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Of late, I've been confused about the definition of "atheism." I know what it means, literally "without gods." My issue is, since atheism has such a broad definition, are there any accepted or ways of thinking (beyond "non-belief" in any god) that the majority of atheists accept?


Most atheists believe in causality.


Eff you Lucky...We all know that all Christians are irreligious anti-religious closeted Jews. It's true cause you see them all the time talking about Jews being against religion on the television.


What Lucky said.


Ohai, i fixed your assertion.

Also, humans tend to claim ownership over things that have no owners. I perceive that the wind exists, that does not mean i worship the sky. I know that treating others as i would treat myself is a good way of looking at things, that does not mean i attribute that good to a deity or anyone else.

Putting my stamp on something does not make it mine and quite frankly the stamp is only a means of description. The description of the stamp of atheism just happens to be very simple, straight forward, and doesn't have a holy book to complicate it's message.
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That's where the faith is in science, in that stage between "we know some" and "we've figured it out". Proceeding through that middle stage requires some faith is the results so far, even though said result have not been tested enough to be considered proven or conclusive.


But they have been tested enough to know that they won't completely change overnight and leave us completely in the dark.
vwytche
I just wanted to make my motives clear. I've had good discussions go bad due the erronious assumption of the proof factor. I'm just exploring ideas.

So, thanks for the cerebrial journey. It was wild ride. biggrin

I'm not sure if I can boil down the inner workings of the cluttered and largely unmapped place that is my mind into a concise and understandable format, but I'm going to take a stab at it.

The color of the sky does in fact pertain to the nature of the universe, or at least a small part of it, it does in fact, by dictionary definition, fit the criteria for a religious belief. However, since it is a scientifically proven fact, it is a wildly held belief that doesn't, as far as know, appear as part of any established religion. I think the reson for that is that it really is a matter of no consequence. Anyone can just look up and get all the evidence they need.

This brought to my mind that religion is largely bound up in answering the unanswered questions. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that the unknown scares the hell out of us. Anything could be out there and probably is, and we just can't deal with it. In that context religion is sort of like a big cosmic teddy bear. It's just something we hold onto when things get too scary to face alone. We need not worry about the sun not rising tomorrow, b/c we know Apollo is on the job.

As a people learns more, like for instance the function of star systems, we don't need to have Apollo anymore b/c the science tells us the sun will rise tomorrow. Science is then sort of playing the role of God, as the quieter of our fears. This of course doesn't sit well with some b/c they want to believe that Jehoviah is up there governingthe stars along with everything else, and while science may be able to explain how it works it is still God that makes it work.

This makes the conflict between science and religion sort of a territorial dispute. I'm actually thinking of divorced parents vying for the affection of the children. But back to the sky being blue. It is scietific belief b/c it is easily provable. It is a religious belief b/c it pertains to the nature of the universe. It is both. The only time a matter of such little consequence would be brought into dispute is during a conflict where each side would feel the need to gather as many points to their side of the table as possable.

The conclusion that this brings me to is that science and religion basically fill the same roll, but in different ways. So, I maintain that science is a religion, and in an odd sort of way religion is a science.


So you're saying that the belief has to have some sort of consequence to it? How about the belief in cause and effect, then?

But anyway, science doesn't exactly quiet fears. For some people, sure, they might treat it as if it's a religion, but it's not a religion in itself. There is a distinction between "being a religion" and "being treated as a religion". Science as a whole, is a rather unfeeling and unsympathetic entity towards humanity as a whole. But it certainly can give a sense of comfort in that the basic principle of science is that we can learn about the universe, and through knowledge comes the ability to control our world as well. Some people take comfort in that. Others, like me, don't really (find comfort, that is. It is a pragmatic enterprise, science, but it's not something that is going to make me feel comfortable with death and such).

Now the thing is that you were saying that atheism was like a religion and here you've switched to talking about science. Science and atheism are not the same thing and should not be treated as such. As for religion being a science, with how the term "science" has diverged from natural philosophy, I would not qualify religion as a science.
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You are entitles to your opinion of my opinion, and neither is any valid than the other. Opinons are, by there very nature, not facts, and therefore incaplae of being either correct or incorrect.

