Author Topic: Rationality and Religion: Debating Anti-Theists  (Read 9833 times)

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Offline Ultimate Paragon

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Rationality and Religion: Debating Anti-Theists
« on: October 02, 2015, 09:29:25 am »
To continue from where Art and I left off.

Nothing was said about God's existence until you brought it up.  A negative claim is still a claim.
I said there's no evidence for god's existence, and therefore believing in it is nonsense. That's how it works. When it comes to assessing whether or not something exists, you don't need negative proof, you just need a lack of positive proof. It's why we don't take the idea of a teapot orbiting the sun somewhere between Jupiter and Saturn, or invisible pink unicorns running around seriously. The fact that god somehow deserves special privilege in your book in that in this one specific case, it's suddenly up to nonbelievers to prove that it's irrational and not the other way around is exactly the kind of bullshit that I mentioned in my earlier post.

Really now, by your logic, I could claim that I am King of the Space Fairies, a race of wizard goblins who live on Mars, and as long as you bring up how fucking stupid that is first, then suddenly magical space wizards is the default and it's now up to you to disprove it, rather than on me to prove it.

The difference is that I have actual evidence that you are not, in fact, King of the Space Fairies.

Oh? Who is, then? You?

No.

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Fact is, plenty of rational people are theists, and plenty of irrational people are atheists.  Neither side can seriously claim superiority when it comes to rationality.

Furthermore, not everybody is an atheist for rational reasons.  There are many, many people who become atheists because of emotional reasons, because of some ideology, or just because religion doesn't speak to them.
I said atheism, as in the idea itself, is more rational than theism, not that an individual being atheist is necessarily proof that they're a rational person. Of course, whether individual atheists are overall rational people is irrelevant to that point, and to say otherwise is a textbook ad hom. It's on the same level as people who say "vegetarianism is bad because Hitler was a vegetarian".

That said, though, theism is, at the very least, strong evidence that someone is not rational. In much the same way as your example of an atheist who believes in ghosts or a non-theistic religion.

Okay, so you're a bigot.  You might as well claim that bisexuality is strong evidence that somebody's a pervert.  Moreover, dismissing literally billions of people as "irrational" simply because of their faith is itself irrational.

Furthermore, it's not ad hominem to question whether atheism is inherently more rational.  I thought atheists were supposed to be skeptics.

He never said atheists were more rational. Merely that, atheism, as a concept, is more rational than theism. There is a difference.

Yes, and I'm questioning whether his premise is actually true.  I'll get more into that later.

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Yet again, we see you making a claim without any evidence to back it up.  Like it or not, saying religion is nonsense is a claim.  You're the one making the claims here, so you're the one who has to back them up.
Nope. "God exists" is not the default. Who mentions it first is irrelevant.

No, it isn't.  You made a claim, you need to back it up.  Simple as that.  If you were merely doubting the existence of God, I wouldn't be pointing it out.  But since you're making actual claims, I'm asking you to stand behind them, rather than retreating to your "I don't need to prove anything" motte.

Your constant claims that "atheists don't need to prove anything" when you keep making all these bold claims are a prime example of the same type of double standard you accuse theists of having.  Just like how you keep talking about ad hominem while simultaneously implying I'm mentally defective.  It seems to me that you're being hypocritical.  Or are you just afraid of having to back up your claims?

Er, you (generally) can't prove negatives, UP. 'S why burden of proof is on positive claims. If I were to claim there aren't invisible, intangible elephants hiding in my closet, would I need to prove it, or would it be accepted at face value? What if I claimed there were? Do you see the difference in the two situations? (I swear I'm not trying to be snide or facetious, I honestly want to know. Also, sorry for the non-linky quote-bits, I just inserted ends and beginnings manually. Vita posting, and I didn't wanna type that whole line out twice. As fkr me screwing with your name, well, I'm bored, lazy, and its 1:30 in the fuckin morning here. Sorry.)

That's okay.

But anyway, the problem with your analogy is that it's based on circular reasoning.  See, you presume that it's not the case, so you're presuming what you set out to prove.

Go on then, let's hear it.

We've sent rovers and the like to Mars, and have thus far found zero evidence that the Martian environment can support any life above the microscopic level.

What Svata said. I was talking about the idea itself. Blind faith in a magical sky fairy based on a loose anthology of bronze age myths is inherently less rational than not having blind faith in a magical sky fairy based on a loose anthology of bronze age myths. Other beliefs and behaviour of people who believe in either is irrelevant.

