• Christoffer
    543


    Banned user - Goodbye
  • Christoffer
    543
    Clear enough: you apparently define "God" in way that serves your argument. Now it's up to you to offer some rigorous definition. In particular, I believe in God, and it (my belief) is well supported by both evidence and rational deduction; beyond that, my belief is unassailable by either doubt or rational argument. To be sure, though, there are lots of people who prefer the supernatural God supported by irrational beliefs. Do you begin to see your problem?tim wood

    In case of premise 1, I might need to add the definition of the classical concept of God through Christian theology or theology in general. Maybe even add a new premise to generalize irrational belief.

    The point is that there isn't a conclusion that can be supported by any evidence or rational argument. I've seen many trying on this forum and throughout history, but they do not apply with real-world science in mind and they always jump from their logical conclusion to an assumption instead of ending at the actual conclusion. I.e God is the unmoved mover, which is an assumption about the unmoved mover, which could just be a very high dimensional rock since we don't know anything about events before Big Bang.

    You see what I mean here? The argument is about irrational belief which distorts reality for the self and others, intentionally or unintentionally since personal belief is an illusion of keeping belief to yourself. Your writing now is an example of this, in which you point to a personal belief and in writing it out you are projecting this personal belief into the mind of others. If someone reads what you write and this influence their concept of reality you have unintentionally pushed a belief that has no support in evidence or rational arguments (a personal concept of evidence or rationality is not valid in proving God).

    This is in no way critique against you, just to be clear. I'm just making an example.

    To be sure, though, there are lots of people who prefer the supernatural God supported by irrational beliefs.tim wood

    And this is the problem that I found unethical in the world because it distorts people's reality. Irrational belief is not a healthy foundation in society and because personal belief is an illusion, we cannot just accept that some are able to divide their personal belief from their rational ideas since the personal belief will eventually be expressed vocally or through behavior and choices.

    This is why I argue for epistemic responsibility or the form of it in which people need to move away from defending their irrational belief and accept it as irrational while keep questioning ideas and never accept what doesn't have good support in evidence or rationality. The argument shows how irrational belief is dangerous and how rational belief (type B and C) should be held up higher than type A. There is no priority in the world today, which might be why people confuse personal belief with rational belief and proven truth so much, even on this forum.
  • tim wood
    2.9k
    You see what I mean here? The argument is about irrational belief which distorts reality for the self and others, intentionally or unintentionally since personal belief is an illusion of keeping belief to yourself. Your writing now is an example of this, in which you point to a personal belief and in writing it out you are projecting this personal belief into the mind of others. If someone reads what you write and this influence their concept of reality you have unintentionally pushed a belief that has no support in evidence or rational arguments (a personal concept of evidence or rationality is not valid in proving God).

    This is in no way critique against you, just to be clear. I'm just making an example.
    Christoffer

    This is a little out of control - maybe more than a little. Two points: 1) a premise in an argument is or should be a simple statement of the form all/some/no P is/is not Q. It may take work to get it into this form, but good arguments are work - any other kind of argument is a waste of time. And the terms P and Q have to be defined with adequate precision and comprehensiveness. 2) "personal belief is an illusion of keeping belief to yourself": apparently you have a problem with personal belief. Um, your problem, that's a personal belief, yes?

    I made a claim about my idea of God. Without having even a remote idea of what I mean, you projected your own critical notions on it. And this is a great problem with discussions about God: that people do not know what they themselves are thinking when they talk about God , but they suppose they do, and they add to that, that they suppose they know what someone else is talking about or thinking when that other is talking about God. Both make the same set of mistakes. The only outcome of a discussion between two such people is nonsense.

    So far, to my way of thinking, you're expressing some opinions and trying to make an argument from them - but it cannot be a good argument until you can write your first good premise.
  • Christoffer
    543
    This is a little out of control - maybe more than a little.tim wood

    See past that, I relate to the argument I made as I ended that segment with that it's not an attack.

    1) a premise in an argument is or should be a simple statement of the form all/some/no P is/is not Q. It may take work to get it into this form, but good arguments are work - any other kind of argument is a waste of time.tim wood

    Yes, it's work and that is what I'm doing, therefore I've modified it since the first post was written, according to the objections. This is part of a larger moral ethics piece I'm working on.

    But as most arguments aren't really deductive, isn't this an inductive argument? Isn't "all/some/no P is/is not Q" strictly for deductive forms? Even if it is, also used in inductive arguments?

    2) "personal belief is an illusion of keeping belief to yourself": apparently you have a problem with personal belief. Um, your problem, that's a personal belief, yes?tim wood

    • Do you agree that personal belief is unable to be contained as it influences both how you communicate and how you behave?
    • Do you agree that eventually, your personal belief will influence others around you and/or even be communicated as an idea to others?
    • Do you agree that it doesn't matter if a belief is rational or irrational, it still follows the above two points?

    What is your conclusion on personal belief based on these three points?

    I made a claim about my idea of God. Without having even a remote idea of what I mean, you projected your own critical notions on it.tim wood

    I would categorize a belief in God to be irrational, type A, since it does not have rational or evidential support, i.e unsupported belief. Since God hasn't been able to be proven, no one can claim it to be proven. If personal belief is that God is proven through a personal logic that cannot be applied outside your subjective reasoning, it is not supported belief, it is an irrational belief.

    How is this a personal opinion on it? Personal logic doesn't apply to outside logic. The logic is, God hasn't been proven to exist, personal belief in God and any personal reasoning about it is strictly subjective and therefore is personal belief unsupported by external rationality and evidence.

