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InvisibleEntheogenicPeace
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Question For & About Atheism
    #8792673 - 08/18/08 10:41 PM (9 years, 9 months ago)

As an agnostic, I'm wondering the atheist explanation for what came before the Big Bang, or is agnosticism/atheism really the same in this regard; that it is, at present, anyways, unknowable? I'll concede, as an agnostic, that any claim of the divine (or any kind of higher power that isn't necessarily divine) being responsible for the universe (everything that we know of) has an infinitely small chance of being correct, but that it will remain as an infinitely small chance, & thus implausible & irrational to believe, until evidence is acquired for it.

Isn't saying, "There absolutely isn't any higher power" as close-minded as saying, "There absolutely is a higher power" (not counting the absurdity of claiming to know its exact identity/intent without any evidence)? Or am I, as an agnostic, misunderstanding atheism?


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Invisibleelbisivni
Registered: 10/01/06
Posts: 2,839
Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: EntheogenicPeace]
    #8792818 - 08/18/08 11:08 PM (9 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

A friend, an intelligent lapsed Jew who observes the Sabbath for reasons of cultural solidarity, describes himself as a Tooth Fairy Agnostic. He will not call himself an atheist because it is in principle impossible to prove a negative. But "agnostic" on its own might suggest that he thought god's existence or non-existence equally likely. In fact, though strictly agnostic about both, he considers God's existence no more probable than the Tooth Fairy's. Hence the phrase Tooth Fairy Agnostic. Bertrand Russell used a hypothetical teapot in orbit about Mars for the same didactic purpose. You have to be agnostic about the teapot, but that doesn't mean you treat the likelihood of its existence as being on all fours with its non-existence. The list of things about which we strictly have to be agnostic doesn't stop at tooth fairies and celestial teapots. It is infinite. If you want to believe in a particular one of them - teapots, unicorns or tooth fairies, Thor, or Yahweh - the onus is on you to say why you believe in it. The onus is not on the rest of us to say why we do not. We who are atheists are also a-fairyists, a-teapotists and a-unicornists, but we needn't bother saying so.




Yes, Richard Dawkins wrote this.

http://richarddawkins.net/article,117,A-Challenge-to-Atheists-come-out-of-the-closet,Richard-Dawkins
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celestial_teapot


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From dust you are made and to dust you shall return.


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InvisibleDieCommie


Registered: 12/11/03
Posts: 29,258
Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: elbisivni]
    #8792844 - 08/18/08 11:15 PM (9 years, 9 months ago)

But there is evidence against tooth fairies and orbiting teapots.  You can use a camera to see adults taking the tooth, not a fairy.  You can deduce that if a teapot were in orbit than a civilization that made the teapot must have blasted it into orbit.  The realms of all these other phenomena are here in the universe and subject to our tests. 

Whether or not the big bang was a conscious or unconscious act is outside our capability to test and there absolutely nothing that implies leaning either way.  (unlike say the teapot, which since we know humans make teapots and that putting one in orbit is expensive with no benefit we can lean heavily to the side of 'no orbiting teapots')


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InvisibledeCypher
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Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: DieCommie]
    #8792879 - 08/18/08 11:23 PM (9 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

DieCommie said: Whether or not the big bang was a conscious or unconscious act is outside our capability to test and there absolutely nothing that implies leaning either way.




Right, but most theists would take God to mean more than just the originator of the Big Bang... usually there's an implied spiritual/religious framework that the God in question resides in (not to mention built-in ethics and morality dependent upon a judgmental God), and it's the lack of evidence for this that tips the scales towards there being more evidence not than for, IMO. The existence of a God a la Blind Watchmaker technically has equal weight with the nonexistence of such a God, but since both alternative theories show no predictive differences after the Big Bang, why bother coming up with an elaborate explanation of some conscious being outside of the universe just to explain things?  Occam's Razor seems to be the best way to go until further progress in our knowledge has been made.


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We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.


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InvisibleDieCommie


Registered: 12/11/03
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Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: EntheogenicPeace]
    #8792951 - 08/18/08 11:36 PM (9 years, 9 months ago)

Sure, there is definitely is evidence against the common religions and the narrow definition of god they use.

