickle! Can it be solved? Yes, says Quine! But it is difficult.
    In order thus to subsume a one-word name or alleged name such as „Pegasus‟ under Russell‟s theory of description, we must, of course, be able first to translate the word into a description. But this is no real restriction. If the notion of Pegasus had been so obscure or so basic a one
    that no pat translation into a descriptive phrase had offered itself along familiar lines, we could still have availed ourselves of the following artificial and trivial-seeming device: we could have appealed to the ex hypothesi unanalyzable, irreducible attribute of being Pegasus, adopting, for its expression, the verb "is-Pegasus‟, or "pegasizes‟. The noun „Pegasus‟ itself could then be treated as derivative, and identified after all with a description: "the thing that is-Pegasus‟, "the thing that pegasizes‟.

    If the importing of such a predicate as "pegasizes‟ seems to commit us to recognizing that there is a corresponding attribute, pegasizing, in Plato‟s heaven or in the minds of men, well and good. Neither we nor Wyman nor McX have been contending, thus far, about the being or nonbeing of universals, but rather about that of Pegasus. If in terms of pegasizing we can interpret the noun „Pegasus‟ as a description subject to Russell‟s theory of descriptions, then we have disposed of the old notion that Pegasus cannot be said not to be without presupposing that in some sense Pegasus is.

    Our argument is now quite general. McX and Wyman supposed that we could not meaningfully affirm a statement of the form „So-and-so is not‟, with a simple or descriptive singular noun in place of "so-and-so‟, unless so-and-so is. This supposition is now seen to be quite generally groundless, since the singular noun in question can always be expanded into a singular description, trivially or otherwise, and then analyzed out à la Russell.

    Instead of saying "I do not believe in God", one would have to say "I do not believe in the thing that gods."

    What is Quine's solution to the problem that I believe that the problem he is trying to solve doesn't exist?

    Account not recoverable. So long.
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    JuliusJulius Captain of Serenity on my shipRegistered User regular
    zakkiel wrote: »
    If 95% of your community is Catholic, no one bothers to identify as Catholic either.

    It's not a matter of bothering, it's a matter of usefulness. The answer "Catholic" is still informative about what one thinks is real regardless of the amount of others who also have that personal philosophy.

    The reason that is relevant is that in my society atheism (or irreligiosity) is common enough that the answer "atheist" wouldn't be very informative. If I asked people what their belief system was I would very rarely get the answer "atheist". (Though it depends on framing, as many people still assume that the question is actually "what is your religion?")
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Materialism most likely represents most atheists in the West, but I'm not sure about the rest of the world. Even in the West, a lot of atheists believe in various magical ideas.

    And I doubt that atheists, even self-described atheists, would say that materialism is a necessary part of atheism.

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    MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.
    Arch wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.

    That didn't answer my question, really

    Sorry.

    Weak atheism is basically is "I do not believe there are gods" while strong atheism is more "there are not gods." It's the closest thing to watch you mention that I am aware of.

    How are those two beliefs different?

    "I do not believe there are gods" seems to indicate "there are not gods", unless you're not a 100% sure that the statement "I do not believe there are gods" is correct, which I would say is actually agnostic?

    Or am I misunderstanding something.

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
    http://steamcommunity.com/id/mortious
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    The same applies to any belief. "I do not believe in Godzilla" and "There is not Godzilla."

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    _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    The same applies to any belief. "I do not believe in Godzilla" and "There is not Godzilla."

    "There is not a thing that Godzillas." or "There is not a thing that is Godzillaing."

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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Mortious wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.
    Arch wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Wait, I'm confused

    Can't a non-belief in deity be phrased in a way to be a positive assertion?

    "I believe that gods do not exist" means the same things as "I don't believe in gods" but is now a positive assertion about reality instead of an affirmation of a negative

    Am I getting confused?

    Strong atheism and weak atheism.

    That didn't answer my question, really

    Sorry.

    Weak atheism is basically is "I do not believe there are gods" while strong atheism is more "there are not gods." It's the closest thing to watch you mention that I am aware of.

    How are those two beliefs different?

    "I do not believe there are gods" seems to indicate "there are not gods", unless you're not a 100% sure that the statement "I do not believe there are gods" is correct, which I would say is actually agnostic?

    Or am I misunderstanding something.

    Agnosticism is undecided. Weak atheism leaves room for being wrong but makes a guess. Strong atheism makes an unprovable statement. Or such is my understanding.

  • Options
    JepheryJephery Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    zakkiel wrote: »
    zakkiel wrote: »
    I don't think you need to be even particularly rational to get the whole "do unto others" thing. It's like, the first conclusion you'll reach as soon as you're confronted with people who aren't your obligated caregivers (which would be early childhood, during school, for most people) and requires little more than not being a sociopath. Very few people actually try to treat others nicely because of fear of god, they do it in hopes they'll be treated nicely too.

    Works right up until you have power over people.

    But when has religion ever restrained people with real power?

    Oh, all the time. The historical examples of kings and such flouting religion are the most memorable for their shock value, but that doesn't mean that others did not frequently constrain themselves by religious dictates. Arguing otherwise is arguing that religion has never had significant influence on powerful people, which is clearly false. My point isn't that religion supplies moral behavior that atheism can't. It's just that the difference between real morality and go-along-get-along becomes quite sharp when you have power differentials. I think many nihilists like to think this isn't so, that embracing the nonexistence of objective morality has no real consequences because rational self-interest will produce the same behavior in a civilized society. I think this is a delusion, and a dangerous one.

    A culture's morality is always shaped by the self-interest of its individual members, but almost never rationally. Its mostly in an emotionally and irrationally driven process. Our society's clearly arbitrary morality is in constant flux.

    You can reject the existence (or more softly the possibility of deriving) of a perfect, objective morality while accepting imperfect, arbitrary moralities as being useful, but in need of constant adjustment and improvement.

    Jephery on
    }
    "Orkses never lose a battle. If we win we win, if we die we die fightin so it don't count. If we runs for it we don't die neither, cos we can come back for annuver go, see!".
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