    This isn't about proving Gods existence, it's about defining personal belief that is either unsupported or supported, rational or irrational.

    And this is a great problem with discussions about God: that people do not know what they themselves are thinking when they talk about God , but they suppose they do, and they add to that, that they suppose they know what someone else is talking about or thinking when that other is talking about God. Both make the same set of mistakes. The only outcome of a discussion between two such people is nonsense.tim wood

    I agree and I think I need to revise the first premise in some way to include a better definition, I'm of course working on this. But is God a teapot? Is it an ocaen beach? Is it my neighbor? The purest definition of God in language is, of course, neither of these but a sentient entity that is responsible for creating the universe, the world, and man. We can of course use dictionary definitions as well, which doesn't really change my argument: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/god

    However you define "God" it is still based on an unsupported, irrational personal belief about something not proven to exist. If your personal definition of God is your neighbor and that you rationalize like this: My neighbor is God, My neighbor can be observed to exist, therefore my neighbor exist and since my neighbor is God, God exists. However, this isn't how language defines "God". Using the possibly infinite, personal interpretations of words as a defense against the first premise seems, therefore, like a form of circular counter-argument, because if anything can be defined as anything, then we cannot form any communication or understanding of anything when changing definitions always alter everything, even arguing that definitions alter arguments.

    The only outcome of a discussion between two such people is nonsense.tim wood

    How do you define God? (not proving, but how do you define God)

    So far, to my way of thinking, you're expressing some opinions and trying to make an argument from them - but it cannot be a good argument until you can write your first good premise.tim wood

    I think the problem with the premise is that it rubs religious people the wrong way and forming all sorts of defense mechanisms against the God-premises. The argument is about belief, any sort, religious and otherwise and the conclusion is not about proving Gods existence or not, which some seem to believe. However, there's no evidence for a God, if there was, why hasn't society accepted it? Because some doesn't accept the evidence? What evidence? In order to actually counter argue that first premise, you need to show that it is false, i.e that God exists and therefore it is false. If the premise is false because of interpretations of God is almost infinite, then how can anyone prove the existence of God when no one can define a definition of God in language? It seems to me that the first premise is true because for it to be false, the existence must be proved first and if proven only by personal logic and not external, it doesn't make the premise invalid.

    Maybe it's formulated wrong, but the point of the premise isn't really false.
  • tim wood
    2.9k
    Do you agree that personal belief is unable to be contained as it influences both how you communicate and how you behave?
    Do you agree that eventually, your personal belief will influence others around you and/or even be communicated as an idea to others?
    Do you agree that it doesn't matter if a belief is rational or irrational, it still follows the above two points?
    Christoffer

    No, no, and no. Before you object, consider the form of your questions.

    I would categorize a belief in God to be irrational, type A, since it does not have rational or evidential support, i.e unsupported belief. Since God hasn't been able to be proven, no one can claim it to be proven. If personal belief is that God is proven through a personal logic that cannot be applied outside your subjective reasoning, it is not supported belief, it is an irrational belief.Christoffer

    "I would characterize." Indeed you would, and you did. Without finding out what it was you were characterizing.

    God hasn't been proven to exist, personal belief in God and any personal reasoning about it is strictly subjective and therefore is personal belief unsupported by external rationality and evidence.Christoffer
    An unestablished assumption. And because it was of something I was writing about, that I qualified, your dismissal of it, and any remarks you made, are out of court.

    neither of these but a sentient entity that is responsible for creating the universe, the world, and man.Christoffer
    According to whom? I said I have a clear and unassailable understanding of God, which just might be of interest to some people, but you just blew right by it.

    However you define "God" it is still based on an unsupported, irrational personal belief about something not proven to exist.Christoffer
    Really? However I define God?

    I think the problem with the premise is that it rubs religious people the wrong way and forming all sorts of defense mechanisms against the God-premises.Christoffer
    You have already decided. I'm being resistant here because you're representing your presentation as a variety of sound argument, and it hasn't even made the first step as an argument. It's as if you have persuaded yourself of your conclusion - and that's it.

    How do you define God?Christoffer
    An exercise for you. What could God be, that in it's being is unassailable as being. That is, my claim counters yours. Either I'm a complete wackdoodle, or you have some thinking to do.

    By the way, your argument, such as it is, would be most of the way rehabilitated if you modified every proposition from "all X is Y," to "some X is Y." Probably then you'd need to move on to cases - but that wouid be a whole other argument.
  • Christoffer
    543
    No, no, and no. Before you object, consider the form of your questions.tim wood

    I don't think those questions are asked in any problematic way, those were questions to you, not an argument. By saying "no", you are actually disagreeing with psychology, how people influence behavior and others intentionally and unintentionally. So saying no is a bit irrelevant, since the premise which this connects to has support and isn't up for an opinion on the matter. This is why I think some criticism doesn't really work since many seem to disagree out of opinion and not the actual premise.

    "I would characterize." Indeed you would, and you did. Without finding out what it was you were characterizing.tim wood

    According to whom? I said I have a clear and unassailable understanding of God, which just might be of interest to some people, but you just blew right by it.tim wood

    Really? However I define God?tim wood

    An exercise for you. What could God be, that in it's being is unassailable as being. That is, my claim counters yours. Either I'm a complete wackdoodle, or you have some thinking to do.tim wood

    The problem with all of this is that people invent personal interpretations of the term "God" and use that to counter any type of use of the term "God" within an argument. So to propose that no one can use standard definitions of the term, the definitions that are common within language, you can claim truth to any argument and distort the actual communication that is established. Like using the ontological argument to reach the first cause of causality, in which people claim the first cause to be God by using a distorted definition of the term as it is used commonly.

