Author Topic: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?  (Read 4438 times)

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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2012, 09:15:01 AM »
Quote
This is pure semantics (and more to the point, excessively literal)

Atheism at its core is EXACTLY what he defined it as. Of course the term 'atheist' may imply other qualities or even that being an 'atheist' is taken a stance and of course to taking a stance requires some kind of reason. Taking the stance, "I am an atheist" doesn't happen at birth. But that doesn't stop the term 'atheist' applying to any non-believers of gods, even where it seems most redundant. I suppose you could just look at two different types of atheists:
Those who lack a belief in the existence of any deities
Those who disbelieve in the existence of any deities.

'Disbelief' and 'lack of belief' are subtly different. Lack of belief is exactly what it describes - the non-existence of any kind of belief in any deities. Disbelief on the other hand is the inability or refusal of belief. Disbelief wouldn't apply to a new born. Lack of belief on the other hand does.

Yes, these are literal definitions, but they are also accurate and I think accuracy is important. I find myself quoting definitions of 'atheism' to theists so they do not have any misconceptions about what an atheist is. Perhaps it is a little ironic that it was a theist who originally referred me to that definition. There's a whole diversity of what makes an atheist an atheist and that's a message I like to get across. What the word 'atheism' means applies to newborns, but how it applies may be largely different to how it applies to you or me, regardless, it still applies...even if redundantly so.

All atheists are only tied together by one thing, their lack of belief on any deities, these other implied or non-literal meanings are only generalisations and only apply to a certain number of atheists.



One argument about atheism is that the term itself is a redundancy as we do not have 'a-unicornists' and that a special term isn't needed because somebody doesn't believe something.
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Offline 19yroldatheist

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #30 on: April 08, 2012, 09:21:14 AM »
Your pets know nothing of manmade religions, nor does a newborn child. But they have Oms. Read those links I posted about agency detection.

Do you think my dog or cat has an Om ?

Offline Whateverman

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #31 on: April 08, 2012, 09:33:24 AM »
Good responses, everyone - thanks.

Christians, when they bring the subject up, often stereotype atheists as having chosen to reject God for a variety of reasons - all of which are "bad".  Y'all are supposed to love sin or be angry at something/someone.  I contrast this with reasons for a person to become a Christian (e.g), and while there are many, they're not all "bad".  For example, your life circumstances might be such that you need something to look forward to, or to hope for (prison Christianity comes to mind, among other examples).

Depending on how you define "bad" or "reason" or "atheism", the question I asked here could have yielded notably inconsistent answers, and that's what y'all seem to have provided.  I don't necessarily think there's a right answer - but I haven't seen anyone ASK atheists themselves.

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Offline joebbowers

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #32 on: April 08, 2012, 09:43:29 AM »
Your pets know nothing of manmade religions, nor does a newborn child. But they have Oms. Read those links I posted about agency detection.

Do you think my dog or cat has an Om ?

Does your dog bark at thunder, or when a gust of wind slams a door shut, or when a chunk of snow breaks free from the roof and falls to the ground in a WHOOMP, or anything else other than strangers or other animals?

When he barks at strangers or other animals, that is simple agent detection. He perceives an agent, and rightly so.
When he barks at other things, that is his agent detection device over-reacting and causing him to perceive an agent where there is none. That agent is his Om. It is the intelligent being he creates in his mind that is responsible for all the things he doesn't understand, and he is barking to scare it away because he's thinking who knows what else it can do? If dogs were able to communicate complex ideas between one-another, they might compare their Oms and create a rudimentary thunder god who slams windows and occasionally makes a WHOOMP sound.

I don't know shit about cats. I'm pretty sure they're the devil.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2012, 09:49:39 AM by joebbowers »
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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #33 on: April 08, 2012, 09:51:41 AM »
Atheism at its core is EXACTLY what he defined it as. Of course the term 'atheist' may imply other qualities or even that being an 'atheist' is taken a stance and of course to taking a stance requires some kind of reason. Taking the stance, "I am an atheist" doesn't happen at birth. But that doesn't stop the term 'atheist' applying to any non-believers of gods, even where it seems most redundant. I suppose you could just look at two different types of atheists:
Those who lack a belief in the existence of any deities
Those who disbelieve in the existence of any deities.
As I said, it is a semantic point.  The fact that something is based on semantics doesn't make it wrong, just incomplete and/or less useful.