Is it really so irrational?  There are some reasons to believe there's actual evidence in favor of God's existence.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof
Quote from: Wikipedia
When two parties are in a discussion and one affirms a claim that the other disputes, the one who affirms has a burden of proof to justify or substantiate that claim. An argument from ignorance occurs when either a proposition is assumed to be true because it has not yet been proved false or a proposition is assumed to be false because it has not yet been proved true.
Quote from: Wikipedia
A negative claim is a colloquialism for an affirmed claim that asserts the non-existence or exclusion of something. There are many proofs that substantiate negative claims in mathematics, science, and economics including Arrow's impossibility theorem.

A negative claim may exist as a counter point to a previous claim. A proof of impossibility or an evidence of absence argument are typical methods to fulfil the burden of proof for a negative claim.
I strongly recommend you read up on how burden of proof works. Arguing about things you clearly don't understand isn't exactly the best way to help your case. Come back when you understand why burden of proof is on the positive claim, rather than who brought it up first.

Also, if you're offended with me pointing out that something you believe in is irrational, again, that's your problem. Christians acting like they're entitled to validation from everyone else is exactly the kind of bullshit I was talking about.

*Smiles evilly*  You just painted a giant target on your back, and you probably don't even realize it.  To quote your own source:

Quote from: Wikipedia
An argument from ignorance occurs when either a proposition is assumed to be true because it has not yet been proved false or a proposition is assumed to be false because it has not yet been proved true.

You're assuming God doesn't exist simply because nobody's proven He exists.  Your own citation is undermining your point, arguing at cross purposes with you.

And as for your other one:

Quote from: Wikipedia
A negative claim may exist as a counter point to a previous claim. A proof of impossibility or an evidence of absence argument are typical methods to fulfil the burden of proof for a negative claim.

You have yet to use either of these methods.  Instead, you're taking absence of evidence to be the same as evidence of absence, which is a massive fallacy.  Maybe you should have read these sources more thoroughly before using them to back you up.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2015, 09:31:19 am by Ultimate Paragon »

Offline guizonde

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Re: Rationality and Religion: Debating Anti-Theists
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2015, 09:55:16 am »
in the finest tradition of tl;dr, there's no common ground to be established between theists and anti-theists, except respecting the other's positions. i'm an atheist leaning towards anti-theism (when it goes into hardcore proselytizing), but that doesn't mean i cannot talk with theists. i respect their position even if i'm convinced they're in the wrong. if they don't spew their religion on me, i won't try and bash their faith. simple as that. in other words, live and let live. you'd be getting nowhere fast doing so.

and just like there's asshole fundies, there's asshole atheists and antitheists. common signs include wearing a fedora, hanging out on the internet, and being called ironchew, among others.

just because a few assholes ruin the image does not mean we're all the same. that would be boring. and depressing. and aggravating. and nerve-wracking.and you're still reading this, aren't you?
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Re: Rationality and Religion: Debating Anti-Theists
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2015, 10:05:48 am »
Not anti-theist (mostly). Was just questioning your arguments. Also, I presume nothing. I merely asked if one had a burden to prove there weren't elephants, and if one had a burden to prove of there were. In a situation where neither is possible, I would assume there weren't, true. Starting point of skepticism, and all.


Also, you say that there is evidence of god. Would you care to eludicate it, or are you just going to say there is, and leave it at that? I am a fairly open-minded guy, if you can give me some hard proof, I'll believe you.
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Offline mellenORL

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Re: Rationality and Religion: Debating Anti-Theists
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2015, 10:15:41 am »
Quote
You have yet to use either of these methods.  Instead, you're taking absence of evidence to be the same as evidence of absence, which is a massive fallacy.  Maybe you should have read these sources more thoroughly before using them to back you up.
(my bolds)
You clearly never had proper classroom education about classical, formal logic, or as it applies to formal debate, which is typical for most Americans nowadays, unfortunately. The words I bolded in the quote are verbatim slogans, or "talking points" used by creationists and are found in some home school curricula. Memes like that have a nice ring to them, and sound good to an audience that wants to be told what they want to hear. However, this leaves you at an educational disadvantage as much as if you were never taught any maths. It makes it difficult to have a meaningful discourse with you on certain subjects.

