Atheists should shut up!

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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Tab » Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:06 pm

Arcturus Descending wrote:Tab,


fundamentally, how aren't theism and atheism not the same..? Both are unfalsifiable beliefs.


I think that the former IS a belief in God but the latter lacks any belief in God, Tab.
How can a lack of belief be the same as a belief?


Say I meet you in the street one day, with a pamphlet. It has REJOICE on the front in big shiny letters. The blurb reads "Tsathoggua is the one true source of all things and Aston Smith is its prophet. And here it is, isn't it lovable..?"
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Now, you look in my whirlygig eyes and see I absolutely believe its true.

I have a belief in Tsathoggua.

However, you, prior to meeting me, had no conception or knowledge of Tsathoggua whatsoever, and therefore had formed no beliefs about Tsathoggua either way because it's impossible to think about things you don't even know you don't know about.

This is a 'lack of belief'. An utter absence of belief.

Of course now though, I have introduced you to Tsathoggua, the one true source of all things... So now and only now, do you form a belief concerning its divine sourceness, very probably along the lines of "Tab is a loon and this Tsathoggua business is baloney." You become an A-Tsathoggua-ist. Denying its greatness. The only difference is now you have a belief about Tsathoggua, whereas before you didn't have any.

ie. believing god exists is a belief, a thing. And believing god does not exist is also a belief, a thing. They are both just opposing points of view, that revolve around one idea - god. And worse still, an idea that is impossible to prove, or disprove. #-o

But why do you think you die a little?


Because anyone still debating god/not god really hasn't gotten past level one of the great philosophy game. Which makes me have a sad.
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Silhouette » Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:45 pm

A lack of theistic belief says nothing about what you do believe in - if you believe in anything at all (if such a thing is possible).
It is a term solely about what you don't believe in, which in this case just happens to be God/gods.
What you do believe in as an atheist can range from literally anything to any combination of things, just not God/gods. Not believing in that one category of things (God/gods) is literally the only thing atheists have in common.

This is the standard "new-atheist" argument.

It pretty much wraps up the exact way in which "theism and atheism (are) not the same" exhaustively and sufficiently.

Theism is of course unfalsifiable, and probably intentionally so, and no doubt this isn't even a problem for thinking/honest theists. Christian clergymen with any intellectual ability, who seem to have wrestled with all the issues with their religion over their lifetime don't even bother to argue that their belief is "knowledge" - they admit it's meant to be blind faith and that's the whole point.

Likewise there isn't going to be any evidence that could prove atheism, because that could only ever be evidence of absense, but there can be logical proof of atheism if some essential characteristic to God/gods is definable and logically contradictory with something that is necessary.
My proof that God doesn't exist defines this essential characteristic as being at least in part beyond human conception.
This is logically contradictory with the human ability to believe in anything that fully qualifies as God, because entirely within human conception nothing can ever fully qualify as God i.e. something that is at least in part beyond human conception.
The conclusion necessarily follows that anything humans believe in is something less than God, that doesn't qualify as such, and therefore isn't God - making God-belief by humans impossible. God doesn't and cannot exist to us.

But no matter how convinced I am of this syllogism, or how obsessed any atheist is with their lack of belief in God, of course they can still be a fully-fledged atheist. Any common ground between obsession and religion doesn't make an obsessed atheist religious "and therefore not a fully-fledged atheist". And the assertion of a premise that is proven false isn't a belief in the existence of the subject of that premise.

At best, atheist argument posits a provisional existence of a definition of God, which they believe to be true, in order to disprove it.
If that makes atheists theists or "bad" atheists, then argument against anything is proof that it exists - therefore everything logically exists. Including logically impossible square circles.

At best, positing a premise awards "some degree" of existence, but in light of the above, it's illogical for that to constitute belief in that something based only on that degree of "existence".
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Ecmandu » Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:45 pm

People try to get sophisticated about atheism.

The actual argument is that god hasn’t been born YET!

Why? People are living any fragment of life against their will.

An omnipotent and omnibenevolent creator would make this impossible.
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Tab » Tue Feb 25, 2020 10:03 pm

A belief that 'notX' is a true statement, especially when 'notX' is unprovable, is a belief, and to be honest, also an expression of faith.

If you have knowledge concerning something, whether material or immaterial, you automatically form beliefs about it.

Just as inaction is an action, disbelief is also a belief. This is not rocket-science.

I believe in the existence of god = I don't believe that god does not exist.

I don't believe in the existence of god = I believe god does not exist.

You do see the 'believe' in both of those right..?

Even a weasley "I do not believe that your conceptualization of god can exist" still equals the statement "I believe your conceptualization of god cannot exist."
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Silhouette » Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:31 am

Tab wrote:You do see the 'believe' in both of those right..?

Allow me to turn around your turnaround.

