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Atheists converting to believers
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Leonard James
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 5:52 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote

Boss Cat wrote:

Don't you ever wonder if you haven't missed something, not quite understood, not known enough, got more to learn, been misled?

Yes, of course ... we are all in that position, which is why we should always be open to new information.

However, at the end of the day we have to accept that what little knowledge we have is all we have to guide us. Weighing up that knowledge in respect to the existence of God is where we differ, and the reason for the difference is in our nature/nurture.
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Boss Cat
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You don't think experience or capacity or interest or a host of other things might not have something to do with how open minded we might be?

So what is it about atheists that they require cast iron  evidence before they reconsider their ideas or try to understand others'?  Can you  imagine the history of the world if everyone had required this level of evidence before they tried exploring ideas.  I suppose it wouldn't have been personally challenging - maybe it would have been better in some ways.  But I don't think many people could have stopped themselves, could they?
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Leonard James
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boss Cat wrote:
You don't think experience or capacity or interest or a host of other things might not have something to do with how open minded we might be?

They are all included in nature/nurture.
Quote:
So what is it about atheists that they require cast iron  evidence before they reconsider their ideas or try to understand others'?

We are no different from believers in that respect. If somebody tried to convince you that you are believing in the wrong god, you would require cast iron evidence before accepting it, wouldn't you? 
Quote:
Can you  imagine the history of the world if everyone had required this level of evidence before they tried exploring ideas.

Ideas about the natural world can be tested for their validity, and if found correct can be used to improve things. Supernatural ideas remain untestable.  
Quote:
I suppose it wouldn't have been personally challenging - maybe it would have been better in some ways.  But I don't think many people could have stopped themselves, could they?

No, humans are by nature inquisitive and inventive, and I'm sure it is those qualities which have brought us to where we are today.
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Grantus Maximus
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boss Cat wrote:
You don't think experience or capacity or interest or a host of other things might not have something to do with how open minded we might be?

So what is it about atheists that they require cast iron  evidence before they reconsider their ideas or try to understand others'?  Can you  imagine the history of the world if everyone had required this level of evidence before they tried exploring ideas.  I suppose it wouldn't have been personally challenging - maybe it would have been better in some ways.  But I don't think many people could have stopped themselves, could they?


Hi Boss Cat

It really depends what we're being asked to believe. If it's questions of ethics and philosophy, then evidence isn't really an issue unless we're examining how particular movements have affected society in out history.

For claims of the existence of a higher being, miraculous events, faith healing etc. then it's reasonable to ask for evidence, surely. Especially if such claims contradict what we think we know about our universe from the evidence we have to date.

Cheers - GM
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Boss Cat
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I kind of agree about experience and capacity being part of nature and nurture; I disagree that that's it though, too deterministic a view of human nature and one which does not allow for personal responsibility in my view - but that's a different discussion, anyone want to start it.

I disagree though that only cast iron evidence is enough to provoke thought and discussion, though I think it is human nature to leap on those things that back up what you think anyway.  For example I did this myself the other day.  I am completely agnostic on the afterlife and even if there is one I think it nothing like anything we can imagine.  NDE's freak me out and do not accord with my own ideas so when there was some research suggesting some material explanations I was interested.  Now it was not - by the researchers conclusive and it did not really take into account some features of NDE's but I thought it good evidence that there is a materialistic explanation.  Shifted me a bit, but firmly in the direction I wanted to go.

And that's the thing.  There is no conclusive evidence that science will give us all the answers or do much other than give us more interesting questions (in fact as far as I can see if you go back far enough you kind of have to accept things just happened, it's more mysterious and fantastic than you can imagine which seems a bit of double think to me, but I'm ignorant about this).  But, here's the thing, there's enough evidence there that makes me at the very least take the view seriously, and to be interested.  As I say I am not an atheist but the fact that some thoughtful people are is enough for me not to think only conclusive proof will do.

