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Does this forum discuss other topics or just about atheism?
This is the Debate room. My suggestion is that if you have something not exactly debatable or necessarily connected to atheism, you try posting it in the HUB and see where it goes.
Is atheism based only on science or scientific skepticism? Is there a relationship between atheism and rationalism and empiricism?
Both theism and atheism address only ONE proposal: a theist asserts god(s) exist, an atheist rejects that assertion.
Atheism has exactly zero to do with science. That being said, many (but certainly not all) atheists are also rationalists, students of science, and skeptics.
@Ricardo: Unfortunately, the answer is 'NO.' Atheists need not be rational, skeptical, or even oriented towards science. Most of us on this site "Try To Be." An atheist is a person who does not believe in God or gods. The person's reasons for the disbelief are their own.
We occasionally get the angry at Christians, hateful towards God, irrational religious hating bigot visiting the site. When these atheist begin spewing nonsense, their ideas are challenged in the exact same manner the ideas of the theists are challenged. Rationality. skepticism, and science are useful tools for atheists as they help us to look deeply into the theistic assertions for what is real, for what makes sense, and for being able to discard assertions that are senseless. Atheists who are capable do use these tools to help guide their perceptions of the world.
Anti-theists fall under the same scrutiny and treatment as any theist when they start spouting hate or illogical nonsense.
@Ricardo Re: "Is atheism based only on science or scientific skepticism?"
Speaking only for myself, my atheism, for the most part, is pretty much totally independent of science. Do I enjoy science and most all of the subjects contained therein? Absolutely. I have always been something of a science and math geek. Granted, I am not an expert, nor anywhere near a "professor level", in any of the scientific disciplines, but I do have a fairly solid foundation that allows me to more easily understand some of the more advanced stuff in a general sense. I am fascinated with the new technology and discoveries over the last few decades, and I sometimes marvel at the creativity and ingenuity of those who continue to push our technology and our knowledge of our universe to ever higher levels.
All that being said, however, my lack of belief/faith in any god(s) is based primarily on what I was taught about God/Jesus/Satan/heaven/hell as a child and on the teachings of the bible itself. As I have said many times before on this site, none of that stuff ever made any sense to me even when I was a little kid, long before I ever gained any true education/experience in the realm of science. As I grew older, however, and started learning more and more about math, biology, chemistry, astronomy, physics, history, etc., those subjects only served to reinforce my feelings about the bible and religion. Bottom line, everything I ever read in the bible, and everything I was ever taught during my Christian indoctrination, was always just too contradictory and too inconsistent and - in some cases - just way too bizarre for me to be able to fully believe.
So, yeah, while I do happen to have a vast interest in science and math and engineering and such, they are NOT the reasons on which I base my atheism. They simply help me to understand why religion never made any sense to me in the first place.
I also fall within that category. Although I have a lot of technical training and my mind eagerly absorbs scientific knowledge, I was in that state when I was a practicing theist. What turned me was the gradual realization that the foundation of my faith, the bible, was so full of holes and contradictions it was less worth than toilet paper. The defining time when I did 'cross over" was when I decided to read the bible from cover to cover.
In the last five years I began to watch many videos, and those arguments allowed my mind to sort things out and examine the many different arguments. Spending time in this wonderful forum only added to my ammunition in the argument of accepting on just blind faith.
How to refute this theistic argument?
Limitations of the Scientific Method
Clearly, the scientific method is a powerful tool, but it does have its limitations. These limitations are based on the fact that a hypothesis must be testable and falsifiable and that experiments and observations be repeatable. This places certain topics beyond the reach of the scientific method. Science cannot prove or refute the existence of God .
"Science cannot prove or refute the existence of God ."
While some may interpret this as a limitation (especially by theists) I consider it confirmation for reality.
"Science cannot prove or refute the existence of God ."
That is an attempt to shift the burden of proof.
Science needs prove nothing in this case. The burden of proof remains with those making the claim. (look up Russell's Teapot)
The existence of god is (so far) an unfalsifiable claim. IE it cannot be proved nor disproved, by anyone.
Many believer make claims like "Science can't prove/disprove X Y or Z" .As if the statement is meaningful. The inference is that science ought to have an answer for everything. Science offers partial (never absolute) answers for very few things, relatively speaking . It is believers who claim to have absolute answers for everything and access to exclusive, absolute truths .
This atheist's response to theists is : " IF 'god' is the answer, you are asking the wrong questions"
"Science cannot prove or refute the existence of God ."
Not if it's a generic unfalsifiable claim, but then this would also be true of unicorns and mermaids, if one defined them arbitrarily in such a way that the claims were unfalsifiable.
So fucking what? Is my go to response to that claim.
@Ricardo: Limitations. Ummm.... Isn't that the entire point of the scientific method? To explore the limitations? Science is the art of exploring limitations? Your comment makes no sense at all. When we do not know something, we figure out how to look into it. THAT IS SCIENCE. If you think there is a limitation, design a way to break through that limitation and you may get yourself a Nobel Prize. What is this limitation you speak of? Please share ONE limitation you think science has.
