Atheism vs Agnostic (video #28 may 2015)

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Nyarlathotep's picture
Sorry RF, but we discourage

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Nyarlathotep's picture
And to be clear, I've been

And to be clear, I've been very guilty of it in the past. Even just replacing copied and pasted text with a link to the source has led to me (accidentally) posting information about Atheist Republic members. Very muddy waters.

David Killens's picture
I am a very investigative

I am a very investigative person, and because of that trait I stepped over the line when I first joined Atheist Republic. Fortunately, the mods acted appropriately and everything got sorted out. I learned my lesson and changed my behaviour.

If a poster uses a pseudonym, then respect that, for they have a reason we do not need to know or understand. Just respect other's rights and privacy.

Cognostic's picture
@Apollo: Atheism vs Agnostic

@Apollo: Atheism vs Agnostic (video #28 may 2015)
I'll respond first and then return to look at what others have said.

1. "agnostics lack belief in God, therefore agnostics are atheists."
This is demonstrably false. People believe in all sorts of irrational things; even things they know are not true. This is the essence of a phobia. People do not need facts or evidence to be superstitious. They certainly do not have a "Lack of Belief" if they "believe' in a god. Pascal's wager is the essence of a non-knowing Christian that believes anyway. "Well, I don't know for sure but I better believe so I can get to Heaven or avoid Hell."

The argument is better put as: "We are all agnostic." Even when a theist believes, their belief is founded on a complete lack of reliable knowledge. There comes a point where all theists resort to the expression, "Well, you just gotta have faith." Faith leads us nowhere and it certainly can not be called "KNOWING." There are Agnostic Christians and they do believe in some sort of a God even though they admit being unable to define it in any way.

2. I agree that lack of evidence is evidence of absence. If this were not the case every scientific study ever done would get redone a million times even though the results were useless. We do not need to repeat failures. I DISAGREE: there is nothing what so ever subjective about knowledge. "Prove there is a lack of evidence." is shifting the burden of proof. As I said above, we do not need to repeat failed experiments to prove they failed. We do not need to search out every insane claim to disprove it. That is a complete waste of time. The person making the claim has the burden of proof.

3. Knowledge is a subset of belief. Justified true knowledge is that which is both known and justified. Belief in WooWoo is neither but it is still called knowledge by the ignorant.

4. This is correct. When I assert there is no god, I am accepting a burden of proof. That is why I have the theist define their version of god before I claim it does not exist. Some gods can not be proved not to exist as they are so amorphous as to be completely useless. The Deist god that created the earth and then just left us all alone for example. It is a useless god that is worthless talking about. On the other hand, any version of god that has some sort of measurable property can be examined and shown to be a contradiction of logic and to not exist logically.

5. Looking forward to the Qualia thread. I am of the opinion that it is basically BS.

Cognostic's picture

See what happens when someone asks a legitimate question around here! YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE!

Cognostic's picture

@HEY BRIGHT RAVEN: It is now clearly obvious that Apollo is an apologist trolling to get reactions and dishonestly arguing his position. The thread should go to shit eventually. Sheldon on the other hand is an absolute angel when it comes to dealing with this sort but eventually, even he, has enough!

AccretedMinutiae's picture
@Apollo - I will admit that,

@Apollo - I will admit that, as an atheist, I have beliefs - some of them are backed by no more than the experience of life and what I see around me. Do you know what I don't do, however? I don't think of those with little backing them as anything more special than opinion. I don't attempt to get others to believe as I do. I don't go around looking to challenge others who don't hold my particular beliefs. Now... I DO challenge others who seem to hold beliefs for poor reasons - but in doing so on the subject of religion specifically I am IN NO WAY trying to install some other belief in place of whatever crap the other person is holding onto. And this is because I know that I DO NOT KNOW the truth about these matters.

This all changes if I have evidence to back me up, of course. And then discussing a subject very well may be a matter of trying to prove the case, trying to get the other person to contemplate the evidence, understand it and realize that they must accept it in order to continue calling themselves "rational." The fact of the matter is, any evidence you are going to bring to the table regarding God is going to be extremely shoddy. When I stick to something as a belief (that I may reference as "knowledge") because of the evidence, you can be damn sure that the evidence is good stuff, and would be hard for a rational mind to resist if the subject matter is understood. When it comes to religion, literally all you have is either hearsay, or it is personal experience that you cannot even come close to proving is anything more than a product of your own mind. That puts you in a very, very weak position evidentially. And there theists have stayed since the beginning. Having nothing more than that. Having not enough. And it is my personal BELIEF that there they will always stay. You don't have to believe as I do, understand? See how that works?

