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I've decided to become atheist AMA Watch

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    Yes, i look forward to chatting to you!

    Yes, if you believe that the miracles described in the Bible are true, then i absolutely agree that you are not a rationalist.

    I think that the entire foundations and principles of any religion is unreasonable - i completely disagree with religion and believe that science is the founder of reason as are basic morals that humanity has, not religion. Despite this though, i am not an unreasonable person when it comes to listening to other people's ideas so i look forward to our future chats!
    (Original post by Pride)
    ok, I will PM you, but just to point out:

    no, I definitely do not view the bible in that way. I do believe in the miracles described in the bible. To simply say that supernatural occurrences in the bible are the unreasonable parts is to beg the question. It is to presuppose naturalism. Naturalism does not equal reason.

    Not to mention the fact that I'm not a rationalist.

    Happy to chat on PM
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    (Original post by Lisa.Williams)
    Yes, i look forward to chatting to you!

    Yes, if you believe that the miracles described in the Bible are true, then i absolutely agree that you are not a rationalist.

    I think that the entire foundations and principles of any religion is unreasonable - i completely disagree with religion and believe that science is the founder of reason as are basic morals that humanity has, not religion. Despite this though, i am not an unreasonable person when it comes to listening to other people's ideas so i look forward to our future chats!
    "science is the founder of reason"? Really? What exactly do you mean by that? Do you mean that we know what is reasonable because of science? That sounds almost like "empiricism". How do you assess the validity of science?
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    Science studies the psychological aspects of people whilst working to understand why people make decisions.

    The actual definitions of reason are: 1) a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event and 2) the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgements logically.

    Dealing with definition 1, science works to produce different hypotheses and explanations for different events (social sciences attempt to explore how people think and what affects this where the more natural, organic sciences explore the more natural occurences in life). Whilst justifying events is more vague, science explores why people make decisions and therefore how people determine justification under different circumstances.

    Definition 2 can easily be linked to science - evidence is gathered based on a hypothesis, the evidence is analysed and understood and judgements are made based on the findings.

    I base the validity of science on reproduciblity (can the results be reproduced by other scientists?) and reliability (is there sufficient eveidence?). Religion is entirely dependent on faith in which there is no concrete evidence and therefore, no rational decisions could possibly be made. Irrational decisions which are made entirely on emotion can be easily influenced and hence very dangerous.
    (Original post by Pride)
    "science is the founder of reason"? Really? What exactly do you mean by that? Do you mean that we know what is reasonable because of science? That sounds almost like "empiricism". How do you assess the validity of science?
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    (Original post by Lisa.Williams)
    Science studies the psychological aspects of people whilst working to understand why people make decisions.
    that's not really relevant to what I was saying, but this idea of understanding why people make decisions is one we can talk for ages about. One thing I often ask my atheist medical friends is whether explaining our decisions using neurochemistry and physics forces us to forgo our claim to moral responsibility.

    The actual definitions of reason are: 1) a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event and 2) the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgements logically.

    Dealing with definition 1, science works to produce different hypotheses and explanations for different events (social sciences attempt to explore how people think and what affects this where the more natural, organic sciences explore the more natural occurences in life). Whilst justifying events is more vague, science explores why people make decisions and therefore how people determine justification under different circumstances.
    "Justifying events is more vague..."? What do you mean by that? In what way can science ever deal in the concept of "justification" or "justice". These are philosophical ideas.

    Science deals in mechanisms. How do things work? It cannot deal in the why questions like "Why do people do X?" - not in an ultimate sense. Think about it. Often people assume science deals in the why, but it doesn't, it actually deals in the how. When people assume it does deal in the why, it's normally because they are assuming a philosophical naturalism or methodological naturalism for the good of the scientific experiment.
    In other words, science can only attempt to answer questions like "What is action X?" "What leads a person to carry out X?" "How does a person carry out X?" Not why.

    Definition 2 can easily be linked to science - evidence is gathered based on a hypothesis, the evidence is analysed and understood and judgements are made based on the findings.

    I base the validity of science on reproduciblity (can the results be reproduced by other scientists?) and reliability (is there sufficient eveidence?). Religion is entirely dependent on faith in which there is no concrete evidence and therefore, no rational decisions could possibly be made. Irrational decisions which are made entirely on emotion can be easily influenced and hence very dangerous.
    So reproducibility and reliability are terms taught in GCSE science - they are very important to good science. But the problem with what you said about science being the founder of reason is that actually, you cannot use science to demonstrate the validity of the claim that "reproducibility" and "reliability" make science valid. It's actually a philosophical issue. Science is not what we use to validate science. This is an issue of philosophy.

