Why are you an atheist?

All things outside of Burning Man.

Re: An atheist I was born; an atheist I will die!

Postby HughMungus » Thu Mar 09, 2006 3:30 pm

M-Files wrote:
HughMungus wrote:I've decided to not decide because it's irrelevant to my life, not because I don't want to be wrong. I think it takes more courage to say "I don't know," than to appear to know something either way.


You spend so much time preaching what you pretend is so irrelevant in your life that you didn't read my post properly. I asked which was more humble, not which "takes more courage".


We're not going to get very far if you nit-pick every reply. When I said that it takes more courage, I was replying to "Or to simply say that you have no convictions, and therefore cannot be wrong either way?" It takes courage to have a conviction and even more to admit, "I don't know."

Admitting up front that what you believe may indeed be wrong is obviously not "pretending to know something either way". And it takes far, far more courage than a shallow "I don't know" blow off.


OK. And you've admitted you don't know either way. So, since you don't have any evidence either way, how did you end-up an atheist (instead of agnostic or whatever).
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Re: An atheist I was born; an atheist I will die!

Postby M-Files » Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:23 pm

HughMungus wrote:And you've admitted you don't know either way. So, since you don't have any evidence either way, how did you end-up an atheist (instead of agnostic or whatever).


Do you believe in Santa Claus? What about the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy? Why or why not, if there is no proof either way?

HughMungus wrote:It takes courage to have a conviction and even more to admit, "I don't know."


It "takes courage" to say "I don't know" to a simple question when it is presumed that you should know the answer.

Example: It may take courage to say "I don't know" when asked "When is your partner's birthday?" or "Where did you park the car last night?" or "What happened in between the time you passed out at the biker bar to when you woke up in the morning spooning the big hairy Harley rider?"

But in this case, we virtually all agree that there is no simple answer and no proof either way. In this case, it takes far, far, infinitely far more courage to have a conviction and to admit that what you believe may in fact be wrong.

In this case, to simply blow off an "I don't know" is a wimp-out, plain and simple.

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Re: An atheist I was born; an atheist I will die!

Postby HughMungus » Thu Mar 09, 2006 6:47 pm

M-Files wrote:
HughMungus wrote:And you've admitted you don't know either way. So, since you don't have any evidence either way, how did you end-up an atheist (instead of agnostic or whatever).


Do you believe in Santa Claus? What about the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy? Why or why not, if there is no proof either way?

HughMungus wrote:It takes courage to have a conviction and even more to admit, "I don't know."


It "takes courage" to say "I don't know" to a simple question when it is presumed that you should know the answer.

Example: It may take courage to say "I don't know" when asked "When is your partner's birthday?" or "Where did you park the car last night?" or "What happened in between the time you passed out at the biker bar to when you woke up in the morning spooning the big hairy Harley rider?"

But in this case, we virtually all agree that there is no simple answer and no proof either way. In this case, it takes far, far, infinitely far more courage to have a conviction and to admit that what you believe may in fact be wrong.

In this case, to simply blow off an "I don't know" is a wimp-out, plain and simple.

Atheist hugs,
m-files
:)


I disagree but that's off topic.

So, since, as you said, you have no empirical proof either way, why are you an atheist and not something else? I'm assuming that you believe that there is no god and not that you just don't know.
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Re:atheist I was born; an I will Blah, blah, blah blah

Postby Rockdad » Thu Mar 09, 2006 6:57 pm

HughMungus wrote:
HughMungus wrote:Blah, blah, blah blah, blah
HughMungus wrote:And Blah, blah, blah blah, blah (instead of Blah, blah, blah blah, blah.

Do you believe Blah, blah, blah blah, blah? Why or why not, Blah, blah, blah blah, blah, be Blah, blah, blah blah, blah

HughMungus wrote:Blah, blah, blah blah, blah "I don't know."

HughMungus wrote:Blah, blah, blah blah, blah"I don't know"Blah, blah, blah blah, blah I should know the answer.
Example: Blah, blah, blah blah, blah "I don't know" is a wimp-out, plain and simple.

Blah, blah, blah blah, blah
HughMungus wrote:Blah, blah, blah blah, blah
I disagree but Blah, blah, blah blah, blah

So, Blah, blah, blah blah, blah? I don't know.So, Blah, blah, blah blah, blah
HughMungus wrote:Blah, blah, blah blah, blah
HughMungus wrote:And Blah, blah, blah blah, blah[ (instead of Blah, blah, blah blah, blah.]