Whitefire13's picture
...uh oh....does that mean

...uh oh....does that mean humor is about to start? Oh wait, humour is about to start?

I love the scene in Dumb and Dumber when they examine the dead bird after the “gasman” visits their apartment.

“It’s head fell off...”

Sheldon's picture
I think given how

I think given how disingenuous some of Apollo's posts are on here, it's worth pointing out that when I offered a substantive refutation to one of his rambling pieces of religious rhetoric, rather offer a cogent candid rebuttal, he rehashed an old thread where he had in fact made the exact same fallacious arguments I had just offered refutations to.

Apollo, I have said it many times, but how people handle themselves on here can say a great deal about their beliefs. If yours are underpinned with evidence as you keep claiming, why have you failed to offer a single piece of evidence despite visiting here for several weeks at a time, so why is it you roll past posts that expose the fallacious nature of your claims? Even when you respond directly to a post, you often ignore much of its content, as if you know you have no valid response.

Edited for clarity.

Sheldon's picture
Apollo "the fact that

Apollo "the fact that agnostics also lack belief in atheism."

Atheism isn't a belief, ipso facto you can't lack belief in it, as it makes no assertions. You either believe a deity exists or you do not, the former is theism, the latter atheism.

Agnosticism is knowledge statement theism is a belief statement, and atheism is the lack of theism.

Do theists even know what a dictionary is for?

Lion IRC's picture
If atheism isn't a belief

If atheism isn't a belief then it must be a conviction.
You either believe there probably/definitely is a Higher Being, or you believe there probably/definitely isnt a Higher Being. (Or the third option is agnosticism.)
God yes. God no. God maybe.

Apollo is absolutely correct.

Also, making an assertion is not a logical fallacy.
Every premiss or proposition is, by definition, self-asserting.
The negation of a premiss is ALSO an assertion.

So if I say there is tons of evidence for God and Sheldon says "no there isn't" then Sheldon is also making an assertion. Is Sheldon committing a logical fallacy by making that assertion?

If I say,..
P1 Socrates is a man. (Not a fallacy, an assertion.)
P2 All men like football. (Not a fallacy, an assertion.)
C. Therefore Bruce Jenner is a woman (Logical fallacy)

Tin-Man's picture
@Lion Infected Rotten Cyst

@Lion Infected Rotten Cyst Re: "If I say,..
P1 Socrates is a man. (Not a fallacy, an assertion.)
P2 All men like football. (Not a fallacy, an assertion.)
C. Therefore Bruce Jenner is a woman (Logical fallacy)"

WHAT in the god-awful name of bow-legged three-toed sloths does that even MEAN??? Holy fuck, dude! Are you even REMOTELY aware of some of the ridiculous shit you write? Seriously, I'm beginning to think you are not even a real person. You seem more like a horribly programmed nonsense/babble generator that is starting to malfunction. Dear LORD, already!... *shaking head in amazement*...

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Lying

@ Lying

Aaaaand *drum roll* theist # 2,385,466 comes in and, in despair at the crushing defeat of all previous arguments, attempts to play the "let's redefine atheism" game.

Let's make it simple for you: Lion: "God exists and so does Jesus" Atheist: "I don't believe you."

That is it. Practical definition of atheism, aka a lack of belief in a god or gods.

It's NOT the following:
A conviction
A faith
A worldview
A religion
A conspiracy
A cover for Satan or

anything else your fetid, tired brain can conjure.

Atheism is: A simple statement of disbelief in your claims for your god or gods.

Is this shangri la for numpties?

(edit to expand the nots)

David Killens's picture
@ Lion IRC

@ Lion IRC

"Every premiss or proposition is, by definition, self-asserting."

Ever hear of spitballing? I have been in many meetings where our group was attempting to find a solution, and each of us was invited to offer any proposition we could think of. None of us was asserting anything, we were just offering ideas.

