Do you "believe" no god(s) exist(s)?

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Ichthus77

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Nov 1, 2010, 8:45:18 PM11/1/10
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Options:

--I strongly believe god(s) exist(s).
--I somewhat believe god(s) exist(s).
--I don't believe either way.
--I somewhat believe no god(s) exist(s).
--I strongly believe no god(s) exist(s).

Doesn't that poll (based of Richard Dawkins' belief scale) show that
atheism (last two options) is a belief like (poly/pan)theism (first
two options) and that only agnosticism/apisticism (middle option) is a
lack of faith?

Maryann Spikes / Ichthus77

amos

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Nov 1, 2010, 8:50:50 PM11/1/10
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No, not all beliefs are based on faith. Some beliefs are
based on evidence. For example, I believe that it will rain
soon because I see dark clouds in the sky.

Ichthus77

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Nov 6, 2010, 12:24:38 PM11/6/10
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That wasn't the question. The question was whether atheism is a
belief, and your answer seems to be that it is. Regarding faith--
faith (belief) is stronger when evidence is stronger, weaker when
evidence is weaker, unless the faith/belief is blind.
> > Maryann Spikes / Ichthus77- Hide quoted text -
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Prem Das

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Nov 7, 2010, 4:29:20 AM11/7/10
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Faith, by its very nature, can only exist in the domain of ignorance.
 
Its only when we do not have a definite answer about something that
we form a theory about it based on our beliefs and our prejudices and
call it faith.
 
So if atheists do not have definite proof, it is a belief base on sheer 
contrariness.
 
 
> Date: Sat, 6 Nov 2010 09:24:38 -0700
> Subject: [AskPhilosophers] Re: Do you "believe" no god(s) exist(s)?
> From: icht...@hotmail.com
> To: askphil...@googlegroups.com
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simone

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Nov 7, 2010, 5:52:55 PM11/7/10
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Prem Das, faith doesn’t have to be a religious word. It is a good
word. We use it when we talk about having faith in mankind, being
faithful to eachother, being "faithful to the text" et cetera. Though
sometimes it means trust and loyalty to another individual/group/etc.,
it can also mean loyalty to the truth, to reality. Theists believe and
have faith lacking certainty just like everyone else—the difference is
their belief, their faith, is blind.

On Nov 7, 1:29 am, Prem Das <dasp...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Faith, by its very nature, can only exist in the domain of ignorance.
>
> Its only when we do not have a definite answer about something that
> we form a theory about it based on our beliefs and our prejudices and
> call it faith.
>
> So if atheists do not have definite proof, it is a belief base on sheer
> contrariness.
>
>
>
> > Date: Sat, 6 Nov 2010 09:24:38 -0700
> > Subject: [AskPhilosophers] Re: Do you "believe" no god(s) exist(s)?
> > From: ichthu...@hotmail.com
> > To: askphil...@googlegroups.com
>
> > That wasn't the question. The question was whether atheism is a
> > belief, and your answer seems to be that it is. Regarding faith--
> > faith (belief) is stronger when evidence is stronger, weaker when
> > evidence is weaker, unless the faith/belief is blind.
>
> > On Nov 1, 5:50 pm, amos <vivepa...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > > No,     not all beliefs are based on faith.       Some beliefs are
> > > based on evidence.      For example,   I believe that it will rain
> > > soon because I see dark clouds in the sky.
>
> > > On 1 nov, 21:45, Ichthus77 <ichthu...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> > > > Options:
>
> > > > --I strongly believe god(s) exist(s).
> > > > --I somewhat believe god(s) exist(s).
> > > > --I don't believe either way.
> > > > --I somewhat believe no god(s) exist(s).
> > > > --I strongly believe no god(s) exist(s).
>
> > > > Doesn't that poll (based of Richard Dawkins' belief scale) show that
> > > > atheism (last two options) is a belief like (poly/pan)theism (first
> > > > two options) and that only agnosticism/apisticism (middle option) is a
> > > > lack of faith?
>
> > > > Maryann Spikes / Ichthus77- Hide quoted text -
>
> > > - Show quoted text -
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Prem Das

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Nov 7, 2010, 6:37:40 PM11/7/10
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I am a card carrying 'Believer'. But I don't believe in the 'you offer me prayers
and I will heap blessings on you interactive God"
 
If you know God beyond the 'word', beyond religions, beyond reason, you may
perhaps begin to see a glimmer of the majesty of all that is God.
 