HughMungus wrote:Do you believe Blah, blah, blah blah, blah? Why or why not, Blah, blah, blah blah, blah Blah, blah, blah blah, blah

HughMungus wrote:Blah, blah, blah blah, blah "I don't know."

HughMungus wrote:Blah, blah, blah blah, blah"I don't know"Blah, blah, blah blah, blah I should know the answer.
Example: Blah, blah, blah blah, blah "I don't know" is a wimp-out, plain and simple.

Blah, blah, blah blah, blah
:)

I disagree but Blah, blah, blah blah, blah

So, Blah, blah, blah blah, blah? I don't know.
HughMungus wrote:So, Blah, blah, blah blah, blah
HughMungus wrote: Oh and Bloviate this and Bloviate that and since I am always right but make no sense I will just wear you down with bloviation
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Re: An atheist I was born; an atheist I will die!

Postby HughMungus » Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:05 pm

Rockdad wrote:
HughMungus wrote:Blah, blah, blah blah, blah
HughMungus wrote:And Blah, blah, blah blah, blah[ (instead of Blah, blah, blah blah, blah.]


I think you should read this:

profile.php?mode=register

Or you can just have your account suspended.

Pick one.
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Postby spectabillis » Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:21 pm

oh great...

what the hell happened here?!
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Postby Rockdad » Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:24 pm

Hey Dallas PLAYER, Hugh Mungus and your other socks,
That was a very good point suggest you read it yourself, You have followed me all over e-playa leaving HARRASING post's behind everyone of mine and I have ignored your posting's for over two month's you are obsessed neurotic because I will not listen and or conform to your thought process.
You have threatened to stalk me at Burning Man and too stop me from my art of photography and to do physical harm to myself, camera and other photographers.
I have noticed you can not seem to get along with anyone ANYWHERE ON EPLAYA THAT DOES NOT AGREE WITH YOU!

I was not discussed in the moderators area you were!

CHECK THIS OUT BUDDY LOOKS LIKE YOU MAY HAVE TO CHANGE SCREEN NAMES AGAIN FROM THE TERMS OF SERVICE YOU WANTED ME TO LOOK AT...
"harasses or advocates harassment of another person"

So finally I make a funny and you cry like a baby..... foul ball I get four strikes... forget it
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Re: An atheist I was born; an atheist I will die!

Postby Kinetic IV » Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:25 pm

HughMungus wrote:I think you should read this:

profile.php?mode=register

Or you can just have your account suspended.

Pick one.


Whoa, since when does the eplaya have a new moderator? And would you be so kind as to explain what Rockdad has done that even warrants someone using the word "Suspension" and his alias in the same breath? I went back over the thread and I don't see ANYTHING that warrants such a harsh overreaction.

I've kept my mouth shut and not really posted in here and I've learned a lot. So far I've been sent off on at least 7 hours worth of tangents thanks to things discussed here. But HM, this seems to be a bit much so I'm speaking up. Again, maybe I missed something. Break it down, what violates the TOS? I just don't see it.
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Postby spectabillis » Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:27 pm

Rockdad, I just read from the beginning of this topic... and you are taking this a bit far and making it personal in ways it doesn't have to be. For everyone's sake, please tone it down a bit. Its entirely possible to disagree with someone without all of that.
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Postby HughMungus » Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:27 pm

spectabillis wrote:oh great...

what the hell happened here?!


The community is "moderating itself" so that we don't have to have "an environment of authority and censorship with a bunch of ego trippers pushing their attitude off on others."
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Postby Kinetic IV » Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:28 pm

Obviously SB saw something I missed.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:28 pm

God kills an angel everytime you spoof a post.
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Re: An atheist I was born; an atheist I will die!

Postby spectabillis » Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:28 pm

Kinetic IV wrote:Whoa, since when does the eplaya have a new moderator?
I got no problem with people calling on each other to calm things down.
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Postby Kinetic IV » Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:32 pm

Ugly Dougly wrote:God kills an angel everytime you spoof a post.