    Fundamentally, you have faith in something. You have said things that suggest that you are an empiricist. That is to say your epistemic authority is our senses and experiences - that which we can measure in a science experiment. That is a faith position.

    The idea that only religious people have faith, or that religious people are the only ones that depend entirely on faith, demonstrates that you don't see that this is an issue of philosophy - specifically epistemology: how we know things, what we use as a basis for our knowledge. We all depend entirely on faith, the issue is what do we have faith in? None of us are an epistemological standard on our own - I would argue that that would be a claim to deity. We all rely on, ie. place faith in standards outside of ourselves.
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    ((
    (Original post by Pride)
    that's not really relevant to what I was saying, but this idea of understanding why people make decisions is one we can talk for ages about. One thing I often ask my atheist medical friends is whether explaining our decisions using neurochemistry and physics forces us to forgo our claim to moral responsibility.))
    (Original post by Pride)

    Unfortunately, i haven't studied neurochemistry since i've only just finished my GCSE's, however, i enjoy debating religion with people. I'm not too sure what you mean by the phrase: "our claim to moral responsibility" - could you please clarify this?

    (("Justifying events is more vague..."? What do you mean by that? In what way can science ever deal in the concept of "justification" or "justice". These are philosophical ideas.))

    Justice isn't always a simple case of mending a wrong - there is almost always two or more different perspectives of how justice can be served, for example, Capital Punishment - is killing one man who killed ten others justice? People will have differing views on this so justifying events is very rarely based on a solid, concrete foundation. My apologies if i have miscommunicated my thoughts - whilst i understand science cannot confirm a justification or hand out justice, it explores why people may make decisions by studying and analysing the surrounding environment of an individual and hence understanding why justice should be given to one individual over another (for example, a man who had not been diagnosed with schizophrenia decides to kill a woman who may have upset him for no reason e.g. bullying. Whilst nobody knew he had schizophrenia, was the woman in the right for bullying him in the first place or should the man be sentenced to death? It's very complex but, if it wasn't for science, nobody would have known that the man suffered mentally and therefore, it would seem that the justice should be given to the woman. Since science does exist, justice cannot just be based on philosophy but also on the science).

    ((Science deals in mechanisms. How do things work? It cannot deal in the why questions like "Why do people do X?" - not in an ultimate sense. Think about it. Often people assume science deals in the why, but it doesn't, it actually deals in the how. When people assume it does deal in the why, it's normally because they are assuming a philosophical naturalism or methodological naturalism for the good of the scientific experiment.
    In other words, science can only attempt to answer questions like "What is action X?" "What leads a person to carry out X?" "How does a person carry out X?" Not why.))

    I understand that science cannot always answer the 'why' questions - especially when it comes down to human nature, however, after gathering sufficient data, it can become obvious to somebody why an individual made a decision e.g. the example of the schizophrenic man.


    ((So reproducibility and reliability are terms taught in GCSE science - they are very important to good science. But the problem with what you said about science being the founder of reason is that actually, you cannot use science to demonstrate the validity of the claim that "reproducibility" and "reliability" make science valid. It's actually a philosophical issue. Science is not what we use to validate science. This is an issue of philosophy.))

    I'm not sure what you mean by: "science is not what we use to validate science" - we validate science based on fact and evidence, not normative, philosophical views. If enough scientists can come to the same conclusion, then the theory is validated by definition. Science starts with a question/ hypothesis and then gathers data to prove/ disprove it - we don't use philosophy to conclude an experiment, we use data.

    ((Fundamentally, you have faith in something. You have said things that suggest that you are an empiricist. That is to say your epistemic authority is our senses and experiences - that which we can measure in a science experiment. That is a faith position.

    The idea that only religious people have faith, or that religious people are the only ones that depend entirely on faith, demonstrates that you don't see that this is an issue of philosophy - specifically epistemology: how we know things, what we use as a basis for our knowledge. We all depend entirely on faith, the issue is what do we have faith in? None of us are an epistemological standard on our own - I would argue that that would be a claim to deity. We all rely on, ie. place faith in standards outside of ourselves.
    ))

    I must disagree with you here; i believe that faith can only come into practice if there isn't concrete evidence for something - you just believe it to be true. You do not have faith in the fact that you are breathing - it is fact. You do not have faith in the fact that you will die - you know you will. But you do have faith in the concept that the world was created by a superior being. Or perhaps you may have faith in your friend that they will pass their exam - whilst it might seem obvious to you that they will pass based on their previous excelling subjects, you do not know what the outcome of their results will be. Faith doesn't have to be linked to just religion so i agree with you in this case.
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    (Original post by Assadullah1215)
    Adaptation to the environment is not the same as evolving to a new species.
    Yes, it is. Adaptations accumulate over time and over millions of years, a common ancestor diverges into different species. There really is no difference between micro and macroevolution except the time scale.
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    atheism is just sad; it is like locking yourself in a bus station toilet watching black and white episodes of Open University while the glorious Universe is outside



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    hmm... You didn't understand my points. Ok, let me slow down.