What is this belief in 'notX'? What is it that you believe in? A lack?

This certainly isn't close to believing in that which is lacking in existence - it's the opposite.

If the grammar of "belief that God doesn't exist" is a belief, but it's in the logic that when applied to God, results in a logical contradiction.
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Tab » Wed Feb 26, 2020 6:07 am

I am married, I have a piece of paper that tells me so. Joe is not married, as far as I know. He's a slippery fish sometimes, hard to know for sure.

I believe I am married. I believe I am not single. In my lack of batchelorhood. I believe in a state of the world in which this is so.

I believe Joe is unmarried. That he is single. In a state of the world where he lacks a wife.

An atheist believes in a godless universe. In a state of the universe which has no god, nor requires one. 'Lack' implies an certain degree of unfulfilled necessity. Something an aetheist would argue against.

We believe in lacks all the time. I usually believe I have a lack of money, especially near the end of the month. :D

If the grammar of "belief that God doesn't exist" is a belief, ?but? it's in the logic that when applied to God, results in a logical contradiction.


I looked at that, but it doesn't scan. The 'if' clause doesn't go with the 'but' clause - Could you rewrite it a bit more clearly..? It's early morning, my brain is too dumbz to process.
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Feb 26, 2020 7:08 am

Silhouette wrote: Not believing in that one category of things (God/gods) is literally the only thing atheists have in common.

This is the standard "new-atheist" argument.
This is true by definition. In practice, new atheists you find on youtube arguing against theism or in articles online or in 'newspapers' or arguing with theists online do share, generally, large chunks of a belief system, often with very similar epistemologies, ontologies (and not just in the negative), modes of interaction, and even attributions of blame for a variety of ills.

So while a theist labeling atheism as a belief or belief system is wrong, they are also on to something in terms of what they encounter in media in discussion forums. And to simply, without qualitification, deny that there is a new atheist subculture with strong commonalities is a kind of falsehood by omission.
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Silhouette » Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:50 pm

Tab wrote:I believe Joe is unmarried. That he is single. In a state of the world where he lacks a wife.

Sure, Joe presumably lacks a llama husband and tentacles as well as all sorts of other things (though you did say he was slippery so who knows). But the parenthesised aside, is that his "unfulfilled necessity"?

I'm also guessing Joe is "just being Joe" at that particular point in time, just as you being you has a particular piece of paper in your possession - neither of you are "lacking" until you come up with some "thing" that's not part of who you are at the time, for the sake of being able to say you now "lack" something.

This just seems a little gratuitous to me.
We might as well say you're lacking the single status and on those grounds Joe's not lacking anything.

Belief in a lack doesn't say anything, except in the context that something irrelevant to your beliefs comes up just so you can say "not that", in exactly the same way as theists "lack" the first principles that Atheists A, B and C (etc.) have.
Let's say atheist D believes in "Secularism" - just to frame some kind of belief that an atheist might have (but doesn't necessarily have) as opposite to something he "doesn't have"/lacks (which posits something merely to then say "not that"). We might as well then say that "Asecularists" are bad theists and let Faust redo this thread in those terms instead...

This whole "belief in a lack" just doesn't fly.
Therefore atheists not shutting up is perfectly fine.

Tab wrote:
Silhouette wrote:If the grammar of "belief that God doesn't exist" is a belief, ?but? it's in the logic that when applied to God, results in a logical contradiction.

I looked at that, but it doesn't scan. The 'if' clause doesn't go with the 'but' clause - Could you rewrite it a bit more clearly..? It's early morning, my brain is too dumbz to process.

My phrasing is always dodgy at least in parts it seems, especially if I just bash something out.

What I meant was something more like this:
If the grammar of "belief that God doesn't exist" is a belief, then such a belief is merely in logic, such that when said logic is applied to God, it results in a logical contradiction.
Still unwieldy probably, but hopefully it at least scans now.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
Silhouette wrote: Not believing in that one category of things (God/gods) is literally the only thing atheists have in common.

This is the standard "new-atheist" argument.

This is true by definition.

Yeah, it's a good argument - can't really argue against literal definitions.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:In practice, new atheists you find on youtube arguing against theism or in articles online or in 'newspapers' or arguing with theists online do share, generally, large chunks of a belief system, often with very similar epistemologies, ontologies (and not just in the negative), modes of interaction, and even attributions of blame for a variety of ills.

So while a theist labeling atheism as a belief or belief system is wrong, they are also on to something in terms of what they encounter in media in discussion forums. And to simply, without qualitification, deny that there is a new atheist subculture with strong commonalities is a kind of falsehood by omission.