Defining an animal or a newborn as an atheist is technically correct, but that does not make it a useful definition.  That's why I said that newborns were not consciously atheistic, but simply ignorant.  That is much more useful for understanding why they develop as they do than saying they start as being atheists and then get "reasoned" into some other belief.  Or, to put it another way, it may be a technically correct statement, but it relies overmuch on semantics to be generally useful.

Quote from: Seppuku
'Disbelief' and 'lack of belief' are subtly different. Lack of belief is exactly what it describes - the non-existence of any kind of belief in any deities. Disbelief on the other hand is the inability or refusal of belief. Disbelief wouldn't apply to a new born. Lack of belief on the other hand does.
No argument, but as you say next, they're literal definitions, relying on semantics for their accuracy.  The fact that you have to parse them that finely for them to be accurate means they are not very useful in general.

Quote from: Seppuku
Yes, these are literal definitions, but they are also accurate and I think accuracy is important. I find myself quoting definitions of 'atheism' to theists so they do not have any misconceptions about what an atheist is. Perhaps it is a little ironic that it was a theist who originally referred me to that definition. There's a whole diversity of what makes an atheist an atheist and that's a message I like to get across. What the word 'atheism' means applies to newborns, but how it applies may be largely different to how it applies to you or me, regardless, it still applies...even if redundantly so.

All atheists are only tied together by one thing, their lack of belief on any deities, these other implied or non-literal meanings are only generalisations and only apply to a certain number of atheists.
This is kind of what I'm trying to get at.  Yes, you can say that babies are atheistic and be technically correct, but you then have to spend time elaborating on what you mean so that the person understands it, and you have to keep doing this with each person you talk to (and in some cases, you'll never convince them).  It's better in my opinion to use a term which may not be as technically accurate, but is more easily understood, such as that newborns are ignorant of belief.  Then you can limit your definition of "atheist" to something that doesn't require you to explain the specifics, semantics, and technicalities to everyone, and thus is more generally useful.

Quote from: Seppuku
One argument about atheism is that the term itself is a redundancy as we do not have 'a-unicornists' and that a special term isn't needed because somebody doesn't believe something.
I've heard that argument before.  It isn't as good as it sounds.  For example, let's say that you lived in a community of people who mostly believed that unicorns were real, and for whatever reason, you couldn't leave that community.  The minority who did not believe in unicorns, including you, would not want to be grouped in with the community of unicorn believers, so you would come up with a term for yourselves which would indicate your disbelief in unicorns.  It's the same reason any minority comes up with a unique term for themselves, to set themselves apart from the majority.

Offline Ice Monkey

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #34 on: April 08, 2012, 09:54:20 AM »

Does your dog bark at thunder, or when a gust of wind slams a door shut, or when a chunk of snow breaks free from the roof and falls to the ground in a WHOOMP, or anything else other than strangers or other animals?



I don't know shit about cats. I'm pretty sure they're the devil.

Cats are busy slamming doors and throwing snow at dogs.
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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #35 on: April 08, 2012, 10:02:19 AM »
I don't know shit about cats.
I'm fairly knowledgeable about cats, so I can answer that.  Yes, they do much the same thing.  For example, when a thunderclap sounds, many cats will lay their ears back, or they will run and hide under a chair or bed.  Exactly the sort of behavior they'd engage in with a larger or meaner animal that they could see, meaning they're associating the thunderclap with an unseen agent who must really be mean and nasty to be able to make such a loud and frightening noise.  They react in the same manner to the presence of a vacuum cleaner once they've heard the loud "howling" vacuum noise and the crackling sounds it makes when it pulls stuff off the carpet, by laying their ears back, hissing, and eventually running to get away from the scary noisy thing.  The only difference is that the agent isn't unseen in this case, but they still identify it as something frightening and potentially harmful.

