So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.

So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#1  Postby Hereandnow » July 19th, 2017, 5:50 pm

Atheists enjoy their, what shall i call it, pride in being able to look unflinchingly at the hard truths of the world. But really, atheism is at least just as indefensible as theism. I mean, if you're thinking that theism is just a joke about an old man ina cloud, then you don't understand theism, or any defensible form of it. If your atheism is just the justified denial of a medieval anthropomorphism, then so what. Try arguing a against a more respectable thesis: that of ethical objectivism. Anti-objectivists here deny that ethical values need for their theoretical underpinning something absolute, like god or Plato's FOG (Form of the Good). Objectivists, like myself, think they do need this. In order to make sense of this world there must be something that, and I will use a fragile word, redeems it. We do not live in a stand-alone world, meaning that the ideas that constitute all that we can bring to bear on the problem of being here qua being here, just plain being here and all that it possesses, are wholly incommensurate with what they purport to explain. In other words, atheism explains nothing. It simply walks away on a cloud of value nihilism, you know, like Jesus walking on water (both absurd).

If you can't argue well an anti-objectivist view, then you are a lot closer to theism then you think, for you have to admit that the world needs redemption.
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#2  Postby Dark Matter » July 19th, 2017, 6:55 pm

Good post. Atheists forget that when they posit the so-called problem of evil, they point to values and ideals beyond themselves from which they draw their rationale.
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#3  Postby LuckyR » July 19th, 2017, 8:54 pm

Hereandnow wrote:Atheists enjoy their, what shall i call it, pride in being able to look unflinchingly at the hard truths of the world. But really, atheism is at least just as indefensible as theism. I mean, if you're thinking that theism is just a joke about an old man ina cloud, then you don't understand theism, or any defensible form of it. If your atheism is just the justified denial of a medieval anthropomorphism, then so what. Try arguing a against a more respectable thesis: that of ethical objectivism. Anti-objectivists here deny that ethical values need for their theoretical underpinning something absolute, like god or Plato's FOG (Form of the Good). Objectivists, like myself, think they do need this. In order to make sense of this world there must be something that, and I will use a fragile word, redeems it. We do not live in a stand-alone world, meaning that the ideas that constitute all that we can bring to bear on the problem of being here qua being here, just plain being here and all that it possesses, are wholly incommensurate with what they purport to explain. In other words, atheism explains nothing. It simply walks away on a cloud of value nihilism, you know, like Jesus walking on water (both absurd).

If you can't argue well an anti-objectivist view, then you are a lot closer to theism then you think, for you have to admit that the world needs redemption.


Actually to be an atheist you just need to not subscribe to a belief in a god or gods. As to what atheists actually believe in (as opposed to what they DON'T believe in), that is going to vary from person to person. Atheists can't be lumped together any more than Jews and Muslims can be lumped together.
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#4  Postby Spectrum » July 19th, 2017, 9:13 pm

I don't prefer the term 'atheist' as it locks one into a specific kind of box with lots of negative baggage. I am a not-a-theist.

I don't want to go on a long discussion on this topic as my current project and time is on Islam [in part] & it Evil. Here is my view briefly.

Hereandnow wrote:In order to make sense of this world there must be something that, and I will use a fragile word, redeems it.

My point on why the majority end up with a God [up to the ultimate sense] is leveraged on the above point. The conclusion in taking a leap of faith is 'sense' i.e. a deep psychological sense or impulse to conclude something cannot come from nothing, therefore there must be a final cause.

It is like the zombie parasite [Dicrocoelium dendriticum] that subliminally drive certain ants to climb to the blade of a grass so they can be eaten by cattle to continue the cycle of the fluke's life.
https://en.wik1pedia.org/wiki/Dicrocoelium_dendriticum

Note Zombie Snails which are infected with a kind of zombie parasites that make their antenna blink and drive them to the tree at the top of a plant so they can attract birds to eat them and thus facilitate the life-cycle of the parasite.
https://en.wik1pedia.org/wiki/Green-banded_broodsac


Similarly, ALL Humans are in a way infected with a zombie meme or 'virus' that subliminally drive and compel them to believe in a God, i.e. theism. They are not aware of that zombie meme but the end result of believing in a God is a peace of mind, otherwise there will be psychological pains.

Some humans has managed to gain immunity against the zombie meme to be not-a-theist. At present to the future, more and more people are gaining immunity against this zombie meme to free themselves from the subliminal grasp of this zombie virus.