RE: These limitations are based on the fact that a hypothesis must be testable and falsifiable and that experiments and observations be repeatable.
HOW IN THE FUCK is this a limitation. Do you have another way of distinguishing fantasy from reality? Please share your insights.
Perhaps you are confused as to what science actually is. Science is a method for ripping stupid ideas out of your head and testing them. Science then DESCRIBES the results of what has been found. Science is DESCRIPTIVE and not PRESCRIPTIVE. Science describes what is observable. measurable. repeatable. Anything that can not be observed, measured, explored, and repeated, is not in any way a concern of science. (NULL HYPOTHESIS) The burden of proof is on the person making the claim NOT ON SCIENCE. If you have another way to make a claim and that claim can be validated in another way, different from science and with the same reliability as science, you will certainly win a Nobel Prize. So what do you have that can replace science?
No topic is beyond science. If the topic has no effect on the world around us, IT CAN NOT BE DESCRIBED BY SCIENCE. Science has no interest in it at all. Science does not deal with claims that do not have an effect on the world around us/ It is not a limitation. Things that can not be seen, felt, demonstrated, or evidenced in any way are not a limitation of science. SCIENCE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THESE THINGS. SCIENCE IS NOT A TOOL FOR EXPLORING THESE THINGS UNTIL THEY HAVE AN EFFECT ON THE REAL WORLD AROUND US. Explaining the mystical, supernatural, or god, with science, is like using a chicken to hammer a nail into a plank of wood. You are just being stupid.
All science does is ask you how you know your god claim is real and why should I believe it? That's it. Nothing more. Do you have evidence for your god claim?
If you do not, SCIENCE IS COMPLETELY UNINTERESTED.
Yes it's TRUE, science cannot study anything that doesn't exist.
To paraphrase Feynman: the safest ideas are the ones that make no predictions, as they can never be tested
@Ricardo: Second Response: Science Certainly has something to say about God Claims.
Let's pretend we are in a medical study. We are studying the effects of a flu shot on virus. We mix our drugs and inject them into a subject and discover the drug has no effect on the virus. Do we keep injecting the subject over and over again while hoping for a different result? OF COURSE NOT. The experiment failed.
So we go back to the drawing board and we come up with a new injection and we try that. If it does not effect the virus we try another and another and another and we do not keep trying the same injection over and over looking for a different result/. We try different injections over and over. The previous injections had no effect on the virus. WE DO NOT NEED TO REPEAT THEM. THEY DO NOT WORK....
When it comes to God. we have hundreds of millions of failed studies. We have millions of failed gods. We have millions of failed miracles. We have millions of failed apologetic. We have billions of failed prayers. We have failure after failure after failure. We have 2000 years of failures. We have so many failures that we have not seen anything new for the last 500 years. The Theists keep retrying the same old shit that they have tried before. Stuff we already know does not work. Science can look at every Christian/Theist claim and say "It can not be validated." "There is no reason to believe the claim." This is the official position of science with regard to god claims. "They can not be investigated." To this day, no God claim has ever been substantiated. ALL THE EVIDENCE POINTS TO THE IDEA THAT GOD OR GODS PROBABLY DO NOT EXIST. This is a reasonable conclusion after 2000 years (Probably much longer) of failures.
@Cognostic: it was just a quote from this link ok
Does the same thing you said apply to the existence of spirits and the afterlife?
Does the same thing you said apply to the existence of spirits and the afterlife?"
Do not believe something just because it is on the internet. Personally I think the author of that article is full of theist shit. From my personal knowledge, if anything interacts with the real world, it can be tested by science. And according to the bible, this god answers prayers, controls dreams, heck, made the entire universe. That is a lot of interacting.
When the math of Einstein predicted black holes, we found a way to detect and measure black holes. Heck, we even managed to produce an image of a black hole. When Higgs proposed his boson, we found a way to detect and measure the Higgs boson. At this moment teams around the world are working towards figuring out dark matter. Currently we have not identified what is going on, but we have managed to check off a few things dark matter is not. We are closing the circle, coming closer to understanding what it is.
To claim that god (or anything spiritual) is undetectable and untestable is 100% special pleading. To believe this claim without challenging it is blindly accepting authority.
@Ricardo: Yep, Science is DESCRIPTIVE. When you find a way to explain a spirit or the afterlife in a way that is believable.... we will all believe it. Belief is allocated to the degree of evidence provided. That which is asserted without evidence can be rejected without evidence. It's just that simple.
What can be stated without proof can also be rejected without proof.
Science can't prove I ate a banana for breakfast.
@Nyrlathotep: Ahhhhh yessss. The mysteries of the Big Yellow Banana. Science can't prove that the Big Yellow Banana did not create the universe. The Big yellow Banana so loved the world that he sacrificed himself to himself so you could enjoy banana songs in worship. Let the holy banana spirit move you.