Yeah sure, in practice many atheists probably have very similar beliefs in the same way that in practice Christians of all kinds have similar enough beliefs to all go under the same umbrella despite having various kinds of disagreements with one another about what Christianity is. But the theory rather than practice is important, because not only does it define atheism properly (by definition as you correctly say) it also allows for atheism to apply just fine to all the atheists that don't have these very similar beliefs. That's important, especially when "what's usual in practice" is being used against atheism.

So yeah, theists are "on to something" in their observations of general beliefs that atheists have in practice, but to only look that far as they so often do is lazy.

More accurately, "there is a newish subculture of people with similar enough beliefs, who also happen to be atheist and it's probably not that big of a coincidence that they are in practice".
So it depends what kind of precision you're after, I guess.
It's sufficient for most people to lump all atheists in the same box and all theists "in the other box" as though you're either in one or the other.
Personally I prefer maximum pedantry for maximum precision and insight - but that's boring for "most people". Hence why I have to come here to let loose on all you suckers :wink:
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:13 pm

Silhouette wrote:Yeah sure, in practice many atheists probably have very similar beliefs in the same way that in practice Christians of all kinds have similar enough beliefs to all go under the same umbrella despite having various kinds of disagreements with one another about what Christianity is. But the theory rather than practice is important, because not only does it define atheism properly (by definition as you correctly say) it also allows for atheism to apply just fine to all the atheists that don't have these very similar beliefs. That's important, especially when "what's usual in practice" is being used against atheism.

So yeah, theists are "on to something" in their observations of general beliefs that atheists have in practice, but to only look that far as they so often do is lazy.

More accurately, "there is a newish subculture of people with similar enough beliefs, who also happen to be atheist and it's probably not that big of a coincidence that they are in practice".
So it depends what kind of precision you're after, I guess.
It's sufficient for most people to lump all atheists in the same box and all theists "in the other box" as though you're either in one or the other.
Personally I prefer maximum pedantry for maximum precision and insight - but that's boring for "most people". Hence why I have to come here to let loose on all you suckers :wink:
Well, sure if the topic is defining atheism, obviously I agree. But if we are looking at what is in many ways a paradigmatic conflict, there are two believe systems clashing. If the theist is trying to argue that atheism is a belief or that all atheists have the same belief system they are wrong. But if we take the most vocal atheists: Dawkins, Harris, etc. and the people who get into arguments with theists as atheists online - iow where the argument/discussion/tension is, we are meeting two groups that have tendencies towards a certain belief system.

I guess my reaction is sure, we can be precise and we should be, but not alone, because the rise of the new atheism, the active one, the one that theists are going to hear about, the atheists the theists will see in the new and online, in general, share much of a system of beliefs in common and often their lack of belief arises or is correlated with these other beliefs. We can be, yes, just pedantic and point out that there are atheists who paradigmatically share little with this group. But I think in the name of charitable interpretation and response, we can ALSO say that, yes, the atheists you are most likely to find slashing your beliefs in books, articles, youtube videos share a belief system, to a great degree. Obviously they have differences, even in that group, as do theists, a group that includes obviously a very wide range of theism outside the already quite variable Christianity.



It's not a coincidence that many new atheists have some general philosophical ideas in common. The lack of belief correlates with certain beliefs.

Everyone can acknowledge this without accepting that an atheist must have a belief there is not God or whatever. Now will all or ever a significant portion of theists, in response to this more nuanced response, stop arguing that atheism is a belief? Probably not. But it does offer a chance to deescalate and acknowledge what is grounded in the other position. Perhaps some tiny victories here and there.

Sometimes, not in your case, but sometimes when I have seen atheists respond with 'precision' it reminds me of when a kid says he did not 'see' anyone take the cookies. Cause he purposely closed his eyes when doing it. It's like hey, atheists, acknowledge what is likely driving the other team to think they are dealing with a set of beliefs, while also being precise on the sdie.

Precision, alone, can be misleading, and in the long run, I don't think it helps the divide.

Telling the truth can be misleading, if there are omissions.

And this came off pretty condescending - with some indeterminate degree of tongue in cheek involved....
So it depends what kind of precision you're after, I guess.
It's sufficient for most people to lump all atheists in the same box and all theists "in the other box" as though you're either in one or the other.
Personally I prefer maximum pedantry for maximum precision and insight - but that's boring for "most people". Hence why I have to come here to let loose on all you suckers
Especially that first sentence. I certainly wasn't suggesting one lump everyone together.
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Ecmandu » Thu Feb 27, 2020 12:21 am

It speaks volumes that atheists are immediately banned from theist boards, but theists aren’t banned from atheist boards.
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Tab » Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:10 am

Silhouette wrote:This whole "belief in a lack" just doesn't fly.


Ok, actually, taking a step back and gonna blame Arc for introducing a loaded term. 'Lack'. Looks likes 'absence' but smells more like 'deficiency'.