    (Original post by Lisa.Williams)
    Unfortunately, i haven't studied neurochemistry since i've only just finished my GCSE's, however, i enjoy debating religion with people. I'm not too sure what you mean by the phrase: "our claim to moral responsibility" - could you please clarify this?
    Moral responsibility. Let me explain it like this. In our society, we tend to go about our lives as though we are morally responsible for our actions. That is to say that we tend to believe that we are accountable for what we do, and we hold others accountable for their actions to. We have a criminal justice system that attempts to hold people accountable, and give people "what they deserve" in some sense. We also accept praise and recognition when we achieve things.

    Now the issue with this is that if we are simply very complex computers - that is, that we are simply atoms, our decisions are solely the result of physics and chemistry in our brains, chemical reactions, electrons passing along axons in the neurons in our brains, then how can we claim to be morally responsible for our actions? We would never say this to a computer. If my decisions are the result of genes and their interaction with the environment, then why should I take credit for anything I do, and why should I accept blame for anything I do? Why do I say to the suicide bomber who killed those people at the Manchester Arena, "You should not have done that"? Surely, he did it because of his genes and the environment.

    But the thing is, our society's view of justice and moral responsibility made more sense in the Christian worldview. Because we have moved into a post-Christian, secular phase, we are in this phase where we hold on to ideas traditionally held by Christians, like moral responsibility, hence the inconsistency. I hope that made sense.

    Justice isn't always a simple case of mending a wrong - there is almost always two or more different perspectives of how justice can be served, for example, Capital Punishment - is killing one man who killed ten others justice? People will have differing views on this so justifying events is very rarely based on a solid, concrete foundation. My apologies if i have miscommunicated my thoughts - whilst i understand science cannot confirm a justification or hand out justice, it explores why people may make decisions by studying and analysing the surrounding environment of an individual and hence understanding why justice should be given to one individual over another (for example, a man who had not been diagnosed with schizophrenia decides to kill a woman who may have upset him for no reason e.g. bullying. Whilst nobody knew he had schizophrenia, was the woman in the right for bullying him in the first place or should the man be sentenced to death? It's very complex but, if it wasn't for science, nobody would have known that the man suffered mentally and therefore, it would seem that the justice should be given to the woman. Since science does exist, justice cannot just be based on philosophy but also on the science).
    Nobody is disagreeing with you about the value of science. What I'm trying to show you is that justice isn't a scientific concept. It's philosophical. Yes, science helps us to understand schizophrenia, we have some understanding of the neurochemistry, and we know the first-rank symptoms of schizophrenia because of science. But the question of justice presupposes this concept of "moral responsibility" which we were talking about earlier. It also leads us to ask whether "retribution" is a good aim of punishment. Should there be punishment? How serious should that punishment be? Should punishment only be about deterrence, or should it seek to bring "justice" as well? Why?

    Do you see how these are philosophical questions?

    I understand that science cannot always answer the 'why' questions - especially when it comes down to human nature, however, after gathering sufficient data, it can become obvious to somebody why an individual made a decision e.g. the example of the schizophrenic man.
    Yes, I actually agree with this, mostly. It's never obvious why individuals make a decision. But we trust that patients with the tell-tale signs of schizophrenia are not morally responsible if they are suffering from a delusion or do not perceive reality because of hallucinations, we show grace to our schizophrenic friends when they are apathetic, etc because we attribute all these things to their mental health condition. I said "we trust", because indeed, it is faith-based. We don't know why people do what they do. We hold to philosophies that attempt to explain why people do what they do. We trust things. This is what I keep trying to explain to you in PM and here.

    I'm not sure what you mean by: "science is not what we use to validate science" - we validate science based on fact and evidence, not normative, philosophical views. If enough scientists can come to the same conclusion, then the theory is validated by definition. Science starts with a question/ hypothesis and then gathers data to prove/ disprove it - we don't use philosophy to conclude an experiment, we use data.
    Again, this is an issue of epistemology. How do we know what we know? How do we know what is "fact and evidence" Science is philosophical. The idea that we can use science to obtain objective truth is philosophical.