"The negation of a premiss is ALSO an assertion."

Imagine we are in a bet, and the bet involves a large glass jar full of coins. No one has counted the coins, there are literally hundreds.I state that there are an even number of coins in that jar. You are not a fool, and take the position that until the coins are counted, we can not determine whether it is odds or even.

You have not accepted my proposition, and that is precisely what the atheist position is. And since you have not accepted my proposition that the number of coins in the jar is even, by your very logic as you apply to atheism, you are negating my position on an even number. Are you asserting an odd number of coins in the jar? Or are you just withholding accepting my proposition until proof is provided?

Nyarlathotep's picture
Lion IRC - Every premiss or

Lion IRC - Every premiss or proposition is, by definition, self-asserting...P1 Socrates is a man.

If P1 is "self-asserting", why did you have to assert it? You should have just let it magically assert itself.

Sheldon's picture
Lion IRC "If atheism isn't a

Lion IRC "If atheism isn't a belief then it must be a conviction."

There is no if about it, and it can only be the conviction that you disbelief a claim, again the very fact theists and religious apologists are so desperately dishonest in trying to misrepresent this speaks volumes, given they can't demonstrate any objective evidence for any deity or anything supernatural. It is even more telling when they fail repeatedly to demonstrate a single belief other than their theism, that they hold without any objective evidence

Lion IRC"You either believe there probably/definitely is a Higher Being, or you believe there probably/definitely isnt a Higher Being. "

Rubbish, my atheism is the lack of a belief in a deity, it is not, nor has it ever been a belief a deity does not exist, you are also dishonestly misrepresenting the word atheism AGAIN, why are you so determined to lie about this?

Lion IRC "Also, making an assertion is not a logical fallacy."

Since no one ever claimed it was, that's a straw man fallacy. All I said was that making a bare assertion as if it is a fact, as both you and Apollo have done, is an argument from an assertion fallacy, so this is pretty dishonest from you again.

Lion IRC"Every premiss or proposition is, by definition, self-asserting.
The negation of a premiss is ALSO an assertion."

Another straw man argument fallacy as no one has said otherwise. However making an assertion carries a burden of proof, and if that is absent then as both you and Apollo have done, this is an argument from assertion fallacy. If someone makes a contrary assertion that a deity does not exist then this would of course carry a burden of proof, but I am an atheist, and I have never made this assertion, so have no burden of proof, anymore than you need to assert and therefore prove the non-existence of the many thousands of deities you disbelieve exist, or any other unfalsifiable concept come to that. Do you believe invisible unicorns exist? Can you prove they do not?

Lion IRCSo if I say there is tons of evidence for God and Sheldon says "no there isn't" then Sheldon is also making an assertion. Is Sheldon committing a logical fallacy by making that assertion?

I am usually pretty careful when making assertions, and thus I normally say that no objective evidence has ever been demonstrated by theists who claim to have done so on here. Subjective rhetoric, by definition is not evidence. If you can demonstrate evidence for any deity then do so, not one theists has ever done so when I have asked, and I have started two separate threads on here for them to do so. They all trot out the same tired old rhetoric and fallacious first cause arguments, plus the fallacious assumption of design and fallacious arguments form morality. Or as you and Apollo have done make arguments form assertion. Take your claim that evidence exists, if someone responds by dismissing this as unevidenced assertion, then NO, that not fallacious, as all you offered was an unevidenced assertion, In Apollo's case, like Jo, he tries to maintain his superstitions beliefs are exempt from empirical or objective evidence, yet we have shown they can offer no other beliefs outside of their religious beliefs they maintain without objective evidence. An obvious double standard. When requested to do so they both failed.

Your Socrates analogy makes no sense, we all know now what an argument from assertion fallacy is, and I was very specific when I applied it to your posts and Apollo's, try addressing the content directly, rather this dishonest use of semantics and straw man analogies.

David Killens's picture
@ Lion IRC

@ Lion IRC

"So if I say there is tons of evidence for God and Sheldon says "no there isn't" then Sheldon is also making an assertion. Is Sheldon committing a logical fallacy by making that assertion? "

No, Sheldon is just challenging the theist proposition there is a god. And the claim that there is evidence. All Sheldon is doing is requesting proof on that assertion.

