Atheist Arrogance?

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Silvanus:

The scientific method rests on logic. It is logical to dismiss statements that are without evidence, and this is precisely how the scientific method functions. Science is not the same thing as logic, no, but science is logical.

History, Language, Literature, Business Studies, Golf Course Management and much more all rest on logic too.

But no-one goes round seriously arguing that the methodology of Golf Course Management shows to us all that gods do not exist.

Nor should they.

The probability of a god is "unquantifiable" in the same way that evidence for Osiris is "unquantifiable". The working probability rests at "negligible" until evidence is found, at which point, the working probability would rise.

Well, it's nice to know that in, say, 1600, there was negligible probability of bacteria and viruses existing. Or oxygen. Or Neptune (the planet, not the god). How did they turn out?

Not that it really matters. Things do not fail to exist simply because scientists have not yet recognised them. Science is the investigation and measurement of observable phenomena. What is not observable, not measurable and not investigable is therefore not science. That is it.

Milk:
Demanding all beliefs be respected and not belittled includes those beliefs which are destructive to society.

I respect every human up until they do something which causes me to loose my respect for them. The same thing goes with religion, where the teachings themselves are not harming anyone. But there will always be someone on the fringe using those teachings for evil deeds. Those are the people we should mock because they're fucking things up.

But much like the Christian who assumes all atheists are anti-theist devil worshippers, some atheists have an issue with mocking and belittling the entire group.

No and no.

One side believes something without a single shred of evidence to back it up, the other side doubts the existence of that something due to the complete lack of evidence. The most logical side is the latter.

If you insist otherwise you must concede that the existence of fairies, unicorns, Pokemon and so on is equally likely as them not existing (they've all just been hiding REALLY well!)

Here's the big picture.

Does God exist?

No one can answer this question scientifically without a doubt. Thus the person who believes there is one, and the one that doesn't believe both have a valid stance because we simply don't know. And I'm not going to mock someone because they took the opposite stance to mine.

Shadowstar38:

Here's the big picture.

Does God exist?

No one can answer this question scientifically without a doubt. Thus the person who believes there is one, and the one that doesn't believe both have a valid stance because we simply don't know. And I'm not going to mock someone because they took the opposite stance to mine.

What is "God"? Is it a specific deity who encompasses certain attributes? IF what you chose to define "God" as can be proven to be false can you have a valid stance?

Semes:

Shadowstar38:

Here's the big picture.

Does God exist?

No one can answer this question scientifically without a doubt. Thus the person who believes there is one, and the one that doesn't believe both have a valid stance because we simply don't know. And I'm not going to mock someone because they took the opposite stance to mine.

What is "God"? Is it a specific deity who encompasses certain attributes? IF what you chose to define "God" as can be proven to be false can you have a valid stance?

My personal thoughts as to what God might be is vague at best but pick any specific deity and, yes. If you could prove it false, the people who believe in it wouldn't have a valid stance.

Shadowstar38:

Here's the big picture.

Does God exist?

No one can answer this question scientifically without a doubt. Thus the person who believes there is one, and the one that doesn't believe both have a valid stance because we simply don't know. And I'm not going to mock someone because they took the opposite stance to mine.

My favourite question.

Ever heard of Xcoltl? He is the myan bloody handed lord of murder. Under his law sacrifice is moral, correct and neccessary to avoid infinite suffering.

My question is, if believing in Xcoltl is as valid as NOT believing, why dont you believe? Why arent you constructing a skull throne for him? Did you just flip a coin on constructing a skull throne? Did you even for a moment consider the thrones of skulls? No. You immediately defaulted to the "I dont need to build a skull throne". The logical stance to assume the negative. You COULD say its immoral to build the skull throne independant of Xcoltl. But what if i told you Xcoltl rewards the sacrifices GREATLY. Right now we "Cant know" but you, me and everyone has defaulted to NOT building the skull throne. As such the default position is atheism. Youre an atheist of Xcoltl since you refuse to partake in worship that is NECCESSARY and MORAL (the sacrifices suffer in the afterlife if you dont sacrifice them) if he was real. Youre refusal to act has defined you as an atheist. You have defaulted to atheism. But why? Why dont you believe in Xcoltl? Why have you defaulted to atheism on his existance?