    The thing is, you are presupposing the validity of your senses and your reasoning to demonstrate that science is a valid way to obtain truth. This is what I was trying to explain when you said "science is the founder of reason". If you say you look at science to discern what is reason, but then use reason to discern the validity of science, that is circular reasoning. This is the nature of all epistemology - it is circular. So fundamentally, you are ultimately relying on an epistemic standard - this is faith.

    Do you understand what I'm saying here?

    I must disagree with you here; i believe that faith can only come into practice if there isn't concrete evidence for something - you just believe it to be true. You do not have faith in the fact that you are breathing - it is fact. You do not have faith in the fact that you will die - you know you will. But you do have faith in the concept that the world was created by a superior being. Or perhaps you may have faith in your friend that they will pass their exam - whilst it might seem obvious to you that they will pass based on their previous excelling subjects, you do not know what the outcome of their results will be. Faith doesn't have to be linked to just religion so i agree with you in this case.
    No, we do have faith that you are breathing. You trust in the validity of your senses, and in your reasoning, and in the teaching you received at school that explained what breathing is. Now you may have reasons for trusting these things, but I could easily ask you why you trust those reasons, and keep asking you the same question, and it will eventually come back down to an ultimate epistemic authority. I suspect for you, it would be your senses or science or your reasoning capabilities.
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    (Original post by the bear)
    atheism is just sad; it is like locking yourself in a bus station toilet watching black and white episodes of Open University while the glorious Universe is outside





    That's actually a perfect description of religion.The real universe is much more awesome than anything religion can conjure.
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    (Original post by Robby2312)
    That's actually a perfect description of religion.The real universe is much more awesome than anything religion can conjure.
    science = theories

    religion = reality

    http://gifyagusi.pl/wp-content/uploa...ka-grafika.gif
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    (Original post by the bear)
    science = theories

    religion = reality

    http://gifyagusi.pl/wp-content/uploa...ka-grafika.gif
    And which religion would that be? Jesus is no more real than Jupiter was or any of the other thousands of god's that have come before him.Religion is quite obviously just a fantasy because humans are afraid of dying.Thats all it is.Nothing more.
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    (Original post by Robby2312)
    And which religion would that be? Jesus is no more real than Jupiter was or any of the other thousands of god's that have come before him.Religion is quite obviously just a fantasy because humans are afraid of dying.Thats all it is.Nothing more.
    oh dear :emo:
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    (Original post by the bear)
    oh dear :emo:

    I know the punctuation is wrong.Who cares? I can't be bothered to correct it every time.
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    Hello,

    Just thought i'd let you know that i've read your PM and responded accordingly.

    And yes, i completely agree with you about this being very philosophical, i was merely pointing out how science can aid others when studying a decision made by people.

    So if you question your senses then, are you somehow implying that perhaps we aren't even living? This was just how i interpreted this statement.
    (Original post by Pride)
    hmm... You didn't understand my points. Ok, let me slow down.



    Moral responsibility. Let me explain it like this. In our society, we tend to go about our lives as though we are morally responsible for our actions. That is to say that we tend to believe that we are accountable for what we do, and we hold others accountable for their actions to. We have a criminal justice system that attempts to hold people accountable, and give people "what they deserve" in some sense. We also accept praise and recognition when we achieve things.

    Now the issue with this is that if we are simply very complex computers - that is, that we are simply atoms, our decisions are solely the result of physics and chemistry in our brains, chemical reactions, electrons passing along axons in the neurons in our brains, then how can we claim to be morally responsible for our actions? We would never say this to a computer. If my decisions are the result of genes and their interaction with the environment, then why should I take credit for anything I do, and why should I accept blame for anything I do? Why do I say to the suicide bomber who killed those people at the Manchester Arena, "You should not have done that"? Surely, he did it because of his genes and the environment.

    But the thing is, our society's view of justice and moral responsibility made more sense in the Christian worldview. Because we have moved into a post-Christian, secular phase, we are in this phase where we hold on to ideas traditionally held by Christians, like moral responsibility, hence the inconsistency. I hope that made sense.



    Nobody is disagreeing with you about the value of science. What I'm trying to show you is that justice isn't a scientific concept. It's philosophical. Yes, science helps us to understand schizophrenia, we have some understanding of the neurochemistry, and we know the first-rank symptoms of schizophrenia because of science. But the question of justice presupposes this concept of "moral responsibility" which we were talking about earlier. It also leads us to ask whether "retribution" is a good aim of punishment. Should there be punishment? How serious should that punishment be? Should punishment only be about deterrence, or should it seek to bring "justice" as well? Why?

