Seem to criticize religion from a Christian or western religious perspective? In other words, those religions which have their basis in Hebraism, Judaism, and Islam; the so-called "Abrahamic religions." They rarely are ever familiar with eastern religion or philosophy where "God" is thought of in a completely different and antipodal way. For starters, God is not thought of as an "entity," and that really boggles the mind of some atheists who've spent their entire lives conceptualizing "God" as some kind of entity.
Of course, most English-speaking atheists that we encounter here at Atheist-Nexus are from the U.K or the United States where western religion is predominant, and that may explain why that is. That's why I've always enjoyed when Sam Harris emphasizes ignosticism which aims to define "God" before any discussion or debate takes place.
There's an interesting video I came across on YouTube where an Indian guru spills his insight to a young "spiritual seeker." He makes an interesting comment about atheism.
Basically that the "God" from his perspective is not the same God in which some atheists reject, the God as "entity," but instead a "source" which he vaguely describes. Because the God that the atheist rejects, he also rejects.
It kind of makes you think, what if the entire theist vs. atheist argument is one of semantics? That this flexible term that we use "God" has a spectrum of meaning, and on one side of the spectrum makes no sense, but on another side, can correspond exactly to reality. After all, Einstein used this word, but of course, not in the same sense a zealous Christian might use it. Just a thought.
And if anyone's interested in eastern philosophy and how "God" is thought about in something like Buddhism for example, a good place to start is this video here, just listen out for "final self." Truly fascinating for anyone with an open-mind… Perhaps some of you have heard this one before…
Matt wrote: You know, it's funny. A lot of atheists like to use this "evidence" as a basis for their beliefs, when in fact we have not even explored not 1% of this universe, and yet this less than 1% is what we call "evidence."
Aside from your 1% statistic, which is unknowable and thus meaningless, Yes, as evidence (our observations of the world and universe around us) is all we have to evaluate the universe around us.
In any enquiry, "I don't know" is the only acceptable answer to "I know and can prove it." Scientists and rationalists (and atheists) are not afraid of the sentence "I don't know."
Religions are afraid however, because to accept the premise that I don't know is acceptable is also to accept the premise that religion is irrelevant.
I don't know does not mean (insert unproved religious belief here).
Every day we base nearly every decision we make on evidence (do I have enough gas to go to town, do I have enough cash to pay my bills, is it too cold outside to send my kid out without a jacket). Why should we not use a provable method of ascertaining what is true about religious claims? Even the wheel was not developed with religious faith, and I like my flush toilet too much to claim that a syphon works on faith alone.
No technological advance, no scientific achievement, has ever proceeded from religious faith. None. Contrast that to scientific enquiry, which not only shows what is, but can make predictive statements. Contrast that with revealed prophecy. Those enquiring may have had faith, but they proceeded by reason and evidence.
Religious claimants make statements about what they believe is true. Thus, religious claims can be tested with the scientific method of reason, theory, observations, evidence. And every one comes up lacking.
So, what the atheist is left with (if he or she chooses to rely on evidence) is basically a dearth of evidence which doesn't aim to prove or disprove anything, including the existence or nonexistence of God.
No, actually religion has the dearth of evidence. Atheism does not speak to what you know. It speaks to what you believe, and I don't know so I will withhold belief is an acceptable answer to one who uses reason to direct their life. It is the statement, I do not believe in (any) god because it has not been demonstrated to exist. Like unicorns, fairies, the Sidhe, a rakshasha, everlasting life, Valhalla, or thetans.
And atheists are always basing this "evidence" on the "scientific method."
Which you don't seem to understand, and I seem to (though I only have a high school education and edit racy erotic Romance novels), so for a brief overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method
It essentially states a claim must be backed with proof, or it is only a claim. If it is sufficiently supported, that claim is a theory (a claim backed by and accounting for all the facts).
And if further evidence comes to life which a theory cannot accommodate, the theory must be altered, added to, subtracted from, or abandoned. (This is called falsifiability, or the idea a claim is not dogma. Like religion, which is unchanging and claims truth without evidence.)
Many opinions about the universe (such as a disc riding on four elephants on the back of a giant turtle, or the Earth is the center of it) have been shown false by the scientific method. We have no better method at present for determining what is true. But even the scientific method itself is falsifiable, that is, if a better method can be demonstrated to be factual, then the scientific method will be abandoned.
Francis Bacon, the father of the modern scientific method, . . .