That said "I dont know" is the correct statement. However unless you follow that with "I dont know but im going to live like it doesnt exist" youre being inconsistant with how you treat various gods with the same level of evidence.

This is also no excuse to belittle and be an asshole to people. I approve your overall message totally. Dont get me wrong. Dont think someone is attacking you for being nice. Cus youre super duper right that you have no excuse to be mean to a person or treat them as lesser. However what you can say, that they cannot say, is "I am logically consistent with ALL gods and deities and hold each to the same scrutiny". This doesnt make you better than them in any meaningful way. Just more logically consistant.

BiscuitTrouser:

My favourite question.

Ever heard of Xcoltl? He is the myan bloody handed lord of murder. Under his law sacrifice is moral, correct and neccessary to avoid infinite suffering.

My question is, if believing in Xcoltl is as valid as NOT believing, why dont you believe? Why arent you constructing a skull throne for him? Did you just flip a coin on constructing a skull throne? Did you even for a moment consider the thrones of skulls? No. You immediately defaulted to the "I dont need to build a skull throne". The logical stance to assume the negative. You COULD say its immoral to build the skull throne independant of Xcoltl. But what if i told you Xcoltl rewards the sacrifices GREATLY. Right now we "Cant know" but you, me and everyone has defaulted to NOT building the skull throne. As such the default position is atheism. Youre an atheist of Xcoltl since you refuse to partake in worship that is NECCESSARY and MORAL (the sacrifices suffer in the afterlife if you dont sacrifice them) if he was real. Youre refusal to act has defined you as an atheist. You have defaulted to atheism. But why? Why dont you believe in Xcoltl? Why have you defaulted to atheism on his existance?

Why do you assume that a belief that Xcoltl might exist makes the worship of Xcoltl "NECCESSARY and MORAL"? I can see why religious people would assume that morality only exists because of 'divine law' but why would atheists make the same assumption.

The existance of 'God' cannot be proven or disproven so it is scientifically indeterminate. This means that we have to base our decisions on other factors.

Nielas:

Why do you assume that a belief that Xcoltl might exist makes the worship of Xcoltl "NECCESSARY and MORAL"? I can see why religious people would assume that morality only exists because of 'divine law' but why would atheists make the same assumption.

The existance of 'God' cannot be proven or disproven so it is scientifically indeterminate. This means that we have to base our decisions on other factors.

Because if Xcoltl exists he tortures and burns for eternity anyone that isnt:

A: A sacrificer
B: A sacrifice

So morally to reduce overall suffering a little bit of pain for the sacrifice is morally superior to eternity in torture. It also saves you too! So it IS neccessary. Unless you purposefully WANT you and everyone else to suffer the skull throne is neccessary. Worship is mandated. It would only be logical, assuming he is real, to perform the sacrifices. Unless you hate both yourself and humanity which im going to assume you dont.

This is true. However the scientific method dictates things we currently have no way of gathering evidence for or have no evidence for can be TREATED (See: not Assumed) as if they are not real. No this doesnt mean bacteria didnt exist before we could study them. It just means no one had any logical reason to assume they existed before we had the means to test them. Its wrong to deny they CAN exist because that IS a faith statement. The statement "Ill treat him as non existant until evidence can be gathered or comes to light" is fine. Not to mention MANY if not basically ALL religions talk of miracles, disasters, and divine intervention on MANY counts. That is a reality claim and can be tested. If the gods existence hinges on said reality claim and its proved false youre back to zero evidence.

Agema:

History, Language, Literature, Business Studies, Golf Course Management and much more all rest on logic too.

But no-one goes round seriously arguing that the methodology of Golf Course Management shows to us all that gods do not exist.

Nor should they.

Science is somewhat further reaching than those disciplines. Its purview is 'what conclusions we can draw about the world we live in'.

I'm sorry, but that's a meaningless, weak parallel you've drawn there.

Agema:

Well, it's nice to know that in, say, 1600, there was negligible probability of bacteria and viruses existing. Or oxygen. Or Neptune (the planet, not the god). How did they turn out?

You're (intentionally) misunderstanding. First of all, if there is a lack of information available that supports a claim, then low probability has to be attributed to that claim. If somebody said in 1600, "I believe diseases are caused by tiny little animals that self-replicate, but I have no evidence", the probability of his being correct was very low until evidence emerged. Evidence changes the probability that can be applied. Applicable probability rises as evidence emerges.

Imagine; if I was approached in the street and told, "Fairies are dancing in my garden! Trust me!", the only rational probability I could apply would be very low. If I then went home and saw on the news that a species of fairy had just been discovered, it would be rational to then apply a higher probability. As it stands, the claims of religion have not had this vindication.

You'll also notice that we recognise the existence of bacteria and viruses because of evidence.

Agema:
Not that it really matters. Things do not fail to exist simply because scientists have not yet recognised them.

And things do not exist simply because 2,000 year old books tell you they do. It astounds me that people continue to find that a respectable alternative.

I think there are some arrogant atheists out there but, as has been said before, that can be said of every group. As an atheist myself I don't really mind if someone is religious unless they start to force their religion on to me. For example, in high school there was an American woman that used to come to assembly every month to talk about God. My school was supposed to be non-denominational and we had so many people with so many different faiths yet Christianity was the only one that got this treatment. Also, my friend went to bible camp and they told her that God planted dinosaur bones in the ground for some reason... Just... What?
However, I have a Christian friend that was talking about lent and someone started going on about how she was stupid for being religious. That kind of thing is just not acceptable, and she didn't even mention that she was religious (plenty of people here that aren't religious still do lent).
If you think that religion is stupid or atheism is wrong then that's fine, but when you start personally attacking people for those beliefs you've crossed the line.

Can some explain why it's more arrogant to have a bus sign that says there is probably no god so don't worry then to knock on my door and ask me if I have been saved?
I just don't seem how the displays of arrogance from one end are any worse.

BiscuitTrouser:

Nielas:

Why do you assume that a belief that Xcoltl might exist makes the worship of Xcoltl "NECCESSARY and MORAL"? I can see why religious people would assume that morality only exists because of 'divine law' but why would atheists make the same assumption.

The existance of 'God' cannot be proven or disproven so it is scientifically indeterminate. This means that we have to base our decisions on other factors.

Because if Xcoltl exists he tortures and burns for eternity anyone that isnt:

A: A sacrificer
B: A sacrifice

So morally to reduce overall suffering a little bit of pain for the sacrifice is morally superior to eternity in torture. It also saves you too! So it IS neccessary. Unless you purposefully WANT you and everyone else to suffer the skull throne is neccessary. Worship is mandated. It would only be logical, assuming he is real, to perform the sacrifices. Unless you hate both yourself and humanity which im going to assume you dont.

Polytheisms were rarely that simplistic, I suspect there's probably more to it than that.

In any event, it probably doesn't occur to most religious people to worship Xcotl because they're, you know, not Mayan. Culture-based polytheisms weren't universalist religions, they are/were for their own people, not the entire world*. But if I were Mayan and I did hold to my ancestral ways, I'd have to see about finding a way to satisfy the law and Xcotl-- plenty of polytheistic reconstructionists focusing on other cultures have had to do this. Hell, African syncretic traditional religions have to deal with this, and one group fought (and won) a supreme court case to gain the right to perform animal sacrifice. I once met an Aztec reconstructionist whose patron deity needed blood sacrifice. She used a lancet and her own blood, every x number of days. You're using it as a trump card, and my reaction is "there's probably a workaround for that..."

*-well, Rome, but Rome was generally happy figuring out which of their deities to equate to your deities. They weren't spreading the worship of Zeus, they were assuming everyone worshipping a vaguely-similar being was already worshipping Zeus. And they were the ones to coin the actual *concept* of religion as a thing separate from "our way", so Romans were a titch odd anyway.