As far as all your other points, I've already addressed them in another post.
Could you direct me to this other post?


page five, right at the top
Are you saying that Theism is a religion?


No my orgional statement was that atheism qualifies as a religion by the dictionary definition of religion. Apparently the stance has quite a few apposing viewpoints. smile
By that argument you would have to say that theism is a religion as well, no?
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That's where the faith is in science, in that stage between "we know some" and "we've figured it out". Proceeding through that middle stage requires some faith is the results so far, even though said result have not been tested enough to be considered proven or conclusive.


But they have been tested enough to know that they won't completely change overnight and leave us completely in the dark.


Exactly, that's what I'm saying. We know the results so far will not change. The toddler knows the chair is their while he's looking at it.

We don't know what further testing will reveal. The toddler doesn't know for sure how not looking will effect the chair.

We test further, having faith that the data will stay consistant. The toddler sits w/o looking and discovers the chair remains even w/o looking.

Then the conclusion can be reached. Looking at the chair does not affect its exsistance.

If the toddler ddin't have faith in his evidence so far he would be willing t sit w/o looking for fear of falling. When he does sit w/o looking it is b/c he has enough faith in his previous results to take the risk. It is the faith we have in our results so far that give us the courage to proceed even at some risk.
vwytche
If the toddler ddin't have faith in his evidence so far he would be willing t sit w/o looking for fear of falling. When he does sit w/o looking it is b/c he has enough faith in his previous results to take the risk.


Previous results of what - sitting with looking?
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You are entitles to your opinion of my opinion, and neither is any valid than the other. Opinons are, by there very nature, not facts, and therefore incaplae of being either correct or incorrect.

As far as all your other points, I've already addressed them in another post.
Could you direct me to this other post?


page five, right at the top
Are you saying that Theism is a religion?


No my orgional statement was that atheism qualifies as a religion by the dictionary definition of religion. Apparently the stance has quite a few apposing viewpoints. smile
By that argument you would have to say that theism is a religion as well, no?


I suppose you could. That would make a great many of the worlds religions simply denominations of a larger religion.

Oh boy, like I haven't already upset enough people. lol

I think what is important to remember in all this is that the words we use as labels does effect that which is labeled in anyway. Things are what they are and will remain so no matter what we call them. Water is water whether it is call water, agua, wasser or l'eau.

I find it interesting the attatchment people will place on these labels, sometimes to the ignoring the importance of the actually thing, action or concept. The inner workings of the human mind really is fansinating stuff, and some days this place is just like a big petri dish.
vwytche
I suppose you could. That would make a great many of the worlds religions simply denominations of a larger religion.

Oh boy, like I haven't already upset enough people. lol

I think what is important to remember in all this is that the words we use as labels does effect that which is labeled in anyway. Things are what they are and will remain so no matter what we call them. Water is water whether it is call water, agua, wasser or l'eau.

I find it interesting the attatchment people will place on these labels, sometimes to the ignoring the importance of the actually thing, action or concept. The inner workings of the human mind really is fansinating stuff, and some days this place is just like a big petri dish.


Be careful about taking the "a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet". The problem with that statement is that it has a certain naïveté to the concept that the way in which we use our language does not influence our perception of the world around us. It certainly does.

So I would argue no, a rose by another name would smell quite a bit differently than if it were named a rose.
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I just wanted to make my motives clear. I've had good discussions go bad due the erronious assumption of the proof factor. I'm just exploring ideas.

So, thanks for the cerebrial journey. It was wild ride. biggrin

I'm not sure if I can boil down the inner workings of the cluttered and largely unmapped place that is my mind into a concise and understandable format, but I'm going to take a stab at it.

The color of the sky does in fact pertain to the nature of the universe, or at least a small part of it, it does in fact, by dictionary definition, fit the criteria for a religious belief. However, since it is a scientifically proven fact, it is a wildly held belief that doesn't, as far as know, appear as part of any established religion. I think the reson for that is that it really is a matter of no consequence. Anyone can just look up and get all the evidence they need.