-- Updated Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:15 pm to add the following --

As for Absolute Moral Laws, note my discussion in this thread,

I have been proposing a Moral and Ethics Framework & System grounded on Moral Absolute Laws reasoned from evolution and empirical evidence.

viewtopic.php?p=288786#p288786
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#5  Postby Fan of Science » July 19th, 2017, 10:12 pm

There is no relationship between theism and morality. Far from it. Plato addressed this issue thousands of years ago. If God's act is moral because God is adhering to a moral standard, then we merely need to look at the standard to determine morality, and not to God. On the other hand, if one claims that regardless of what God does, it is simply moral because he does it, then morality becomes arbitrary.

If a God did exist, any opinions it would have on morality would simply be opinions, and not in any way objective ones.

As an atheist, I don't even take a position on whether morality is or is not objective. I have never seen a good argument for either case.

Evolution no more explains morality than it explains mathematics. Biology gave us a start in our discussions on morality, but does not determine them, nor provide any objective grounding for them. We all evolved, and yet, people have widely divergent conceptions of morality. We also did not evolve much over the last 2,000 years, if at all, and huge moral changes have taken place since then, even for the last 20 years, with no corresponding evolutionary changes.

Why is it even necessary to ground morality? People who disregard morality are not all of a sudden going to become moral merely because someone grounds the subject. Science is not grounded, neither is math, logic or reason, and we get along fine.
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#6  Postby Hereandnow » July 19th, 2017, 10:44 pm

LuckyR wrote:
Actually to be an atheist you just need to not subscribe to a belief in a god or gods. As to what atheists actually believe in (as opposed to what they DON'T believe in), that is going to vary from person to person. Atheists can't be lumped together any more than Jews and Muslims can be lumped together.


But aren't you saying they can be lumped together in that they all don't subscribe in a belief in a god or gods? at any rate, it begs the question, what is god? doesn't it? How can a person say there is no god without making sense of the term 'god' and expect the idea to stand up? I mean if I said i didn't believe in institutional banking but I really couldn't say what a bank was, how meaningful could such a thing be? I am saying that a non belief in a medieval greatest possible being (which you see time and time again in modern discourse) is without any substance, and yet it dominates religious discussions. Let's call it trivially true that such a thing doesn't exist (or rather, let's put the notion on hold till we learn how to talk about it) and begin a real exercise in religious in dialectical thinking, beginning with what we encounter in the world.

The issue I have with atheists is that almost invariably they ethical nihilists but don't know it; or, they do know it, but cast their argument in terms of disbelief in god, and they never even come to understand the substantive arguments. I mean, what was Kierkegaard talking about in that bizarre opening of Sickness Unto Death?
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#7  Postby Spectrum » July 19th, 2017, 10:47 pm

Fan of Science wrote:Why is it even necessary to ground morality? People who disregard morality are not all of a sudden going to become moral merely because someone grounds the subject. Science is not grounded, neither is math, logic or reason, and we get along fine.

Science is grounded on the Scientific Framework and Scientific Method [various processes, peer review, etc.] and is pegged with various principles and assumptions.
No Scientific Framework, System and Method = no Science.

It is the same for maths, logic or reason.

We are not establishing absolutely-absolutes like Plato Universals that are independent of human conditions.

The point is we cannot navigate a ship among rocks with a moving lighthouse or play ball with goalposts that are movable freely.

Thus for morality and ethics to work effectively we need grounded absolute moral laws [extracted from empirical reality] as guides [not enforceable rules].

-- Updated Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:00 pm to add the following --

Fan of Science wrote:There is no relationship between theism and morality.

In term of time and circumstances [as in the past], I believe theistic morality has some utility [pros] for mankind.

Problem is theistic morality is based on "because God said so, otherwise you will go to hell" as such has its cons. Point is God also said and command many evil things.
In the past the pros of theistic morality outweighs its cons.
The problems with theistic morality is its Laws are fixed eternally while time is moving forward and always changing. At present we have reached a point where the cons of theistic morality are outweighing its pros.

Thus it is about time humanity shift from theistic morality to secular morality based on absolute moral laws extracted from empirical evidences.
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#8  Postby Hereandnow » July 19th, 2017, 11:02 pm

Spectrum wrote:
Similarly, ALL Humans are in a way infected with a zombie meme or 'virus' that subliminally drive and compel them to believe in a God, i.e. theism. They are not aware of that zombie meme but the end result of believing in a God is a peace of mind, otherwise there will be psychological pains.