Every time a bell rings allegedly an angel gets it's wings. Perhaps post spoofing is just another way of keeping the angel population in check.
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I agree wrong place and time but oh well

Postby Rockdad » Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:33 pm

It is simple the guy follows me around all of e-playa and always has something negative to post right after me on this thread and all others. I have kept my mouth shut for other reasons in fact he is the only one on my ignore list.
But I finally just got tired of his thread pollution and spoofed him.
And he cry's like foul like a spoiled child.

HughMungus wrote:The community is "moderating itself" so that we don't have to have "an environment of authority and censorship with a bunch of ego trippers pushing their attitude off on others."


What a laugh that is exactly your problem Hugh from the CT thread and every other thread onto this thread that is exactly how you behave. Like a very insecure person who get's his rock's off trying to out post everyone and always the last word...obviously it goes deeper and you can not help it.

You know that I ignored you for a vey long time it did nothing to discourage you but it probably pissed you off because you never stopped.

This is the wrong place for it that is my mistake I should of started a whole new thread to discuss Hugh.

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Re: I agree wrong place and time but oh well

Postby HughMungus » Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:52 pm

Rockdad wrote:This is the wrong place for it that is my mistake I should of started a whole new thread to discuss Hugh.

Bob


I was going to suggest that.
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Postby Rob the Wop » Fri Mar 10, 2006 10:08 am

Hitler. Nazi. Hilter. Nazi.

Godwin's Law. This has officially become unbearabley lame. Between massive leaps of illogic, a 10 year old's debate strategies, and attempts to kill accounts from weenie TOC calls- this is now just painful to watch unfold.

Please stop. For the love of a non-existant, or it-doesn't-matter-if-its-non-existant , God- please just stop.
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Postby Kinetic IV » Fri Mar 10, 2006 10:17 am

Godwin's Law, defined:

http://www.faqs.org/faqs/usenet/legends/godwin/

So.....Sorry, no dice. But the thought is shared by many that the arguing is a bit much. If this keeps going we'll have new contenders for the most argumentative pair on the board....kicking me and someone else down to second place. I happen to like the drama queen tiara and I don't like competition for it either.
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Postby HughMungus » Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:23 pm

Rob the Wop wrote:Hitler. Nazi. Hilter. Nazi.

Godwin's Law. This has officially become unbearabley lame. Between massive leaps of illogic, a 10 year old's debate strategies, and attempts to kill accounts from weenie TOC calls- this is now just painful to watch unfold.

Please stop. For the love of a non-existant, or it-doesn't-matter-if-its-non-existant , God- please just stop.


And still no one has been able to tell me how, in the face of any evidence either way, they ended-up not believing instead of believing. Amazing.
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Postby bringer » Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:46 pm

HM,

I told you why I don't believe.
Were you not listening?
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Postby HughMungus » Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:12 pm

bringer wrote:HM,

I told you why I don't believe.
Were you not listening?


bringer wrote:Oh, and to answer the topic question:
I deny the existence of god based on the lack of empirical evidence for his/her/its existence.

And in response to the argument about proving god doesn't exist: Well, thats just bad logic. Granted, it can not be done. Nor can you prove that there are no green swans. But the inverse is just as illogical. The negative proof, eg. "there is no proof that this thing does not exist, therefore it does exist" is no proof at all.


In other words, there is no proof either way.


OK, here's a great example of why I posed the original question.

First you say, "I'm an atheist because there is no empirical evidence that god exists."

Then you say, "There is no proof either way."

If you believe that there's no proof either way, wouldn't that make you agnostic?

If there's no proof either way, how did you end-up not believing instead of believing?
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Postby Rob the Wop » Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:16 pm

bringer wrote:HM,

I told you why I don't believe.
Were you not listening?


EVERYONE has told him. He is incapable of hearing what he doesn't want to. TRUE logic is meaningless to him, nothing but a word he uses that he hasn't bothered looking up the meaning. His selective hearing capacity doesn't change one whit what I believe though, so who cares?
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Postby HughMungus » Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:57 pm

Rob the Wop wrote:
bringer wrote:HM,

I told you why I don't believe.
Were you not listening?


EVERYONE has told him. He is incapable of hearing what he doesn't want to. TRUE logic is meaningless to him, nothing but a word he uses that he hasn't bothered looking up the meaning. His selective hearing capacity doesn't change one whit what I believe though, so who cares?