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #36 on: April 08, 2012, 10:05:22 AM »
I'm fairly knowledgeable about cats, so I can answer that.  Yes, they do much the same thing.

Well there you have it. Cats can haz Oms too.
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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #37 on: April 08, 2012, 10:29:11 AM »
The fact that you have to parse them that finely for them to be accurate means they are not very useful in general.

When I say 'atheist' and 'atheism', generally I do mean them that accurately and often understand it that way when anybody else uses them terms, but I do at times find people have misconceptions. If I'm going make a generalisation I try to make use of modifiers - or make clear what 'kind' of the atheist I am talking about. I might say, "a gnostic atheist" or "humanists" or "an atheist who believes..." and so on. But of course, we're not perfect in our usage in words and I will make a generalisation just using the word 'atheist' without the extra clarity, if it's unclear then I will correct myself. I guess as you say, semantics.

If I talk about myself as an atheist, I might use my full title, agnostic atheist Buddhist. Unfortunately, because sometimes people don't understand what that actually means I have to explain it. A friend actually said, "how can you be all 3?" Because their understanding was that atheists are non-religious, Buddhism is a religion and an agnostic is the middle ground between 'theist' and 'atheist', therefore all 3 words are incompatible. It is possible to be a religious atheist, as religion doesn't require a god, Buddhism is a grey area, it is at times argued to be a religion due to its supernatural aspects, however, belief in those supernatural aspects is not a pre-requisite for being a Buddhist and because of it's non-dogmatic nature it is also considered a school of philosophy and 'agnostic' can be a modifier for either 'atheist' or 'theist'.  [edit] In fact, if I were to say, "I'm agnostic" (so you believe there might be a god), the implied meaning could be different to what's accurate, if I were to say, "I'm an atheist" (so you don't like religion?), the implied meaning could be inaccurate and if i were to say, "I'm a Buddhist" the implied meaning could be inaccurate, (oh, so you're religious?). Regardless of what I say, I'd have to explain myself if I didn't want the person to get the wrong idea. ;) I did tell a street preacher that I was a Buddhist though (wearing my pentagram t-shirt) and it threw him off balance a bit, but the outcome was the same, I'm going to hell if I don't accept Jesus Christ.  :laugh:

Yes, at times for me to use those 3 words together I have to explain it. But even I loosened my use of 'atheism' I'd still have to offer some explanations as to what I mean, because many still believe atheism = science, evolution, big bang theory, natural selection, humanism and so on, which is inaccurate. Particularly as there are theists who support the theories of science. So, if I have to make the extra effort to educate, then I will - there's a lot of misconceptions out there and if I need to explain myself, I will. I even go as far as correcting people on the capitalisation of the 'a' in atheism. It's a noun that describes a quality about us, not a name. However, I am not a grammar Nazi, so I don't go around quoting people and saying, "your grammar is all wrong", I pick at it when it's relevant and useful (or when a grammar Nazi makes a grammatical error).



But for normal modes of conversation, we hope that we all understand what we mean. If I say, "babies are atheists", I suspect you'll understand that I mean it in the literal context, they've not come to conscious decision about their position on god, but simply lack belief. Yes, I may have to clarify it to somebody else.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2012, 10:39:12 AM by Seppuku »
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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #38 on: April 08, 2012, 11:28:41 AM »
For the sake of argument, let's assume a hypothetical child encounters ideas of God from other folks, and after some indeterminate period of aging, decides to reject those ideas.  Would there be a scenario in which this child rejected those God ideas for bad (aka. illogical, irrational, incomplete, faulty, etc) reasons?