Don't know exactly what to make of this Zombie meme. Your zombie meme is supposed to be "behind" the manifest motivations belief in god. Can we infer that zombie memes are behind all beliefs that you might consider wrong minded or irrational that would bring peace of mind? Not sure how the zombie metaphor works here to clarify. How is it that this perpetuates itself by sacrificing humans? Seems like your thoughts step beyond what I would call efficient reasoning.
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#9  Postby Spectrum » July 19th, 2017, 11:23 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
Spectrum wrote:
Similarly, ALL Humans are in a way infected with a zombie meme or 'virus' that subliminally drive and compel them to believe in a God, i.e. theism. They are not aware of that zombie meme but the end result of believing in a God is a peace of mind, otherwise there will be psychological pains.


Don't know exactly what to make of this Zombie meme. Your zombie meme is supposed to be "behind" the manifest motivations belief in god. Can we infer that zombie memes are behind all beliefs that you might consider wrong minded or irrational that would bring peace of mind? Not sure how the zombie metaphor works here to clarify. How is it that this perpetuates itself by sacrificing humans? Seems like your thoughts step beyond what I would call efficient reasoning.

The Zombie meme is that Existential Crisis supported by a neural algorithm that is embedded in the brain of all humans.

Can we infer that zombie memes are behind all beliefs that you might consider wrong minded or irrational that would bring peace of mind?

Yes.

Not sure how the zombie metaphor works here to clarify. How is it that this perpetuates itself by sacrificing humans?

I am not saying this 'meme' compel humans to sacrifice humans specifically.
The point here is this 'zombie meme' compels the majority of humans into believing in a God and other irrational & evil acts.
In certain cases [not all] it compels humans to sacrifice humans like the Incas and others in the past. Note even Abraham [inherently infected with this zombie meme] did not hesitate to sacrifice his son. Even now it has still happening with suicide bombers.

What is more inefficient in reasoning than believing in an illusory God that leads to delusion. This delusional thinking is based on Pure Reason which is very primal.

My thinking is linking empirical evidences at one level to a deeper level in the brain which soon can be proven when the Connectome Project has reached sufficient maturity.
http://www.humanconnectomeproject.org/
When we have mapped the algorithm of this zombie meme, humanity will be able to re-train it [with fool proof methods] to steer it away from delusional thinking.
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#10  Postby LuckyR » July 20th, 2017, 2:17 am

Hereandnow wrote:
LuckyR wrote:
Actually to be an atheist you just need to not subscribe to a belief in a god or gods. As to what atheists actually believe in (as opposed to what they DON'T believe in), that is going to vary from person to person. Atheists can't be lumped together any more than Jews and Muslims can be lumped together.


But aren't you saying they can be lumped together in that they all don't subscribe in a belief in a god or gods? at any rate, it begs the question, what is god? doesn't it? How can a person say there is no god without making sense of the term 'god' and expect the idea to stand up? I mean if I said i didn't believe in institutional banking but I really couldn't say what a bank was, how meaningful could such a thing be? I am saying that a non belief in a medieval greatest possible being (which you see time and time again in modern discourse) is without any substance, and yet it dominates religious discussions. Let's call it trivially true that such a thing doesn't exist (or rather, let's put the notion on hold till we learn how to talk about it) and begin a real exercise in religious in dialectical thinking, beginning with what we encounter in the world.

The issue I have with atheists is that almost invariably they ethical nihilists but don't know it; or, they do know it, but cast their argument in terms of disbelief in god, and they never even come to understand the substantive arguments. I mean, what was Kierkegaard talking about in that bizarre opening of Sickness Unto Death?


Well, would a description of you be more accurate and full if it defined you by what you don't belive in or what you believe in? Similarly, I can be quite comfortable disbelieving in ogres and unicorns without investigating them much.

In addition most atheists I know have put more independent thought into the moral principles that they use to govern their lives than the average church goer. Of course that is in large part due to selection bias, since in the current western culture it takes much more effort to reject religion than it takes to accept the norm. Thus leading to a higher percentage of thoughtful atheists (not as nihilists).
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#11  Postby Burning ghost » July 20th, 2017, 2:21 am

I think I actually see what you're getting at here hereandnow.

I would argue that empathy is innate. We don't learn empathy, but over time different societies have nurtured it in different ways.

Are theists close to atheists? It is here I do some use in what you're saying although it is extremely difficult for me to express in a way that would appeal to both.

By this I mean that an "atheist" may think about the possibility of some underlying universal force/law, and this is very much what physicists look into. They see a pattern and pursue hoping the pattern reveals more patterns to help them understand the nature of things. In this sense the concept of "God" for the physicist is framed in the elusive term "entropy". They don't pretend to know of its destination or even what they really mean by "emtropy" it is simply how the universe appears to them and there may very well be no underlying universal law or rule to anything, it may be completely nihilistic. In this sense the physicist is both a nihilist and not a nihilist. They accept the possibility of no "universal" "purpose" yet pursue their purpose, pursue their drive to understand.