The argument from numbers is not nearly as naff as people make out.  It's generally dismissed with a sneer, but to me the fact that so many cultures have and continue to have space for spirituality, the fact that so many people - thoughtful, intelligent people, continue to look elsewhere, to have needs that are not fulfilled by the material world is enough for me to take them seriously too, and to want to know more.  

OK, if you like if anyone wants me to believe in God I could demand conclusive proof and then feel superior because of these backward types that rely on faith and the unproven and aren't as - well, let's be honest - grown up - as I am.  But that's sterile to me and I am amazed that so many atheists think it something somehow impressive that they don't change their minds.  I think the only thing you can honestly be is an agnostic.  After admitting that it's a choice.
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SusanDoris
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the distinct advantages atheists have today is the ability to communicate world-wide and just about instantly if we want to. I have great sympathy for the atheists of the past who, I ampretty sure it is logical to assume, were around right from the voicing of the first superstitions. Then in the Enlightenment atheists had contact with quite a large group so were able to communicate their ideas, but it must have been frustrating to them that they could not reach a large number of people.
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Grantus Maximus
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boss Cat wrote:


OK, if you like if anyone wants me to believe in God I could demand conclusive proof and then feel superior because of these backward types that rely on faith and the unproven and aren't as - well, let's be honest - grown up - as I am.  But that's sterile to me and I am amazed that so many atheists think it something somehow impressive that they don't change their minds.  I think the only thing you can honestly be is an agnostic.  After admitting that it's a choice.


Who told you that you can't be an atheist *and* agnostic? It's not often I come across atheists who state outright that there are no gods - simply that they are highly unlikely. Unlikely enough that it's reasonable to assume the atheist position of not believing in the premise.

Cheers - GM
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Leonard James
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grantus Maximus wrote:
Boss Cat wrote:


OK, if you like if anyone wants me to believe in God I could demand conclusive proof and then feel superior because of these backward types that rely on faith and the unproven and aren't as - well, let's be honest - grown up - as I am.  But that's sterile to me and I am amazed that so many atheists think it something somehow impressive that they don't change their minds.  I think the only thing you can honestly be is an agnostic.  After admitting that it's a choice.


Who told you that you can't be an atheist *and* agnostic? It's not often I come across atheists who state outright that there are no gods - simply that they are highly unlikely. Unlikely enough that it's reasonable to assume the atheist position of not believing in the premise.

Cheers - GM

Absolutely! No intelligent person is going to claim that he knows there are no gods ... but with all the gods that mankind has dreamed up in his long history, it seems pretty obvious that they are merely human inventions. So disbelief in any of them is the most logical approach.
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cyberman
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Joined: 23 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grantus Maximus wrote:
Boss Cat wrote:


OK, if you like if anyone wants me to believe in God I could demand conclusive proof and then feel superior because of these backward types that rely on faith and the unproven and aren't as - well, let's be honest - grown up - as I am.  But that's sterile to me and I am amazed that so many atheists think it something somehow impressive that they don't change their minds.  I think the only thing you can honestly be is an agnostic.  After admitting that it's a choice.


Who told you that you can't be an atheist *and* agnostic? It's not often I come across atheists who state outright that there are no gods - simply that they are highly unlikely. Unlikely enough that it's reasonable to assume the atheist position of not believing in the premise.

Cheers - GM


Yes - from a strict epistemological point of view we are all agnostics (well most of us anyway) on the grounds that you can't claim certain knowledge about these matters. So a theistic agnostic would say "Of course I don't know for certain, but I'm inclined to believe there is a God", and an atheistic agnostic would say "Of course I don't know for certain, but I'm inclined to believe there is no god"

When I was an atheist, I used to say "I'm an agnostic because I don't know and an atheist because I don't care".

.....


........

No, it never got a laugh then, either.
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Grantus Maximus
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="cyberman:59691"]
Grantus Maximus wrote:

No, it never got a laugh then, either.


You do need to work on your delivery, I'll give you that...  

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