If "yes", please describe the scenario or reasoning

Yes.  If a person rejected god because they preferred to lead an immoral life, or if they were let down or hurt by someone in the church, or even if their reasoning was the hypocrisy in some or many christians, that's not a good reason to jettison god belief.  Why?  Well, I suggest that the "good" reasons for abandoning theism (the result of critical, logical, skeptical, rational inquiry and scrutiny) would have been untouched, and their irrational god belief could easily snap back into place if their poor reasons were addressed & settled.
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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #39 on: April 08, 2012, 11:29:54 AM »
Seppuku:  There are three things about that.  First off, I still do not think that it is useful to incorporate newborns and animals into the definition of "atheism".  I brought up the Muslim belief that newborns are automatically Muslim unless they're "convinced" otherwise by their parents or community for a reason.  It is not that I think that atheists would use that as an excuse to do anything, but the whole idea bothers me nonetheless.  Second, as I said, I don't think atheists need to do that, as it does not make atheism more compelling of an argument.  And third, the semantics don't really help matters any unless you're in a group which accepts those semantics generally.  For example, you can say that here, and most people will understand.  But what do you think someone not an atheist would think if you told them that babies are naturally atheists?  It's the same as talking about semantic computer terminology is confusing or misleading to people who don't understand it.

Offline 19yroldatheist

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #40 on: April 08, 2012, 11:31:06 AM »

I don't know shit about cats. I'm pretty sure they're the devil.

What kind of atheist doesn't like cats? Blasphemy!

« Last Edit: April 08, 2012, 11:38:10 AM by 19yroldatheist »

Offline Seppuku

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #41 on: April 08, 2012, 01:28:54 PM »
Seppuku:  There are three things about that.  First off, I still do not think that it is useful to incorporate newborns and animals into the definition of "atheism".  I brought up the Muslim belief that newborns are automatically Muslim unless they're "convinced" otherwise by their parents or community for a reason.  It is not that I think that atheists would use that as an excuse to do anything, but the whole idea bothers me nonetheless.  Second, as I said, I don't think atheists need to do that, as it does not make atheism more compelling of an argument.  And third, the semantics don't really help matters any unless you're in a group which accepts those semantics generally.  For example, you can say that here, and most people will understand.  But what do you think someone not an atheist would think if you told them that babies are naturally atheists?  It's the same as talking about semantic computer terminology is confusing or misleading to people who don't understand it.

On the first: I can understand the irritation, I mean obviously we don't want to be trying to make ourselves seem ignorant or that we view things through the bias of our atheistic views. And of course many of us like to distance ourselves from things we don't like the religious doing.
On the second: I don't think it makes atheism a more compelling argument either. I don't think I'd ever use it as a "pro-atheism" remark, though if somebody were to say, "we're all born Christian" or "we're all born Muslim" and try to make arguments how it is man straying from God or anything like that, I'd say, "we're all born atheists". It may require an explanation, but then I end up elaborating on many of my arguments so to me it doesn't make much of a difference...no doubt if I said, "we are all born non-believers" without making a reference to atheists I'd still need to explain myself because they've already got this view they were blessed by their God from birth.
On the third: In any situation I put myself in where something is not clear I am happy to explain myself. The more they learn about how I and other (though not all) atheists see themselves the better in my opinion, maybe they'd be less inclined to treat atheism as a belief system. Of course, if there's too many terms to 'educate' somebody on, I will try to find a common ground, so I do allow for some leeway on the matter, rather than getting too anal on definitions.

Interestingly, not so long ago on another internet forum, just by defining 'atheism' and the different types of atheists some theists learned new things and cleared up some of their misconceptions. It was useful because the same forum forbids religious discussion, but doesn't forbid mentioning religion or stating your beliefs, so it was actually a decent way of clearing up misconceptions without actually engaging somebody in a debate.
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Offline Ice Monkey

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #42 on: April 08, 2012, 01:43:50 PM »
... Interestingly, not so long ago on another internet forum, just by defining 'atheism' and the different types of atheists some theists learned new things and cleared up some of their misconceptions. It was useful because the same forum forbids religious discussion, but doesn't forbid mentioning religion or stating your beliefs, so it was actually a decent way of clearing up misconceptions without actually engaging somebody in a debate.
Cool.  It's nice to be able to talk to people who don't start the conversation with "Since you don't believe in anything...".
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Offline The Gawd

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #43 on: April 08, 2012, 05:25:32 PM »
@ joe

Whether semantics or not.