    It's like me saying that a table is not a table for me, I define a table as a fire extinguisher so if someone is trying to convince me that a regular table as everyone else defines it is a normal table I will dispute that it isn't because of my own interpretation of language.

    This would mean that any defined things in language cannot be used in arguments since people can dispute them by redefining words as they seem fit.

    "God" as defined in common language, refers to a sentient entity, spiritual or similar, which is responsible for the creation of the universe.

    That is the common definition in our language. If you define God as say a teapot, it doesn't matter for the premise. Because if, within the ontological argument, the first cause is an inter-dimensional rock of a specific material that caused the Big Bang it's not God, it's an inter-dimensional rock of a specific material. So, if we, through science, solve what was before Big Bang and it turns out that it is just an inter-dimensional rock that caused everything, no one would call that rock "God", even if everyone before it, who agreed with the ontological argument proving God's existence, called it that. All those people would then change their focus onto something else where there is no evidence at the time, and call that "mystery", God.

    What I mean by this is that it becomes irrational to have such a wide definition of God since you would change what it is based on the situation. When the inter-dimensional rock is proved, the first cause is no longer "God for all those who wanted to prove the existence of God through those arguments.

    So in the premise, to use "God" is through the standard definition. If you have the opinion that "God" is a fire extinguisher in order to dispute the premise, that is a bit absurd.

    I also find your strict definition of how a premise should be written in an inductive argument to be not only limiting but not really correct either. Not every premise in every argument needs to be formulated like a modus ponens. I might need to rephrase them to better make their points, but as with the questions I asked above, which you answered "no" on, the truth of them doesn't come out of opinion, but out of truth in psychology research, so the premise of behavior influencing others is based on scientific logic, so if disputed you need to dispute the results in psychology. The premise is true.

    Consider these definitions:
    https://www.iep.utm.edu/ded-ind/
    Inductive arguments can take very wide-ranging forms. Some have the form of making a claim about a population or set based only on information from a sample of that population, a subset. Other inductive arguments draw conclusions by appeal to evidence, or authority, or causal relationships. There are other forms.

    So the problem you have with the argument seems to be that you have your own definition of the term "God" and that the first premise doesn't apply to your own definition?
  • tim wood
    2.9k
    I don't think those questions are asked in any problematic way, those were questions to you, not an argument.Christoffer
    They were categorical questions asked in the context of a piece of argumentation.
    By saying "no", you are actually disagreeing with psychology,Christoffer
    Psychology our measure of truth? That's a whole other discussion. But you're missing my point - consistently. Argumentation is an exercise in both content and form, and there are rules. You're breaking them in a consistent manner in support of your conclusion. The kindest term for that is sophistry. As to any psychological insight that might be in your questions, sure. But that wasn't what you're asking. In short, I answered the questions you asked. If you want to ask different questions, fire away.
    "God" as defined in common language, refers to a sentient entity, spiritual or similar, which is responsible for the creation of the universe.Christoffer
    In this topic, a care with language is preferred to a lack of care. As it happens - as you would know if you looked - there are a variety of definitions of God. If you have any evidence that supports any one of them over any other, please refer to it. What I did notice in my brief survey is that none use the word "responsible." So then instead of your "which is responsible for the creation," I would substitute, "who is worshiped as the creator of the universe." Really the important word is "as." This concept of God is God "as." And the as-clause is just what is attributed as accident to the concept God. Inasmuch as the substance, or essence, of God is unthinkable, God accumulates accidents. But no being, real or otherwise is equal to, the same as, a partial listing of its accidents. If "God" could be considered as you consider him, then your argument might itself have more bite, more substance, but He can't be, and thus yours can't either.

    What that might leave is a concept of God that works - is at the least self-consistent. I have that, and nothing in the least bit supernatural about it. And because there is no touchstone for the concept of God, mine, being functional - if not as satisfying; I never claimed it was globally satisfying - has fair claim to being correct, or no less correct than others.

    You're making categorical statements and arguments. And one problem with categorical statements is that they're either all right or all wrong, no "neither-nor." So while if you tempered your arguments to the probable or the existential or the "some" or the "sometimes" and worked with that, your arguments would merit consideration. But expressed in universal terms, the argument does not merit consideration because the premises are false.

    As to inductive argument, you might care to read the definition you provided. Inductive arguments are suggestive, deductive conclusive. I read you as arguing for conclusive conclusions. If you want to make a good substantive argument, then you have no choice but to do the work. If a problematic argument, then you have to change your language.
  • Christoffer
    543
    They were categorical questions asked in the context of a piece of argumentation.tim wood

    I think you are avoiding the questions themselves. It feels like you focus too much on the semantics here and don't look linguistic pragmatic of the text. But let's rephrase them as an actual argument:

    • Personal beliefs are unable to be contained as it influences both how you communicate and your behavior.
    • During a lifetime, a person's beliefs will eventually influence others and/or even be communicated directly.
    • Personal belief can be both rational or irrational, but follow the same pattern of an idea without full support in truth.

    Therefore, regardless of the belief, it will eventually influence other people even if it wasn't intentional.

    Psychology our measure of truth? That's a whole other discussion.tim wood

    Psychology is an empirical science and science is a better measurement for truth than anything else. The truth, in this case, is that the above argument is based on logic in behavior, it's basic psychology. You can pretty much take that argument and try and falsify it with as many scientists in the field as you can and I doubt it will break. But even so, you need to counter it with something more than just dismissal.