This brought to my mind that religion is largely bound up in answering the unanswered questions. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that the unknown scares the hell out of us. Anything could be out there and probably is, and we just can't deal with it. In that context religion is sort of like a big cosmic teddy bear. It's just something we hold onto when things get too scary to face alone. We need not worry about the sun not rising tomorrow, b/c we know Apollo is on the job.

As a people learns more, like for instance the function of star systems, we don't need to have Apollo anymore b/c the science tells us the sun will rise tomorrow. Science is then sort of playing the role of God, as the quieter of our fears. This of course doesn't sit well with some b/c they want to believe that Jehoviah is up there governingthe stars along with everything else, and while science may be able to explain how it works it is still God that makes it work.

This makes the conflict between science and religion sort of a territorial dispute. I'm actually thinking of divorced parents vying for the affection of the children. But back to the sky being blue. It is scietific belief b/c it is easily provable. It is a religious belief b/c it pertains to the nature of the universe. It is both. The only time a matter of such little consequence would be brought into dispute is during a conflict where each side would feel the need to gather as many points to their side of the table as possable.

The conclusion that this brings me to is that science and religion basically fill the same roll, but in different ways. So, I maintain that science is a religion, and in an odd sort of way religion is a science.


So you're saying that the belief has to have some sort of consequence to it? How about the belief in cause and effect, then?

But anyway, science doesn't exactly quiet fears. For some people, sure, they might treat it as if it's a religion, but it's not a religion in itself. There is a distinction between "being a religion" and "being treated as a religion". Science as a whole, is a rather unfeeling and unsympathetic entity towards humanity as a whole. But it certainly can give a sense of comfort in that the basic principle of science is that we can learn about the universe, and through knowledge comes the ability to control our world as well. Some people take comfort in that. Others, like me, don't really (find comfort, that is. It is a pragmatic enterprise, science, but it's not something that is going to make me feel comfortable with death and such).

Now the thing is that you were saying that atheism was like a religion and here you've switched to talking about science. Science and atheism are not the same thing and should not be treated as such. As for religion being a science, with how the term "science" has diverged from natural philosophy, I would not qualify religion as a science.


I know I'm drifting. I'm in two rather interesting discussions on this thread and their kind of melding for me. Science as the set of beliefs that atheist tend to hold about the universe came up in the other one, and as it was pertenent to the color of the sky analogy I was sort of pondering both at once.

My last post is simply where my mind took me as I let it off it's leash to to explore, so to speak. And it was a really boiled down version of a much longer and more convoluted trip down the backroads of my thinking and there really wasn't any way to relate it all comphrehensably.

I'm intriged by the idea of distinction between "being treated like a religion "and being a religion". Certainly those who worship the almighy dollar or watch soap operas religiously are treating these things like a religion. Is that the sort of thing you are referring to? These sorts of "religions" don't pertain to or attempt to answer any of the questions about the universe, but rather distract us from being concerned by them. So I would suppose they do give a variety of comfort fom a "out of sight, out of mind" stand point. While they may not be religions in the technical sense there are people that use them as sort of place holders for religion.

I myself, am some what of an enigma, like a half breed, not accepted by either side. For while I am a highly religious person, I also believe all religions to be pure mythology, even my own. I believe in the exsistance of a higher power, but I don't believe that mankind has made any great strides in understanding it. The best we have done is taking our best stab at it by following what seems right on a gut level. And I don't think it matters much to the entity that I call THE ALL THAT IS which religion we follow, but rather that we make the effort. That would be the religious side of my thinking. Of course, this leaves very little confort on the matter of death, b/c as I said I don't take much comfort in what I believe to be fictional accounts of the promises of an afterlife. My comfort there is the scientific side of my thinking that while I do not know what comes after, what ever it is is perefctly natural, and therefore probably not as scary as we make it out to be. I believe in a soul that continues after the body, which is a religious belief. However I belive it for scientific reasons. Energy can be neither created or destroyed, so how can the life spark that animates us simply cease to be when we die? It doesn't make any sense,

Because of all this it make the kinship between religion and science far easier to accept. For most the two seem to be in constant conflict, you know the old faith vs proof argument.
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I suppose you could. That would make a great many of the worlds religions simply denominations of a larger religion.

