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Atheism

Alexius4

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#31
Following up on a friend's advice, I have had a coffee, had a couple of cigs, and may have a solution - but it is hideously Post-Modern....

Agnosticism and scepticism are not belief systems (they do not set out to construct an account of the world); rather, they are critiques of belief. They are about belief. They are metabelief.

An analogy would be logic: logic is not actually critical thought so much as a critique of critical thought.

As such, agnosticism and scepticism influence the way we see the world without providing a basis for the construction of a worldview or doctrine - I don't think one could construct an agnostic catechism, in much the way that being a logician does not commit one to any given argument.

It is not concerned with what to believe, but with how to believe.

Much more of that, and I would have wear little oblong yellow tinted spectacles and find a whispy French girlfriend. Time for another cig. :)[/quote]
 
A

Anonymous

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#33
so basically by its very nature, agnostisism defines its own definition of belief. and therefor it could be argued that an external observation of agnostisism would be governed by it's own intrinsic beliefs of how structures and the such work etc .
 

Mal_Adjusted

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#34
Greets

i'd define myself as an atheist for all practical questions.

but i'm aware that we simply don't know what is in the rest of the universe to know for certain whether any deity type objects may have existed - or indeed do still exist somewhere. maybe they all blew themselves up at some point in the past - we'll never know.

what i'm fairly confident about is that all accounts of deities in human cultures are by humans and that the deities they describe don't seem to be around these days - at least not in any external obervable form. In short our deities seem to be purely human inventions. (ie they exist within cultures, but appear to be signs without external referents)

ever the empiricist though if more information becomes available then i might reconsider my position.

as for atheism being a belief system - not a system as the lack of belief in a deity (or deities) doesn't necessarily entail any other belief about the world or the people, environment, morality etc. It seems to be compatible with just about any political / economic / social system (provided said system isn't predicated on theistic principles).

if we had complete knowledge of the universe (and other universes!!) then one could state atheism as a fact if no deities could be found.

possibly

mal
 

elffriend

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#35
I don't believe in organised religion.

But God? Who knows.....the universe is too vast to discount the existence of other beings.
 
A

Anonymous

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#36
I believe in a spiritual ideal, but not spiritual ideology. in other words, un-conditional love, not conditional love.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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#37
I think Alexius' is on the rights lines as a post-modern, or even quantuum physics, analogy seems apt - it is more a statement that one is not going to impose their will on the Universe.

It also isn't a Belief System as there is no coherency in what people believe e.g. if people say they are an atheist you have a reasonable idea of their position on various core issues. One needn't actually believe anything but I'd imagine most agnostics subscribe to what one would define as a Belief System (but only in a rather broad definition of the term) - I myself would probably, if pushed, find myself in the same camp as Hugo Cornwall as an Agnostic Atheist: I can't prove God doesn't exist although I can see no evidence for it (putting him in the same category as Santa and the Easter Bunny). Personally I would say that this doesn't require my actually Believing in anything but it is certainly a system for interpretting the Universe so if one wished to use braod definitions then you are welcome to Believe that is a Belief System although personally such a definition would make things like Mechanical Engineering a Belief System. However, in the end if that is yur opinion then fair enough - I remain agnostic on that position ;)
 

MrRING

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#39
Alexius said:
An analogy would be logic: logic is not actually critical thought so much as a critique of critical thought.
Wouldn't a critique of critical thought be built upon critical thought, as in critical thought would form the basis of the argument even if it is against "critical thought"?

Are critiques a special form of language?

(I don't know myself, but this is an interesting thread)
 

Mighty_Emperor

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#40
Hook Innsmouth said:
but it's not fact, so it's a belief. a belief system effects how you view the world. and if at it's core you view it from a agnostic position as you keep pointing out, in order for you to view it in a 'labelled' manner, presents itself as a belief system right there. It's not about mechanics, it's about your understanding creating structures and systems of outlook based in principle on being agnostic. even indifference has a system and a structure and effects your out look.
Again it depends on one's definition. Creationists claim that the Theory of Evolution is a belief.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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#42
Hook Innsmouth said:
Emperor said:
Again it depends on one's definition. Creationists claim that the Theory of Evolution is a belief.
that's why it's called the "Theory" of Evolution. The clue is in the title. It's not established fact. We're getting into the grounds of "commonly accepted as fact", which doesn't really equate to the notion of what an agnostic does or for the sake of argument doesn't believe (or for the sake of argument, acknowledge).
And there is the issue - an Agnostic needn't believe anything.

