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Everything posted by romansh

  1. This I think is clumsily written. What does one call a person who believes gods don't exist? ie they have an active disbelief in god? This controversy in part is a reaction to some theists insisting that the definition of atheist be an active belief in god. Thereby it is philosophically up to an atheist to provide evidence that god does not exist. Whereas this would not be true for an atheist who simply lacks belief. There is no final definition. We just should be clear what definition we are using, otherwise there is a lot of meaningless discourse. I can think of you as an atheist Elen. I am pretty sure you lack belief in the gods of the Baltic, and if you actively were to think about them then you would actively disbelieve in them. So what happens when atheists define agnostics into their set. I am not saying there is not logic for them to do so. If agnosticism is simply about how we handle knowledge then I am atheist. I am an atheist (in the strong sense of the word) with respect to Abrahamic, Roman and Greek gods, even though I see no way of conclusively disproving them. The problem is there are two senses of the word atheist and some are attached to one definition more vociferously than the other. We do need definitions of the words otherwise we are reduced to the babble of speaking in tongues.
  2. From the Ehrman blog. https://ehrmanblog.org/am-i-an-agnostic-or-an-atheist-a-blast-from-the-past/comment-page-2/#comments I agree with Bart the agnostic vs atheist debate can get a bit spicy at times: I have seen this happen a many a time … but it's more agnostics retaliating than attacking … not that I am biased or anything. Bart goes on to say, For years I thought that an atheist was someone who said there was no God. And for years he would have been right (I think). In the seventies the definition started to shift (again?). Particularly George Smith's 1979 book The Case Against God, advocated for the implicit (weak) definition of atheism. So with time as the definition of atheist has shifted, a lot of agnostics find themselves in the atheist pool, or at least by the weak definition. Now I am not suggesting this is the be all and end all: Stanford's 'new' definition threw up some controversy and acrimony a couple of years ago. So beware the sands shift.
  3. Err ... no its a bout meaningful discourse. Merely asserting things is not discourse. You are starting to define god as an ontological necessity here. Here we can meaningfully start to discuss. I don't think I have … but for all I know I could be experiencing God now. We have not defined god or its properties.
  4. Can we vaguely stick to the topic … the existence of god and whether we can define god to discuss this meaningfully? It would appear you have not experienced god, so there seems we cannot have a meaningful discussion there either.
  5. That I believe. The question I am trying to ask (I suppose) is: are we (you) willing to accept the possibility that you are actually not experiencing god, but something else? The question for me would be am I willing to accept that I might be experiencing god. The answer is yes, it is a possibility; but, I immediately start wondering about the properties of this god. Regarding discussing the taste of lemonade, yes it is difficult. I could do comparisons … citric and ascorbic acids, I could display my likes or dislikes, or maybe go poetic on sunrise over dew sparkled lemon grove. But I take your point.
  6. Wiki and https://www.theguardian.com/news/2007/sep/18/guardianobituaries.religion No And I thought it was about Sherwin Wine. My bad.
  7. I have no experience of god … so what is your experience?
  8. Here's a question, is there a difference between experiencing God and believing one is experiencing God? We experiencing all sorts of things subliminally, through our 'five' senses. I've told this story before, a few years ago I went to a service for a pastor friend of mine. There were people in the audience who to my eyes were experiencing a "high". It could have been the music or the crowd … I discussed this briefly on my Aston Villa post on my blog. At best we interpret this experience as god, in the same way I interpret my kitchen chair being red.
  9. If you read about Sherwin Wine … I think he and Spong would have been kindred spirits. If they weren't already.
  10. Moving the goal posts thormas are we? Sherwin said "before the question of the existence of God can be meaningfully discussed" and you want to discuss "experience". OK lets meaningfully discuss the experience of "red" without defining it first.
  11. Not a problem … and this will pass too. The point being experience of something, whether it being a colour or even what we imagine to be God, requires some understanding of the underlying substrate. Well that is people for you. If I were to be a theist of some sort, it would be a pantheism. But as Dawkins suggests that is just sexed-up atheism. I agree, that is why I started the ignostism thread. But it can be bit of confusion when people start using words in non-standard ways, and are reticent to clarify what they mean. Or worse still the clarification leads to even more confusion.