Oh boy, like I haven't already upset enough people. lol

I think what is important to remember in all this is that the words we use as labels does effect that which is labeled in anyway. Things are what they are and will remain so no matter what we call them. Water is water whether it is call water, agua, wasser or l'eau.

I find it interesting the attatchment people will place on these labels, sometimes to the ignoring the importance of the actually thing, action or concept. The inner workings of the human mind really is fansinating stuff, and some days this place is just like a big petri dish.


Be careful about taking the "a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet". The problem with that statement is that it has a certain naïveté to the concept that the way in which we use our language does not influence our perception of the world around us. It certainly does.

So I would argue no, a rose by another name would smell quite a bit differently than if it were named a rose.

By this argument roses would smell differently in non-English speaking countries. Interesting idea, but how would one go about testing that?
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If the toddler ddin't have faith in his evidence so far he would be willing t sit w/o looking for fear of falling. When he does sit w/o looking it is b/c he has enough faith in his previous results to take the risk.


Previous results of what - sitting with looking?


yes
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Be careful about taking the "a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet". The problem with that statement is that it has a certain naïveté to the concept that the way in which we use our language does not influence our perception of the world around us. It certainly does.

So I would argue no, a rose by another name would smell quite a bit differently than if it were named a rose.

By this argument roses would smell differently in non-English speaking countries.


Not necessarily - or at least, not to a significant level. However, get a group of people to smell the same (hidden) rose twice - but on one occasion tell them their smelling a rose, on the other, that they're smelling, say, "Persimony". Then monitor their evaluations. Similar to the experiment where the same wine connoisseurs evaluated the taste of wine priced at $10 differently than the taste of the same wine priced at $90.

vwytche
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If the toddler ddin't have faith in his evidence so far he would be willing t sit w/o looking for fear of falling. When he does sit w/o looking it is b/c he has enough faith in his previous results to take the risk.


Previous results of what - sitting with looking?


yes


Wait...in that first sentence you're saying the toddler would be willing to sit without looking if they didn't have faith in their evidence...then in the second sentence you say when they do sit without evidence it's because they do have faith...
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Be careful about taking the "a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet". The problem with that statement is that it has a certain naïveté to the concept that the way in which we use our language does not influence our perception of the world around us. It certainly does.

So I would argue no, a rose by another name would smell quite a bit differently than if it were named a rose.

By this argument roses would smell differently in non-English speaking countries.


Not necessarily - or at least, not to a significant level. However, get a group of people to smell the same (hidden) rose twice - but on one occasion tell them their smelling a rose, on the other, that they're smelling, say, "Persimony". Then monitor their evaluations. Similar to the experiment where the same wine connoisseurs evaluated the taste of wine priced at $10 differently than the taste of the same wine priced at $90.

vwytche
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If the toddler ddin't have faith in his evidence so far he would be willing t sit w/o looking for fear of falling. When he does sit w/o looking it is b/c he has enough faith in his previous results to take the risk.


Previous results of what - sitting with looking?


yes


Wait...in that first sentence you're saying the toddler would be willing to sit without looking if they didn't have faith in their evidence...then in the second sentence you say when they do sit without evidence it's because they do have faith...
- gonk



redface You're right I am b/c I accidently left NOT out of the first sentence. My bad, sorry for the confusion.

As to the wine and roses, we must remeber that what is beind effected is our perecption. The chemical make up that produces the sent or taste is not changing b/c we use a different word or description. The label is imacting our pereception of the thing, not the thing itslf.
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May I ask why? That has the potential to be quite a lengthy list and I would be unwilling to invest that sort of time and energy into a task w/o a pretty good reason.


Because in your opinion, your own conclusions are more valuable than my own, so i figured that, instead of saying a bunch of stuff, that I would rather get you to talk.