Look up the history of religions and see if they have ever kept faith with any
of all that they profess to teach. Do not sweep all the hypocrisy under the carpet
and render your faith blind. There is nothing useful about it.
 
There are thousands and thousands of children and adults in the present time,
victims of sexual and physical  abuse who might have a different persective about blind faith.

Sorry Simone, blind faith makes for brutal religions. Hence the suicide bombers.
 
 
 
> Date: Sun, 7 Nov 2010 14:52:55 -0800

> Subject: [AskPhilosophers] Re: Do you "believe" no god(s) exist(s)?

Ichthus77

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Nov 7, 2010, 6:53:14 PM11/7/10
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I agree that everyone, lacking absolute certainty, has faith to
varying degrees. I disagree (simone) that all theists' faith is
blind, or that atheists are just being "contrary" (Prem Das). In
order to say that theism is wrong, atheism has to be "right"...just
like in order for atheism to be wrong, (poly/pan)theism has to be
right. Theists aren't just being contrary about atheism, and atheists
aren't just being contrary about theism. The ones who lack belief
either way are agnostics/apistics--defaulting to neither atheism, nor
theism.

Interesting website, simone.

On Nov 7, 3:37 pm, Prem Das <dasp...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> I am a card carrying 'Believer'. But I don't believe in the 'you offer me prayers
> and I will heap blessings on you interactive God"
>
> If you know God beyond the 'word', beyond religions, beyond reason, you may
> perhaps begin to see a glimmer of the majesty of all that is God.
>
> Look up the history of religions and see if they have ever kept faith with any
> of all that they profess to teach. Do not sweep all the hypocrisy under the carpet
> and render your faith blind. There is nothing useful about it.
>
> There are thousands and thousands of children and adults in the present time,
> victims of sexual and physical  abuse who might have a different persective about blind faith.
>
> Sorry Simone, blind faith makes for brutal religions. Hence the suicide bombers.
>
>
>
> > Date: Sun, 7 Nov 2010 14:52:55 -0800
> > Subject: [AskPhilosophers] Re: Do you "believe" no god(s) exist(s)?
> > From: advocatesim...@hotmail.com
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amos

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Nov 7, 2010, 7:24:38 PM11/7/10
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We are all agnostics: no one knows whether God exists or not. I
don't think that even the Pope would claim that he knows that God
exists. An agnostic is someone who does not know. Some of
us, including myself, believe that God does not exist.

Not all beliefs are faith: my belief that it will rain tomorrow,
based on the weather forecast and on the clouds, would not
normally be seen as an instance of faith. What's more, "faith"
is used in certain contexts, generally religious contexts: my
belief that Obama is an intelligent person is not generally considered
as a faith in his intelligence. I can give reasons why I consider
him to be intelligent.

It may be that we should stop talking about faith, which is a
theological virtue and is not used much in philosophy, and begin to
talk in terms of belief and of knowledge. In that context, I
agree with Icthus 77 that atheism is a belief system. Actually,
there are very few things that we can know with certainty.

However, in the real world, most of us choose, insofar as we
choose, to live our lives as if God exists or as if God does not
exist. That is a real existential choice, and that choice is
based on belief, not on knowledge.
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David J Bailey

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Nov 7, 2010, 7:48:10 PM11/7/10
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I don't think, amos, that you can say we are all agnostics: certainly
some theists claim to "know" that god exists, and certainly some
atheists claim to "know" that god doesn't.

For myself I think that there are different forms of atheism - one
which is very much like theism, in which its adherents claim
certainty, and another (which I think most atheists fall into) which
is a simple lack of belief in god - usually due to a lack of
evidence.

The latter doesn't call for any faith at all, to say it does is like
saying that a lack of belief in the loch ness monster calls for faith.
It doesn't. All it calls for is skepticism until some valid evidence
is in. And no, you don't even have to seriously consider that god, or
the loch ness monster does exist in the absence of evidence, then
you'd have to consider a ton of other things that people believe, but
have no evidence for - ghosts, fairies, santa claus, zeus, thor, etc,
etc, etc.

Simply stating that no, you don't believe, and no, you don't know but
you think it highly unlikely, doesn't call for any faith as far as I
can see (or feel.)

