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  3. Creation vs. Atheism

The fact that there are still people who believe in the fairy tales of religion is a stark reminder that human civilization is still in its bawling, nappy-shitting infancy.

At least we're heading in the right direction. Before 1859 (Darwin) religious belief was the default position for everyone. Now in the UK around 25% of people identify as non-religious! Perhaps we could hope that before the year 3000, we will have put these infantile ideas to bed for good.

--Quote-- @Kaynight1

Thank god I’m an atheist.
--End of Quote--

Why would you thank someone who you don't believe in?? It is the usual logic from an atheist.

Most people here, including the original poster, don't really seem to understand the definitions of the terms they are debating about and keep misrepresenting the opposite side in order to make their own side sound more logical.

First, creationism isn't the opposite of atheism. Theism is. Creationists are only a very specific subgroup of theists. Not all religious people are creationists.

Second, atheism isn't a belief, it is a lack of belief. When someone is an atheist, it simply means that they don't believe in a God and it means nothing more. It doesn't tell you anything about wether or not they bilieve in evolution or the Big Bng or something else supernatural that isn't God etc. Those beliefs differ from atheist to atheist and you'd have to ask each individual to know. The only thing that they all have in common is the lack of belief in God. So stop saying that Atheism is a form of religion cause it's the exact opposite, it's the lack of one. It includes no sets of beliefs or ideas on its own.

@havfanridindis

Excellent point regarding everything you said except in terms of "atheism isn't a belief." If we learn anything from Nietzsche and Wittgenstein then we certainly learn that many seemingly "negative" propositions affirm the inherent negation. For example, atheism is not merely a lack of some form of theism, it is by contrast an affirmation that theism is NOT real. Atheism affirms through faith that God is not real!...but everything else you said is right on!

#304

Good point. The problem of atheism is not defining it as lack of belief, because this would be a mere technical definition. The problem is that an atheist then would go on and create a self identification out of this. Doing so they would fall into the trap you pointed out very correctly.

I think one could say instead:

"I'm a constructivist."

"I'm a verificationist."

These don't refer to belief, they don't use negation, but rather they refer to something very palpable and positive. They say that I like objects that I can construct. I like theories that I can verify. So they a carry a positive self identification.

The problem with all that, is how you derive morality from constructivism / verificationism.

You can't and this is where religion comes in.

@TheLordOfLight

I get what you're saying and I used to think that myself for a time. But then I decided to look up some defintions to be able to correctly identify myself and people I encounter.

What you're reffering to is a specific subdevision of atheism called "strong atheism" There are many different types. In the general sense of the word, the disbelief in the positive claim does NOT imply belief in its negation. It's a thing that a lot of people confuse.

Here's the Wikipedia definiton of Atheism in the broader sense and then more specific types of it. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism

"Atheism is, in the broadest sense, the absence of belief in the existence of deities. Less broadly, atheism is the rejection of belief that any deities exist. In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities."

Another example are implicit atheists who simply haven't learned enough on the topic, let alone be in a position to believe either positive or negative claims.

http://www.humanreligions.info/types_of_atheism.html

"Implicit atheist (lower case atheism) is a person who has not yet learned about god(s), theism or religion. All people are born implicit atheists."

"Strong atheist and positive atheist are both words for a gnostic atheist, although not all gnostic atheists are completely sure that gods don't exist - many are only quite sure."

"Weak atheists are agnostic atheists. They lack belief in gods, but don't think it is sensible to say that gods definitely can't exist."

So in essence, what you're saying applies to some atheists but you can't simply assume the person you're talking to affirms the negative proposition just because they identified themselves as atheists. You have to ask specifically. Of course you could just ask each person to describe their position cause not many have looked that deep into definitions. But the misconceptions about what atheism is are so widespread that by far the most people you'll encounter will just go on to assume your beliefs right after you say you're an atheist and you can't have an honest discussion like that. So I clear it up whenever I can.

@lishadowapps

You don't derive morality from constructivism / verificationism, at least from what I understood about them(cause it's my first time hearing those words and had to look them up) There are many ways to derive morality that don't depend on religion.