My point is/was "theists and atheists hold equally unfalsifiable beliefs" and that someone like me, who lives in box number three, agnosticism, thinks should both be ignored. Not that I expect atheists or theists to ever shut up. Both groups are usually horribly eager to spread the word - another trait they share.

Arc originally queried whether 'not believing in something' constituted a belief. I replied that yes, believing something doesn't exist is - in terms of 'is that a belief..?' - just the same as believing something does exist. As long as both parties are aware of the object/non-object in contention, and there is no way to prove it's existence/non-existence either way.

I then went on to try to provide an example of the transition from 'no belief at all' -> 'believing in something's non-existence' by introducing Tsathoggua - a character from Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos which I was hoping she had no prior knowledge of, it being a bit of a teenage-nerdy cultural trope - to illustrate that only when someone has no inkling of a subject at all, can someone have no beliefs about it, and once they become aware of something's proposed existence, they cannot help but form a belief about it.

Tab wrote:
Silhouette wrote:If the grammar of "belief that God doesn't exist" is a belief, ?but? it's in the logic that when applied to God, results in a logical contradiction.

I looked at that, but it doesn't scan. The 'if' clause doesn't go with the 'but' clause - Could you rewrite it a bit more clearly..? It's early morning, my brain is too dumbz to process.

My phrasing is always dodgy at least in parts it seems, especially if I just bash something out.

What I meant was something more like this:
If the grammar of "belief that God doesn't exist" is a belief, then such a belief is merely in logic, such that when said logic is applied to God, it results in a logical contradiction.
Still unwieldy probably, but hopefully it at least scans now.


Thanks, a lot clearer. Lol. Okay, so using a belief in logic to try and say anything about an innately paradoxical object - god - is foolish. I see what I did there. :D

But as I said, I'm not talking about god directly. Only that both a positive belief (god's/Tsathoggua's presence), and a negative belief (god's/Tsathoggua's absence) are both beliefs. And when both beliefs are unfalsifiable, both are equally worthless.

Might help I guess, if you tell me what you think 'someone having a belief' means to you. To me, it's the state of holding an opinion concerning something about which you have insufficient knowledge/experience to prove or disprove empirically. Which I think is rational.
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:24 am

Tab wrote:My point is/was "theists and atheists hold equally unfalsifiable beliefs" and that someone like me, who lives in box number three, agnosticism, thinks should both be ignored. Not that I expect atheists or theists to ever shut up. Both groups are usually horribly eager to spread the word - another trait they share.


But as I said, I'm not talking about god directly. Only that both a positive belief (god's/Tsathoggua's presence), and a negative belief (god's/Tsathoggua's absence) are both beliefs. And when both beliefs are unfalsifiable, both are equally worthless..

So, if a belief is unfalsifiable, it is necessarily useless? I must be able to demonstrate to others anything I hold to be true - or they must have some way to test it - for such a belief to be useful to me? I don't think that holds. I understand how it might be useless to others.
Then we need to be 1) confident in our ability to know when something can or cannot be falsified (at some future point in time also, for example when technology changes) 2) confident that we could falsify or confirm all memories a person has that may or may not be a part of useful heuristics about the world. I can't see a way to be sure about either of those things.

I also notice that people, I mean, everyone, works every day with untested often unfalsiable heuristics about how to handle life. Now, of course, many of these heuristics are poor, but animals have evolved to use unverified and often unfalsifiable ideas because they were good adapations.

Just because it makes sense for the scientific community to not work with unfalsiable ideas since they don't have a good way to decide if such ideas should move into scientific consensus, this doesn't mean that all unfalsifiable beliefs are useless.
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Tab » Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:33 am

Yes I guess, in isolation, worthless. There's a difference though if you suddenly jump from my 'worthless' to your 'useless'.

Obviously, publically proclaiming an unfalsifiable belief - a belief or disbelief in god - isn't useless if there is benefit in simply being seen to hold such a belief. Dawkins might send me a christmas present, or the pope might induct me into the illuminati.

And 'empirically' doesn't just mean 'testable' it also means 'experience-able' ie. Though I can't prove gravity - I don't have a lab, equipment or frankly, enough maths lol - I can experience it consistantly by falling over a lot.

I cannot however prove god in a lab, nor consistantly experience it.
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:41 am

Tab wrote:Yes I guess, in isolation, useless.

However, caveat time, obviously, publically proclaiming an unfalsifiable belief - a belief or disbelief in god - isn't useless if there is benefit in simply being seen to hold such a belief. Dawkins might send me a christmas present, or the pope might induct me into the illuminati.


One can have correct beliefs that are impossible to falsify, at least now, given what we can and cannot do, and these can be useful, even in isolation. I added more above.

