Author Topic: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?  (Read 4290 times)

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Offline One Above All

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #145 on: April 11, 2012, 03:00:53 PM »
You know, Johnny Spunkypants, if you keep this up I'm gonna start thinking you owe me dinner.
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #146 on: April 11, 2012, 03:20:22 PM »
Then how is he a god if we could do the same things he can?
You might as well ask why VR constructs couldn't become administrators and do things in the world beyond the VR.  In this case, being a "god" is entirely relative.

I was thinking VR constructs. The Admin is supernatural, because their reality...the nature they experience...is electro-pixils. Since the Admin is beyond that reality...he is super(beyond) natural(reality).

An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline Strawman

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #147 on: April 11, 2012, 03:23:35 PM »
You might as well ask why VR constructs couldn't become administrators and do things in the world beyond the VR.  In this case, being a "god" is entirely relative.

Translation: A god that can do what any being could is not a god. It's just a very powerful (and presumably also very smart) being.
Yes, this line of discussion holds the same questions I asked myself when writing my last post. I didn't realise how good an analogy Ad Homonym's "virtual world" was.

The moderator has powers which only appear to be supernatural within the virtual dimension; in the physical dimension we can see he is typing commands which are then executed by part of the server code. So does the fact the other players, or "virtual inhabitants" if you will, can never acquire the same powers classify the moderator as a God? I think it does but this also proves the notion that Gods and the supernatural are dependent on a limited scope. If you gave everyone moderator privileges there'd be nothing special about them, those powers would become part of the game and there would be no moderator. Just like Godly powers would become part of our technology and there would be no God.

So is anything more powerful than us our God? The sun, the earth, black holes, entropy, the laws of physics: these are all our Gods. There is nothing supernatural about them and we can harness the power of most of them, so how are they Gods? Are they Gods until we can explain them, or harness their power? Or are the only true Gods atop those peaks we can never scale?
An alien race may appear to us as Gods, they may be capable of things we never will achieve but does it make them Gods? Yes, because God is a relative term and is not something that truly exists. Wow this is hurting my head now so I'll stop before I go round in circles any more!
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Offline Alzael

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #148 on: April 11, 2012, 03:24:48 PM »
The issue is, when the laws of nature are the operating system...the moving of pixils, and the admin is not governed by those laws, he is, as far as the VR world goes, supernatural.
Perception isn't reality.  He wouldn't actually be supernatural, which is the point.

He would possess abilities beyond the scope of the natural rules of his world. That would pretty much be supernatural. Unless you're using some other weird definition of the term.
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Offline Strawman

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #149 on: April 11, 2012, 03:26:28 PM »
I was thinking VR constructs. The Admin is supernatural, because their reality...the nature they experience...is electro-pixils. Since the Admin is beyond that reality...he is super(beyond) natural(reality).
He is beyond one reality, but not beyond his own reality. So he is supernatural at a certain scope and natural at a higher-level. Are there Gods of Gods?
If God exists at all he clearly wishes to reside exclusively in the imagination.

Offline Hatter23

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #150 on: April 11, 2012, 03:29:58 PM »
I was thinking VR constructs. The Admin is supernatural, because their reality...the nature they experience...is electro-pixils. Since the Admin is beyond that reality...he is super(beyond) natural(reality).
He is beyond one reality, but not beyond his own reality. So he is supernatural at a certain scope and natural at a higher-level. Are there Gods of Gods?

IIRC, some Pagan tales do have those, and generally, they are dead before the tales begin.

Edit: Azleal I think nailed this better than I
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 03:49:06 PM by Hatter23 »
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline Alzael

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #151 on: April 11, 2012, 03:39:24 PM »
He is beyond one reality, but not beyond his own reality. So he is supernatural at a certain scope and natural at a higher-level. Are there Gods of Gods?

Yes, however they have usually been locked away by the main gods. Like Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon being born from the Titans. The titans were locked up by Zeus who took their place as the lord of the Earth in the Prologue of the origin story.

Typically the previous gods are viewed more as destructive priomordial forces of existence than actual gods however. All they really do is rage and destroy before the (debatably) more sane and less dangerous gods take over.
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Offline Whateverman

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #152 on: April 11, 2012, 04:02:59 PM »
I was thinking VR constructs. The Admin is supernatural, because their reality...the nature they experience...is electro-pixils. Since the Admin is beyond that reality...he is super(beyond) natural(reality).

And yet....

Since his actions can affect the universe his Users exist in, he's really not beyond reality.

Obviously, the definition of "supernatural" is crucial to this/your/my point.  My position is that anything that can affect change on a system is (to some extent) a part of that system.
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Offline Strawman

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #153 on: April 12, 2012, 03:38:45 AM »
Obviously, the definition of "supernatural" is crucial to this/your/my point.  My position is that anything that can affect change on a system is (to some extent) a part of that system.
That would be a very weak definition as it is limited to things that exist exclusively outside of the universe.
The common definition is "something that is beyond the laws of nature." I could understand your query regarding my definition of "God", but there's no need for quibbling here.

Whether the force/entity is present in the system is irrespective of its adherence to the laws of the system. If its actions break the known laws it is supernatural.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 03:40:56 AM by Strawman »
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Offline Whateverman

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #154 on: April 12, 2012, 06:29:36 AM »
My position is that anything that can affect change on a system is (to some extent) a part of that system.
That would be a very weak definition as it is limited to things that exist exclusively outside of the universe.
The common definition is "something that is beyond the laws of nature."
Anything that exists beyond the laws of nature can not behave as something that adheres to those laws.  According to your definition and mine, supernatural things could not be seen, smelled or touched.  They could not influence the behavior of material things.  They would exist outside of time.

Ghosts, for example, can be seen (or at least, this is what believers tell us).  Yet, for a thing to be seen, it must give off/reflect photons - something that exists beyond the laws of nature would not give off or reflect photons.

---

I recognize that this is a separate conversation, so I'l stop now.


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Whether the force/entity is present in the system is irrespective of its adherence to the laws of the system.
I disagree :)
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #155 on: April 12, 2012, 07:40:04 AM »
I read this recently and thought I'd throw this into the mix, since y'all are talking about supernatural.  Richard Carrier's thoughts:
http://richardcarrier.blogspot.com/2007/01/defining-supernatural.html

Quote
In short, I argue "naturalism" means, in the simplest terms, that every mental thing is entirely caused by fundamentally nonmental things, and is entirely dependent on nonmental things for its existence. Therefore, "supernaturalism" means that at least some mental things cannot be reduced to nonmental things.

But you really should read the whole article and the links therein.
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #156 on: April 12, 2012, 11:55:37 AM »
You might as well ask why VR constructs couldn't become administrators and do things in the world beyond the VR.  In this case, being a "god" is entirely relative.

Translation: A god that can do what any being could is not a god. It's just a very powerful (and presumably also very smart) being.
That is not quite accurate.  I suppose a VR construct could get admin powers over the VR world, which supports what you're saying, but my other point was that the construct would not then be able to move outside the VR world into the reality that exists outside of it and do things there, because it has no existence outside the VR world.  Whereas an admin who existed in the outside reality could do so, quite easily.

Of course, the outside reality is not actually supernatural.  It's wholly natural because it has its own rules which apply there universally, but to a VR construct, it might seem supernatural.

Offline One Above All

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #157 on: April 12, 2012, 12:57:01 PM »
<snip>
the construct would not then be able to move outside the VR world into the reality that exists outside of it and do things there, because it has no existence outside the VR world.
<snip>
Of course, the outside reality is not actually supernatural
<snip>
to a VR construct, it might seem supernatural.

Snipped for the sake of shortening this post while preserving your argument. If you feel I left out any important part, please say so and I will reply to it.

Now then, there are two problems I can see right away with your analogy.
The most obvious one (IMO) is that there is no "outside" the universe. Space and time (both of which are required for existence and interaction) don't exist outside themselves. It's an oxymoron.
The second problem is that what the construct experiences as "reality" isn't actually "reality"; simply a (small?) part of it. That doesn't make it any less real, but it does mean that what it perceives is irrelevant from an objective PoV. The admin is not supernatural.
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.