David
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Ichthus77

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Nov 8, 2010, 12:54:16 AM11/8/10
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regarding evidence: http://www.examiner.com/apologetics-in-modesto/list-of-articles-on-evidence-for-god
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Prem Das

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Nov 8, 2010, 5:17:37 AM11/8/10
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Has anyone stopped to think the 'Unknowable' is so because it does not exists
in our dimension that it is not an entity with tangible form and existance.
 
We too are not of the corporeal body. Without the spirit underpining this
corporealness we do not exist.
 
It is our spirit that would have the ability to know the 'Unknowable'. 
 
 
 
 
> Date: Sun, 7 Nov 2010 21:54:16 -0800

> Subject: [AskPhilosophers] Re: Do you "believe" no god(s) exist(s)?

amos

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Nov 8, 2010, 6:52:55 AM11/8/10
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I don't know all that much about theology, but I do know that
faith is one of the three most important virtues in traditional
Catholic theology. I also have read Pascal and Kierkegaard,
perhaps not the most representative Christian thinkers, and for
both, Christianity is a matter of faith, not of knowledge.
Undoubtedly, some Christian fundamentalists claim to know that
Christianity is true, but isn't the truth of Christianity a matter
of faith, not knowledge, for mainstream Christian thought?
I've never read Aquinas, but perhaps someone who has read him can
inform me about the role of faith in the Christian tradition.
Thank you.
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Ichthus77

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Nov 8, 2010, 9:24:03 AM11/8/10
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the short and skinny on Aquinas (and Augustine)
http://dangerousidea.blogspot.com/2007/03/aquinas-on-faith-and-reason.html

My take is that all knowledge below absolute certainty involves
varying degrees of faith, as not even science can prove anything with
absolute certainty. Follow the link in my last post, which not only
discusses evidence, but faith also (including atheist faith). Faith
is a virtue when we believe the evidence (say, God's promises) despite
things like peer pressure and other feared consequences. Epistemic
faith and knowledge are not distinct--sometimes believing is also
knowing--but knowing is never absolute certainty, for those lacking
omniscience.

Kierkegaard understood that sort of faith to be central, he was not a
fideist the way most people think. He was angered by clergy who
focused on evidence and never had faith. That's why he focused so
much on faith. But he wasn't "against" evidence--he just knew nothing
could be proved w/ certainty (and that much of Christianty felt like
counter-evidence...like the God-man, which seems paradoxical), and
that faith (trust in God) was being neglected.
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Ichthus77

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Nov 8, 2010, 9:27:22 AM11/8/10
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I just posted, but it's gone...trying again...

Faith and knowledge are not mutually exclusive--believing sometimes
'is' knowledge (when it is justified and true).

Christianity, and all other conclusions, involve faith, as all
conclusions lack absolute certainty for those lacking omniscience.

The 'virtue' type of faith is when we believe the evidence (like God's
promises) despite feared consequences (like martyrdom).

On Nov 8, 3:52 am, amos <vivepa...@gmail.com> wrote:
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amos

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Nov 8, 2010, 9:50:41 AM11/8/10
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Ichthus: Thanks for the link. The link confirms what I've been
saying: that mainstream Christianity (of which Aquinas is an
example) does not claim that we can know with certainty the truths of
Christianity. In that sense, most Christians are agnostics in
the root sense of the word (they don't know with certainty), as are
most atheists. The Pope, being a Thomist (I suppose), would
be an agnostic in the root sense of the word. It may be that some
fundamentalist Christians (or Muslims or Jews) claim that they know
with certainty that religion is true just as some fundamentalist
atheists may claim that they know with certainty that religion is not
true. However, the rest of us are agnostics in the root sense of
the word: we believe that religion is either true or not true, but
we cannot know with certainty nor do we claim that we know with
certainty.