    But you're missing my point - consistently. Argumentation is an exercise in both content and form, and there are rules. You're breaking them in a consistent manner in support of your conclusion. The kindest term for that is sophistry. As to any psychological insight that might be in your questions, sure. But that wasn't what you're asking. In short, I answered the questions you asked. If you want to ask different questions, fire away.tim wood

    You answered no to them and therefore you deny basic psychology. You are therefore essentially denying results in science and it would require much more than just "no". It seems you want to have a dialectic about my argument, but I cannot just go by a "no", should I just take your word for it when I have support for the claim? The premises of the above argument are true, with support in science. How is that sophistry?

    In this topic, a care with language is preferred to a lack of care. As it happens - as you would know if you looked - there are a variety of definitions of God.tim wood

    You mention this, but my counter to that is that they don't, it's a normal counter to argue that God is so undefined it can't be used like this, but God is always a sentient creator at least, and further down the road it gets more attributes depending on the religion. Even in pantheons, there's always the first one, the creator. In some cases, there's an event, but no first cause arguments focus on those religions since they would imply an event as the first cause and therefore render the argument not usable (but probably more true) for trying to prove God. There are no real ways to define God in any other way that isn't a sentient being. If you remove that definition, it could just be a rock and it would be irrational to even name it God. God is pretty defined by everyone who uses the word, of course, different as well, but not in its prime definition, a sentient being, a creator. And even if a religion has Gods appearing after an event that was the creation, it has even less deductive arguments or proof for their existence. However you turn it , God is pretty defined as a sentient being, a creator.

    But I get your point and it might need to be rephrased since the premise obviously stirred up confusion.

    If you have any evidence that supports any one of them over any other, please refer to it. What I did notice in my brief survey is that none use the word "responsible." So then instead of your "which is responsible for the creation," I would substitute, "who is worshiped as the creator of the universe." Really the important word is "as." This concept of God is God "as." And the as-clause is just what is attributed as accident to the concept God. Inasmuch as the substance, or essence, of God is unthinkable, God accumulates accidents. But no being, real or otherwise is equal to, the same as, a partial listing of its accidents. If "God" could be considered as you consider him, then your argument might itself have more bite, more substance, but He can't be, and thus yours can't either.tim wood

    If definitions of God is anything other than a supernatural sentient being, why call it God? That opens up to calling anything God, my coffee cup is God. But the premise points to no evidence or argument in support of God, so even if your definition is different it is still valid since there are no arguments that can conclude with "God". All arguments or attempts at proving God ends up with a result where the one doing the argument slaps the word "God" on top of their conclusion, they are all flawed. Therefore however you define "God", the premise about there not being any argument or evidence for God still holds up. In order to prove that premise false, you need to actually prove that there is support for God and not that it's a coffee cup.

    So, the premise is about evidence for God and there are none, why is that false? Since however you turn it, using God as a definition about something, whatever it is, is a belief that is unsupported. I.e the premise points to belief in God without proof. If this is not true as a premise, why is it false? Because people define God so differently? No, God is always a belief, there is nothing that supports God as real.

    So would the premise work better if it's phrased like this:
    Old
    No argument has ever been able to prove the existence of God or gods through evidence. Religious belief is therefore based on belief in something that is unsupported by evidence or rational deduction.
    New
    No argument or evidence has ever been able to prove the existence of a God or Gods, regardless of definitions for what God is, since God as a concept always refers to a concept outside of conclusions or the evidence at hand. Religious belief is therefore based on pure belief in something that is unsupported by evidence or rational deduction.

    What that might leave is a concept of God that works - is at the least self-consistent. I have that, and nothing in the least bit supernatural about it. And because there is no touchstone for the concept of God, mine, being functional - if not as satisfying; I never claimed it was globally satisfying - has fair claim to being correct, or no less correct than others.tim wood

    But here's the problem, calling something that actually exists, a dead object or just plain causality or whatever as God is distorting everything to such a degree that no one can ever talk about God in any way or form since everyone has their own definition of what God is. If I started using definitions that we have in language, to refer to other things, like calling a plane - a car, a chair - a plant, a person - a dog, I would distort communication because of personal preferences of language. Like Wittgenstein pointed out: the meaning of a word is out of its use in language. If you start calling God something else than a supernatural sentient being, you are breaking the definition as it's used in language. But it's also according to my new version of the premise a definition that doesn't have a correlation with what you apply it to. Let's say that you call causation or entropy God, that is unnecessary since causation is causation and entropy is entropy. Is my friend God if I call him God instead of Bob? Can I use that as a counter-argument to someone using God in an argument? You can't use God in the argument because I define Bob as God, therefore your premise is false? It ends up as an absurd critique of the actual point of the premise and I would assume that Wittgenstein would have agreed with me on this.

    You're making categorical statements and arguments. And one problem with categorical statements is that they're either all right or all wrong, no "neither-nor." So while if you tempered your arguments to the probable or the existential or the "some" or the "sometimes" and worked with that, your arguments would merit consideration. But expressed in universal terms, the argument does not merit consideration because the premises are false.tim wood

    But you are still defining my argument as a deductive argument, when it is an ethical inductive argument about how we ought to act around the concept of beliefs.

    Inductive arguments do not demand categorical statements in the same way as deductive arguments. They still need to have valid premises and from what I gather you don't think the first premise is valid because you have your own definition of God, which per Wittgenstein, breaks meaning out of language.
    If textbook definitions, common definition, common use in language etc. define God as a supernatural sentient being, possibly a creator, that is the meaning and definition. Otherwise, Bob is God.