We dont need a reason to not believe in every possible myth out there. Whether it be a god myth or anything else. We need to be introduced to BS in order to believe in BS. the Christopher Columbus analogy works because just as we wouldnt know who he is without being told the same is true for god. Early religions worshipped the sun and animals. Those are all things we can see and really experience. That is different from being atheistic towards deities like yahweh. You MUST be told about those to have any knowledge of them.

Offline Seppuku

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #44 on: April 08, 2012, 05:26:01 PM »
I find usually the kinds of theists that don't do that are the ones who aren't making a big deal out of religion, though I doubt they'd necessarily respond well to the kind of scrutinising that goes on here. I know one of the mods on there likes to keep religion personal, he's happy if people aren't going out of the way to tell him his views are wrong and stupid and he'll respect others, definitely not intolerant, despite being a Fox News watching right wing Christian. Generally that's the attitude of the theists there, but they don't mind learning - I added a couple to instant messenger and they were asking all sorts of questions about me being an agnostic atheist Buddhist and found when it came to topics and Christians being dicks and on topics surrounding tolerance, we agreed.

We had another Fox News right wing Christian on there who believes tolerance is wrong and that homosexuals and Obama deserve to go to hell and evolution is a lie. Said moderator stood up for being tolerant to others and the intolerant dude retorted with the True Christian (TM) argument. Though with the same situation, I managed to get said intolerant Christian to like me and he said he could get along with me, despite me being a evolution supporting atheist. Then I told him that it's because I was being tolerant of him and as a result, he was now being tolerant of me. Sadly, he never replied to that message, when he was being tolerant of him, he seemed like a nice guy.
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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #45 on: April 08, 2012, 06:17:39 PM »
@ joe

Whether semantics or not.

We dont need a reason to not believe in every possible myth out there. Whether it be a god myth or anything else. We need to be introduced to BS in order to believe in BS. the Christopher Columbus analogy works because just as we wouldnt know who he is without being told the same is true for god. Early religions worshipped the sun and animals. Those are all things we can see and really experience. That is different from being atheistic towards deities like yahweh. You MUST be told about those to have any knowledge of them.
Okay, so who told the first adherent of YHWH about YHWH?  That's the flaw in your reasoning.  People are quite inherently capable of making up a mythical character on their own with no input from others.  In other words, they don't have to be introduced to BS in order to believe in BS, they're quite perfectly capable of dreaming up their own BS in the absence of critical thinking skills (such as children having "imaginary friends" and dreaming up "monsters under the bed" and "monsters in the closet").  This is why I said, and keep saying, that atheism requires critical thinking skills.  It really is immaterial to the discussion that newborns are technically atheists according to the literal definition of the term, because a child will inevitably come up with imaginary agents on their own with no input from others unless they are taught to think critically.

Offline The Gawd

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #46 on: April 08, 2012, 08:37:55 PM »
Okay, so who told the first adherent of YHWH about YHWH?  That's the flaw in your reasoning.  People are quite inherently capable of making up a mythical character on their own with no input from others.  In other words, they don't have to be introduced to BS in order to believe in BS, they're quite perfectly capable of dreaming up their own BS in the absence of critical thinking skills (such as children having "imaginary friends" and dreaming up "monsters under the bed" and "monsters in the closet").  This is why I said, and keep saying, that atheism requires critical thinking skills.  It really is immaterial to the discussion that newborns are technically atheists according to the literal definition of the term, because a child will inevitably come up with imaginary agents on their own with no input from others unless they are taught to think critically.
Do I need a good reason to reject Mormonism? We do know how that got its start right?

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #47 on: April 08, 2012, 08:39:22 PM »
Do I need a good reason to reject Mormonism? We do know how that got its start right?