I'm going to try to make an illustrative metaphor. Imagine a large block of limestone, just delivered to a sculptor's studio. Someone there tells the sculptor that the form of a pyramid is in the stone block, they need only see it in their heart and mind, and find it with their chisels. A person can view the world, and perceive patterns or have feelings evoked by what they see in the world. They might attribute those patterns or feelings to a creator entity, especially if they were taught all their life that there Is a deliberate pattern. Or, they might not. A stone, just as the world, exists as it is in space time. Potential change in form can occur over eons of time to that stone, or a sculptor can come along and shape that stone quickly into most anything they want it to look like. The shape the sculptor's work arrives at was always "within", or potential, inside the original block of stone. But it was never more likely than any other shape the sculptor may have chosen. Patterns can be perceived, as well as patterns can be applied. It is human nature to mentally apply patterns and meaning onto the environment, as it is an ancient survival instinct for avoiding danger and finding sustenance.
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Re: Rationality and Religion: Debating Anti-Theists
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2015, 10:28:13 am »
You have yet to use either of these methods.  Instead, you're taking absence of evidence to be the same as evidence of absence, which is a massive fallacy.  Maybe you should have read these sources more thoroughly before using them to back you up.

You bias is showing.

We have evidence of absence. Lots of it. That's what makes concluding that God does not exist a rational conclusion and makes its corollary that believing in God irrational.

We have a very well rounded and extensive evolutionary theory that is tested down to a microscopic level with a number of scientific disciplines. That disputes the existence your God.

We have multiple accurate ways of determining the age of the planet as well as animate and inanimate objects found on it. Even at multiple orders of magnitude off, it still disputes the existence of your God.

We can trace the co-opting and absorption of other myths and religions by Christianity, point out provable factual errors, and show where scripture has been re-written very early on for political motivations. These things all demonstrate malleability of the supposedly inflexible which disputes the existence of your God. 


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Re: Rationality and Religion: Debating Anti-Theists
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2015, 11:40:57 am »
Man alive are you so thin skinned that someone, on an internet message board, posts or says something about God not existing and you just go ballistic?  How sad.

Ironbite-very sad.

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Re: Rationality and Religion: Debating Anti-Theists
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2015, 12:15:41 pm »
Am I right in guessing that we're specifically talking about the God of the YEC? Because that's the one I can think of right off the bat that is disproven by all that stuff.
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Re: Rationality and Religion: Debating Anti-Theists
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2015, 01:46:47 pm »
Nice to see Dynamic Dragon starting another anti-theist-bashing thread. Ahh, it's like the old days...

To start off, as an atheist, I'm only rejecting the claim by theists that any god exists. It's the null hypothesis; no further demonstration or proof of a negative is necessary. As an anti-theist, I'm asserting a claim that gods *do not* exist. The claim is positive, but it's not as big a sticking point as DD likes to think it is.

in the finest tradition of tl;dr, there's no common ground to be established between theists and anti-theists

Seriously? It's only one claim and its opposite in a dichotomy. People can have all sorts of other beliefs in common; it's not necessarily an issue as long as either one doesn't push the god concept on the other.

i'm an atheist leaning towards anti-theism (when it goes into hardcore proselytizing), but that doesn't mean i cannot talk with theists. i respect their position even if i'm convinced they're in the wrong. if they don't spew their religion on me, i won't try and bash their faith. simple as that. in other words, live and let live. you'd be getting nowhere fast doing so.and just like there's asshole fundies, there's asshole atheists and antitheists. common signs include wearing a fedora, hanging out on the internet, and being called ironchew, among others.

just because a few assholes ruin the image does not mean we're all the same. that would be boring. and depressing. and aggravating. and nerve-wracking.and you're still reading this, aren't you?

Well, since you brought me up...

I'm interested in which part of "live and let live" involves losing your shit and chasing JWs off with pitchforks.
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Re: Rationality and Religion: Debating Anti-Theists
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2015, 02:02:45 pm »
To continue from where Art and I left off.

I said there's no evidence for god's existence, and therefore believing in it is nonsense. That's how it works. When it comes to assessing whether or not something exists, you don't need negative proof, you just need a lack of positive proof. It's why we don't take the idea of a teapot orbiting the sun somewhere between Jupiter and Saturn, or invisible pink unicorns running around seriously. The fact that god somehow deserves special privilege in your book in that in this one specific case, it's suddenly up to nonbelievers to prove that it's irrational and not the other way around is exactly the kind of bullshit that I mentioned in my earlier post.