    As to inductive argument, you might care to read the definition you provided. Inductive arguments are suggestive, deductive conclusive. I read you as arguing for conclusive conclusions. If you want to make a good substantive argument, then you have no choice but to do the work. If a problematic argument, then you have to change your language.tim wood

    But my conclusion is a "should" conclusion. It's an "ought to" conclusion. It doesn't say that people "must". I conclude a result of the premises in support of the actual inductive conclusion that was to prove reasons on why not to accept an irrational belief of any kind and instead focus on evidence and proving ideas and beliefs you have. The actual conclusion is suggestive:

    Therefore, religious or other types of belief that are of type A, should be considered unethical and criticized. The moral obligation should be to always uphold epistemic responsibility (Premise 7) and prioritize belief type B and C as ethical while condemn type A as unethical. This applies to all people for any belief of type A; religious, personal and in institutions, research and politics.Christoffer
  • Christoffer
    543


    I think it would be better to break down the actual premises, what is wrong with each etc. Not that you don't like, but actual problems, like what is unclear, is the validity of each in question and why. Inductive arguments do not need to have premises written in categorical statements, but they need to be true. Like as we have been talking about, the first premise is not about definitions of God, but that the concept of God, any definition of God is unsupported by evidence and arguments, therefore God is a belief, regardless of its subjective definition. This is true, it can only be false if God had actually been proven to exist. So, as inductive premises, what are the problems with them?

    • No argument or evidence has ever been able to prove the existence of a God or Gods, regardless of definitions for what God is, since God as a concept always refers to a concept outside of conclusions or the evidence at hand. Religious belief is therefore based on pure belief in something that is unsupported by evidence or rational deduction.
      - Updated this with the new premise to include individual definition differences.
    • Kierkegaard or Pascal presented reasons to believe in God not linked to the existence of God, but either through Pascal's wager, in which it's most logical to believe than not to. Or by Kierkegaard, to believe because of the belief itself is a way of life (in his case Christianity).
      - Are there any problems with how I frame their ideas? Are they not true to what they proposed?
    • Russel's Teapot analogy points out the importance of burden of proof. If you make a claim or believe in something, you have the responsibility to prove it first. You must do this before claiming it to be true or demand others to disprove your belief or claim. If not, you could possibly invent any belief you want, like teapots in space and conclude it to be true since no one has the means to prove against it.
      - Is this not what Russel proposed?
    • By Russel’s teapot analogy and according to premise 1-2; religion or other beliefs can be made into whatever people can think of. This opens the door for people with dark and twisted thoughts and ideas to make up any type of belief they want, which could consist of harmful ideas such as murder, rape, torture and other kinds of harm to other people and themselves.
      - Is this not true? If people can make up a belief about whatever they want, by human nature wouldn't someone be able to intentionally or unintentionally create a belief around harming others? As we have plenty of historical examples of?
    • If there’s a possibility that hateful and dangerous belief-systems will be created, it has a high probability of happening over a long enough timeline.
      -This is a regular probability premise. If there's a possibility of it happening, it will eventually happen if the timeline is long enough.
    • There is no such thing as personal belief since you do not exist in a vacuum, detached from the rest of society and other people. As long as you interact with other people and the world, you will project your personal belief into other people’s world-view and influence their choices. The only way to not affect other people is to isolate yourself, but as soon as you interact you are projecting your ideas into the world.
      - Based on basic conclusions in psychology, out of observations about human psychology and how people interact in social groups. That we influence and change other people's mind through what we believe can be seen all around us. If this premise wasn't true, we wouldn't, for example, be able to control people's consumption through commercials.
    • Epistemic responsibility put a responsibility on the ones who make choices without sufficient evidence. To choose to believe in something that you have no rational reasoning behind or no evidence for, is to accept something as true, without evidence or rational reasoning behind. This, based on premise 6, can lead to you projecting beliefs into others world-view and influence other people's choices and ideas based on a belief that you have not falsified, hold to scrutiny, proved or rationally reasoned behind.
      - This is primarily just the definition of Epistemic responsibility and how it relates to the previous premises. It might be that this should be included in the conclusion than as a premise though?
    • Belief can be categorized into three parts:
      A) Belief without rational cause, a belief that is without evidence, accepted as truth and acted upon by the believer.
      B) Belief with rational cause, a belief that has rational reasoning and logic and which has gone through falsifiable reasoning as much as possible, acted upon with caution because it is never considered to be true.
      C) Scientific belief, i.e Hypothesis, an educated guess based on observations, previous evidence, careful induction, partly researched, but never accepted or acted upon as true before proven into a scientific theory.
      - This is a breakdown of different belief types, I don't see how the definitions are wrong about each belief type?
  • tim wood
    2.9k
    It feels like you focus too much on the semantics here and don't look linguistic pragmatic of the text. But let's rephrase them as an actual argument:Christoffer
    You do indeed have an appetite for this stuff! I had thought I was reasonably clear, but what I think isn't always the case. Yes, I have been exactly focusing on the semantics over content. I think I more than once acknowledged sense in your arguments, but complained about the arguments as argument themselves, as to their form. It's as if you painted your ordinary five-year-old car with racing colours, inflated your ordinary half-worn-out tires to the correct pressure, and figured you were good to go racing, But you aren't and you can't, because just those things do not a racer make. And speeding around on the wrong equipment just gets you a crash.

    So I'll try to be clearer. I understand your argument to be that beliefs taken to be true that are unverifiable as true, can be a problem. If that's it, then as I have expressed it, I do not have a problem with it - nor in my opinion can anyone else.

    Let me make my way through your bullet-list of premises in your post just above.