What page is your answer on? Seriously.
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Postby AntiM » Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:32 pm

Well, if you'd like my personal take on it, I quit believing in god for about the same reasons I quit believing in santa. I outgrew the need to believe. Wasn't a logical decsion as it is for some people, wasn't weighed with evidence, just the ideas of heaven and hell and god and devils and angels got so silly and irrelevent I quit believing. My daily life didn't change, except I quit reading horoscopes seriously and quit looking for meaning in coincidences and use my tarot cards for meditation not divination. I quit going to church at 18 because I thought mormon theology was just plain wrong towards women and blacks and because I liked to drink. No blinging insights, no logical discourse, just a sense of injustice and a lazy sunday morning attitude. That and I lived in other countires with non-christian religions and they weren't getting any special favors from god no matter what they happened to believe or how often they prayed.

Illogically enough, I am superstitious and find odd little pagan rituals running through my life. I figure that's harmless and haven't bothered to do a major braincheck to rid myself of bad habits such as knocking on wood. I still believe there's a lot of unknown and unexplained crap in the universe. Why? I have no clue and don't worry about it.

Oh, I'm no atheist. Too much thinking involved. If I must be termed an agnostic, then I'm a polytheistic animist neo-pagan agnostic. I'm trying to be a humanist, but that's hard work too.

I don't pretend to make sense of the whole god-notgod thing, and honestly I don't care. I do care that everyone is taking this so very personally and has let it get beyond discussion and interesting ideas. I hate it when people I perceive as good and smart and funny become mean spirited. THAT matters to me, not what or why anyone does or does not believe. Eek, a personal opinion from me. See what y'all have done?
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Postby bringer » Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:34 pm

If there's no proof either way, how did you end-up not believing instead of believing?



You seem to be blurring the lines between proof and evidence.
There is no proof either way.

There is also no evidence to support the hypothesis that "there is a god"
Lets face it, "the existence of god" doesn't even qualify as a theory by scientific standards.

There is plenty of nothing out there when it comes to the question of god's existence, and I need to go with the simplest solution: there is no god.


Is this clearer?
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Postby HughMungus » Fri Mar 10, 2006 11:42 pm

bringer wrote:I need to go with the simplest solution


Finally, an answer. Yes. Thanks!
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Postby RingO'Fire » Sat Mar 11, 2006 8:14 am

This is completely off-topic, but...

HughMungus, I must say you're looking much better these days. Plastic surgery has done wonders for you.

Talk about a blast from the past, I dug up this picture of you on the playa from waaayyyy back in 1982! Glad to see you're doing well!

Image

Fuck! Picture didn't post the 1st time. It looked OK in "preview" mode... Let's try another URL...There now...preview again...yep, OK...now let's try posting, and...
...but it seemed like such a good idea at the time...
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Postby Ranger Genius » Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:55 am

Okay, here's the crux of the problem.

Hugh thinks that if there is no evidence either for or against something, it is not rationally possible to make a decision as to whether or not it exists. He doesn't understand how we can say "I believe there's no god" when the only support we have is that there is no evidence FOR god. He's not understood our points about the prima facie burden, partially because we've not taken it to its logical conclusion and explained it in Hemingwayian simplicity. I'll attempt to rectify that now.

I'm going to assume here, Hugh, that you've understood why one can say "I don't believe in god," and just explain why one can say "I believe there is no god."

Point one: reasonability.
Let's make some simple subistutions and an analogy to try to explain it.
You get in your car and turn the key, and nothing happens. Not a sound from the engine. Your friend in the passenger seat presents a suggestion that your engine has been tampered with by invisible, undetectable gnomes from the nth dimension, and there is nothing you can do until they choose to stop suppressing the flow of electricity within your engine with their invisible, noodly appendages. Your friend in the back seat suggests that maybe you left your headlights on, or that your battery cable has become disconnected.

Which of these beliefs do you accept? If you take the first, you learn nothing. You cannot test it, you cannot verify it, and your car stays broken until your engine is released from the grips of their noodly appendages. You're probably going to be late for work.

If, however, you take the second belief, you're able to test it (by simply checking the headlight switch, or the battery cable), and learn something about your situation, and thus have taken the first step toward fixing it.