Lion, instead of word salad and ad hominem attacks, just provide evidence of a god or gods. Just prove your god. Provide the evidence.

David Killens's picture
@ Apollo

@ Apollo

"One opinion expressed was that agnostics lack belief in God, therefore agnostics are atheists. "

I know many theists who do not know either, but accept the god proposition based on "faith".

You used this term "belief in atheism". Atheism is not a belief system. It is not accepting a claim, namely the god claim. For example, if I claimed that I had a trillion dollars in the bank, yet I presented myself in shabby clothes and drove a rusty old car, you would be correct in not accepting my claim, and to request proof is a valid response. Until I can prove to you my claim, you have the right in not accepting. That is not the same as stating I am a liar and poor, but that you will withhold accepting my claim until you are convinced.

Not accepting is not the same as rejecting.

Can you offer any proof this god exists?

Whitefire13's picture
What I have found most

What I have found most fascinating is almost every thread, every discussion “atheist” has to be defined.

I feel like I’m back with my 2-6yr olds and every time we’d go to do something “put on your boots” (repeated at least 3 times)... I’m thinking, man these “little people” have no memory retention...

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Whitefire

@ Whitefire

It is because after a succession of debating, factual, historical and scientific defeats nearly every theist of every stripe resorts to a lame attempt to redefine atheism. This is the normal development of their "argument" . They want to redefine atheism as a "faith, or a "belief" or a worldview" to bring it to the same pathetic level as their own vision of the world. Then they can level a finger shaking with righteousness while declaring we have no monopoly on facts when atheists (ism) are just "believers" too.

It is very sad. It repeats. Oh my, it repeats.....

David Killens's picture
And repeats, and repeats, and

And repeats, and repeats, and repeats.

IMO many theists who do this are not stupid, but just asshole trolls.

David Killens's picture
@ Whitefire13

@ Whitefire13

It is not a lack of memory retention, it is just dishonest debating tactics. Moving the goalposts.

If you watch any atheist debates online, such as Atheist Experience, many times they will request a definition early in the debate, then stick to that definition.

Whitefire13's picture
I guess it’s the repetitions

I guess it’s the repetitions to the same poster. Fuck me - even as a JW I knew what it meant to withhold belief. Sometimes, our in service (knocking around all you fine people’s doors) we’d get into discussions. For eg. We believed in an earthly resurrection in the “new system”. Then we’d “argue” the point whether they could have kids (offspring like Adam & Eve) or become like the angels (not able to reproduce). Then we’d get into (or at least I would) are they then human? If perfect, why not recreate? If it’s population control? Or maybe they’d be able to and that’s why there’s such a big universe... you get the idea, same shit different pile

Anyway, we’d usually just say, Jehovah hasn’t given us that information yet, so “we withheld believing a specific line of thought or idea”. Anyway, maybe a bad example, I just find it funny and weird...

Sheldon's picture
Isn't it odd how much time

Isn't it odd how much time and energy theists and religious apologists expend telling atheist they have evidence for their particular deity, without ever actually demonstrating any?

@Lion IRC and Apollo

Just present the most compelling evidence you think exists for any deity, why you wouldn't open with this is baffling.

Lion IRC's picture
The most compelling evidence

The most compelling evidence for the existence of God is direct, personal sensory experience.
The reason that is the most compelling type of evidence is because nobody can gainsay it.
You can simply assert your atheistic disbelief - but you cant refute it.

"One day Chuang Tzu and a friend were walking by a river. "Look at the fish swimming about," said Chuang Tzu, "They are really enjoying themselves."
"You are not a fish," replied the friend, "So you can't truly know that they are enjoying themselves."
"And you are not me," said Chuang Tzu. "So how do you know that I do not know that the fish are enjoying themselves?"

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Lion

@ Lion

At last you come to the dead end where all theists end up on these forums: "personal experience"

That is all you have. Which let's face it is NOTHING. NADA. ZILCH. Just you posturing and prattling about a god thingy that you believe in completely.

You could have settled that a long time ago.

Cognostic's picture
@Lion IRC: I have a personal

@Lion IRC: I have a personal experience of Lion IRC humping a donkey. It's the most compelling experience anyone can have. Nobody can gainsay it! You can assert your bullshit disbelief but no one can refute it!

