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Bertrand's Teapot

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    (Original post by birdsong1)
    I don't think he'd say that, possibly because he's well-versed at choosing his words (but possibly because he doesn't go beyond the probability to an actual conclusion; "almost certainly" refers to the 0.01, of course). He always says he lacks belief, but he never says disbelief.
    I think any reason for him merely withholding belief would be political.

    Suppose he said "I don't believe in a teapot between mars and jupiter, but I don't believe that there isn't a teapot between mars and jupiter". I'd look at him like he'd grown another head. The reason? Of course he believes that there's no teapot there! All sane people do.
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    (Original post by RawJoh1)
    In which case it's a massive bloody strawman. I mean ... can you point out one serious philosopher of religion who makes that argument?
    I doubt Russel was addressing philosophers (though given the likes of William Lane Craig, maybe).
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    (Original post by RawJoh1)
    I think any reason for him merely withholding belief would be political.

    Suppose he said "I don't believe in a teapot between mars and jupiter, but I don't believe that there isn't a teapot between mars and jupiter". I'd look at him like he'd grown another head. The reason? Of course he believes that there's no teapot there! All sane people do.
    So if I didn't believe that there's no teapot, would you have me committed?
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    (Original post by birdsong1)
    So if I didn't believe that there's no teapot, would you have me committed?
    No. I'd probably just think you were quite odd. :p:
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    (Original post by RawJoh1)
    No. I'd probably just think you were quite odd. :p:
    But you said I would not only be odd, but also insane.
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    (Original post by birdsong1)
    But you said I would not only be odd, but also insane.
    I didn't mean "insane" in any technical sense. I meant he'd have a position I find ridiculous.
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    (Original post by RawJoh1)
    I didn't mean "insane" in any technical sense. I meant he'd have a position I find ridiculous.
    That's not exactly a strong argument, though. You find his suggested position ridiculous, ergo he's lying about it for political purposes.
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    (Original post by birdsong1)
    That's not exactly a strong argument, though. You find his suggested position ridiculous, ergo he's lying about it for political purposes.
    Yeah, I agree it's not strong. If Dawkins isn't really an atheist and is instead an agnostic, more power to him.
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    (Original post by RawJoh1)
    Yeah, I agree it's not strong. If Dawkins isn't really an atheist and is instead an agnostic, more power to him.
    Does an estimated probability of 0.01 really qualify as agnosticism, though?
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    (Original post by birdsong1)
    Does an estimated probability of 0.01 really qualify as agnosticism, though?
    If Dawkins does not affirm the proposition "God exists" or "God does not exist", then yes, by Jean Kazez' definition (the clearest definition, and the one I favour). Though of course 'agnosticism' means different things to different people.
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    (Original post by RawJoh1)
    If Dawkins does not affirm the proposition "God exists" or "God does not exist", then yes, by Jean Kazez' definition (the clearest definition, and the one I favour). Though of course 'agnosticism' means different things to different people.
    Who actually affirms either proposition, except as a linguistic shorthand for "I guess the chair's probability of existence to be 0.9999985"? That sounds odd to me.
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    (Original post by birdsong1)
    Who actually affirms either proposition, except as a linguistic shorthand for "I guess the chair's probability of existence to be 0.9999985"? That sounds odd to me.
    I think people do affirm the props, though. I believe my computer exists, I believe my house exists, I believe that Quito is the capital of Ecuador, and so on.

    Back to theism, plenty of respectable philosophers affirm the props.

    Theism:
    Al Plantinga
    Keith DeRose
    William Alston
    Richard Swinburne
    Brian Leftow
    (and so on)

    Atheism:
    Nicholas Winterton
    J.L Mackie
    William Rowe
    Quentin Smith

    and many other relatively big names. It's just that the 'new atheists' distract attention from the real good work being done on both sides in philosophy of religion.
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    (Original post by RawJoh1)
    I think people do affirm the props, though. I believe my computer exists, I believe my house exists, I believe that Quito is the capital of Ecuador, and so on.

    Back to theism, plenty of respectable philosophers affirm the props.

