However, jaimehlers OP not only deserved addressing, but needed addressing, as I could see the direction that he was more than likely to take it in. Which of course he did, and that direction needed to be challenged.
I don't disagree with this. Still it could easily have been addressed by stating that "default position" in this case simply means "natural developmental starting point" nothing more nothing less. "Non-belief" in basically everything is just a universally human initial point, while all "belief" is acquired later. But what can anybody possibly learn from that, regarding the validity or invalidity of a certain worldview?
So given the OP question, it should be written as this then: "Is atheism the natural developmental starting point?" ...Is this what you're suggesting ?
If so, then I can agree with that, as it still allows the question to rightly be proved in the affirmative and true and stays somewhat in the context that it was originally intended.
What can be learned ? The main thing being, that we are not born with predilections for gods. That's huge.
To me it is the same thing as arguments about "natural" and "artificial". It boils down to an argument from emotion. "Natural" is by no means in every case superior to "artificial", still many people equate "natural" with "good". So when an atheist brings the argument that "atheism is the default" to the table, it is - consciously or not - in order to point out that it is ok, because - Hey! - babies are in the default state, and there can't possibly be anything wrong with what babies are or represent, can it? The theist who argues against that on the other hand falls for just this emotional argumentation bs and tries to turn the tables somehow or simply deny what in reality is a trivial fact. Again this happens not necessarily conscious. It is possibly just the vague but nagging feeling in the back of ones head that a human default can only be justifiably assumed for newborns or babies, and that it somehow would be "wrong" to attribute a default that one rejects as an adult to a baby. Babies can't be atheists, because that would make baby Jesus cry (and an atheist).
Perhaps for you it would be an emotional bs
argument, but it's not for me. For me, as always, it is a logical argument trying to establish which reasoning and points are valid. Whether its trivial or not should have been decided before hand by jaimehlers
as he started the thread and took on the newborn aspect of it. I was simply participating and challenging his line of thought.
So the debate, discussion and exchange of arguments goes round and round in circles while every party basically accepts that - yes - babies do not have beliefs, and that therefore a lack of belief (and knowledge and reasoning) is indeed a universal human default.
Indeed they are without beliefs, knowledge, and reasoning, which is
a universal human default. Well put. But
, please remember that the word atheism
was used originally, and therefore it should not be eliminated from the discussion and relpaced with other words. The original question, and the way it was worded, must be addressed in the context that it was intended to be.
So why drag this out? One question and one answer does suffice to end all debating, in my opinion:
Q: Is belief a universal default for newborns and thus all humans?
A: No, without any ifs and buts.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Yes! and that was accomplished back 2 pages ago Here:
Is atheism the default position?
fishjie: Being able to believe in a concept requires being able to understand it (i.e, have an understanding of it, even if not a perfect one). If you don't have the latter, then the former is meaningless. Both lack of belief and disbelief in something require at least some understanding of the something in question to be meaningful statements, otherwise it's more properly described as ignorance of belief.
No no no !! Come on man, get thinking straight jaimeh !
Newborns are atheists. Period.
The second that Newborns come into this world they possess an utter lack of information with regards to the supernatural and gods. They have zero information of the concept of gods and therefore are without not only the information of the concept, but also the belief that could go along with it. A-Theist: Without-belief in gods. Newborns then are by default in the atheist position because of the total lack of information and beliefs about gods. All of them. Each and every newborn.
A newborn cannot form a mental image of an abstract idea as complex as a god, so please knock it off with the idea that a newborn's lack of belief would therefore require it to have an understanding of the abstract idea of a supernatural entity. Nonsense. Being able to believe in a concept and to understand it, is preceded by having the cognitive power to do so. Newborns have not yet developed that power at birth and must through the gathering of information and perceptions wait until that power is there to form opinions and make choices.
A newborn doesn't suffer from ignorance of belief, it merely lacks the information required, and has yet to develop the cognitive power, to form opinions and beliefs on abstract ideas or otherwise. Newborns cannot form opinions or make conscious choices on the abstract idea of gods as they have no information on them. It is through this lack that all newborns are atheists
Thankfully, nature gives all humans a preselected position at birth with regards to the idea of gods. Atheist.
It should have been over right there, but of course The Black Knight
still wanted to do battle !
A point i do think warrants further discussion is the following though:
My very next post acknowledged that this position was flawed ("A newborn is neither atheist nor theist, as those terms both imply a conscious decision;My atheism doesn't involve a conscious decision and my young age theism didn't either. Both were and are simply the result of experience and perception. I do not have any ability to decide on or choose my beliefs or non-beliefs. Decision and choice only work in the realm of "action" not in the realm of "belief". To use a modified version of a Schopenhauer quote: "Man can choose according to his beliefs but he can not choose his belief."
As I pointed out, jaimehlers
reasoning is flawed if we're sticking to context.
But respectfully, Schopenhauer, brilliant as he may have been, and you if you agree, which appears you do, are out to lunch with that one.
We do indeed have the ability to choose whether to accept or reject beliefs formed by our perceptions or proposed by others. Belief is about acceptance
and making a decision and choice that something is true. Beliefs are created by and based on perceptions and personal experience and then possibly accepted as true by conscious choice. When it comes to beliefs or non-beliefs it's all
about choice, and making the decision of whether to believe then to be true or false.
We cannot be force fed beliefs. We have a very strict faculty that guards against that and sifts our beliefs for us. Reason. And a choice is then made out of that faculty.
However, as we've seen here at WWGHA, faulty reasoning produces choices to hold faulty beliefs as true.
To believe or not believe is itself
Name me one potential belief that presents itself to us by perception, that cannot
have the choice to perform the action of acceptance or rejection applied to it ?