I could have heard some guy muttering how he hates women and one day he's going to fucking rape one. Perhaps I misheard him, certainly others might doubt what I heard if the guy is an unstanding citizen. They cannot falsify the belief, not confirm it. I however can move forward with that belief and tell my wife not to accept a job working for the guy.

If the theists are right or some of them are in their specific beliefs about God and they are in fact, some of them, in contact with God, this might be very useful to the sense of well being or perhaps even the afterlife experiences, even if this is all not falsifiable or verifiable for others. And if, as an agnostic, you are not sure what is the case, then you cannot know if it is useful or not.

There are examples even in the history of science where claims were made that were not falsifiable, at the time, though decades later they were now verifiable, but were true and useful.

We have our own experiences. What we can prove to others or disprove in front of others is not the full set of things that are useful.
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Tab » Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:55 am

Lol, we both edited like crazy.

As I said - empirically also means experientally as well as through theory and logic.

I could have heard some guy muttering how he hates women and one day he's going to fucking rape one. Perhaps I misheard him, certainly others might doubt what I heard if the guy is an [out]standing citizen. They cannot falsify the belief, not confirm it. I however can move forward with that belief and tell my wife not to accept a job working for the guy.


Forgive me, but this is a bad example, or at least a bad comparison with the unfalsifiabilty of god.

In your situation there are many ways to investigate empirically. An outside observer could note that between your experience with this man and afterwards, something occurred that produced an effect. In this case a switch to mistrust. And infer that something did happen. They can also note that the guy you heard has a mouth and vocal chords, and you share a common language, and you have functionimg ears, so such an event was possible.

Then, they could hack this guy's email, investigate his contacts, past behaviour, etc.etc. The results of which would lend weight to your experience either way.

None of this applies to god. God has no email, we don't know even if he has a mouth. All past records of god's behaviour are at several removes - heresay, rumour. There is no empirical point of traction.
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:02 am

Tab wrote:Forgive me, but this is a bad example, or at least a bad comparison with the unfalsifiabilty of god.

In your situation there are many ways to investigate empirically. An outside observer could note that between your experience with this man and afterwards, something occurred that produced an effect. In this case a switch to mistrust. And infer that something did happen. They can also note that the guy you heard has a mouth and vocal chords, and you share a common language, and you have functionimg ears, so such an event was possible.

First off, I have to start with situations that are more likely to be agreed on to challenge what is presented as a rule. If it is a rule it must apply to all situations. If it doesn't then more investigation needs to take place. I can't start with God or even ghosts. If the rule has a problem with one situation, then more discussion is possible and the rule is problematic.
Then, they could hack this guy's email, investigate his contacts, past behaviour, etc.etc. The results of which would lend weight to your experience either way.
Or not. We both know that it such unfalsifiable situation are ones we encounter all the time in our lives. Sure if I can hire a team to investigate one friend's accusation against another, I might be able to give some evidence. But generally we are not in such a position. Such a claim is unfalsifiable. And if we find no sexist or violent musings in his hacked accounts we have not falsified our friend's story.

None of this applies to god. God has no email, we don't know even if he has a mouth. All past records of god's behaviour are at several removes - heresay, rumour. There is no empirical point of traction.
Actually there is. You could engage in the practices of the religion and see if you have experiences that lead you, you as an individual, come to believe the same thing. Often in these discussions both Christian theists and non.theists (given the dominance of certain Christian models and ideas like 'leap of faith' and the idea of faith in general) seem to think theism is non-empirical. But this is very Western and non-indigneous and even in those traditions only one kind of theisms. Most theism have empirical components, and some center themselves on that.

And I get it, those experiences, those empirical facets, are not good evidence for non-experiencers. PRECISELY. We cannot falisfy them, but then, an agnostic cannot possibly rule out that those experiences and the beliefs built from them are not useful.

Of course engaging in the practices might require decades of work. I am not trying to convince you that you should. But there are direct parallels to what one could with my over heard mutterer sitution. Neither process of investigation need provide proof that a court or Nature Journal would accept as scientific. And yet, the beliefs and experiences might be useful, despite a lack of falsifiabity.

Your argument does not attack my example on falsifiability grounds. It may be useful and unfalsifiable.
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:16 am

Further science has often resisted falsification or advanced despite a lack of it. There are also other problems with falsification....
https://www.iep.utm.edu/pop-sci/#H3
scroll down to number 3.
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/th ... scontents/
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/#CritEval

The science itself works from axioms that are not falsifiable. Take physicalism itself. What is consider physical has expanded to include fields, masspless particles, things that are in superposition, dark energy and more things that do not match the original ideas of what is physical. Whatever is determined to be real is then called physical. It's useful to do this, but in the end it is a metaphysical claim which keeps moving the goalposts.

Then, realism itself is not falsifiable.

And then, things get falsified, and then unfalsified.