    1) No argument or evidence has ever been able to prove the existence of a God or Gods, regardless of definitions for what God is, 2) since God as a concept always refers to a concept outside of conclusions or the evidence at hand. 3) Religious belief is therefore based on pure belief in something that is unsupported by evidence or rational deduction.Christoffer

    First off each of 1, 2, and 3 is a categorical statement. And, 1 is false. 2, false, 3 false. Can you see why? Try reading each of them critically.

    Russel's Teapot analogy points out the importance of burden of proof. If you make a claim or believe in something, you have the responsibility to prove it first. You must do this before claiming it to be true or demand others to disprove your belief or claim. If not, you could possibly invent any belief you want, like teapots in space and conclude it to be true since no one has the means to prove against it.Christoffer
    This, quick copy from Wikipedia:
    "Russell's teapot is an analogy, formulated by the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970), to illustrate that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon a person making unfalsifiable claims, rather than shifting the burden of disproof to others."
    I read this as saying that you can believe in orbiting teapots all day long, But if you wish to enforce on others an acceptance of your belief as truth, then the burden of demonstrating that truth lies on you and no one else. As I read it, it imposes no burden whatsoever on anyone to make proofs or disproofs where no transaction is pending. But you appear to read it in the very different light of simply requiring proof of beliefs.

    This opens the door for people with dark and twisted thoughts and ideas to make up any type of belief they want, which could consist of harmful ideas such as murder, rape, torture and other kinds of harm to other people and themselves.Christoffer
    There's a wall here that your reasoning apparently does not recognize. In order to prove a belief, you have to first have it. But how can you have a belief if you have to prove it first, and, if you prove it, then it's not just a belief, is it? Just what is it, then, exactly, that you believe that a belief is?
    And bad people are well able to open their own doors, and do.

    If there’s a possibility that hateful and dangerous belief-systems will be created, it has a high probability of happening over a long enough timeline.Christoffer
    Bad things happen. But the system is not purely mechanistic. There is in play self-regulating processes. To be sure, these too can go wrong too; the last century provides ample evidence. But this is also life, the way it works.

    At this point it strikes me that if you wish to proceed, perhaps it might be a good idea to summarize your idea in three or fewer simple sentences. If you do, I think you'll have it, and I suspect you will see that there is really nothing to be added to it. Where the argument fails it fails as argument, because you try to transform an idea into a piece of logical machinery, when in fact the pieces aren't there, or are the wrong kind of pieces.
  • andrewk
    2.1k
    Belief can be categorized into three parts:
    A) Belief without rational cause, a belief that is without evidence, accepted as truth and acted upon by the believer.
    B) Belief with rational cause, a belief that has rational reasoning and logic and which has gone through falsifiable reasoning as much as possible, acted upon with caution because it is never considered to be true.
    C) Scientific belief, i.e Hypothesis, educated guess based on observations, previous evidence, careful induction, partly researched, but never accepted or acted upon as true before proven into a scientific theory
    Christoffer
    This all falls apart when we notice that all 'rational' beliefs can be traced back to unprovable axioms that we take on faith, such as the Principle of Induction.

    Religious beliefs can be as rational as non-religious ones. They just use a slightly different set of axioms.

    If one insists on ranking beliefs in order of 'worthiness', one will have to do it by looking at the axioms. One way to do that is to observe that some axioms are accepted by all people. The Principle of Induction is one. We might then claim that the only reasonable beliefs are those that are derived from the minimal set of axioms that is believed by all humans. That would rule out religious belief, but it would also rule out many other beliefs that most people are very attached to - such as the belief that there are other consciousnesses (anti-solipsism).

    That's why I think it's a doomed and unhelpful exercise to try to categorise beliefs based on 'rationality'.

    There are other and better ways to oppose beliefs that one finds harmful (and only a minority of religious beliefs are harmful anyway).
  • Christoffer
    543
    In the 20th century it was explicitly atheist regimes that led the mass murder assault upon humanity.Jake

    No, they were based on irrational beliefs and a form of similar religious followings of their leaders that you can see within religious groups, there was nothing atheistic about any of it. If you look at how they close to deified their leaders and how they followed their irrational belief you will understand that it has nothing to do with atheism. My argument is also focusing on irrational belief as a whole, which means it also includes things like eugenics and fantasies about social structures without any insight into psychology or sociology.

    My personal opinion about the idea that it was atheism that caused these mass murders is that its pure nonsense and without any real insight into how these regimes formed, what doctrines they built their society upon and the irrational ideas that they lived under and ruled by. It's often used to disparage atheism whenever someone brings up how religious beliefs has caused harm during thousands of years.

    Irrational ideas without foundation in evidence or rational thought will always be the root of any mass murder. I recommend that you actually look into these events during the 20th century, they acted out far closer to religious forms than any atheistic ideas. Charles Manson and his followers are closer in form to how Hitler and the Nazis acted out than any atheistic groups of people.

    So, in what way is your comment any counter-argument to my argument? What is irrational belief is irrational regardless of form.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    beliefs , even irrational beliefs, are not inherently bad or good, the just are. Even specific ideological beliefs such as Christianity or communism are not inherently bad or good.

    Specific actions taken by individuals or groups can be evil, and often ideological beliefs are used as justification for such acts. Rarely on review are these justifications the unique, major or even the real motivation, they are just the best excuse.

    Without even going into a premise by premise argument, it fails because

    If a group of people jointly share a belief, And some of those people do good, and some do bad, it is illogical to assign the bad to the belief.