According to your philosophy of noncommital, it's irrelevant which belief is true, and one should simply carry on. But it's pretty obvious that anyone who believes in the n-dimensional gnomes is irrational. So do you jumpstart the car anyway and remain gnomagnostic? No. You notice that the headlight switch is on, figure that you probably left them on yesterday, and say "there are no fucking gnomes." Why can't you make the same step with God? Is it because he's capitalized? What if I capitalize Gnome? Do you have to consider it plausible now?

Furthermore, there is what we call the prima facie burden. Or the burden of proof. Remember how you were taught in school that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law (unless they're black or hispanic, but they don't tell you that part)? It's the same with god. He's considered nonexistent until proven existent. You're falling for the same of ad ignorantium fallacy that John Ashcroft used when trying to justify the lack of any evidence of WMD's in Iraq: "The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence." Remember that?

Now let's move on to the evidence against god's case for existence. Oh yes, we've got it. First: human suffering. Wouldn't a just god step in every once in a while? Would he allow the sorts of things that happen on a daily basis in the third world to continue? Second: refer again to my post way back when about reasonability. Belief in an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient god runs contrary to almost everything we know about how the universe works. We have plenty of well-established theories, which are testable (even if we don't have the tech to test them yet--they will eventually be tested), verifiable, yield predictions as to things other than the things they were presented to explain, are in line with observable phenomena and what we know about how the universe works, and which are contradictory with god-belief. Take our theories as to the creation of the universe, and the earth. And the origin of life on earth. Creationism and theism run contrary to most of these much more reasonable theories, and to hold two contradictory beliefs is madness (just ask the Queen of Hearts).

Is it clear yet how a person can say he doesn't believe in god? If not, how can you say you don't believe in nth-dimensional gnomes, or the FSM, or any other thing I can throw at you. Wouldn't you consider someone mad if he considered plausible anything that was suggested to him? If you knew someone who consistently refused to disbelieve anything that he could not personally disprove, wouldn't you consider him insane?
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Postby HughMungus » Sat Mar 11, 2006 12:33 pm

Ranger Genius wrote:Okay, here's the crux of the problem.

Hugh thinks that if there is no evidence either for or against something, it is not rationally possible to make a decision as to whether or not it exists. He doesn't understand how we can say "I believe there's no god" when the only support we have is that there is no evidence FOR god. He's not understood our points about the prima facie burden, partially because we've not taken it to its logical conclusion and explained it in Hemingwayian simplicity. I'll attempt to rectify that now.

I'm going to assume here, Hugh, that you've understood why one can say "I don't believe in god," and just explain why one can say "I believe there is no god."

Point one: reasonability.
Let's make some simple subistutions and an analogy to try to explain it.
You get in your car and turn the key, and nothing happens. Not a sound from the engine. Your friend in the passenger seat presents a suggestion that your engine has been tampered with by invisible, undetectable gnomes from the nth dimension, and there is nothing you can do until they choose to stop suppressing the flow of electricity within your engine with their invisible, noodly appendages. Your friend in the back seat suggests that maybe you left your headlights on, or that your battery cable has become disconnected.

Which of these beliefs do you accept? If you take the first, you learn nothing. You cannot test it, you cannot verify it, and your car stays broken until your engine is released from the grips of their noodly appendages. You're probably going to be late for work.

If, however, you take the second belief, you're able to test it (by simply checking the headlight switch, or the battery cable), and learn something about your situation, and thus have taken the first step toward fixing it.

According to your philosophy of noncommital, it's irrelevant which belief is true, and one should simply carry on. But it's pretty obvious that anyone who believes in the n-dimensional gnomes is irrational. So do you jumpstart the car anyway and remain gnomagnostic? No. You notice that the headlight switch is on, figure that you probably left them on yesterday, and say "there are no fucking gnomes." Why can't you make the same step with God? Is it because he's capitalized? What if I capitalize Gnome? Do you have to consider it plausible now?


If I had no way of finding out what the cause of my car not starting was, then any of the three causes you mentioned are equally valid, no?

Furthermore, there is what we call the prima facie burden. Or the burden of proof. Remember how you were taught in school that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law (unless they're black or hispanic, but they don't tell you that part)? It's the same with god. He's considered nonexistent until proven existent. You're falling for the same of ad ignorantium fallacy that John Ashcroft used when trying to justify the lack of any evidence of WMD's in Iraq: "The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence." Remember that?