My personal way of understanding morality is through secular huamanism, a position perfectly compatible with atheism that basis the morality in the overall "well being" of humans collectively and hence individually as we're all part of societies. That way there's no absolute moral law or divine rule that dictates what's right and what's not, only human intelligence giving us that ability to decide which actions will benefit us and which will not.

To me, the belief that morality is tied with religion is as supersticious as all its other claims. As humans, we are capable of being moral on our own, through our own understanding of the world. Religion takes that away from us and attributes it to a divine being, giving all the credits to him, when in reality it's all our doing.

@havfanridindis
Yeah...that's a valid point! I was unaware of the 'strong' atheist vs 'implicit' and so forth. Certainly as atheism has evolved we have a broader spectrum of defined categories that people can fall into.

I think aside from certain atheists who may be very aware of exactly what they mean by claiming to be 'atheists,' most atheists either merely strongly oppose "organized religion" or strongly oppose the idea of God. And calling oneself merely an atheist is merely more expedient as opposed to defining oneself in a more in depth and exact definition. It's perhaps simply more 'trendy' to be an atheist as opposed to a specific kind of "Agnostic" who believes in the power of prayer through faith, but also opposes the hypothesis of a loving God....etc.

@TheLordOfLight

Yeah, definitions do get a bit too complicated sometimes. If only people could just ask the other person to describe their position before engaging in a debate, there would be not even be a need for all those formal ways of adreessing each type of position.

The last thing I want to point out is that agnosticism doesn't contradict with atheism cause in your last sentence you made it sound like there are two totally different things. In fact, the majority of atheists as far as I know are agnostic atheists, includung myself. I simply see no good reason to believe that a diety exists, but I don't claim to know that it doesn't nor that it is impossible for one to exist.

@TheLordOfLight

"I think aside from certain atheists who may be very aware of exactly what they mean by claiming to be 'atheists,' most atheists either merely strongly oppose "organized religion" or strongly oppose the idea of God."

This is, IMHO, a very American way of looking at things, because the United States is a very religious country with an aggressive, organized and political Christian culture. Being an atheist is by its nature countercultural. If you look at places with high levels of irreligion like the Scandinavian countries, the UK, Japan, or even Canada, what you're more likely to find is that most people just don't care about religion or God or whatnot. It's something that they just don't interact with with any frequency, and don't have particularly strong opinions about.

@Jzyehoshua

Sorry, I don't really have the time or energy to go through and rebut your entire earlier post in detail.

I do want to mention, though, that I feel you are misunderstanding the process of scientific discovery in #256. Yes, all of those issues are more-or-less well-known. But so what? Science is a self-correcting process of approaching truth. The theory of evolution as understood today is vastly different from how it was first conceived by Darwin--the broad outlines are the same, but Darwin didn't know about DNA, let alone genomics or proteomics which are currently revolutionizing this field. Darwin's work is essentially a historical artefact at this point... it isn't necessary or sufficient to understand what we now know, and parts of that original work are definitely just wrong. That's fine. Scientific theories are constantly being refined to take into account new data and observations... sometimes this accommodation is easy, sometimes it requires a significant paradigm shift. So yes, it may well turn out that the Big Bang theory as we currently understand it is completely wrong. It may be that once we are able to pin down quantum gravity that we'll be able to tease out a better version of the Big Bang theory that can account for things like Dark Energy in a more natural way. Or maybe it will be something else. his is not a problem. This is how science is supposed to work. And for all the flaws the system may have, on the whole it works extremely well. The number of known unknowns--phenomena that seem inexplicable to us--have been diminishing rapidly over the past two centuries. Problems that stumped us for generations are now taught as basic knowledge to gradeschoolers. And hopefully the problems that stump us today will become basic knowledge to our grandchildren. What we don't do is throw up our hands and say "These problems are insurmountable, the only thing to do is turn to ancient mythology". If scientists in the past had done that, we would not today have electricity or vaccines or antibiotics or cell phones or satellites or basically any other modern convenience.