    You point turns into many murderers like chocolate ice cream, therefore chocolate ice cream causes murder.
  • Jake
    1.4k
    No, they were based on irrational beliefs and a form of similar religious followings of their leaders that you can see within religious groups, there was nothing atheistic about any of it.Christoffer

    Such statements always disqualify any commentator in my eyes. If Stalin and Mao had been ardent Catholics leading explicitly Catholic regimes (or Islamic regimes) I'm guessing you'd be more than happy to offer this as evidence of the evils of religion. Which you will now deny of course, further discrediting your analysis. Seen all such dodging a billion times, bored to tears by it.
  • Christoffer
    543
    beliefs , even irrational beliefs, are not inherently bad or good, the just are. Even specific ideological beliefs such as Christianity or communism are not inherently bad or good.Rank Amateur

    The argument is about beliefs you think is true, as per my A-C belief types. Type A is irrational belief which you think is true without anything to back it up. Type B and C are beliefs which you know is not proven, but you think they might be true. The difference is that with these beliefs you act with caution, you tell them with the disclaimer "it's only my speculation" or "it's only a hypothesis". Type A, however, is "This is the truth", without anything to back it up with. Such beliefs are not good or bad, but they influence and distort society over a long period of time.

    My point is that you can have type B and C beliefs, but never type A, which should be considered unethical as it distorts people's ideas of truth.

    Specific actions taken by individuals or groups can be evil, and often ideological beliefs are used as justification for such acts. Rarely on review are these justifications the unique, major or even the real motivation, they are just the best excuse.Rank Amateur

    All belief of type A should be considered unethical, regardless of origin or use.

    Without even going into a premise by premise argument, it fails because

    If a group of people jointly share a belief, And some of those people do good, and some do bad, it is illogical to assign the bad to the belief.

    You point turns into many murderers like chocolate ice cream, therefore chocolate ice cream causes murder.
    Rank Amateur

    No, I think you misunderstand the conclusion of the argument. What my argument points out is that Type A beliefs should be considered unethical since they distort truth over a period of time. If people believe things and do not care to understand that they are beliefs, they become truths for them, just like with anti-vaxxers going into cognitive bias and claim truth in vaccines causing autism.

    It doesn't matter if some do good and some do bad, all belief of type A eventually lead to distortion of truth and may result in bad things happening. There is no reason to have, act or live by type A beliefs.

    I think you should read my argument in detail again, this feels a bit straw-manned.
  • Christoffer
    543
    Such statements always disqualify any commentator in my eyes. If Stalin and Mao had been ardent Catholics leading explicitly Catholic regimes (or Islamic regimes) I'm guessing you'd be more than happy to offer this as evidence of the evils of religion. Which you will now deny of course, further discrediting your analysis. Seen all such dodging a billion times, bored to tears by it.Jake

    But you treat atheism as something with doctrines and rules to live by, which is a fundamental misunderstanding of what atheism is. You compare it to religion in the way that these regimes took "ideas out of atheism and applied to the terrors they acted out", which is impossible because there are no doctrines or teachings within atheism, as it isn't based on anything like that.

    It's such a misunderstanding of atheism that I see time after time. The idea that atheism is some religious doctrine to follow. Communism and Nazism have nothing to do with atheism, that's pure nonsense.

    How can you attach atheism to these regimes? In what way did atheism cause them according to you? I'm genuinely interested in how you make that correlation without straw-manning the concept of atheism or applying attributes to atheism that does not exist.
  • Christoffer
    543
    This all falls apart when we notice that all 'rational' beliefs can be traced back to unprovable axioms that we take on faith, such as the Principle of Induction.

    Religious beliefs can be as rational as non-religious ones. They just use a slightly different set of axioms.

    If one insists on ranking beliefs in order of 'worthiness', one will have to do it by looking at the axioms. One way to do that is to observe that some axioms are accepted by all people. The Principle of Induction is one. We might then claim that the only reasonable beliefs are those that are derived from the minimal set of axioms that is believed by all humans. That would rule out religious belief, but it would also rule out many other beliefs that most people are very attached to - such as the belief that there are other consciousnesses (anti-solipsism).

    That's why I think it's a doomed and unhelpful exercise to try to categorise beliefs based on 'rationality'.

    There are other and better ways to oppose beliefs that one finds harmful (and only a minority of religious beliefs are harmful anyway).
    andrewk

    The basic point of the argument is to distinguish belief that we take for truth without evidence or support. What I mean is that this argument is primarily an inductive argument for the most moral way to act around the concept of belief. If irrational and unsupported belief eventually leads to a distortion that is harmful, directly or indirectly, it's not ethical to hold on to that type of belief. Type B and C are beliefs that we primarily know are beliefs.

    The difference and the basic moral act is to always move away from type A beliefs and hold onto type B and c, since we then always treat them as beliefs, we know that we don't know they are true, we know that they might be, but we would never act on them as truths.

    This applies to more than religion, like for anti-vaxxers beliefs which are supposed, in their eyes, to be for the greater good, but if they had treated their fears as unsupported and in need of verification before they acted on them, they would not be responsible for the return of almost eradicated diseases. They all act on a type A belief.

    So in religion, there's nothing wrong with the belief specifically, but the risk is that they influence society with their religious belief; that the consequences, even after their death, is a distortion of truth and reality for other people who then act out with harm.

    My point is about how we treat belief, that we don't have a good line drawn in our heads about what beliefs are unsupported and what have support or at least that we know are beliefs. If we always had in mind that it's immoral to keep unsupported belief unchecked and act out by such unsupported belief, we would treat beliefs much more rational and always know them to be beliefs instead of through bias distort our irrational belief into truths. The different types reflect this; type A as belief that we accept as truth without evidence or support and type B and C as a belief that we know is only belief and in need of further support.
  • Christoffer
    543
    Atheism is the faith based belief that human reason is a tool of sufficient power to credibly analyze the very largest of questions about the most fundamental nature of everything everywhere (scope of most God claims).Jake

    What? Atheism is just not a belief in God or any supernatural things. That's the only thing it is, what you apply to it after that is your own invention, which is the problem.