However, I don't agree that the bang being a conscious act is somehow 'elaborate' or that the natural conclusion using Occam's Razor is 'no conscious creation'.  Assumptions need to be made either way so I dont believe the 'consciously created' side is more presumptuous.  For example, if you encountered an artificial intelligence would Occam's Razor lead you to believe it was not consciously created? 

In the end I dont think Occam's Razor is useful for any type of serious/deep philosophy or science.  Its only really a good rule of thumb for daily interactions.  Nature has its way, and it doesnt care what humans think about assumptions, simplicity or elegance.


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InvisibleCameron
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Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: EntheogenicPeace]
    #8792967 - 08/18/08 11:38 PM (9 years, 9 months ago)

I think it is likely that most 'atheists' label themselves as such in denial of the God(s) which have been preached to them and not in denial of every possible origin of the Universe. To claim the latter would be incredibly hypocritical and dense.


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InvisibleEntheogenicPeace
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Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: EntheogenicPeace]
    #8793520 - 08/19/08 01:23 AM (9 years, 9 months ago)

Ok. I was thinking there wasn't a contradiction between the two, but I wasn't sure exactly what most people who identify themselves as 'atheist' instead of agnostic' believed in this area.

Another question (specifically for those knowledgeable in physics on the second part, but not necessarily on the first part):

When theists make the argument that the "fine-tuning" of constants is a strong indicator of a designer, what is the best agnostic reply? I would think that the most logical answer would be to concede that it is possible, but that it no more an indicator of simply a higher (alien-type) power that it is of the traditional all-knowing, all-powerful & omnipresent deity (& certainly not a specific one from among past human mythologies, all of which have no evidence for them to date, & instead have mountains of evidence against). What are some other perspective on this argument? 

The second relates to the first, in that, what are the (physical) origins of the constants as they relate to the Big Bang, or are they also, like what was before the Big Bang* unknowable at the moment?

* This is assuming the Big Bang theory is correct. I believe that it is the current consensus among physicists & astronomers, but my physics & astronomy knowledge isn't advanced enough to know how much credence should be given to dissident views here; unlike my knowledge of biology & chemistry where I can spot the bullshit in "Intelligent Design" (i.e. creationism) attacks both geological & biological evolution almost, if not, instantly.


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--- nothing right now ---


Edited by EntheogenicPeace (08/19/08 01:40 AM)


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InvisibleSleepwalker
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Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: EntheogenicPeace]
    #8793557 - 08/19/08 01:31 AM (9 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

EntheogenicPeace said:
Ok. I was thinking there wasn't a contradiction between the two, but I wasn't sure exactly what most people who identify themselves as 'atheist' instead of agnostic' believed in this area.

Another question (specifically for those knowledgeable in physics on the second part, but not necessarily on the first part):

When theists make the argument that the "fine-tuning" of constants is a strong indicator of a designer, what is the best agnostic reply? I would think that the most logical answer would be to concede that it is possible, but that it no more an indicator of simply a higher (alien-type) power that it is of the traditional all-knowing, all-powerful & omnipresent deity (& certainly not a specific one from among all past human mythologies, all of which have no evidence for them to date). What are some other perspective on this argument? 

The second relates to the first, in that, what are the (physical) origins of the constants as the relate to the Big Bang, or are they also, like what was before the Big Bang* unknowable at the moment?

* This is assuming the Big Bang theory is correct. I believe that it is the current consensus among physicists & astronomers, but my physics & astronomy knowledge isn't advanced enough to know how much credence should be given to dissident views here; unlike my knowledge of biology & chemistry where I can spot the bullshit in "Intelligent Design" (i.e. creationism) attacks both geological & biological evolution almost, if not, instantly.




I think many people who have chosen not to believe in any of the traditional mythological "gods" just default to calling themselves atheists.  It's simply a word that is thrown around much more than "agnostic". :shrug:

As for the big bang theory...I'm in the same boat as you, I'm not knowledgeable enough about it to say one way or the other.  It doesn't make much sense to me, though, that the big bang could be the true beginning of Everything.  There had to be a cause.  Whether that cause was God, or expansion out of a parallel universe, or what have you, I can't say.

(Great quotes in your sig btw :thumbup::thumbup:)


Edited by Sleepwalker (08/19/08 01:32 AM)


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InvisibleDieCommie


Registered: 12/11/03
Posts: 29,258
Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: EntheogenicPeace]
    #8793684 - 08/19/08 02:04 AM (9 years, 9 months ago)

.


