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View Diary: Atheist Digest '10, The believers' path to Atheism (212 comments)

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  •  Thank you for illustrating the critical differenc (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rieux

    between a rational, secular or scientific approach to knowledge, and an irrational, religious or faith-based approach to knowledge.

    Faith assumes an answer and then seeks to justify it with cherry-picked evidence to fit, ignoring contrary evidence (and often inventing evidence outright). A faith-based mind is obsessed with knowing The Answer.

    Science is more concerned with asking the right questions. Science approaches knowledge through open inquiry, and follows the evidence where it may lead. Conclusions only and always follow the evidence, and are always contingent on support from new evidence.

    There is a profound incompatibility between the way or reason, and the way of faith.

    You have a habit of telling other people what they should say or how they should think. You might want to review that habit, it is unattractive.

    I don't presume to speak for all atheists (ironically, even though you aren't one, you do). I can only say that, for myself, I simply do not believe things for which there is no evidence. In particular, I do not believe extraordinary claims that contradict known scientific facts, absent extraordinary evidence.

    That is a default position by which I approach all questions. The god question is not inherently privileged over all other questions. Many think it is special, somehow, because it happens to be popular at this time.

    You can try to define it away so that it is so innocuous and meaningless that no one can object to the term 'god'. What is the point in that? I can call all colors 'red', and then claim we all see red. That doesn't make it true.

    Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

    by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 09:09:35 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  last paragraph meant to say, (0+ / 0-)

      "...and then claim all we see is red"

      Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

      by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 09:10:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You have me backwards (0+ / 0-)

      I can only say that, for myself, I simply do not believe things for which there is no evidence. In particular, I do not believe extraordinary claims that contradict known scientific facts, absent extraordinary evidence.

      That is a default position by which I approach all questions.

      I completely agree.  And I too am more interested in questions than in answers.  In fact it's in the interest of further questions that I play these "semantic games" (as some might call them).

      If I start with the premise that "God exists", then the next question is "what is God?" (based on the evidence of my own experience)".  And this is certainly a question that instigates further discussion.  If I start with the premise that "God does not exist" then there are no further questions relating to the meaning of God.  (NOTE: There are always other questions, to be sure.  I don't want to imply that being an atheist leads to an end of asking questions)

      You can try to define it away so that it is so innocuous and meaningless that no one can object to the term 'god'. What is the point in that? I can call all colors 'red', and then claim we all see red. That doesn't make it true.

      I'm not trying simply to find a definition that everyone can agree with.  Just one that I can.  And along the way I can have lots of interesting discussions with others who have their own ideas about what God means.

      We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

      by RageKage on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 11:16:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "If I start with the premise that "God exists'" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rieux

        If I start with the premise that dragons exist.

        If I start with the premise that aliens are abducting humans.

        If I start with the premise that Barack Obama is in league with the Devil.

        If I start with the premise that Jews own the banks.

        Not sure starting with an arbitrary premise is necessarily helpful.

        Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

        by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 11:26:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RandomActsOfReason

          that pretty well gets to the core of this.

        •  If you can't see the difference (0+ / 0-)

          If I start with the premise that dragons exist

          ... I would be dressing up in fake armor and acting out battles with foam weapons.

          If I start with the premise that aliens are abducting humans

          ...then Kucinich is RIGHT!

          If I start with the premise that Barack Obama is in league with the Devil

          ... it would confirm my suspicion that the devil has taken the form of Timothy Geithner.

          If I start with the premise that Jews own the banks.

          ... I'd be wondering where my share is.

          Not sure starting with an arbitrary premise is necessarily helpful.

          It is not arbitrary.  I start with that premise because it allows me to explore different ideas about God and have interesting conversations with other people who have their own particular notions about what God means.

          And I am not arbitrarily giving some random meaning to the word.  It is a life long quest where I am constantly re-evaluating and adjusting my understanding, based on all the knowledge and experience available to me.

          We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

          by RageKage on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 04:13:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Swell. (0+ / 0-)

            I start with that premise because it allows me to explore different ideas about God and have interesting conversations with other people who have their own particular notions about what God means.

            How very nice. Some of us are more interested in believing things that are true. I guess that's just not something that interests you much.

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