1 of 3
1
Why are you referring to yourself as an "Atheist"
Posted: 07 July 2007 04:50 AM   [ Ignore ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  12
Joined  2007-07-07

In his Letter to a Christian Nation he makes his argument (somewhat flawed) that the word "atheism" should not exist. So, why do so many continue to refer to themselves as such?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 July 2007 05:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1243
Joined  2006-12-26

Okay, I’m just an a-unicornist, then.

I declare now, for all to hear:

NOWHERE in the entire universe does it exist, has existed or will exist white horses with a spiralled horn sprouting from its forehead, and that only can be tamed by the beguilements of a virgin.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 July 2007 02:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  501
Joined  2005-02-22

[quote author=“sidewalkjester”] …the word “atheism” should not exist… why do so many continue to refer to themselves as such?

Harris asserts that such a social identifier should not be necessary for those who choose not to take a religious path. The burden of distinctiveness should be on the religious. On the face of it, a lack of distinction should not be a distinction. It is prejudicial, weighted and just a little further down the bad list from adultery. It still means you’re not pulling with the team. Some of us like the way the word acknowledges that. 

A part of religion’s defensive posture is to hide behind people’s belief in God and spirituality.
Many theist are religiously neutral. They want something to do.
Any have a good word for religious neutrality?

In Confirmation class, I tied to say I was a “conscientious objector”.

 Signature 

Delude responsibly.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 July 2007 09:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  216
Joined  2007-02-25

Harris asserts that such a social identifier should not be necessary for those who choose not to take a religious path.

Yes but Atheism claims that there is absolutely no God whatsoever, regardless of what other people have sensed or experienced, regardless of how our rational cannot grasp or certainly hasn’t comprehended everything about the universe and its workings.  Atheism seems to me to be Dogma in itself.  This declaration of an absolute statement needs to have a name.  Athism does in fact believe in truth claims about the unknown.  In order to make an absolute statement, before even knowing how the universe came about seems to be a leap of faith.  I can see why someone would say its a coin toss on whether the system we live in is only a materialistic system, a closed system.  Or there is something else out there fine tuning and created a process that allowed the big bang to occur, an open system.  But to rule out the second option seems to be dogma.  If we simply don’t know how it came to be that we are typing on computers and another person’s conscious is evaluating, we think rationally-but how do we know what rational is in a materialist system- my letters into words and there are planets, people, single-cell organism, matter, and so forth why claim atheism?  If we don’t know why there is something rather than nothing and atheist makes a claim on the answer, it is a belief system.

In my opinion if anyone shouldn’t have a name its agnostics.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 July 2007 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2821
Joined  2005-04-29

[quote author=“fletch_F_Fletch”]. . . Atheism seems to me to be Dogma in itself.  This declaration of an absolute statement needs to have a name.

I’ve never met an atheist who declares things with “absolute” confidence, whatever that is. To deny the existence of a fairy tale is anything but dogmatic. It is simply being realistic. If it’s a dogma to deny the existence of something that doesn’t exist, then we’re defining words strangely.

 Signature 

Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 July 2007 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1763
Joined  2006-08-20

[quote author=“fletch_F_Fletch”]If we don’t know why there is something rather than nothing and atheist makes a claim on the answer, it is a belief system.

Hello fletch. I have to disagree. Refusing to consider something for which there is no evidence is not a belief system. Harris is correct. There should be no need for such a word to describe a person who will not take into consideration anything for which there is no evidence to consider. Logically, if we did that we open the floodgates of the number of words we will need to describe people who fail to consider anything that anyone could make up and propose for consideration without evidence to consider.

The word belief is also one that we don’t need.

 Signature 

The ants are my friends, they’re blowing in the wind, the ants are blowing in the wind.

Dog is my co-pilot

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 July 2007 04:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
Newbie
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  43
Joined  2007-03-08

I just refer to myself as sane - covers all bases.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 July 2007 02:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  216
Joined  2007-02-25

Refusing to consider something for which there is no evidence is not a belief system.

Yes but isn’t it accurate to say that there is no evidence that shows materialism accounts for why there is something rather than nothing?  Your an atheist, claiming an absolute claim that materialism can and does explain how everything came to be how it is today.  For example, how can we absolutely explain without a shadow of doubt that materialism alone accounts for the origin of the universe?  If it can’t than arn’t you making a dogmatic claim?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 July 2007 03:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3208
Joined  2007-04-26

“Skeptic” sounds too negative - I picture the two sour old coots on the “Muppet Show.” But the idea is correct - using empiricism to address the question of deity, the same as we would for a natural event. Without evidence, there is no reason to accept the existence of a universal deity as factual. An individual “spiritual” experience that cannot be replicated does not constitute evidence. While I don’t discount the value that the experience has for the individuals, such an experience is necessarily a subjective one. A major problem with religion is that people with such experiences insist that they represent universal truth instead of some personal relevance.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 July 2007 03:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5404
Joined  2006-09-27

[quote author=“Carstonio”]“Skeptic” sounds too negative - I picture the two sour old coots on the “Muppet Show.”