Yes we do, which is a good reason.  ;)
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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #48 on: April 08, 2012, 10:17:45 PM »
@The Gawd

Small children, including babies, and even animals create their own Oms[1]. Though they have no knowledge of the Bible God, these Oms are supernatural and powerful in their own right. While children are born atheists in the sense that they have no knowledge of established gods, they are primed and ready for when they first hear the story of God or Allah or Jesus or whatever and that shadowy gooey Om is given a name and a backstory and emerges from his chrysalis with a fresh set of beautiful wings, fully formed and fully believed because he's always been there, even before you knew his name.
 1. An unnamed and unknown intelligent being to whom they attribute unexplained phenomena.
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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #49 on: April 08, 2012, 10:19:50 PM »
Do I need a good reason to reject Mormonism? We do know how that got its start right?
What does this have to do with my post, which was about how people were and are perfectly capable of coming up with their own imaginary beliefs without critical thinking skills?  I ask because you quoted me, implying that you were either answering me or at least referring to me, but I don't see how your questions have anything to do with my post.

To respond to your actual post, you need to be able to think critically to reject fanciful beliefs.  For example, looking for cities of gold or fountains of youth.  If you think critically, you can realize that it's silly to build a city out of gold, or that it's unlikely that a fountain of youth would only exist in one place, and nobody's knows someone who went there and came back and stayed young forever, so why waste time looking for something that has all the earmarks of a rumor in the first place?  It isn't so much that you need a good reason to reject some belief, as you need to be able to critically analyze the belief and realize there's no good reason to accept it in the first place.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2012, 10:21:22 PM by jaimehlers »

Offline The Gawd

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #50 on: April 09, 2012, 01:16:32 AM »
exactly. We (recent history) got to witness firsthand a religion being born and how it can spawn from one person. All one person has to do is pass it along, doesnt mean that we as a species are susceptible to making gods up, it shows we listen to others.


Offline bertatberts

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #51 on: April 09, 2012, 08:30:39 AM »
@The Gawd

Small children, including babies, and even animals create their own Oms[1]. Though they have no knowledge of the Bible God, these Oms are supernatural and powerful in their own right. While children are born atheists in the sense that they have no knowledge of established gods, they are primed and ready for when they first hear the story of God or Allah or Jesus or whatever and that shadowy gooey Om is given a name and a backstory and emerges from his chrysalis with a fresh set of beautiful wings, fully formed and fully believed because he's always been there, even before you knew his name.
 1. An unnamed and unknown intelligent being to whom they attribute unexplained phenomena.
Agent detection is for survival, it isn't due to a supernatural belief, It is instinctual for creatures to be aware of their surrounding, it is always advantageous to err on the side of caution and assume that danger is present.

Belief in the gods and the supernatural is a wholly different thing. It could be a by-product of agent detection. However it isn't what we start with, it is something we learn, some people belief that we are hard wired to have a belief in a supernatural agent.
But this is nonsensical to me, I would need to have had that info at birth for that to be true.
At birth we are tabula rasa (a plank slate), so this is not possible.
As said it is clear to me it is a by-product that is inculcated into us, but not necessarily deliberately.
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Online jaimehlers

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #52 on: April 09, 2012, 09:00:53 AM »
exactly. We (recent history) got to witness firsthand a religion being born and how it can spawn from one person. All one person has to do is pass it along, doesnt mean that we as a species are susceptible to making gods up, it shows we listen to others.
You're partially right, but partially wrong as well.  "Imaginary friends" are 'gods', because they can do anything good that one can imagine.  "Monsters under the bed/in the closet" are 'demons', because they can do anything bad that one can imagine.  All it takes for them to become a religion is for someone to be able to convince others to accept them as valid and legitimate.  Everyone can make up 'gods' and 'demons', in other words, and they usually do (SPAG), unless they have some reason not to, such as being able to think critically about their imaginings.

