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Atheists converting to believers
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Boss Cat
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:23 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

No-one told me that you couldn't be an atheist and an agnostic - when I said the only thing you can honestly be is an agnostic I kind of meant everybody. I can't see where I posted 'unless you're and atheist of course' and that's because I didn't post that.  It's not what I think.

I was commenting on how some atheists seem to be proud of holding what seen to me to be rather rigid attitudes and questioning whether it is a strength to require hard proof before you consider any new or different ideas.  As for the burden of proof resting with theists because they have something positive to prove, I have said before on the old boards and I will say again on here; the burden of proof lies with the person trying to change the other person's views.   There are some quite positive views underpinning or stemming from some people's atheism you know.   I can be intrigued by these, be interested in them, even accept some without incontrovertable evidence.  Read my posts; just quibbling over the last line is a bit insulting.

I personally don't want to believe the same things in ten years time as I do now and I would think it a weakness if that is what happens, unless I'd been ill or something.
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Leonard James
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only sensible thing that any of us can do is try to keep an open mind, and listen to the arguments presented for and against God existing: our ability to reason will then come up with an answer.

It is a curious thing that we can't control that ability to reason. If somebody tells us something and our reason decides it is believable/not believable, then there is nothing we can do to change that.

I am an agnostic atheist because my reason leads me to believe that it is more likely that gods don't exist than that they do, and there is nothing I can do to make myself believe the opposite. Believers, of course, are led to the opposite conclusion.

We humans are a curious bunch!
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Boss Cat
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'm not sure whether or not you think keeping an open mind is something we can do - if our ability to reason is so determined then surely our ability to keep an open mind is also limited?

But you are right, it is the best thing we can hope to do, try to be as flexible and questioning as we can.  Of course, we are always more open minded than others; that's why we are so much better at reasoning than everyone else!
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Shaker
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boss Cat wrote:
I personally don't want to believe the same things in ten years time as I do now and I would think it a weakness if that is what happens, unless I'd been ill or something.


This seems to suggest that changing belief merely for its own sake, rather than because of new information or more considered reasoning, is a good thing and an end in itself.
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There’s no reason to be agnostic about ideas that are dramatically incompatible with everything we know about modern science. - Sean M. Carroll
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Boss Cat
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No.  I just observe that most of us will have new experiences, meet new people, learn more, understand more, maybe travel more, gain insights, gain wisdom over the years.   But some people. it's true, become rigid and inflexible and harden into their position as they get older, or they can't believe that there are any coherent ways of thinking other than their own.  Some people even call that strength.

Improvement is change, widening one's sympathies is change, learning is change.   Muhammed Ali said something along the lines that a man who thinks the same at 50 as he did at 30 is a man who has wasted 20 years of his life and I think he's right.

However, it might be that a lucky few kind of sussed absolutely everything very young and have nothing more to learn and everyone else is misguided.  But I don't believe that myself.
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Leonard James
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boss Cat wrote:

However, it might be that a lucky few kind of sussed absolutely everything very young and have nothing more to learn and everyone else is misguided.  But I don't believe that myself.

Nor would anybody with an iota of intelligence. There will always be things to learn, no matter how erudite we are.

I see from the latest news that even Einstein was possibly wrong about the speed of light being non-exceedable.
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Boss Cat
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I'm not sure that Einstein is being proved wrong quite yet or that that's the kind of language to be used anyway.  Though of course old certainties are being questioned, always a good thing.

Can I ask, why, when you write about open minds and the possibility of being wrong do you think it odd that some atheists might be interested in questioning their existing attitudes and coming to different conclusions in your words - odd?
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Leonard James
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boss Cat wrote:
Well I'm not sure that Einstein is being proved wrong quite yet or that that's the kind of language to be used anyway.  Though of course old certainties are being questioned, always a good thing.

Can I ask, why, when you write about open minds and the possibility of being wrong do you think it odd that some atheists might be interested in questioning their existing attitudes and coming to different conclusions in your words - odd?

Because as I have previously said, when we are presented with the evidence for God, our reason assesses it and comes to a conclusion ... we are convinced one way or the other. It is not a voluntary choice, because we can't then choose to believe the opposite, even though we might like to. So unless new evidence is presented to us, a change of mind seems odd to me.
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Boss Cat
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But you weren't talking about yourself, you were talking about others.  OK, you might think that on the evidence there is you, rational, objective have come to the super duper all singing and all dancing only correct conclusion.  But what is so odd that other atheists might see other things or have an entirely different approach or whatever?
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Leonard James
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boss Cat wrote:
But you weren't talking about yourself, you were talking about others.

I am no different from anybody else when it comes to reasoning. Once your reason convinces you that something is true/false, you can't then change that  unless something new comes up to cause it.
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 OK, you might think that on the evidence there is you, rational, objective have come to the super duper all singing and all dancing only correct conclusion.

Just the same as everybody else. If you believe something it is because you think it is the correct conclusion, isn't it? I'm sure nobody believes something they don't think is true.
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 But what is so odd that other atheists might see other things or have an entirely different approach or whatever?

If they see other things then the 'things' must cause their reason to re-assess the situation ... and that can happen to any of us to change what we believe.

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