    Theism:
    Al Plantinga
    Keith DeRose
    William Alston
    Richard Swinburne
    Brian Leftow
    (and so on)

    Atheism:
    Nicholas Winterton
    J.L Mackie
    William Rowe
    Quentin Smith

    and many other relatively big names. It's just that the 'new atheists' distract attention from the real good work being done on both sides in philosophy of religion.
    "Believing" is better than "affirming", and not as bad. (You seem to have equated them, hence my misunderstanding.)
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    (Original post by birdsong1)
    "Believing" is better than "affirming", and not as bad. (You seem to have equated them, hence my misunderstanding.)
    Ah fair do'es. Aye I use them interchangeably.
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    (Original post by birdsong1)
    Wtf are you reading? The "doubter" is not necessarily a believer in the negation of the claim, but rather (as the wording might suggest) a doubter of the claim. He's complaining that it was considered an "intolerable presumption" to even doubt the theistic claim.
    You have to take in the context of his original article and vocabulary. When Russell refers to a 'doubter' he means someone who doesn't believe or 'doubts' God's existence i.e. an atheist. A agnostic doesn't doubt the existence of God, but is unable to make the decision either way.
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    (Original post by Captain Crash)
    You have to take in the context of his original article and vocabulary. When Russell refers to a 'doubter' he means someone who doesn't believe or 'doubts' God's existence i.e. an atheist. A agnostic doesn't doubt the existence of God, but is unable to make the decision either way.
    Firstly, the article says nothing to suggest he refers to 'doubt' as 'believing in the negation'. Secondly, the article is a sequence of disjoint arguments; the relevant paragraph has little or nothing to do with the previous paragraph, for instance.
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    (Original post by birdsong1)
    Firstly, the article says nothing to suggest he refers to 'doubt' as 'believing in the negation'.
    Wait.... you're saying that someone who says 'I don't believe there is a God' isn't the same as someone saying 'I believe there is no God'? :wtf: The statements are semantically the same.

    Agnostics don't say 'I don't believe there is a God' rather they state they are unable to make a decision either way.
    (Original post by birdsong1)
    Secondly, the article is a sequence of disjoint arguments; the relevant paragraph has little or nothing to do with the previous paragraph, for instance.
    Sure, the whole article is a argument for atheism - the context is important. Russell used it to this end and every other religous philospher has also used it to this end.
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    (Original post by Captain Crash)
    Wait.... you're saying that someone who says 'I don't believe there is a God' isn't the same as someone saying 'I believe there is no God'? :wtf: The statements are semantically the same.
    "No" does not commute with "believe". Think of belief as something you possess, so that the statements become "I don't have belief that there is a God", vs "I have belief there is no God". The statements are now clearly different. If you doubt this, note that it's consistent for one to accept the former, but not the latter (one may lack belief in both "there is God" and "there is no God"; I don't have to either believe in the Reimann hypothesis or its negation, if I honestly have no clue).

    (Original post by Captain Crash)
    Sure, the whole article is a argument for atheism - the context is important.
    LOLZ LOOK, I argue that there is no observed order in the universe in one paragraph, therefore when I COMPLAINZ that society condemns for doubting the existence of God, it MEANZ that society condemns for believing there is no God, RATHER THANZ the usual definition of doubt.

    What I said above remains exactly the same:

    Firstly, the article says nothing to suggest he refers to 'doubt' as 'believing in the negation'. Secondly, the article is a sequence of disjoint arguments; the relevant paragraph has little or nothing to do with the previous paragraph, for instance.
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    (Original post by RawJoh1)
    I think people do affirm the props, though. I believe my computer exists, I believe my house exists, I believe that Quito is the capital of Ecuador, and so on.

    Back to theism, plenty of respectable philosophers affirm the props.

    Theism:
    Al Plantinga
    Keith DeRose
    William Alston
    Richard Swinburne
    Brian Leftow
    (and so on)

    Atheism:
    Nicholas Winterton
    J.L Mackie
    William Rowe
    Quentin Smith

    and many other relatively big names. It's just that the 'new atheists' distract attention from the real good work being done on both sides in philosophy of religion.
    Not a PoR.
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    (Original post by tomheppy)
    Not a PoR.
    I didn't claim he was (though PoR is one of his AOCs), I claimed he was a respectable philosopher.

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