  12. You can have a meaningful discussion about things that can't be defined or conceptualized?
  13. Well I suggest search the dictionaries on the internet … it will give us a sense of how the word is used. They tend to give both senses of the word. Religious folk tend to use the strong sense of the word, from what I gather. Also the Stanford page suggest this use. The more vocal atheists tend to use the weak sense. Personally I prefer the strong sense, but I don't mind so long as when the word is being used that person is clear on which he or she is using. My understanding dictionaries reflect what is commonly used. I let Christians define what is Christianity. I have seen evangelicals claim that Catholics are not really Christian. The late Hitchens observed that to be a Christian one must believe that Jesus was born the Son of God and he died for our sins and went back up into heaven or whatever. Other Christian denominations may have a tendency to agree. Spong has had the moniker of the Atheist Bishop. This was not from other atheists. So by all means let progressive Christians define themselves. These definitions of course will change and individuals will have their own spin. Which is fair enough. If we look at older dictionaries (or at the three old ones I found, Chambers and Webster from the seventies and my Oxford from 1990) they used the strong definition. I think in the 1970s there was a push to use weak definition at least from certain parts of the secular community. Can I suggest my blog on the matter agnosticism
  14. This is correct as far as it goes. Then there are photochemical reactions in the cones on our retinas, the cones send electrical signals down the optic nerves and in the brain these signals get processed into the experience of red. The last bit is currently bit of a mystery.
  15. To be fair to thormas … this I don't think is strictly accurate or at least misleading. Take (philosophically) strong atheists, while they fit the label lacking belief, they do believe there is no god.
  16. I am immediately reminded of Burl's recent account of his visions of heaven and hell. I accept these are very real to him, but what I am after is more in the traditional sense of real. This reduces to anecdote. While I don't dismiss anecdote per se, I think we need to take a more statistical approach here. Take beatification, it is based on statistical anomalies. It is no way to go about laying a foundation for life, at least in my opinion. I am looking at my red kitchen chair, the marmalade tabby is sitting on it. The chair is red, that is my experience. Every neuron in my brain is screaming red. Yet the science tells me it is not red, science tells me colour is bit of an illusion. And this tells me while powerful, personal anecdote of experience can be very misleading.
  17. Thank you … a thoughtful reply.
  18. I somehow missed this thread … The thought has crossed my mind too, that providing just more food and shelter can exasperate the famine and hunger. Contraception is one answer, but if children are subliminally our OAS, this is not going to work either. Of course education and work are a part of the answers. I remember my brand new 1996 Ford Escort station wagon, I got hold of it on Christmas Eve … I liked that car. It was made all over the world but assembled in Mexico. Even back then there was the rhetoric of why could it not be made in the Canada (or the States). Having reasonably well paid jobs in Mexico (perhaps not as well paid as in Canada or the States) to me seemed like a win-win. We get cheaper cars and a needy country gets employment and helps minimize poverty. So I would not necessarily berate capitalism for this, but perhaps our lack of socialist (lower case) tendencies to share our good fortune. It summarizes to: It is OK to give aid, but not our jobs. Another thought. The adage of teaching a man to fish works up to a point, The man might get good at it and empty the lake.
  19. Bump … see post above especially for Joseph from wikipedia Rabbi Wine coined the word ignosticism. It is the view that a coherent definition of God must be presented before the question of the existence of God can be meaningfully discussed.
  20. In a more modern context evidence is data/observation in support of a particular position. In this case faith becomes a little circular, not having evidence for a position that is not seen, becomes evidence for that position.
  21. As usual you did not address my point, whether or not I am welcome in your eyes. You start another thread and see if I'll follow. Dude
  22. I must admit I don't get that sense from you.
  23. To the question of how were the pyramids built? Graham answered "to be honest I have no answer". This of course is fair enough. There is a societal aspect to this question and a technical. And of course they are not independent. Twenty odd years ago I came across the Geopolymer hypothesis, in a different context. While there are arguments against it, from a societal and technical point of view it seems more doable than traditional view.
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