Online jaimehlers

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #158 on: April 12, 2012, 01:37:36 PM »
Now then, there are two problems I can see right away with your analogy.
The most obvious one (IMO) is that there is no "outside" the universe. Space and time (both of which are required for existence and interaction) don't exist outside themselves. It's an oxymoron.
No outside, that we know of.  There's several ideas for what could be "outside" that don't involve religious beliefs, too.

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The second problem is that what the construct experiences as "reality" isn't actually "reality"; simply a (small?) part of it. That doesn't make it any less real, but it does mean that what it perceives is irrelevant from an objective PoV. The admin is not supernatural.
Never suggested the admin was supernatural.  But to the VR construct, it might seem so - and since there's no way to get a truly objective perspective, what a being can perceive is entirely relevant, even if it isn't literally correct.

Offline One Above All

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #159 on: April 12, 2012, 01:44:39 PM »
No outside, that we know of.  There's several ideas for what could be "outside" that don't involve religious beliefs, too.

No "outside" without completely destroying everything that we know about the nature of the universe and stripping words of their meaning. You might see why I have a problem acknowledging any hypothesis that posits the existence of something "outside" that which is necessary for existence as such. At best I can acknowledge that it's a guess based on wishful thinking.

Never suggested the admin was supernatural.  But to the VR construct, it might seem so - and since there's no way to get a truly objective perspective, what a being can perceive is entirely relevant, even if it isn't literally correct.

But that's the thing - gods are described as being supernatural from an objective PoV. Your analogy does not hold.
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.

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Offline Dante

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #160 on: April 12, 2012, 01:58:23 PM »

Never suggested the admin was supernatural.  But to the VR construct, it might seem so - and since there's no way to get a truly objective perspective, what a being can perceive is entirely relevant, even if it isn't literally correct.

But that's the thing - gods are described as being supernatural from an objective PoV. Your analogy does not hold.

Bold mine.

That's the whole point of the anology, Lucifer. From our PoV, which we deem as objective, a god would be supernatural. But just because we deem it objective at this time doesn't make it necessarily true, due to incomplete understandings.
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #161 on: April 12, 2012, 02:21:10 PM »
Bold mine.

That's the whole point of the anology, Lucifer. From our PoV, which we deem as objective, a god would be supernatural. But just because we deem it objective at this time doesn't make it necessarily true, due to incomplete understandings.
Right.  There is no way to get a truly objective perspective on this, because one doesn't exist.  Either this universe is all that there is, and therefore it's impossible to get outside it to get that objective perspective in the first place, or there's something outside of it, in which case a perspective from there is still subjective (because the perspective will still be limited somehow).

This is all hypothetical, though.  So far as we know, there isn't an outside, but our knowledge is hardly complete.

Offline One Above All

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #162 on: April 12, 2012, 02:21:25 PM »
That's the whole point of the anology, Lucifer. From our PoV, which we deem as objective, a god would be supernatural. But just because we deem it objective at this time doesn't make it necessarily true, due to incomplete understandings.

If a god is natural, then it's not really a god, is it?
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.

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Offline Dante

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #163 on: April 12, 2012, 02:26:08 PM »
That's the whole point of the anology, Lucifer. From our PoV, which we deem as objective, a god would be supernatural. But just because we deem it objective at this time doesn't make it necessarily true, due to incomplete understandings.

If a god is natural, then it's not really a god, is it?

And again, that's the point. From our PoV, or the VR's PoV, it most certainly exhibits all the attributes of a god.
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #164 on: April 12, 2012, 02:30:08 PM »
If a god is natural, then it's not really a god, is it?
Pure semantics.  There are definitions of "god" that don't involve giving it supernatural powers and abilities.  A god can simply have very great powers and abilities.  And if it has those powers, what you call it or don't call it won't take them away from it.

EDIT:  I left out a sentence.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 03:07:45 PM by jaimehlers »

Offline Hatter23

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #165 on: April 12, 2012, 02:32:56 PM »
I was thinking VR constructs. The Admin is supernatural, because their reality...the nature they experience...is electro-pixils. Since the Admin is beyond that reality...he is super(beyond) natural(reality).
He is beyond one reality, but not beyond his own reality. So he is supernatural at a certain scope and natural at a higher-level. Are there Gods of Gods?