Good point Donkey Fucker!

(When will they fucking learn???)

Sheldon's picture
Lion IRC "The most

Lion IRC "The most compelling evidence for the existence of God is direct, personal sensory experience."

That's not evidence, it's a claim for personal subjective experience.

Far worse is that fact we have seen theists of many different religions make precisely this claim, they cannot all be right, but they can of course all be wrong. Indeed I know that theists when proselytising will do their best to place potential recruits in a suggestible state and environment.

In a recent book I read examining secular societies like Norway and Denmark, some theists were interviewed for balance, and precisely this claim was offered to validate a person's belief in Thor, so surely you can see how this does not represent compelling evidence, no matter how compelling you personally find the experience.

Lion IRC "You can simply assert your atheistic disbelief - but you cant refute it."

If you had been born in China you'd likely be an atheist or a Buddhist, in the middle east you'd be a Muslim or Jewish, and in India a Hindu or a Sikh. So simple geography refutes your claim this is compelling evidence, and you since you cannot demonstrate it, and it has no explanatory powers whatsoever, there is nothing to refute is there? IT'S A CLAIM, it is not evidence.

As is so often the case, all you have done is what all theists do on here, and shown you are misrepresenting personal subjective beliefs as evidence. And far worse you have by your own admission claimed this to be your most compelling reason for believing, that paints you into something of corner from here.

Lion IRC's picture

All evidence is derived from the senses. That's science 101.
I'm surprised you are so dismissive of such a basic precept.
If two theists BOTH report a supernatural experience (one says Zeus and the other says Ra) you are missing the evidentiary elephant in the room.

BTW so-called "secular countries" in Scandinavia which have a background history of thousand years of religious culture are hardly representative of what an atheistic culture would actually look like - if such a thing could ever last long enough.

LogicFTW's picture
@Lion IRC

@Lion IRC

If two theists BOTH report a supernatural experience (one says Zeus and the other says Ra) you are missing the evidentiary elephant in the room.

I am guessing the "evidentiary elephant" in the room you would like to point to is that both of these people are essentially worshipping the same god, just a different interpretation of it.

Personally, I LOVE IT when theist apologist make this argument. If the folks that worshipped zeus and ra are "also right" then it makes your particular religious idea meaningless. If you say other folks who worship their own variations of god idea are right, it immediately dilutes your god idea to almost nothing. DIfferences like if there was jesus or not, a noah flood, etc etc etc (on and on and on) that there are flying horses, and prophets and they are at least partially right, means that your idea and all other god ideas are incredibly flawed in terms of accuracy.

LogicFTW is a god idea, based on your reasoning this god is also "correct." Well logicftw god says everyone should burn their religious books and stop attending mass. Are you going to respect that as also "right"? Yeah I did not think so. Just face it, you want your particular god idea to be right, and 99% of everyone who ever lived to be wrong, because well that suits you and makes you right, and everyone else wrong. Even though you have absolutely zero actual evidence for your god idea being right, in any way.

BTW so-called "secular countries" in Scandinavia which have a background history of thousand years of religious culture are hardly representative of what an atheistic culture would actually look like - if such a thing could ever last long enough.

We are seeing a rise of extraordinary levels of increasing secular countries all over the world, it is just happening in a way that cannot be easily measured by census and questionnaires. Plus the various churches have a VERY large vested interest in minimizing/hiding these numbers. And anyone is a fool if they think that churches do not have the power to influence these kind of record keeping.

If you compared how most people in western societies live today, and how little thought and effort they give to which ever god idea, now compared to even just 200 years ago (1/10th or less of many religions ideas founding lifespans.) The differences are incredible. In the US american football gets way more regular attendance on Sunday then church does. Especially superbowl sunday. It is most churches in western society wet dream to have 100 million+ people watch a single program for 4-5 hours. Let alone have large parties, spend a bunch of money on tv's food/alcohol etc.

Even christmas can be described as a capitalism/shopping event first, over the religious connotations of it. We are looking at an increasingly secular society, just religions want to bury the head in the sand about it.

Have you seen youth participation numbers for religion in any major "western" society? Like 18-30? The numbers are ABYSMAL compared to just 100 years ago.


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