On 8 nov, 11:24, Ichthus77 <ichthu...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> the short and skinny on Aquinas (and Augustine)http://dangerousidea.blogspot.com/2007/03/aquinas-on-faith-and-reason...
> ...
>
> leer más »- Ocultar texto de la cita -

Ichthus77

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Nov 8, 2010, 7:13:33 PM11/8/10
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Nobody knows anything w/ absolute certainty--that isn't the same as
"not knowing" (not the same thing as "being agnostic"). One can claim
to "know" without it being a "knowing with certainty"--and, really,
only the omniscient can know with certainty. Still, a knowledge
claim does not always count as actual knowledge--sometimes a person is
wrong. And a person who is very uncertain may prefer to claim to
believe rather than to claim to know. This is why it would be more
useful to use the word "apistic" instead of agnostic, and "pistic"
instead of gnostic, because, 1) all knowing is believing, but not all
believing is knowing, 2) whereas a claim to know (to "be gnostic")
can be wrong, a claim to believe (to "be pistic") is always right
(unless of course they're lying), and 3) the absence of belief
(apisticism) is not the same thing as the absence of knowing
(agnosticism)...knowing is a special type of believing (justified,
true)...though, granted, the 'gnostic' (as opposed to agnostic) theist/
atheist is merely gnostic because they make a knowledge claim, not
because they necessarily 'know'. It would prevent confusion if
'gnostic' only mean 'know' rather than 'claiming to know'...which is
really just believing.
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amos

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Nov 8, 2010, 8:02:59 PM11/8/10
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I think that we're getting into a complicated discussion about how
"know" and "believe" are or should be used. I know my name.
I know who the president is. I know what time it is. I know that
it is not raining now. I'm not absolutely certain about those
things, but I'm certain enough to use the verb "know".
"Believe" indicates a lesser degree of certainty: I believe that it
will rain tomorrow. I believe that Tom is honest. I believe
that there is no after-life. That distinction exists not only in
English, but in the other languages which I know: Spanish,
Portuguese and French. It's interesting that while in
English, "I know other languages", in Spanish "hablo otros
idiomas", that is, "I speak other languages". We seem to
have gotten into the territory where everyday use of language becomes
confused or at least isn't exact.

David J Bailey

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Nov 9, 2010, 3:42:54 PM11/9/10
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Apart from "knowing" things where are true by definition, like
"1+1=2" (true by definition of 1, 2, +, and =) and "All bachelors are
men" (true by definition of bachelor) I don't think you can be said to
KNOW anything in a strong / absolute sense.

Somehow, though, I don't think that's the intention people have when
they talk about faith being "Knowledge without Proof".

I think for these purposes that level of knowledge is unwieldy, it
might be more fruitful to say that you CAN "know" things (like the
fact that I'm sitting on a chair and typing at my laptop at this
moment.)
> ...
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Ichthus77

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Nov 9, 2010, 7:34:34 PM11/9/10
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amos, sometimes those claims to know are wrong, and 'believe' does not
'necessarily' indicate a lesser degree of (subjective) certainty (how
certain we are does not necessarily translate into how 'right' we are,
btw), though it can intentionally be used that way.

Ichthus77

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Nov 9, 2010, 7:39:54 PM11/9/10
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David, faith (belief) is not necessarily knowledge, but it 'can' be
("when our faith/belief is both justified and true"), and we agree
that "absolute certainty" is reserved for the omniscient (and so is
"without proof").

All: this thread on my blog (in progress) explains some of what I'm
thinking...
http://ichthus77.blogspot.com/2010/11/replacing-agnosticism-with-apisticism.html

Ichthus77

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Nov 9, 2010, 7:42:44 PM11/9/10
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This: and we agree that "absolute certainty" is reserved for the
omniscient (and so is
"without proof").

Should read like this: and we agree that "absolute certainty" is
reserved for the omniscient (and so knowledge 'below' absolute
certainty is
"without proof").

Whole paragraph:
David, faith (belief) is not necessarily knowledge, but it 'can' be
("when our faith/belief is both justified and true"), and and we agree
that "absolute certainty" is reserved for the omniscient (and so
knowledge 'below' absolute certainty is "without proof").

On Nov 9, 4:39 pm, Ichthus77 <ichthu...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> David, faith (belief) is not necessarily knowledge, but it 'can' be
> ("when our faith/belief is both justified and true"), and we agree
> that "absolute certainty" is reserved for the omniscient (and so is
> "without proof").
>
> All:  this thread on my blog (in progress) explains some of what I'm
> thinking...http://ichthus77.blogspot.com/2010/11/replacing-agnosticism-with-apis...