Ultimately the issue, as always, boils down to the "Omni" prefix used with Yahweh's attributes. Even the Exceedingly powerful admin cannot create a code that would allow constructs to exist at the same coordinates not lose there substative nature, and still maintain its seperate identity. While the Adim is a god, he does not have Omni attributes.

An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline One Above All

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #166 on: April 12, 2012, 02:34:48 PM »
And again, that's the point. From our PoV, or the VR's PoV, it most certainly exhibits all the attributes of a god.

Pure semantics.  There are definitions of "god" that don't involve giving it supernatural powers and abilities.  And if it has those powers, what you call it or don't call it won't take them away from it.

Just to be clear: are you playing devil's advocate or not? If not, this is moot and you should address the other part of my post. Actually, you should address it regardless.
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.

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Offline velkyn

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #167 on: April 12, 2012, 02:36:22 PM »
Pure semantics.  There are definitions of "god" that don't involve giving it supernatural powers and abilities.  And if it has those powers, what you call it or don't call it won't take them away from it.

umm, really, Jaime?  the dictionary I have has only two other defintions for god: a person or thing of supreme value
4: a powerful ruler  and I don't think those are correct for the context people are using in this discussion.  I'd hve to look at my OED to see if there are others.
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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #168 on: April 12, 2012, 02:58:48 PM »
^^ Velkyn, I doubt you'll find a dictionary with all gods defined, at least not under the heading "God".  The Mormon god has a different definition from the Catholic god(s).  I think this is what Jaime means.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #169 on: April 12, 2012, 03:04:47 PM »
^^ Velkyn, I doubt you'll find a dictionary with all gods defined, at least not under the heading "God".  The Mormon god has a different definition from the Catholic god(s).  I think this is what Jaime means.

I'd disagree. he said that "god" was defined in other ways, not the individual gods.  I know the Mormons say everyone gets to play in the pool.   :)  I will confess to not knowing what powers I would get if I was a good Mormon woman.
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #170 on: April 12, 2012, 03:07:01 PM »
Just to be clear: are you playing devil's advocate or not? If not, this is moot and you should address the other part of my post. Actually, you should address it regardless.
I conceded beforehand that there was no outside that we knew of, although there are ideas about it that aren't religious.  Until we are able to find some actual evidence, there's little point in going on about it, as it involves things we don't yet know and can't currently test.

You know what would be nice?  A Devil's Advocate font, or something like that.

umm, really, Jaime?  the dictionary I have has only two other defintions for god: a person or thing of supreme value
4: a powerful ruler  and I don't think those are correct for the context people are using in this discussion.  I'd hve to look at my OED to see if there are others.
Actually, I checked several online dictionaries; some of them invoke the supernatural as attributes of a god (deity), some of them don't.

Ah, I misspoke in the other half of my post.  I intended to write that a god can simply have very great powers and abilities, and if it has those powers, what you call it or don't call it won't take them away from it.  I can see why you jumped on me.

Offline One Above All

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #171 on: April 12, 2012, 03:10:44 PM »
I conceded beforehand that there was no outside that we knew of, although there are ideas about it that aren't religious.

And I explained why they're all BS.

You know what would be nice?  A Devil's Advocate font, or something like that.

Well, green and red are taken, what about blue?
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.

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #172 on: April 12, 2012, 03:13:51 PM »
And I explained why they're all BS.

Until we are able to find some actual evidence, there's little point in going on about it, as it involves things we don't yet know and can't currently test.

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Well, green and red are taken, what about blue?
I'd prefer giving it horns, actually.

Offline One Above All

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Re: Can one be an atheist for the "wrong" reasons?
« Reply #173 on: April 12, 2012, 03:21:41 PM »
Until we are able to find some actual evidence, there's little point in going on about it, as it involves things we don't yet know and can't currently test.

That's not even close to the reasons why it's all BS.
Existence requires space. This is a fact. Space does not extend beyond the universe, for the universe is all that there is. This is another fact. Things cannot exist outside that which is required for their existence. What you're doing is giving undue credit to the "theory"[1] that living beings can breathe vacuum, or that black holes can exist without gravity.
 1. And I use that term very loosely.
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.