Really now, by your logic, I could claim that I am King of the Space Fairies, a race of wizard goblins who live on Mars, and as long as you bring up how fucking stupid that is first, then suddenly magical space wizards is the default and it's now up to you to disprove it, rather than on me to prove it.

The difference is that I have actual evidence that you are not, in fact, King of the Space Fairies.

Oh? Who is, then? You?

No.

Actually, I'm the King of the Space Fairies.
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Offline Ultimate Paragon

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Re: Rationality and Religion: Debating Anti-Theists
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2015, 02:06:58 pm »
You have yet to use either of these methods.  Instead, you're taking absence of evidence to be the same as evidence of absence, which is a massive fallacy.  Maybe you should have read these sources more thoroughly before using them to back you up.

You bias is showing.

We have evidence of absence. Lots of it. That's what makes concluding that God does not exist a rational conclusion and makes its corollary that believing in God irrational.

We have a very well rounded and extensive evolutionary theory that is tested down to a microscopic level with a number of scientific disciplines. That disputes the existence your God.

We have multiple accurate ways of determining the age of the planet as well as animate and inanimate objects found on it. Even at multiple orders of magnitude off, it still disputes the existence of your God.

We can trace the co-opting and absorption of other myths and religions by Christianity, point out provable factual errors, and show where scripture has been re-written very early on for political motivations. These things all demonstrate malleability of the supposedly inflexible which disputes the existence of your God.

No, you have evidence against the positions held by young-earth creationists and biblical literalists.  That doesn't dispute the existence of God, merely the beliefs of some of His followers.

Not anti-theist (mostly). Was just questioning your arguments. Also, I presume nothing. I merely asked if one had a burden to prove there weren't elephants, and if one had a burden to prove of there were. In a situation where neither is possible, I would assume there weren't, true. Starting point of skepticism, and all.

Also, you say that there is evidence of god. Would you care to eludicate it, or are you just going to say there is, and leave it at that? I am a fairly open-minded guy, if you can give me some hard proof, I'll believe you.

Not hard evidence, but a lot of scientists argue in favor of God's existence based on science.  For example, there is evidence to suggest that belief in God is hardwired in our brains and DNA.  Many scientists and philosophers have argued that programming for belief in a higher power is evidence in God's favor.

Man alive are you so thin skinned that someone, on an internet message board, posts or says something about God not existing and you just go ballistic?  How sad.

Ironbite-very sad.

Yeah, that's not even remotely how it happened. 

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Re: Rationality and Religion: Debating Anti-Theists
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2015, 02:08:11 pm »
To continue from where Art and I left off.

I said there's no evidence for god's existence, and therefore believing in it is nonsense. That's how it works. When it comes to assessing whether or not something exists, you don't need negative proof, you just need a lack of positive proof. It's why we don't take the idea of a teapot orbiting the sun somewhere between Jupiter and Saturn, or invisible pink unicorns running around seriously. The fact that god somehow deserves special privilege in your book in that in this one specific case, it's suddenly up to nonbelievers to prove that it's irrational and not the other way around is exactly the kind of bullshit that I mentioned in my earlier post.

Really now, by your logic, I could claim that I am King of the Space Fairies, a race of wizard goblins who live on Mars, and as long as you bring up how fucking stupid that is first, then suddenly magical space wizards is the default and it's now up to you to disprove it, rather than on me to prove it.

The difference is that I have actual evidence that you are not, in fact, King of the Space Fairies.

Oh? Who is, then? You?

No.

Actually, I'm the King of the Space Fairies.

My liege!


Not hard evidence, but a lot of scientists argue in favor of God's existence based on science.  For example, there is evidence to suggest that belief in God is hardwired in our brains and DNA.  Many scientists and philosophers have argued that programming for belief in a higher power is evidence in God's favor.
Oh. What about all those people who don't, then? Can't be hardwired very well.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2015, 02:13:04 pm by Svata »
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Offline Ironchew

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Re: Rationality and Religion: Debating Anti-Theists
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2015, 02:22:18 pm »
No, you have evidence against the positions held by young-earth creationists and biblical literalists.  That doesn't dispute the existence of God, merely the beliefs of some of His followers.

Gonna nitpick on this because I see it all the time from the wishy-washy group of theists. You're not securing any sort of intellectual superiority by evading the historical attributes of your god that have been proven false by scientific advances. All you're doing is playing god-of-the-gaps or, in the case of deists, defining your god into something that can never be observed.