Odysseus Makridis

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Nov 9, 2010, 9:30:39 PM11/9/10
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Consider this Maryann: Why is "I don't believe either way" different, qua epistemic state, from the other belief-statements? Modally, belief is not well behaved - not-believing-not is not equivalent to knowing-that. If we are discussing the logic of belief-statements, I don't see what it is that stands out to differentiate between "I believe that p" and "I don't believe that p" which ought to be consistent with "I believe that I don't believe that p" (this is controversial but, on the assumption of basic introspective rationality, it goes through...)
The assessment of belief-systems or of the psychology of belief or faith is a different matter. It sounds that this is what you are interested in. In that case, what's the difference, again, between "believe that" and "not-believe-that" for your purposes?
--
Odysseus Makridis
Associate Professor, Philosophy
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Madison, NJ
973-443-8096

Ichthus77

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Nov 10, 2010, 12:11:40 AM11/10/10
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Odysseus, although I haven't studied it at all, I recall reading in
Sam Harris' "The Moral Landscape" that belief and disbelief both
“showed highly localized signal changes in the caudate” in his
doctoral research (p. 226, note 35). Disbelief involves belief, and
belief involves disbelief. When you say "I don't believe this" it is
because you believe something else ("I don't believe p, I believe
q"). When you say "I believe this" it is to the exclusion of other
alternative beliefs ("I believe q, not p"). "I don't believe either
way" is inconclusive in a way that believing and disbelieving are not
("I don't believe/disbelieve either p or q"). Harris had stuff to say
about uncertainty as well.

Regarding believing/knowing, see above.

On Nov 9, 6:30 pm, Odysseus Makridis <odysseusmakri...@gmail.com>
wrote:

Odysseus Makridis

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Nov 10, 2010, 12:35:47 AM11/10/10
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The author you are referring to studies the brain, it sounds like. In the relevant sense of "belief", I see your point. But what sense of "belief" do you need to work with relative to your heuristic purposes?

 
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Ichthus77

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Nov 10, 2010, 1:03:58 AM11/10/10
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The sense of belief I am working w/, is the same sense Plato was
working w/ when he spoke of knowledge as justified, true belief. I'm
not sure what you mean otherwise.

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David J Bailey

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Nov 10, 2010, 8:02:09 PM11/10/10
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Ahh @ "justified, true belief"... In that case the question is: what
causes a belief to be "justified"? Must it be discoverable by
deduction, or is induction strong enough? If the former then it seems
to me that this conversation can get nowhere useful: a believer saying
"I believe in God" would be the same as anyone else saying "I believe
in fairies" or "I believe the sun exists".

These three are, to our intuition, obviously not on the same level. If
we're equating them for the purposes of this conversation, I'm not
sure I see how we can say anything useful, really, about degrees of
belief in god, or about faith.

At some point we have to assume that logic works, the world isn't
trying to fool us (it may do so, but doesn't much care either way),
and the world is generally consistent. Otherwise, any external belief
is game, and is as valid as any other. (It would also mean that
"faith" becomes nothing more than an external belief.)

Ichthus77

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Nov 11, 2010, 12:40:23 AM11/11/10
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To be clear, I do not mean "justified true belief" necessarily -- that
would be knowledge. I just mean the "belief" part of that. Belief is
belief is belief. Richard Dawkins rightly pointed out that even
beliefs considered "religious" are not out of bounds of critical
examination. Belief "that" precedes belief "in" (referred to above).
Blind faith is bad faith. Genuine faith/belief is strengthened by
evidence and weakened by counter-evidence...so there can be varying
degrees of beleif/faith/subjective certainty (hence the belief
"scale")...but the 'truth' of the matter is very black and
white...which is why it is better to use "apistic/pistic" on a belief
scale, rather than "agnostic/gnostic".

As a reminder, the question we began with is whether atheism is a
(falsifiable) belief.

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David J Bailey

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Nov 11, 2010, 8:26:40 PM11/11/10
to AskPhilosophers
Okay, I think I understand you now :)
(Thanks for bearing with me.)

In that case, I'd say that atheism is falsifiable - provided the god
hypothesis is clearly stated. In that case, "all" that would need be
done to falsify it would be to find a god.

As that hypothesis is usually stated, I find it to be either
incomprehensible, clearly wrong, or very circular ("But if you HAVE
faith, then you'll see proof of God!", for example.)
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