I don't think the determination 'that can or cannot be falsified' is easy to verify. How do we know what we will be able to falsify or what will turn out not to have been falsifiable. We have no complete knowledge with which to assess an assertion on this issue.
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Tab » Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:46 am

Oh, sure, we operate from beliefs that are - to us as individuals - at that point in time, completely opaque, all the time. I don't understand how this tablet pc works, there may well be goblins inside using nanoscopic pigeons to carry my messages to this magical forum.

But my experience of it is consistant. I type, type appears. Same with gravity, I jump, I come back down.

Science also advances based on observations that are unfalsifiable logically and/or theoretically for as long as those observations are consistant with preceding events. The 'repeatability' clause for experiments. Do A, get B. This is science:

Dumbass 1. Holy fuck, did you see that..?
Dumbass 2. Whut..?
Dumbass 1. I did this, and that happened.
Dumbass 2. Whoa dude, do it again.
Dumbass 1. K, watch.
Dumbass 2. Holy shit that's weird.
Dumbass 1. You try. Do this this and this.
Dumbass 2. Whoa, I see what you mean. What is that about..?
Dumbass 1. Dunno. Better come up with a theory to 'splain this shit.
Dumbass 2. Yeah, this consistently repeatable example of a phenomenon inconsistent with my previous experience of the world is freaking me out dude...

Doesn't matter if realism is falsifiable, only that it is consistent to an observer who experiences it.

And that is the huge difference between things like god, and this tablet pc. Consistency.

Karpel wrote:You could engage in the practices of the religion and see if you have experiences that lead you, you as an individual, come to believe the same thing.


Believeing in the same thing, and experiencing the same thing, are massively different concepts. If I heat water to boiling point, I see steam. Liquid to gas. Amazing. You do the same, wow, you also see steam. Hallelujah. But....

A goes to church, god talks to them. B goes to church, nothing happens. C takes a bunch of drugs, sees god. D takes a bunch of drugs, sees his mum chasing him with a pickaxe shaped like tinkywinky from the teletubbies. E prays for intervention, gets well. F prays for intervention, dies of cancer anyway.

There is no way, okay, that we have discovered 'so far' in what..? 200,000 years, to consistently experience god. As in 'do A, recieve god'. Actually, I dunno, maybe I've been out of the loop too long. Do you know a 100%, sure-fire way of experiencing god..? No cheating, it has to be the exact same experience of god as you would get if you and I followed the exact same sequence of behaviour or thought process or drugs or transcranial magnetic stimulation or argh, yoga pose or diet or magic words or fungal infection or near-fatal accident or tantric sexual marathon.

If not, then the observational and experiential avenues of approaching god seem closed to us. Half of empiricism gone out the window. We are left then, with theoretical and logical approaches.

And pure theory and logic fall into the catagory to which falsifiabilty applies.

We cannot falisfy them, but then, an agnostic cannot possibly rule out that those experiences and the beliefs built from them are not useful.


I never said they weren't useful, that's another arguement entirely. I said they were worthless, as foundations for belief. Look:

Tab, in reply to Sill a few posts ago, wrote:And when both beliefs are unfalsifiable, both are equally worthless.


A one dollar bill, in isolation, purely as a object, is kinda worthless, but as part of the monetary system - which accepts it as viable currency for transactions - very useful. Same with a dis/belief in god. In isolation, a person believeing or disbelieving in god is not particualarly useful at all to them, but in the context of a religious/secular society - that accepts simply holding this type of belief either way as having value - very useful. But in this situation, the actual veracity/falsifiabilty/whatever of the belief isn't important, only that it is held, shared, and obeyed. And, to a lesser extent, is a reliable predictor of behaviour. But that's yet another argument lol.
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby phyllo » Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:15 pm

There is no way, okay, that we have discovered 'so far' in what..? 200,000 years, to consistently experience god. As in 'do A, recieve god'. Actually, I dunno, maybe I've been out of the loop too long. Do you know a 100%, sure-fire way of experiencing god..? No cheating, it has to be the exact same experience of god as you would get if you and I followed the exact same sequence of behaviour or thought process or drugs or transcranial magnetic stimulation or argh, yoga pose or diet or magic words or fungal infection or near-fatal accident or tantric sexual marathon.
This is it.

Birth, life, death.

Birds in the sky, fish in the steams, the wind in the grass, the ground under your feet ...
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Feb 27, 2020 3:58 pm

Tab wrote:There is no way, okay, that we have discovered 'so far' in what..? 200,000 years, to consistently experience god. As in 'do A, recieve god'. Actually, I dunno, maybe I've been out of the loop too long. Do you know a 100%, sure-fire way of experiencing god..? No cheating, it has to be the exact same experience of god as you would get if you and I followed the exact same sequence of behaviour or thought process or drugs or transcranial magnetic stimulation or argh, yoga pose or diet or magic words or fungal infection or near-fatal accident or tantric sexual marathon.