My model of the universe is based on evidence - at no point do I have to make a leap of faith to discard or accept an divine being.

If you wish to define Belief/Belief System in such a way that this falls within its boundaries then I can't stop you.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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#44
Hook Innsmouth said:
Emperor said:
If you wish to define Belief/Belief System in such a way that this falls within its boundaries then I can't stop you.
If that's what you believe...
Nope - I was just being modest. I could stop you but I have long ago stopped worrying what other people chose to believe or how they define words.

[edit: Ooooooo looks like I was too quick - I am wondering why you deleted your post. For those following at home the full content of the deleted post is in my quote.]
 

Mighty_Emperor

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#49
Hook Innsmouth said:
Emperor said:
My model of the universe is based on evidence - at no point do I have to make a leap of faith to discard or accept an divine being.

If you wish to define Belief/Belief System in such a way that this falls within its boundaries then I can't stop you.
Evidence as percieved by your understanding governed by your agnosticism. Exactly how theism and atheism work. no different.
I am fascinated by the fact that you seem to know about me and the long road I have walked to get to this position.

The evidence has led me to a place that is commonly labelled as agnosticism which is why if pushed to actually apply a label to myself I will, for the sake of a "shorthand" defintiion, tell people I am an agnostic.

Luckily, as has been said, this is such a broad term.

In a similar way when asked which football team I support (which comes up a lot in Liverpool) I always say none rather than actually explain how I arrived at this position, etc., etc.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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#52
Hook Innsmouth said:
Emperor said:
I am fascinated by the fact that you seem to know about me and the long road I have walked to get to this position.
Oh boy. now I understand your point. I thought I detected a rather 'tetchy' Emps. er. no. I don't assume any such thing. that's not what I was getting at. Evidently you and I are of different understandings, but what I noticed straight off the bat is the logger heads. you're absolute set by your convictions. admirable but what I was under the impression of was that there were no convictions... no belief if you like. The fact that I seem to know? I wouldn't be so hasty. I was just explaining 'my' perception of it. each to their own I say. by my understanding of why agnostism is a belief system is just how I percieve agnosticism, not how some guy called emps likes to thing of things. so no. no assumption on my part of you personally.
With reference to the highlighted part - again you assume too much. In fact it is quite the opposite. My conclusions will always have to be provisional (at least until I die I suppose). This is going back to what I said earlier - I have believed I was a theist (because I was told I was at school and in church) and I have believed I was an atheist (because I rejected what I was told but hadn't spotted the flaw in my logic) and it is only through a lot of pondering and weighing of the evidence have I found that I am (currently) somewhere in the huge grey area of what people would define as agnosticism. I fully expect my posiiton to change - in fact when I start to feel Death's cold breath on the back of my neck I expect I'll make the leap of faith and become a theist if only to make my last moments on this Earth bearable (I'll try and find away to let people know ;) ).

Hook Innsmouth said:
but since it's so important to you, you're right and I'm wrong. though I'd personally like to think we're both right given our outlooks are different.

and as such at this point since its clear I've upset you in some way that this has become petty, I'm off. It wasn't my intention so please accept my apology such as it is...governed by my beliefs and in concideration of yours.
LOL - in no way have you upset me - I was moderately amused though ;)
 

TheQuixote

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#53
Emperor said:
I fully expect my posiiton to change - in fact when I start to feel Death's cold breath on the back of my neck I expect I'll make the leap of faith and become a theist if only to make my last moments on this Earth bearable (I'll try and find away to let people know ;) ).
OT but that reminded me of the controversy surrounding Antony Flew's recent statements. Some commentators declared his advanced age and thoughts of his mortality as being the reason behind his *conversion*.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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#54
Quixote said:
Emperor said:
I fully expect my posiiton to change - in fact when I start to feel Death's cold breath on the back of my neck I expect I'll make the leap of faith and become a theist if only to make my last moments on this Earth bearable (I'll try and find away to let people know ;) ).
OT but that reminded me of the controversy surrounding Antony Flew's recent statements. Some commentators declared his advanced age and thoughts of his mortality as being the reason behind his *conversion*.
OT only if that stands for "on topic" as this brings up back to the actual question on the thread. The problem with agnosticism (well my own flavour of it anyway) is that as there is no fixed base or any guaranteed light at the end of the tunnel bottling it right at the end is alwys an option.