You fall squarely into king-of-the-space-fairies territory there. All you've demonstrated is that your god concept is ill-defined and indistinguishable from a god that doesn't exist. Absence of evidence for invisible, intangible, and unobservable purple monkeys on Neptune is evidence of absence.
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Re: Rationality and Religion: Debating Anti-Theists
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2015, 02:49:17 pm »
Gonna nitpick on this because I see it all the time from the wishy-washy group of theists. You're not securing any sort of intellectual superiority by evading the historical attributes of your god that have been proven false by scientific advances. All you're doing is playing god-of-the-gaps or, in the case of deists, defining your god into something that can never be observed.

God-of-the-gaps is intellectually superior to plugging one's ears and "LALALALALALAICANTHEARYOU!"-ing.
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Re: Rationality and Religion: Debating Anti-Theists
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2015, 05:02:47 pm »
Nice to see Dynamic Dragon starting another anti-theist-bashing thread. Ahh, it's like the old days...

To start off, as an atheist, I'm only rejecting the claim by theists that any god exists. It's the null hypothesis; no further demonstration or proof of a negative is necessary. As an anti-theist, I'm asserting a claim that gods *do not* exist. The claim is positive, but it's not as big a sticking point as DD likes to think it is.

in the finest tradition of tl;dr, there's no common ground to be established between theists and anti-theists

Seriously? It's only one claim and its opposite in a dichotomy. People can have all sorts of other beliefs in common; it's not necessarily an issue as long as either one doesn't push the god concept on the other.

i'm an atheist leaning towards anti-theism (when it goes into hardcore proselytizing), but that doesn't mean i cannot talk with theists. i respect their position even if i'm convinced they're in the wrong. if they don't spew their religion on me, i won't try and bash their faith. simple as that. in other words, live and let live. you'd be getting nowhere fast doing so.and just like there's asshole fundies, there's asshole atheists and antitheists. common signs include wearing a fedora, hanging out on the internet, and being called ironchew, among others.

just because a few assholes ruin the image does not mean we're all the same. that would be boring. and depressing. and aggravating. and nerve-wracking.and you're still reading this, aren't you?

Well, since you brought me up...

I'm interested in which part of "live and let live" involves losing your shit and chasing JWs off with pitchforks.

See this?

This is why we have a don't be a dick rule. See you next week.
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Re: Rationality and Religion: Debating Anti-Theists
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2015, 06:50:49 pm »
Nice to see Dynamic Dragon starting another anti-theist-bashing thread. Ahh, it's like the old days...

To start off, as an atheist, I'm only rejecting the claim by theists that any god exists. It's the null hypothesis; no further demonstration or proof of a negative is necessary. As an anti-theist, I'm asserting a claim that gods *do not* exist. The claim is positive, but it's not as big a sticking point as DD likes to think it is.

in the finest tradition of tl;dr, there's no common ground to be established between theists and anti-theists

Seriously? It's only one claim and its opposite in a dichotomy. People can have all sorts of other beliefs in common; it's not necessarily an issue as long as either one doesn't push the god concept on the other.

i'm an atheist leaning towards anti-theism (when it goes into hardcore proselytizing), but that doesn't mean i cannot talk with theists. i respect their position even if i'm convinced they're in the wrong. if they don't spew their religion on me, i won't try and bash their faith. simple as that. in other words, live and let live. you'd be getting nowhere fast doing so.and just like there's asshole fundies, there's asshole atheists and antitheists. common signs include wearing a fedora, hanging out on the internet, and being called ironchew, among others.

just because a few assholes ruin the image does not mean we're all the same. that would be boring. and depressing. and aggravating. and nerve-wracking.and you're still reading this, aren't you?

Well, since you brought me up...

I'm interested in which part of "live and let live" involves losing your shit and chasing JWs off with pitchforks.

See this?

This is why we have a don't be a dick rule. See you next week.

Is there more to this that I don't know about?

All I see is a fairly mild rebuke to being called an asshole.

Gonna nitpick on this because I see it all the time from the wishy-washy group of theists. You're not securing any sort of intellectual superiority by evading the historical attributes of your god that have been proven false by scientific advances. All you're doing is playing god-of-the-gaps or, in the case of deists, defining your god into something that can never be observed.

God-of-the-gaps is intellectually superior to plugging one's ears and "LALALALALALAICANTHEARYOU!"-ing.

How does that work out in the long run? Ask Thor and Zeus what they're doing these days now that we've figured out how thunder and lightning really work.