Nope, he is the father of empiricism, but I will let that pass, and if he were the father of the scientific method, I guess that lets Galileo out then. Or Copernicus. Actually, the man thought to be the founder of the modern scientific method (it existed in some form even in Classical times) by most is Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥasan ibn al-Haytham, born in 965 in Basra (now in Iraq), about six hundred years before Bacon. He was an interesting fellow. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_al-Haytham
. . . wrote in 'De dignitate et augmentis scientarium,' "It is very certain and has been shown in experience that slight taste of philosophy easily leads to atheism, while deeper imbibing brings us back go God."
Natural Theology (now debunked) was to prove the existence of God (the Christian one, Buddhist need not apply). All scientists were subject to its purview, and they were not allowed to study other things, until Charles Darwin finally broke with the Church of England. But the principle goes all the way back to Plato.
It is natural theology that brought us the argument from design, courtesy of Thomas Aquinas. And again, religion does not change when new evidence comes to light.
"Deeper imbibing" is unprovable (or at least unproven), thus unscientific, even when a scientist says it.
Newton also practiced alchemy. Doesn't make alchemy true.
Cotton Mather (the famous witch burner from Salem) also laid the foundation of genetics while studying corn strains, and cut in its tracks a smallpox outbreak in Massachusetts by reading the scientific texts of the Ottoman Empire and learning how they did it.
But just because Cotton Mather was a scientist does not mean his religious views on witches, or Bacon's statements on God, or Newton's alchemy are any more true. They are statements (which in Mather's case caused a lot of innocent deaths, unless you also believe that witches exist in the manner he did).
You know, Neil deGrasse Tyson defines himself as an empirical agnostic, which seems what you've defined yourself here. By the way, I said that Francis Bacon was the father of the modern scientific method, not the originator of the scientific method itself.
"Religious claimants make statements about what they believe is true. Thus, religious claims can be tested with the scientific method of reason, theory, observations, evidence. And every one comes up lacking."
Not necessarily. There has been work with Dr. Rick Strassman concerning the classical mystical experiences accounted in the various major religions, i.e. Buddhism, Christianity, Hebraism and so forth, so I wouldn't say they're entirely "lacking." You may want to look into his book "DMT: The Spirit Molecule," he goes over plenty of evidence to satisfy even an atheist's thirst for ratiocination. And if you're interested in that, I'll point you to an atheist forum where this is thoroughly addressed. It's couched in the form of perennial philosophy, and there's an ongoing discussion on it there.
Here's the link: Think God Thread
And I apologize, they recently made it such that you have to log-in now to view the posts (I hate that), so I'm going to give you my password and log-in so you can view the thread. But please, I'm going to entrust you with this account and ask if you would please not post with my account. If you'd like to create your account, that's fine, but please… I'm only giving you my account name and password so that you could view the thread:
"No, actually religion has the dearth of evidence. Atheism does not speak to what you know. It speaks to what you believe, and I don't know so I will withhold belief is an acceptable answer to one who uses reason to direct their life. It is the statement, I do not believe in (any) god because it has not been demonstrated to exist."
You can separate the "know" from the "belief," but the fact still remains that you still base your belief on what you know. So, they are in a way inseparable. But if you do not know, wouldn't it make more sense to withhold any belief or disbelief for that matter? If you don't know, you don't go around saying "I believe," likewise, you wouldn't go around saying "I disbelieve," if you do not know. After all, the amount of evidence we have explored is next to null, but I pointed it out that's better than the 0% on the side of the theists.
Just as an aside, there is one scientific endeavor that cannot rely on the scientific method, and instead has to make huge leaps of logic, highly calculated extrapolations in the form of very complicated mathematical abstractions and equations and that is M-Theory which is basically the culmination of string theory.
For your own account safety, I would remove or edit this most recent post. Whilst the site you cite may require a password, Atheist Nexus does not. Anyone can view your password. It is in the open, unencrypted.
As for the remainder of your post, I will get back to it, but it is 4:40 here, I am tired and need my beauty rest (the penalty for growing old I guess).
Moreover, web crawlers that spammers (and worse) operate crawl open fora like this one looking for password and log-in information. If you use the password and E-mail address on other sites (like your bank) you have exposed yourself to abuse (or worse).
It's fine. It's only an account to that specific forum. If someone takes it, oh well. But I'll leave it up for the time being, and change my password tomorrow if I'm still able to access it.
Well, as far as Tyson's "empirical agnostic" goes, I am not sure what he means with the phrase, though I do understand the individual words.
I don't like pigeon-holes, but Richard Dawkins's seven point scale of belief sort of fits (I would place myself as a six, as he does).