    Do you see how these are philosophical questions?



    Yes, I actually agree with this, mostly. It's never obvious why individuals make a decision. But we trust that patients with the tell-tale signs of schizophrenia are not morally responsible if they are suffering from a delusion or do not perceive reality because of hallucinations, we show grace to our schizophrenic friends when they are apathetic, etc because we attribute all these things to their mental health condition. I said "we trust", because indeed, it is faith-based. We don't know why people do what they do. We hold to philosophies that attempt to explain why people do what they do. We trust things. This is what I keep trying to explain to you in PM and here.



    Again, this is an issue of epistemology. How do we know what we know? How do we know what is "fact and evidence" Science is philosophical. The idea that we can use science to obtain objective truth is philosophical.

    The thing is, you are presupposing the validity of your senses and your reasoning to demonstrate that science is a valid way to obtain truth. This is what I was trying to explain when you said "science is the founder of reason". If you say you look at science to discern what is reason, but then use reason to discern the validity of science, that is circular reasoning. This is the nature of all epistemology - it is circular. So fundamentally, you are ultimately relying on an epistemic standard - this is faith.

    Do you understand what I'm saying here?



    No, we do have faith that you are breathing. You trust in the validity of your senses, and in your reasoning, and in the teaching you received at school that explained what breathing is. Now you may have reasons for trusting these things, but I could easily ask you why you trust those reasons, and keep asking you the same question, and it will eventually come back down to an ultimate epistemic authority. I suspect for you, it would be your senses or science or your reasoning capabilities.
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    (Original post by eam0ss)
    I was baptised CofE although was brought up in a fairly agnostic home where we sporadically went to church. I did go through phases of wanting actively to be Christian- partly due to the influence of my Christian school- but I've decided now that I do not believe in God. AMA.
    No hope for the future
    No purpose in life
    No meaning to anything
    No life after death
    Everything is the result of a chance accident.

    Great decision mate!
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    (Original post by TheDuo)
    No hope for the future
    No purpose in life
    No meaning to anything
    No life after death
    Everything is the result of a chance accident.

    Great decision mate!
    What you want to be true and what is actually true are not the same thing.And how does eternity make anything meaningful? If you have forever to do anything and this life is just a test then why bothe doing anything.If this life is all there is then it means everything.It has more meaning than anything else.Its religion that makes life meaningless because in that worldview life is just a trial run and there is no rush to do anything.
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    (Original post by Robby2312)
    What you want to be true and what is actually true are not the same thing.And how does eternity make anything meaningful? If you have forever to do anything and this life is just a test then why bothe doing anything.If this life is all there is then it means everything.It has more meaning than anything else.Its religion that makes life meaningless because in that worldview life is just a trial run and there is no rush to do anything.
    It seems you too are another victim of the God VS Science debate. God, and an afterlife can exist without religion! religion and god are not synonymous. Just because religion says one thing about God, doesn't mean that's what God is! Also, eternity is only boring if there's nothing to do. How do you know what the afterlife il bring? Your reasoning of being an atheist seems weak at best, I'm afraid, you're more an agnostic, as you have no solid reasons to prove or disprove god's existence.
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    (Original post by Lisa.Williams)
    Hello,

    Just thought i'd let you know that i've read your PM and responded accordingly.

    And yes, i completely agree with you about this being very philosophical, i was merely pointing out how science can aid others when studying a decision made by people.

    So if you question your senses then, are you somehow implying that perhaps we aren't even living? This was just how i interpreted this statement.
    I believe my senses are largely reliable. I do think we are living. But the question is how do we know? What is our ultimate authority for knowledge?

    Just because it is faith, doesn't mean we can't be confident in our belief. I was just saying that we are all fundamentally reliant on an epistemological standard. We aren't independent standards of truth, we rely on standards. This is my point.
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    (Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
    Yes, it is. Adaptations accumulate over time and over millions of years, a common ancestor diverges into different species. There really is no difference between micro and macroevolution except the time scale.
    Except you can't observe macro evolution. So it can't be said that adapting leads to evolving.
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    (Original post by Assadullah1215)
    Except you can't observe macro evolution. So it can't be said that adapting leads to evolving.
    You can't observe it because it occurs over millions of years, but microevolution has been observed, and macroevolution is just the accumulation of micro changes.

    Furthermore, not being able to observe something/a process with your own eyes is not necessarily evidence it didn't happen, otherwise you're admitting Muhammad didn't exist because no one alive has observed him. Evidence is all that's needed and there's plenty of it for evolution.
 
 
 
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