In some ways Atheism ha a similar problem but as well as the lack of alight at the end of the tunnel it relies on Belief and so jumping from atheism to theism is just a switch of what you believe in (like we have seen in other threads where poeple jump from Believer to Skeptic withot stopping off at Foreatnism) and this is interesting in this regard:

At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England.
I'd be interested in his evidence but as far as I'm aware while we cannpt exclude some Creator setting the first domino falling this may just be a gap in our knowledge that we will later fill - there are certainly no fingerprints on the domino.

He then goes on to accept ID:

Yet biologists' investigation of DNA "has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved," Flew says in the new video, "Has Science Discovered God?"
which suggests he never really bothered to read up on the wonders of evolution but accepted it as an article of faith. Although that might be too cynical ;)

If you build your city on quicksand...............
 

Thirtysixth_Bee

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#56
Mal Function said:
as for atheism being a belief system - not a system as the lack of belief in a deity (or deities) doesn't necessarily entail any other belief about the world or the people, environment, morality etc. It seems to be compatible with just about any political / economic / social system (provided said system isn't predicated on theistic principles).
I think you're right about that. Maybe the reason some athiests (like myself) form their disbelief into a belief system is because we've come from a religious background and are 'hardwired' to think in a religious context even though we've given up an object of worship. I suppose if I were athiest in it's purest form, I wouldn't spend any time thinking "God dosen't exist." It's almost as if rather than erasing God, I've replaced Him with No-God. That last sentence being essentially what Emperor said about 'switching beliefs' in his last post.

So yeah Mal Function, I'd agree that athiesm isn't a belief system. But the closest some of us can get to achieving true athiesticity(!) is via a belief-system framework: because we don't know or can't do any better. The idea of fully comprehending a lack of God seems like a form of enlightenment to me. Which pretty much proves I'm still in religious mode even though I don't believe God exists.
 
A

Anonymous

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#57
example said:
So yeah Mal Function, I'd agree that athiesm isn't a belief system. But the closest some of us can get to achieving true athiesticity(!) is via a belief-system framework: because we don't know or can't do any better. The idea of fully comprehending a lack of God seems like a form of enlightenment to me. Which pretty much proves I'm still in religious mode even though I don't believe God exists.
Or perhaps because non-belief requires one to be equally as dogmatic and devout in non belief. like a mirror opposite. I mean, do you get 'practising athiests'?
 

Thirtysixth_Bee

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#58
example said:
we've come from a religious background and are 'hardwired' to think in a religious context
What I should have said was "trained to think in a religious context" but my mis-statement got me thinking: there's debate over whether or not all or some people are genetically predisposed to believe in God. I know God and religion aren't the same thing, but if some of us do lean towards belief, I think that would have a bearing on how atheism was experienced.

Obviously there are social factors as well, since atheism came about after theism. I mean it's right there in the name: atheism means no-God. I think most of us understand atheism as a denial of theism. So is it a fact that God dosen't exist? I think so, but I can't even discuss a lack of God without saying "God, God, God" so . . . . ?
 

Thirtysixth_Bee

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#59
Hook Innsmouth said:
Or perhaps because non-belief requires one . . . . to be equally as dogmatic and devout in non belief. like a mirror opposite.
Yeah, this 'degrees of belief' thing has been bugging me. I mean, don't most thinking people allow themselves a margin of error in even their deeply held convictions? I know I do. I can't think of anything that I believe unequivocably. But how is calling myself an 'atheistic atheistic agnostic who leans strongly towards atheism' (words to that effect in one of my previous posts) different from saying "I'm a human being who dosen't believe God exists"? I mean, humans are fallable and a belief is just that.

I see what you're saying though Hook, and I think it's what I'm saying as well: that belief and non-belief are flip sides of the same coin and perhaps need to be considered as seperate from whether or not God exists as a fact. Is that what you're saying?


I mean, do you get 'practising athiests'?
I'm starting to think that atheism as I understand it is reactionary and might not even exist as an idea were it not for theism. Not that there's anything wrong with being a contrary. :lol:
 

MrRING

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#60
example said:
example said:
I think so, but I can't even discuss a lack of God without saying "God, God, God" so . . . . ?
That's kind of like the old thing where somebody says "Don't think of a pink elephant" and the first thing your mind does is create the image of the pink elephant....
 
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