Now let's move on to the evidence against god's case for existence. Oh yes, we've got it. First: human suffering. Wouldn't a just god step in every once in a while? Would he allow the sorts of things that happen on a daily basis in the third world to continue? Second: refer again to my post way back when about reasonability. Belief in an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient god runs contrary to almost everything we know about how the universe works. We have plenty of well-established theories, which are testable (even if we don't have the tech to test them yet--they will eventually be tested), verifiable, yield predictions as to things other than the things they were presented to explain, are in line with observable phenomena and what we know about how the universe works, and which are contradictory with god-belief. Take our theories as to the creation of the universe, and the earth. And the origin of life on earth. Creationism and theism run contrary to most of these much more reasonable theories, and to hold two contradictory beliefs is madness (just ask the Queen of Hearts).


Your problem here is that you're basing your reasoning on a handful of views about God (particularly, it seems, a somewhat literalist view of God). You're trying to take a narrow definition of God's nature and use it to disprove the existence of God for everyone. For example, not everyone who believes in God believes that he takes a direct hand in their lives. I personally believe that if there is a God that there wouldn't be a hell because how could God love us yet send us to hell for eternity if we're bad? Using your logic, I could disprove God's existence simply by pointing out the logical fallacy of love vs. eternal damnation. Regarding religion vs. science, again, you are basing your argument on a very literalist view of God and creation. I personally believe that religion and science are never contradictory (unless, like I said, you are a biblical literalist). Just because the watch operates according to certain scientific principles does not mean there could not have been a watchmaker, right?

Is it clear yet how a person can say he doesn't believe in god? If not, how can you say you don't believe in nth-dimensional gnomes, or the FSM, or any other thing I can throw at you. Wouldn't you consider someone mad if he considered plausible anything that was suggested to him? If you knew someone who consistently refused to disbelieve anything that he could not personally disprove, wouldn't you consider him insane?


Like I said earlier, if you can neither prove nor disprove something, nor ever prove which from a set of explanations explains something, then how can any of them ever be more or less valid than any of the others?
It's what you make it.
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Postby Rob the Wop » Sat Mar 11, 2006 7:24 pm

Occam's Razor (also spelled Ockham's Razor) is a principle attributed to the 14th-century English logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham. It forms the basis of methodological reductionism, and is also called the principle of parsimony or law of economy.

In its simplest form, Occam's Razor states that one should not make more assumptions than needed. In original, it says

Numquam ponenda est pluritas sine necessitate [Latin]
which translates to:

Multiples should not be posited without necessity
or

"Shave off" (do not introduce) unnecessary entities in explanations.
In other words, given two equally predictive theories choose the simpler one, the one with fewer unneccesary assumptions. For example, after a storm one notices that a tree has fallen. Based on the evidence of the storm and the fallen tree, a reasonable hypothesis would be that the storm blew down the tree; this hypothesis requires one to suspend his or her disbelief very little, as there exist strong logical connections binding what one already knows to this solution (seeing and hearing storms does indeed tend to indicate the existence of storms; storms are more than capable of felling trees). A rival hypothesis claiming that the tree was knocked over by marauding 200-metre tall space aliens, while being theoretically possible and arriving at the same end result (namely, the tree being knocked down), requires many additional assumptions (concerning the very existence of aliens, their ability and desire to travel interstellar distances, their ability and desire to knock down trees, the alien biology that allows them to be 200 metres tall in terrestrial gravity, etc.), each additional assumption itself having a possibility of error and effectively diminishing the likelihood of the hypothesis overall. Thus the theory with fewer assumptions is more reasonable to believe.

This can be interpreted in two subtly different ways. One is a preference for the simplest theory that adequately accounts for the data. Another is a preference for the simplest subset of any given theory which accounts for the data. The difference is simply that it is possible for two different theories to explain the data equally well, but have no relation to one another. They share none of the same elements. Some would argue that in this case Occam's Razor does not suggest a preference. Rather Occam's Razor only comes into practice when a sufficient theory has something added to it which does not improve its predictive power. Occam's Razor neatly cuts these additional theoretical elements away.

(This is what prevents me from attributing a God to everything I do not immediately understand.)
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