That’s me, all right.  :D

[quote author=“fletch_F_Fletch”]

Refusing to consider something for which there is no evidence is not a belief system.

Yes but isn’t it accurate to say that there is no evidence that shows materialism accounts for why there is something rather than nothing?

I see faith-heads return to this one as regularly as a clockwork. If you want to claim that one may believe what one wishes from the standpoint that all sets of axioms are equivalent, who can argue with you?

The question “why is there something rather than nothing” is a fun one to entertain, but it cannot be answered at the present time. Leaping from that to accepting Jesus as my personal savior is a bit much at the moment.

Of course, the big fundamental assumption / question for you is (if you want to go that route, what is your basis for assuming that there actually is something rather than nothing? I don’t believe God exists. In fact, I don’t believe you exist, either. So there.

[ Edited: 09 July 2007 03:18 AM by ]
 Signature 

INVEST in cynicism!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 July 2007 03:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3208
Joined  2007-04-26

[quote author=“Salt Creek”]I see faith-heads return to this one as regularly as a clockwork.

Frequently I hear this claim - “the universe didn’t just happen by chance or by accident.” This grossly misrepresents the non-theist position.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 July 2007 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3255
Joined  2004-12-24

[quote author=“sidewalkjester”]In his Letter to a Christian Nation he makes his argument (somewhat flawed) that the word “atheism” should not exist. So, why do so many continue to refer to themselves as such?


Can you explain the flaw you see in the argument?

Byron

 Signature 

“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 July 2007 05:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3208
Joined  2007-04-26

Another flaw, which I think Sam addressed, is that it uses negative word construction: a-theism. Feminists had a good point when they said the titles Miss and Mrs. defined women based on their marital status, with no similar definition for men. I see the question as giving atheism the equivalent of the newer title Ms.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 July 2007 07:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1763
Joined  2006-08-20

Hello fletch,

I don’t mind going through this with you. As several note, this is something that many of us seem to get unnecessarily high centered on.

[quote author=“fletch_F_Fletch”]

Refusing to consider something for which there is no evidence is not a belief system.

For example, how can we absolutely explain without a shadow of doubt that materialism alone accounts for the origin of the universe?  If it can’t than arn’t you making a dogmatic claim?

We can only assume that that which is evident or will or can be made evident accounts for reality. We cannot even know that the concept of origin even makes up an appropriate question. We cannot know anything that is not evident. We can only speculate as to the nature non-evident reality and the numbers of such speculations is as large as the number of those who speculate, larger as many of us speculate different things at different times.
This is not to say that something non-evident is, or may not responsible for the world that is evident to us but it is to say that reasoning without evidence is not only not useful but likely insane. Religious people who are not insane will at least base their reasoning, such as it is, on some evidence such as the holy book, necessarily written by dog.

Moreover, we must realize that it is likely that only some handful of us will ever possess the necessary training or reasoning ability that might allow us, on an individual basis and very temporary basis, to comprehend the answers to such questions.

My son is finishing a phd in particle physics. I like to think I’m a bright guy but what he’s into is WAY over my head. (We have fun watching South Park together and bitching about the Bush admin.) He tells me that certain physical equations predict what are called vacuum fluctuations which is the “creation” and abrupt decay” of particle/anti-particle pairs in the deep vacuum of space. These same equations have been experimentally validated with respect to other predictions. He suggests that we read Stephen Hawking.

 Signature 

The ants are my friends, they’re blowing in the wind, the ants are blowing in the wind.

Dog is my co-pilot

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 July 2007 07:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5404
Joined  2006-09-27

[quote author=“eucaryote”]We can only assume that that which is evident or will or can be made evident accounts for reality. We cannot even know that the concept of origin even makes up an appropriate question. We cannot know anything that is not evident. We can only speculate as to the nature non-evident reality and the numbers of such speculations is as large as the number of those who speculate, larger as many of us speculate different things at different times.

That is beautiful, e. If it is not certifiably quotable, I dunno what is. In a whole host of interesting cases, origins are not researchable. In such cases, as some wag once said, we begin from where we are.

 Signature 

INVEST in cynicism!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 July 2007 08:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  216
Joined  2007-02-25

The question “why is there something rather than nothing” is a fun one to entertain, but it cannot be answered at the present time. Leaping from that to accepting Jesus as my personal savior is a bit much at the moment.

I am not arguing here that it proves theism.  As you mentioned this question cannot be answered at the present time.  So why would one leap to claim that all things can and are made through materialism alone?  The origin of the universe, if there is such a thing, is totally up in the air for how it started, if in fact it did start.  Most people don’t believe in unicorns because there is no rational basis for its belief.  Yet to say materialism alone can account for why there is something rather than nothing is more a philsophy rather than a proven factual statement.  This is why it seems atheism is more like a philsophy rather than a pure and simple fact.

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 3
1
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed