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Richard Dawkins' Enemies of Reason, Monday, Channel 4, 8pm. watch

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    (Original post by phawkins1988)
    It's plainly a belief. You can't assert that P is true without believing P.

    You say that Dawkins sometimes steers off the rails. Why can't he, a champion of science and reason, just think clearly all the time?
    Fair enough, but there is a difference between faith and belief. Almost everything Dawkin's argues is not based on faith, where as religion is based on faith.
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    I'd certainly class strong/militant atheism as a belief-system/religion. It's a belief in no God, and has just as much evidence to support it as theism. Agnosticism or mild atheism are, whilst still beliefs, where the person admits that they really don't know whether a God exists. They don't passionately believe that a God exists or that a God doesn't exist because they don't find the evidence compelling for either side. Therefore I wouldn't classify it as a religion.

    Though you can get atheists which rely on faith that a God doesn't exist.
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    (Original post by phawkins1988)
    Dawkins believes "there is almost certainly no God". This IS A BELIEF. Try reading Dawkins.
    Someone wrote that Dawkins is trying to get people to believe in something. I replied that he wasn't. I didn't say he didn't have a belief, though I'd like to uphold that anyway. Technically, yes I do 'believe' that there is no invisible elephant, but, in practice, I wouldn't call that a 'belief'.
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    (Original post by 1.9.8.4.)
    Fair enough, but there is a difference between faith and belief. Almost everything Dawkin's argues is not based on faith, where as religion is based on faith.
    Of course there's a difference between faith and belief. But, the question was whether Dawkins has beliefs (about God), and that is certainly true. Though, I doubt you define 'faith' in any way similar to me. Dawkins certainly doesn't (his old "in the teeth of evidence" rubbish).
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    (Original post by Mensan1)
    So when does he steer of the rails? And what's this leap of faith you talk of?
    He steers of the rails when he talks in very simplistic terms, like when he imagines a world without. While I am vehemently against religion, I think nationalism can and has been very dangerous for society.
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    (Original post by Mensan1)
    Someone wrote that Dawkins is trying to get people to believe in something. I replied that he wasn't. I didn't say he didn't have a belief, though I'd like to uphold that anyway. Technically, yes I do 'believe' that there is no invisible elephant, but, in practice, I wouldn't call that a 'belief'.
    This is just squirming to try and get out of giving an argument for your position.

    If you are an atheist, you believe that God doesn't exist. What makes you justified in believing that? If you simply don't believe in God, I, and Bertrand Russell, consider you an agnostic.

    Russell wrote in 'Am I an atheist or an agnostic? A plea for tolerance in the face of new dogmas' (1947):

    I never know whether I should say "Agnostic" or whether I should say "Atheist". It is a very difficult question and I daresay that some of you have been troubled by it. As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one prove that there is not a God.
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    (Original post by TML)
    I'd certainly class strong/militant atheism as a belief-system/religion. It's a belief in no God, and has just as much evidence to support it as theism. Agnosticism or mild atheism are, whilst still beliefs, where the person admits that they really don't know whether a God exists. They don't passionately believe that a God exists or that a God doesn't exist because they don't find the evidence compelling for either side. Therefore I wouldn't classify it as a religion.

    Though you can get atheists which rely on faith that a God doesn't exist.
    I really think this is nonsense. Strong atheism isn't a religion. Just because strong atheists are equal in passion with strong theists do not make them the same. I mean you are surely a strong afairy-ist, and azeus-ist right? Does that make you religious? After all, following your logic, there is just as much evidence for zeus as there is for no zeus?
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    (Original post by phawkins1988)
    This is just squirming to try and get out of giving an argument for your position.

    If you are an atheist, you believe that God doesn't exist. What makes you justified in believing that? If you simply don't believe in God, I, and Bertrand Russell, consider you an agnostic.

    Russell wrote in 'Am I an atheist or an agnostic? A plea for tolerance in the face of new dogmas' (1947):

    I never know whether I should say "Agnostic" or whether I should say "Atheist". It is a very difficult question and I daresay that some of you have been troubled by it. As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one prove that there is not a God.
    Well I agree that I am, technically, an agnostic when it comes to god but only in the same way that you are when it comes to Islam and Santa Clause
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    (Original post by 1.9.8.4.)
    He steers of the rails when he talks in very simplistic terms, like when he imagines a world without. While I am vehemently against religion, I think nationalism can and has been very dangerous for society.
    You think imagining a world without religion is 'steering off the rails'?
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    (Original post by Mensan1)
    I really think this is nonsense. Strong atheism isn't a religion. Just because strong atheists are equal in passion with strong theists do not make them the same.
    It does actually. You'll get atheists that say "I'll bet my house that a God doesn't exist". They rely on a faith that God doesn't exist. The same can be said for strong theists. They're both undesirable positions really, though theism does often require the theist to act as if they are sure about their beliefs through faith [it is possible to strongly believe something].

    Buddism is an atheist religion, no? The man who passionately believes that there is no God is in the same boat as the theist. It is a faith-position - it is a belief-system or religion, and there is little evidence to support it.

    The agnostic or mild atheist does not claim that there is no God nor that a God exists.
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    (Original post by Mensan1)
    You think imagining a world without religion is 'steering off the rails'?
    It's simplistic.
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    (Original post by TML)
    It does actually. You'll get atheists that say "I'll bet my house that a God doesn't exist". They rely on a faith that God doesn't exist. The same can be said for strong theists. They're both undesirable positions really, though theism does often require the theist to act as if they are sure about their beliefs through faith [it is possible to strongly believe something].

    Buddism is an atheist religion, no? The man who passionately believes that there is no God is in the same boat as the theist. It is a faith-position - it is a belief-system or religion, and there is little evidence to support it.

    The agnostic or mild atheism does not claim that there is no God nor that a God exists.
    I like how you dodged my question. Care to answer it? Because it's just as a valid a response for this post.
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    (Original post by 1.9.8.4.)
    It's simplistic.
    It's imagining! If I imagine a world without murder, you'd call that simplistic and steering off the rails? C'mon.
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    (Original post by Mensan1)
    I like how you dodged my question. Care to answer it? Because it's just as a valid a response for this post.
    Oh, don't be so cynical.
    I mean you are surely a strong afairy-ist, and azeus-ist right? Does that make you religious? After all, following your logic, there is just as much evidence for zeus as there is for no zeus?
    I have no evidence that fairies nor that Zeus doesn't exist and I would not bet my house on them not existing, it's simple. The fact that strong atheist shuts his mind to all religion and has faith that none of the scriptures [read: historical evidence] is true is as much a belief system as any other belief-system involving a God.
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    It's imagining! If I imagine a world without murder, you'd call that simplistic and steering off the rails? C'mon
    Imagining a world without religion would be near-impossible. Practically most ancient tribes had religious beliefs and formed a society from it. The foundations of our culture is built upon people with primitive beliefs. We wouldn't know where to start when imagining a world without religion.

    A world without murder? Slightly implausible I think. You'd have no holocaust and no wars and people would be like robots without the freewill to murder.
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    (Original post by TML)
    Oh, don't be so cynical.

    I have no evidence that fairies nor that Zeus doesn't exist and I would not bet my house on them not existing, it's simple. The fact that strong atheist shuts his mind to all religion and has faith that none of the scriptures [read: historical evidence] is true is as much a belief system as any other belief-system involving a God.
    Well you're very easily exposed to arguments of a reductio ad absurdum nature. You also do not have any evidence that god isn't an invisible evil break-dancing elephant called Nancy, so you wouldn't bet your house that, that doesn't exist? And the myriad other stupid things that have no evidence to support it, for conceivable reasons.
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    (Original post by TML)
    Imagining a world without religion would be near-impossible. Practically most ancient tribes had religious beliefs and formed a society from it. The foundations of our culture is built upon people with primitive beliefs. We wouldn't know where to start when imagining a world without religion.

    A world without murder? Slightly implausible I think. You'd have no holocaust and no wars and people would be like robots without the freewill to murder.
    I didn't say that it was realistic, did I?

    I just said that the act of imagining isn't steering off the rails. Dawkins has never said that he thinks religion will completely fade away. He imagined it in his book for a paragraph.

    It's the 'steering off the rails' thing for imagining something that I am questioning here.
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    (Original post by Mensan1)
    You also do not have any evidence that god isn't an invisible evil break-dancing elephant called Nancy, so you wouldn't bet your house that, that doesn't exist?
    Precisely, I don't have any evidence that God is an invisible elephant. The theist comes to accept that there is no proof in favour or against a God. However, like I say, I don't believe that God is an invisible elephant because I have no evidence. Faith positions are determined by which explanation is more plausible or more supported by evidence. For example, historians know that there was a historical Jesus. However we do not know that Russell's Teapot existed. I have come to accept that what we know and what we can prove is limited. I'm not betting any money on ideas which I may find intrinically absurd. The theist can make move into skepticism, however the militant atheist can't. The militant atheist has faith that the evidence is wrong and has a strong belief that religion is absurd. It's a closed mind mentality.

    There's nothing wrong with mild atheism or agnosticism. But strong/militant atheism is an equally passionate faith that God does not exist.
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    (Original post by Mensan1)
    I didn't say that it was realistic, did I?
    I just said that the act of imagining isn't steering off the rails. Dawkins has never said that he thinks religion will completely fade away. He imagined it in his book for a paragraph.
    We wouldn't know where to start when imagining a world where religion didn't exist. It's so indented into the fabrics of ancient societies. Sure, you can probably imagine that crusades wouldn't happen - however perhaps some other disasters by other dictators may have replaced the crusades. Everbody has beliefs, and that's basically what religion is all about. By imagining a world without religion then you imagine a society of robots. And it's very easy to pick out the bad things which religion has done to history, yet also very easy to ignore the good that religion has done.
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    (Original post by Mensan1)
    Someone wrote that Dawkins is trying to get people to believe in something. I replied that he wasn't. I didn't say he didn't have a belief, though I'd like to uphold that anyway. Technically, yes I do 'believe' that there is no invisible elephant, but, in practice, I wouldn't call that a 'belief'.
    If he isn't trying to convince people to agree with his point of view then what is the purpose of his book? He has a point of view which amounts to a belief and he has written a book to convince other people that his point of view is correct and that they should share his opinion on this matter. Surely you cannot argue with that?
 
 
 
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