I also like the four-box truth table of knowledge and belief:
Gnostic Theist: One who both knows and believes.
Agnostic Theist: One who does not know but beleives
Gnostic Atheist: One who knows and does not believe
Agnostic Atheist: One who does not know therefore does not believe.
I would suspect (but cannot assert) that most atheists would actually define themselves by that description as agnostic atheists (one cannot know, as there is no evidence, one does not believe, because there is no evidence).
Any person who sceptically views a subject (in this case that one or more gods or supernatural events exist), on the basis of supporting evidence for that view would need to adopt the evidence, alter, modify, replace, or abolish their belief there is no such being.
But it is not the requirement of the person who withholds belief pending evidence to prove their non-position false. It is up to the believer to prove their position true.
At least as far as Christianity goes, 1 Peter 3:15 commands believers to be able to give reason for their belief to any and all comers. That means they must command knowledge of the Bible and their religious tradition to carry out that command—the overwhelming majority I have met do not. They expect me to prove their particular holy book untrue.
That ain't my job, according to St Peter.
Moreover, most other religious faiths have some sort of command, guidance, or tradition that says pretty much the same (and of course they are all right and all the others are wrong. Except the UU church which holds all to be true, even opposing views as in having your cake and eating it too.)
Most persons who call themselves "agnostics" would fall under that definition as "agnostic atheists" as well. (They do not believe.) At least in Christianity, belief is paramount. If you do not believe, you are not a Christian.
I suppose Tyson's position would lie outside of that four-box and would go something like this:
Empirical Agnostic: One who does not know, and therefore chooses neither to take a position of disbelief or belief until sufficient evidence is acquired.
And concerning this matter of if you take a certain religion to be true, then that automatically means all other religions are false. That's not necessarily true. I'm not sure if you've taken a look at that link to the thread "Think God" or if you've had anytime to, but I highly emphasize Perennial Philosophy. Also, if you take the Hindu view to be correct, then that means from the perspective of Hinduism, then other religions can be true, too. However, this wouldn't work the other way around. IF you take Christianity to be true, then yes, other religions are incompatible. A good way to think about this is described in the YouTube link below:
If eastern religions are non-dominionist and cannot inspire in-group fidelity and out-group aggression, why do I get threats from Buddhists who find my calling the four noble truths a series of category errors offesnive? As far as I can see, Buddhism is just another religion - a set of unsupported statements and advice no-one asked for. That it and a number of other religions lack a deity, though many Buddhists accept the existence of supernatural cosmic forces which, to my thinking, are a deity with less anthropomorphism than those deities in the Abrahamic tradition, does not make them any more laudable or inherently full of truth than any deity focused religion.
Like Abrahamic religions, all of the eastern religions I am familiar with inspire unwarranted trust of their leaders and distrust, or disdain, for people who do not share the doctrine.
Eastern religions can go jump every bit as much as Christianity and Islam, for my money, and the people who have offered to knock my teeth in for saying so help make my point for me.
But at least for the moment, Eastern religions are not trying to impose their alleged moral code on the US secular state, nor trying to overturn social studies standards like the Fundamentalist Elect are here in Nebraska currently. (They saw turning over science standards did not work, so they are angling after social studies here.)
What makes you think that the US is the only place where religious oppression is an important issue?
Religion can go jump anywhere and everywhere it attempts to push unsupported doctrines on people who don't subscribe to those doctrines.
try to defend an indefensible belief structure as though the general criticism of religion is valid except in the case of their own unsupported beliefs.
Well, I make a disctinction between Buddhists and Buddhas. If you get a chance or if you have time, I've been redirecting people on this thread to another atheist thread entitled "Think God." Look towards the previous posts to find the link. There I make the distinction between a buddhist and a "buddha," and if you wouldn't mind taking a look, I would definitely look forward to your feedback.
You ask me to find a link to find a link to read more on a topic I care little about. This is unlikely to happen.
I have often been criticised for discarding the beliefs and practices of religions when I have not researched them thoroughly, but if they can't get off the starting blocks with enough support to prevent them from being religions in the first place, and something more substantial, such as a branch of the sciences, or even an art, I am not interested enough to read more to understand the same amount. If there's some merit in making a distinction between a Buddhist and a Buddha, give me a precie of your case. If it's interesting, I'll follow up on it. If you don't generate more interest than you have done with your previous post, I won't.
I don't go out of my way to make the case on the behalf of Muslims and don't see why I should do similar yards for your Buddhist/Buddha distinction.