If not, then the observational and experiential avenues of approaching god seem closed to us. Half of empiricism gone out the window. We are left then, with theoretical and logical approaches.
Do you know a 100% surefire way to experience lucid dreams? that everyone will have the same experience? Well, it has been scientifically demonstrated that many can do this. What if it has elements of skill and attitude involved? What if not everyone can? Does this mean it is not real? No. What if you have to want to? What if different individuals require different amounts of effort? or the right coach.

Experiments of things scientific consensus consider real do not have 100 percent results. There are always anomolies or at least many things with in testing are still considered real.

Or, no one can become a great basketball player by training because not everyone can.

Or, no one can become capable of Eureka moments through long mathematical study, since not everyone can.

Somehow you conclude that because not everyone can do something, then empirical approachs are closed to us(????) No, they would be closed to some. Or seemingly closed, since attitudes and effort and interest and so on would be hard to measure.

Me:
We cannot falisfy them, but then, an agnostic cannot possibly rule out that those experiences and the beliefs built from them are not useful.

You:

I never said they weren't useful, that's another arguement entirely. I said they were worthless, as foundations for belief. Look:
So,you are arguing that some things that are useful are worthless?

You can't even know if the belief is true. You can't know if their experiences would also lead to your belief. You can't know if their beliefs are based on true and accurately interpreted experiences and also lead to positve changes and actions (such as maintaing their practices or whatever). As an agnostic, and given the problem of other minds, you cannot know these things.

So, you cannot know if they are worthless or not. And you also cannot know if one day they can be confirmed or falsified. Who knows what science will one day be able to demonstrate
Last edited by Karpel Tunnel on Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Fixed Cross » Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:04 pm

Like setting an egg on its tip.

Or hitting a baseball out of the stadium.

Lucid dreaming is by these measures very easy to induce. But indeed you need to want to do it.

I am not spoiling this by giving out methods. But here is a video where I think I do.

The strong do what they can, the weak accept what they must.
- Thucydides
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:07 pm

Fixed Cross wrote:Like setting an egg on its tip.

Or hitting a baseball out of the stadium.

Lucid dreaming is by these measures very easy to induce. But indeed you need to want to do it.

I am not spoiling this by giving out methods. But here is a video where I think I do.
Easy for some, not for others. And for a long time they did not have a way to prove it was real to people like Tab. Then they developed a method. People forget we are in the middle of learning about things.
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Tab » Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:54 pm

phyllo wrote:
There is no way, okay, that we have discovered 'so far' in what..? 200,000 years, to consistently experience god. As in 'do A, recieve god'. Actually, I dunno, maybe I've been out of the loop too long. Do you know a 100%, sure-fire way of experiencing god..? No cheating, it has to be the exact same experience of god as you would get if you and I followed the exact same sequence of behaviour or thought process or drugs or transcranial magnetic stimulation or argh, yoga pose or diet or magic words or fungal infection or near-fatal accident or tantric sexual marathon.
This is it.

Birth, life, death.

Birds in the sky, fish in the steams, the wind in the grass, the ground under your feet ...


I was born, don't remember it. Life, living it, haven't experienced god. Death, I'll let you know, or not.

Saw a bird, it was a bird. Not god. Saw a fish, not god. Felt wind, not god. Saw grass, not god. Walked on ground, not god.

Phyllo, seriously, what a giant pile of shit that post was. Why did you bother..? What purpose did it serve..?
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Tab » Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:37 pm

Hey Karpel, Sorry, but I always know the debate's over when I can't be bothered to do anything but quote everything and add comments. Despite that, thanks, it was a good conversation while it lasted.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
Tab wrote:There is no way, okay, that we have discovered 'so far' in what..? 200,000 years, to consistently experience god. As in 'do A, recieve god'. Actually, I dunno, maybe I've been out of the loop too long. Do you know a 100%, sure-fire way of experiencing god..? No cheating, it has to be the exact same experience of god as you would get if you and I followed the exact same sequence of behaviour or thought process or drugs or transcranial magnetic stimulation or argh, yoga pose or diet or magic words or fungal infection or near-fatal accident or tantric sexual marathon.

If not, then the observational and experiential avenues of approaching god seem closed to us. Half of empiricism gone out the window. We are left then, with theoretical and logical approaches.


Do you know a 100% surefire way to experience lucid dreams? that everyone will have the same experience? Well, it has been scientifically demonstrated that many can do this. What if it has elements of skill and attitude involved? What if not everyone can? Does this mean it is not real? No. What if you have to want to? What if different individuals require different amounts of effort? or the right coach.

Don't care, lucid dreams, which I accept is a thing and have had myself, are not relevant to this conversation. The popular conceptualization of God is as an external fixed point of commonality, or nothing, whereas dreams are necessarily individualized, and internal.