    If there are no doctrines or teachings within atheism, what in the world are you posting about?

    The horrors of the atheist regimes were built upon the faith based belief that there is no higher power that we are accountable to, that is, we are free to make up our own rules. And so they made up a rule that it's ok to slaughter millions if we can claim some greater good down the line.
    Jake

    Atheism is just a denial of the existence of any supernatural elements or God/Gods. You cannot blame atheism for the ideas that people had which led to these things.

    The fundamental difference here is that religion HAS TEACHINGS that becomes a basis for ideas, ATHEISM HAS NO TEACHINGS. This is fundamental.

    You are making a causation does not mean correlation fallacy because you don't seem to understand the basic concept of what atheism is and what it is not.

    Like most of the atheists I've met online, you have no idea what atheism really is, a faith based belief system. That is, an immature faith based belief system which typically doesn't even know it is a faith based belief system.Jake

    This is your own definition and you call out atheists as being stupid not to understand their own atheism. Really? Are your online encounters with atheists and your own ideas about atheism the definition that is true?

    To dispute this, please provide the proof that human reason, the poorly implemented ability of a half insane semi-suicidal species only recently living in caves on one little planet in one of billions of galaxies, is capable of credibly claiming what doesn't exist in all of reality, a realm which we can't currently define in even the most basic manner such as size and shape etc.Jake

    What does this, what so ever, has to do with your attack on atheists and atheism? Atheism is just the absence of belief in any supernatural things or God/Gods. Nothing more, nothing less and what you do with that, if you are an atheist, is by your own responsibility.

    This is the same kind of request for proof we would reasonably ask from those quoting Bible verses etc. That is, please prove the qualifications of your chosen authority for the task at hand. Anyone who can't provide proof of the qualifications of their chosen authority is a person of faith.Jake

    What are you talking about? It appears that you don't understand the basic concept of atheism.
  • Jake
    1.4k
    Atheism is just not a belief in God or any supernatural things.Christoffer

    What is this lack of belief based on? What is it's source? How does the atheist arrive at this lack of belief? It didn't just magically pop in to existence out of nowhere, right?
  • Christoffer
    543
    What is this lack of belief based on? What is it's source? How does the atheist arrive at this lack of belief? It didn't just magically pop in to existence out of nowhere, right?Jake

    This is why it seems so hard for theists to grasp the concept of atheism. There's no source, there's just no belief in God or the supernatural. Do you believe in unicorns? If not, what's the source? Why don't you believe in unicorns? Did that lack of belief just pop into your head out of nowhere? Do you see the irrationality of asking that question?

    You try so hard to find evil in atheism and this is what at least I find scary about theists way of reasoning. Maybe that's why my argument is about making irrational belief unethical.

    Not a threat, a fair warning. I'm alerting you to what is coming so you can avoid it if you wish. Should you choose to avoid the dismemberment of your atheist belief system, feel free to do so, with no complaint from here. It's possible that I'm three times your age and have been doing this since before you were born. If so, I don't wish to be a bully. Anyway, enough about that, you will continue or you won't, and I'm agreeable either way.Jake

    You keep doing it, warnings, threats of "dismembering my atheism". It's anti-intellectual theist preaching and by my understanding, it's against forum rules.
  • Jake
    1.4k
    This is why it seems so hard for theists to grasp the concept of atheism. There's no source, there's just no belief in God or the supernatural.Christoffer

    Ah, so your lack of belief in a God just magically sprang in to existence out of nothing. It's a miracle!! :smile:
  • Christoffer
    543
    Ah, so your lack of belief in a God just magically sprang into existence out of nothing. It's a miracle!!Jake

    You have a belief that people are born into this world, growing up with a belief as a primary starting point and then move over to atheism. Without anyone imposing religion and religious belief onto you, you will not evolve a belief in God or the supernatural. Outside influences always determine your core values. You learn things, you do not learn no things. You learn to follow a religious belief, you do not learn not to follow a religious belief.

    Once again the fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of something absent. You imply atheism as something, it is the absence of something.

    You do not learn there is not a chair in your room, you either learn there's a chair in your room or you don't have a chair and it's not part of your room or your perception of the room.

    The chair doesn't exist, it's absent from both your idea of there being one and your experience of it. You don't learn there's not a chair in your room. Just as you don't learn to have faith in supernatural stuff, that faith is that chair, it's not there and you don't have it. You come in contact with others who claim there to be a chair in your room and it's just irrational in your perspective that there would be a chair in there.

    Then there are those, like you, who claim that someone made me not think there's a chair in my room. And also claim that not accepting there to be a chair in that room is responsible for evils in this world. It's absolute nonsense.
  • Christoffer
    543
    It's not a threat. It's a fact which I am reporting. If you are a person of reason you will dismember your atheism yourself.Jake

    This is religious preaching and not tolerated on this forum. The rest is just an insult to my intellect and ad hominem that's directly out of line.

    Yes, really. Anybody who claims atheism is "merely a lack of belief" doesn't understand atheism. I didn't say stupid, but would say immature, lacking experience, typically lacking a real interest in the subject.Jake

    You seriously aren't following forum guidelines now. This is evangelistic spamming.

    Why are you an atheist?Jake

    Stop spamming
  • Jake
    1.4k
    Why are you an atheist?
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