The atheist on the other hand does pretty much the same thing only they are more willing to accept their ignorance rather than explore it. They submit to the idea of some underlying principle of existence whilst being clothed in "existence" and thus blind to having any right to say anything either way.

We of course cannot simply refer to the "atheist" as being a scientist. Many atheists are those who simply see the idea of some super conscious being as more wishful thinking or fantasy than anything else. They may even back up their claims by misrepresenting scientific data just as many theists do.

In some sense I really think a lot of people who call themselves theists or atheists are mostly ignorant about both theology and science. These are social labels we use now for political purposes. The so called "atheist movement" has been about protecting human rights and has taken a moral position against the dogma of some religious institutions ideas of "good" and "evil". The most obvious point being the denial of the big bang and evolution by extremists who prefer to hanker in the ignorance of religious institutions.

As for myself I have no issue with "religion" exactly. My annoyance is more about the problem of religious institutions dictating laws and rules to suit their own needs. Like I have stated at the start the very idea that we need to be "taught" morals is nonsensical given that we know we've evolved from a life-form with no base morals and somehow ethical values have appeared. We also know that "empathy" is a thing. We can imagine being in someone elses shoes to some degree and this allows us to "feel" what they "feel" and act towards others and treat them as equals.

In relation to the whole cosmological theme of existence both theists and atheists have everything in common, they just take differing approaches. My view is every human being has a common "conception" of X. Some call it "God" some call it "Love" and others call it "knowledge". The starkest difference in opinions seems to be more to do with the "embodiment" of this innate human concept in different ways and the amount of attention paid to it in an intellectual fashion (those living hand to mouth day-to-day don't bother themselves with such distractions although I imagine most people pause at some point to question the percularities of existence).
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#12  Postby Dark Matter » July 20th, 2017, 2:37 am

Spectrum,

Ever hear of "neurotheology"?

-- Updated July 20th, 2017, 2:43 am to add the following --

LuckyR wrote:In addition most atheists I know have put more independent thought into the moral principles that they use to govern their lives than the average church goer.

Perhaps, but when they do they point to values and ideals beyond themselves from which they draw their rationale: they are being metaphysical.
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#13  Postby Spectrum » July 20th, 2017, 2:49 am

Dark Matter wrote:Spectrum,
Ever hear of "neurotheology"?

As part of my research I do not leave any stones unturn in related subjects. I have dug very deep into this subject of "neurotheology".
There is nothing new that is exciting enough in recent years on this subject.

My critical points on theism is much more deeper than neurotheology.
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#14  Postby Dark Matter » July 20th, 2017, 2:55 am

Spectrum wrote:
Dark Matter wrote:Spectrum,
Ever hear of "neurotheology"?

As part of my research I do not leave any stones unturn in related subjects. I have dug very deep into this subject of "neurotheology".
There is nothing new that is exciting enough in recent years on this subject.

My critical points on theism is much more deeper than neurotheology.


I'd say the opposite is true. Your points are nothing more or less than memes reloaded, whereas neurotheology is hard science.
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#15  Postby Spectrum » July 20th, 2017, 3:47 am

Dark Matter wrote:
Spectrum wrote:(Nested quote removed.)

As part of my research I do not leave any stones unturn in related subjects. I have dug very deep into this subject of "neurotheology".
There is nothing new that is exciting enough in recent years on this subject.

My critical points on theism is much more deeper than neurotheology.


I'd say the opposite is true. Your points are nothing more or less than memes reloaded, whereas neurotheology is hard science.

I like to read up on researches of neurotheology but I am very well aware of the limitations of this subject.

Here is a comment on neurotheology;

The dangers when prowling around the environs of religion are the mine-fields of dogma and well-developed philosophies; wherein, even a single point of scientific validation is instantly hijacked into a full-fledged validation of some esoteric philosophy or system of faith. Thus, there is the all-prevalent stench of quasi-science sticking to all your efforts. In this context, exploring the neural basis of spirituality is more akin to wading through muck in a malaria-infested peat-bog, than any romantic exploration of the unknown that the researcher fondly imagines at the outset.
http://antiageing.astronrill.com/neurotheology.html


Note neuro-theology researches on the brain and mental activities of people who are involved in theology and spirituality.
None of the famous researchers in this area, e.g. Newberg would dare to claim there is link between their findings to the real existence of God.
In fact most the neuro-theology researches are done on Buddhist monks who in the first place are not theists.

Many of the claims of experiences with God are linked to mental illnesses. Note this guy believed he was an agent of God when in fact he was suffering from temporal epilepsy.
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