Experiments of things scientific consensus consider real do not have 100 percent results. There are always anomolies or at least many things with in testing are still considered real.

Yup, no problem with this. However again, they are repeatable enough to have utility. Are you really arguing that god cannot be dismissed as real because sometimes a pregnancy test will throw out a false positive..? Wow.

Or, no one can become a great basketball player by training because not everyone can.

Or, no one can become capable of Eureka moments through long mathematical study, since not everyone can.

Somehow you conclude that because not everyone can do something, then empirical approachs are closed to us(????) No, they would be closed to some. Or seemingly closed, since attitudes and effort and interest and so on would be hard to measure.

:D What is the relevance of these observations..? Are you saying that god is not an inclusive being..? That only people with a certain shoe-size or online chess rating can experience his glory..?

Me:
We cannot falisfy them, but then, an agnostic cannot possibly rule out that those experiences and the beliefs built from them are not useful.

You:

I never said they weren't useful, that's another arguement entirely. I said they were worthless, as foundations for belief.


So, you are arguing that some things that are useful are worthless?

Yes. And I painstakingly explained the difference already. Worthless in isolation, useful - simply as being seen to be held - in the collective. Which is why they persist.

You can't even know if the belief is true. You can't know if their experiences would also lead to your belief. You can't know if their beliefs are based on true and accurately interpreted experiences and also lead to positve changes and actions (such as maintaing their practices or whatever). As an agnostic, and given the problem of other minds, you cannot know these things.

So, you cannot know if they are worthless or not. And you also cannot know if one day they can be confirmed or falsified. Who knows what science will one day be able to demonstrate.


Yeah. I read that and just saw, "Okay Tab, you've reduced me to babbling about 'mer-mer you don't know nuffin' you wrong brah'." It is possible to come to reasonable beliefs based on imperfect but observationally consistent knowledge. It is impossible to come to reasonable beliefs when literally there is no consistent theoretical or observational knowledge whatsoever. I know this, and you know this. That you can't face admitting it is your problem.

Anyway, cheers. Fun while it lasted.

Oh and,

General Karpel wrote:people like Tab.


Nice. If you can't beat 'em, generalize them away. Low blow bro.
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Re: Atheists should shut up!

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Fri Feb 28, 2020 7:02 am

Tab, here's the problem for me.

You're a scattered poster and you are shifting onus.
I point out problems with YOUR claim that no unfalsifiable claim has value (they are worthless according to you).

And in posts like this...

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=190138&p=2760673#p2760664
You are demanding that religious practices must be valuable to EVERYONE. That the methods must be foolproof for everyone, which modern medicine does not achieive,
but more importantly, it is an onus shift.

I am saying that your belief, that all unfalsiable beliefs are worthless is not something you could possibly know.

And then you go all over the place. Now I contributed to this by taking a number of angles on falsification and also by pursuing a number of angels or examples. So, I bear some responsibility.

But to me this kind of flailing, onus shifting is just not worth my time because you are evading actually supporting your own statement. And it can't be defended. And no one follows it, though albeit many people with beliefs of less weight than that of a deity. An agnostic, who does not know if God exists, by his own assertion, cannot possibly then know if some theists are experiencing God and learning from God and getting benefits from that deity. This does not in any way represent an argument for why that agnostic should take up a religion or believe in God. It is not a proof of God. It just means

you
can't
as
an
agnostic
rule out
these things
as
worthless.

And then your even broader claim that no unfalsifiable belief could be worth anything, is confused. Because all humans work on beliefs that they have not checked to see if they are falsifiable or if they will be falsified via testing.

Now if all you mean by 'worthless' is that other people do not get strong evidence from unfalsifiable beliefs, well, even that fails and it is a poor use of the word 'worthless'. Because if someone meets someone who, for example, seems at peace and finds out this has to do with their belief in God and practices, and that person takes up said practices and comes to belief in God, they did not work from strong evidence, but nevertheless may, for all you know, have come in contact with a deity and received benefits, in even deeper practices, via the assertions of and experience the first theist. Of course Nature journal, given its epistemology, which is a very effective one for creating scientific knowledge, has not burden to publish such a story as a scientific paper. But that has nothing to do with your claim that such things are worthless. You need to be agnostic about that also. Or you are not an agnostic, you are a specific kind of atheist who is claiming to know a lot of things, including other minds and what is possible for a deity should one exist.

And the general assertion that unfalsifiable claims are worthless does not even hold in the history of science and has strong critics within both science and philosophy. It's not what has happened, unfalsifiable claims have in fact helped advance science at times, and well, the other stuff in the articles earlier linked.

People throw falsifiablity around like it is one of the tend commandments, especially in philosophy forums, but it isn't.
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