Edited by DieCommie (11/16/16 12:09 PM)


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Invisibleblewmeanie
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Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: DieCommie]
    #8793718 - 08/19/08 02:23 AM (9 years, 9 months ago)



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Offlinejenns_hot
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Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: EntheogenicPeace]
    #8793793 - 08/19/08 02:49 AM (9 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

EntheogenicPeace said:


Isn't saying, "There absolutely isn't any higher power" as close-minded as saying, "There absolutely is a higher power" (not counting the absurdity of claiming to know its exact identity/intent without any evidence)? Or am I, as an agnostic, misunderstanding atheism?




Good point.  As an atheist, I don't believe in God.  Sure, nobody can prove that there is not a God, so there is a chance that I'm wrong.  No question there.  But I also know "Christians" who obey the Christian teachings because "there probably is a God". 

Atheism is just the belief that there is no almighty God.  I certainly don't denounce Christians as dumb or ignorant, but accept our differences about our belief of God.  I just think it is VERY, very, unlikely that any higher being exists, and I'm betting my eternal salvation on that.


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"Fear makes the wolf look bigger"


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InvisibleEntheogenicPeace
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Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: DieCommie]
    #8793822 - 08/19/08 03:03 AM (9 years, 9 months ago)

Thanks, I think that clears it up, more or less, as much as can be done with the current (& very possibly total) capacities of science & reason.


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Offlinezouden
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Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: DieCommie]
    #8794073 - 08/19/08 05:43 AM (9 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

DieCommie said:
But there is evidence against tooth fairies and orbiting teapots.  You can use a camera to see adults taking the tooth, not a fairy. 



That still doesn't prove there's no tooth fairy.


:wink:


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I know... that just the smallest
                                                part of the world belongs to me
You know... I'm not a blind man
                                                    but truth is the hardest thing to see


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InvisibleDieCommie


Registered: 12/11/03
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Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: zouden]
    #8794482 - 08/19/08 10:19 AM (9 years, 9 months ago)

Its very strong evidence against the tooth fairy, as the tooth fairy is defined as an entity that takes teeth and leaves money.  Evidence of that strength doesnt exist for or against a creator.


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Invisibledaytripper23
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Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: blewmeanie]
    #8794495 - 08/19/08 10:24 AM (9 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

blewmeanie said:





haha this is fitting.

The real issue would be if you are naturally bald or if you shave your head. Is it a hairstyle or not? :tongue:


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InvisibleChronic7
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Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: EntheogenicPeace]
    #8794510 - 08/19/08 10:30 AM (9 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

EntheogenicPeace said:
As an agnostic, I'm wondering the atheist explanation for what came before the Big Bang, or is agnosticism/atheism really the same in this regard; that it is, at present, anyways, unknowable? I'll concede, as an agnostic, that any claim of the divine (or any kind of higher power that isn't necessarily divine) being responsible for the universe (everything that we know of) has an infinitely small chance of being correct, but that it will remain as an infinitely small chance, & thus implausible & irrational to believe, until evidence is acquired for it.

Isn't saying, "There absolutely isn't any higher power" as close-minded as saying, "There absolutely is a higher power" (not counting the absurdity of claiming to know its exact identity/intent without any evidence)? Or am I, as an agnostic, misunderstanding atheism?




It will always be unknowable/no evidence because knowable implies some 'thing' you can know, the divine power is not a 'thing', it is the formless where this universe comes from, its the heart of all things. The knower, the seer, the experiencer. We invest so much in what we can know, but we dont even know the knower! The unknown is the divine power, anytime you try to turn it into the known it gets covered up again.

Its entirely unproovable in an objective scientific way because its beyond existence, we cant take hold of it & put it under a microscope, although its not seperate from you so inevitably discoverable.

:peace:


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InvisibleIcelander
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Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: Chronic7]
    #8794529 - 08/19/08 10:33 AM (9 years, 9 months ago)

the divine power is not a 'thing', it is the formless where this universe comes from, its the heart of all things.

And you "know" this how?


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"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
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Invisibleblewmeanie
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Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: Icelander]
    #8794734 - 08/19/08 11:30 AM (9 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

Icelander said:
the divine power is not a 'thing', it is the formless where this universe comes from, its the heart of all things.

And you "know" this how?