Offline joebbowers

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #53 on: April 09, 2012, 09:02:38 AM »
Agent detection is for survival, it isn't due to a supernatural belief, It is instinctual for creatures to be aware of their surrounding, it is always advantageous to err on the side of caution and assume that danger is present.

You misunderstood my post, and I suspect didn't read the links I posted regarding agent detection. It causes supernatural belief, I never said it is a result of it.
"Do you see a problem with insisting that the normal ways in which you determine fact from fiction is something you have to turn off in order to maintain the belief in God?" - JeffPT

Offline The Gawd

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #54 on: April 09, 2012, 09:07:50 AM »
Exactly. I was reading that and couldnt for the life of me figure where the super natural part came in. An animal would probably think its some other animal that may be dangerous.

Online One Above All

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #55 on: April 09, 2012, 09:34:19 AM »
<snip>
Would there be a scenario in which this child rejected those God ideas for bad (aka. illogical, irrational, incomplete, faulty, etc) reasons?

Yes. Being an atheist does not exempt one from faulty logic. Arriving at the right conclusion also doesn't mean you made mistakes on the way there.

If "yes", please describe the scenario or reasoning

Many scenarios:
I don't like the idea of deities, therefore they don't exist.
I don't understand religious books, therefore deities don't exist.

Basically at least one scenario for each fallacy.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken/Lucifer/All In One/Orion.

Offline bertatberts

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #56 on: April 09, 2012, 09:34:28 AM »
Agent detection is for survival, it isn't due to a supernatural belief, It is instinctual for creatures to be aware of their surrounding, it is always advantageous to err on the side of caution and assume that danger is present.

Belief in the gods and the supernatural is a wholly different thing. It could be a by-product of agent detection. However it isn't what we start with, it is something we learn, some people belief that we are hard wired to have a belief in a supernatural agent.
But this is nonsensical to me, I would need to have had that info at birth for that to be true.
At birth we are tabula rasa (a plank slate), so this is not possible.
As said it is clear to me it is a by-product that is inculcated into us, but not necessarily deliberately.

You misunderstood my post, and I suspect didn't read the links I posted regarding agent detection. It causes supernatural belief, I never said it is a result of it.
Then I apologise, However I did not say you did.
I did however read them, but I don't personally think agent detection  causes anything, I think people indirectly teach others about such things, (unless they are religious that is).
We grow up being wary of our surroundings, (But that does not mean we will make said agents gods/ghosts etc...) we learn that from others.
If we were born and left alone the entirety of our young life, and then made said agents gods, I would believe  it was possible. But we are social animals, thus are open to someone else's indirect imaginings.
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Online jaimehlers

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #57 on: April 09, 2012, 09:40:03 AM »
Exactly. I was reading that and couldnt for the life of me figure where the super natural part came in. An animal would probably think its some other animal that may be dangerous.
And humans think some other human - with abilities beyond mortal ken - is responsible for unexplained events.  It is no coincidence that gods and goddesses are depicted as having some variation on human form.

Let me describe the general attributes of the agent who, say, hurls lightning.  First off, he must be unimaginably powerful, to be able to handle something that can so easily kill a human if it hits him.  He must be able to go anywhere he wants at will, because lightning can happen anywhere a person goes.  He must also be able to live a really long time, since lightning has always been around.  There's three supernatural attributes right there without even having to think hard about them.

Lightning generally strikes tall objects; this agent must dislike it when something tries to raise itself up too high.  So if people lowered themselves before him, they were less likely to be struck, appeasing the agent.  They probably thought it was a good idea to abase themselves mentally as well by giving their time (worship) and property (offerings) in the hopes that it would please the agent, after all, can't be too careful.

Voila, instant religion, based on misplaced agent detection.  After that, it was pretty much a matter of constant one-upmanship to come up with the bigger, badder agent to deal with all these pretenders that other people worship.

It takes critical thinking skills to overcome the tendency to invent agents to explain phenomena that we don't understand.  That's one reason children are so susceptible to belief; they don't have the capability to understand why something happens, so they either ask someone who presumably knows why it does, or they come up with something to expain it to themselves.