I think it's more worthwhile than simply arguing against your interpretation of a written definition.


How did I give you that impresion? I feel very strogly that each individual is entitled to believe as they will. I think we may have had a communications break down. sad


Oh, by no means did I mean to accuse you of anything. It's simply something that holds true for just about everybody.

Look at it this way. You're more likely to believe that I can bench press three hundred pounds if you saw me do it than you are to believe that I can bench press three hundred pounds if I told you that I could.


Ok, you've got me curious enough to proceed I suppose. The two religions I would be the most familiar with are of course my previous one (Christianity) and my current one (Wicca), so suppose those are our test subjects. Altho once I get started I could probably fill a book with all the similarities, so I'm just going to go with the first ten that pop into my mind. I hope that will be enough to suit your purposes

They both embrace the idea of a higher power in the form of a deity of human appearance and mentality. These deity figures are both capable of human emotion, and not above allowing themselves to me swayed by it. Many other commonalities can be found between deities, including being credited for the creation of the universe as a whole and life on Earth specifically, being cast in the role of parent and care giver, taking an interest in Terrestrial matters as apposed to indifference to them and the willingness to resort to some rather extreme measures in order to make a point.

Both faiths preform ceremonies and rituals, which in themselves resemble one another to varying degrees The communion for example has almost the same mechanics of the cakes and ale ritual, but they have very different purposes. The Christianing and Wiccaning, by contrast, share the same purpose but vary in mechanics. While the wedding and handwriting, both serve to same purpose and similar mechanics.

Both observe certain days of significance, both as annual events of great importance and more frequently space days of worship.

The mythologies of both assure us that death is not the end and that there is something that waits beyond it. While the details differ between them, which is not surprising, considering the details tend to vary between different sects within both faiths, both embrace the idea that we are more than our body and that a piece of us will remain when the body has worn out.

Both have failed to provide a universally accepted truth, causing both to experience splintering into sub sects, denominations for Christianity, traditions for Wicca, made up of individuals that have gathered together with like minded individuals.

Both have a central theme of a male deity that dies and then rises from death. In both instances his people are saved by the occurrence. However Christian focuses more a sacrifice for the purpose of salvation, while w/ Wicca the salivation is my of a secondary result of thongs that happened for other reasons.

Both acknowledge the importance and power of certain symbols and talismans, more so in Catholicism, but Christians do set great store by the cross, which in itself is a symbol shared by the two faiths.

Both can trace their roots back, if one is to believe the mythisism theory, which I do, to the common root of prehistoric sun worship.

Both have changed so much in the course of history as to bare virtually no resemblance to it's initial foundations

Both have a very basic “code of conduct”, ten commandments fro Christianity, the rede and threefold law for Wicca, that got far more complicated, due to over analyzing and question the simple versions, by the addition of large amounts of more details laws, that no one pays much attention, begging the question why humans make thing so hard on themselves.

Like I said these were just the first to pop into my mind when I got thinking, but this could on for quite a length yet.
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vwytche
If the toddler ddin't have faith in his evidence so far he would be willing t sit w/o looking for fear of falling. When he does sit w/o looking it is b/c he has enough faith in his previous results to take the risk.


Previous results of what - sitting with looking?


yes


Wait...in that first sentence you're saying the toddler would be willing to sit without looking if they didn't have faith in their evidence...then in the second sentence you say when they do sit without evidence it's because they do have faith...
- gonk


redface You're right I am b/c I accidently left NOT out of the first sentence. My bad, sorry for the confusion.


So if the toddler had faith in the chair being there when they look at it, they'd be willing to sit there without looking at it?

vwytche
As to the wine and roses, we must remeber that what is beind effected is our perecption. The chemical make up that produces the sent or taste is not changing b/c we use a different word or description. The label is imacting our pereception of the thing, not the thing itslf.


The chemical make-up is not the scent or taste; there is no "smell of a rose" existing independently of perception - "smell of a rose" is a perception. To say words affect our perception is thus to say words affect the smell of a rose.

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