Because when the truth speaks to your heart.....you know.:smirk:


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InvisibledeCypher
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Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: DieCommie]
    #8794928 - 08/19/08 12:03 PM (9 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

DieCommie said: Assumptions need to be made either way so I dont believe the 'consciously created' side is more presumptuous.  For example, if you encountered an artificial intelligence would Occam's Razor lead you to believe it was not consciously created? 

In the end I dont think Occam's Razor is useful for any type of serious/deep philosophy or science.  Its only really a good rule of thumb for daily interactions.  Nature has its way, and it doesnt care what humans think about assumptions, simplicity or elegance.




I agree with you that Occam's Razor is not necessarily applicable in every situation (and I liked your quote that Nature will have its way regardless.)  I suppose my viewpoint is stemming more from a pragmatic standpoint, though.  When picking a theory to fit the evidence, one chooses the one that has the maximum predictive ability and the power to explain all previous data.  Our two theories, that of "there existed a conscious being that created the Universe" and that of "there did not exist a conscious being that created the Universe," are in this respect identical in their predictions and matching to the evidence--they say nothing different about what happens after the Big Bang; the only difference is in what happens before, which we can't experimentally test anyway.

So my point is--if these two theories are essentially equivalent, then why do you need to make the presupposition that a conscious being existed before the Universe?  What predictive benefit does this assumption gain you?  It certainly doesn't help simplify things, as now you have to have not only the idea of something existing before the Universe (which throws the concept of existence itself in for a loop), but the idea of a "conscious being" outside of the space/time continuum.  Considering that we're only able to find examples of consciousness within ourselves (and perhaps, at a stretch, assume that other spatiotemporal organisms on Earth possess this as well), it doesn't even make sense to talk about something not of space/time, prior to the Universe, and still conscious.  What does this even mean?  It seems very ill-defined, especially when you consider that the definition of consciousness usually implies some sort of sensory perceptions to go along with self-awareness, which is impossible outside of a medium where there can even be no perceptions to sense.  And I'd challenge you to give a precise definition of what a "being" not made of matter or energy truly is. :evil:

Assumptions do need to be made either way (as we still have no idea why the Big Bang occurred), but to assume the existence of a "conscious being" is not only spectacularly ill-defined, but pragmatically unnecessary.  Unless you can demonstrate some potent requirement as to why the existence of something unprovable, metaphysical, and definitionally contradictory is necessary for explaining further physical evidence, a world-view without a conscious "creator being" is intellectually cleaner and still a perfect fit to the data.


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We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.


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Invisibleblewmeanie
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Re: Question For & About Atheism [Re: deCypher]
    #8795249 - 08/19/08 01:13 PM (9 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

The Cypher said:
Our two theories, that of "there existed a conscious being that created the Universe" and that of "there did not exist a conscious being that created the Universe," are in this respect identical in their predictions and matching to the evidence--they say nothing different about what happens after the Big Bang; the only difference is in what happens before, which we can't experimentally test anyway.




Atheism is the absence of a belief in "god", not the denial of it. An atheist can(and many do) deny the existence of god, but that is not atheism. Atheism is literally the absence of belief. A (non, or absence) Theism (belief in god)

Realistically, it is more aptly applied to some else than to yourself. Though it has become a label people use to distinguish themselves from theist, it really only apply when addressing someone else. While I may not personally feel the need to label myself as an atheist (I feel no need to address the issue at all) I may when describing myself to another label myself as such in order to communicate my lack of a belief in god. I do not deny the existence of god, in the same way that I do not deny anything that may have existed "before" (I'm trying so hard not to go on a douche bag physics rant) the "big bang" I simply do not address it at all.

As the poster says, atheism is to hair as bald is to hair color. Bald is not a description, or the opposite of a color, it supersedes any descriptive reference to color. In the same way, atheism supersedes any reference to or denial of god(though some people who may be classified as atheist may do so) by its absence (not denial, but nonexistence of belief) of belief one way or the other. It doesn't even need to be considered.

This concept just seems so hard for most theist to grasp, because their belief is such an integral part of who they are. Its hard to imagine how someone else could completely bypass what makes up a large part of the way in which they (theists) view the world.



----------
Now, when considering what existed before the big bang, try viewing it from the perspective of Zeno's paradox of motion.(google it if your not familiar)


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