EDIT: Okay, Biscuit, please cite your source(s) on this god, this throne of skulls, this whole thing you're talking about here because I can't confirm a single bit of it.

Semes:

AMMO Kid:
Arrogance is just one of those things that atheists have always had.

AMMO Kid:

Snip
Have I made my point?

No, I don't think you have made any point at all other than say "X Person said Y Person said Z, but A and B People claim different."

There is not a single hint of arrogance by anyone would could be identified as an atheist in your entire unsourced post.

Unless you are able to point to any arrogance to support your argument, I suggest you remove your claim that all atheists are both arrogant and have always been.

AMMO Kid:

[Oh, and don't confuse the Darwinian Crusade with people who believe in evolution]

What is this "Darwinian Crusade"?

My jaw just hit the floor. To say that I am wrong in my conclusion is one thing, to say that my post was "unsourced"... wow. Did I not post the names of those who I quoted? Did I not give the name and edition of the magazine from which I quoted atheist Isabella Sidgewick? Wow. Wow... [Attacking "sources" but not the arguments doesn't discredit my post; see below for a well documented full list of sources]

So lets be honest here, you don't want atheists to be arrogant and no one can prove otherwise to you. Just come out and admit it. You literally just side-stepped my entire post with a vague statement and then an assertion of your own beliefs about atheism. Address my post in detail, or don't expect me to keep wasting my time giving you more examples when you obviously have made up your mind about the issue already.

And an argument consisting of "X Person said Y Person said Z, but A and B People claim different" is perfectly fine under these circumstances. Allow me to fill in the blanks: [Atheists] said [lies and spun fancy tales to make them look better and their opponents look like idiots], but [J.R. Lucas] and [Rodney Stark] claim differently. Please explain to me what is not arrogant about making up stories and attacking your opponents weakest links in order to make yourselves seem better, without actually addressing the greatest arguments against your position. That just reeks of atheists assuming they are right before they have even proven it to anyone other than their fellow atheists. On that note, I have never heard any of the "New Atheists" address any of the major arguments against their position, but they do love to rail on William Lane Craig and Dinesh D'Souza, the weakest links in the chain against them.

And I am quite surprised that you have never heard of the Darwinian Crusade. This term is generally used to describe the atheists who believe that the theory of evolution is invincible, and any criticisms of it (no matter how small or beneficial, just see my last post about Wilberforce's useful critiques of "The Origin of the Species") must be thrown under the bus. This "Crusade" generally tries to force the choice between evolution and biblical literalism, making religion out to be as irrational as possible. Just read any of Richard Dawkins works if you want a rundown of what they believe. Though this is just my personal summary off the top of my head. [At least for your sake, if you're going to attack this post for being "unsourced" then you'll meet with greater success than you did with the last one.] If you're just dying for sources then I could dig some up, though I still think the reference to Richard Dawkins works hold up pretty well for a first hand source of what they believe.

But seriously, if I can boil your entire next post into some vague statement that side-steps my arguments then I'm not even going to bother responding. I only responded to this one because of how baffled I was about you saying that I was "unsourced" in my previous post.

Now that you have the sources that were so necessary to disprove the point of my earlier post, disprove it, or I suggest you remove your claim that there is not a single hint of arrogance by anyone who could be identified as an atheist in my entire "unsourced" post (despite all the atheists I quoted).

AMMO Kid:
snip

Hmm, there is an error in your reasoning. I think it stems from the fact that 'some atheists' and 'all atheists' can both be written as 'atheists'. Encountering one instance of exaggeration is hardly evidence of some kind of purposeful institutional revisionism. Nor is it sufficient to suggest that arrogance is inherent in atheism. Much of the works attributed to Florence Nightingale where actually done by a black woman named Mary Secole. It doesn't mean all white people are liars.

As an aside, whilst theism and evolution are not incompatible, evolution and biblical literalism most certainly are. The whole 'Darwinian Crusade' sounds like a bullshit emotive term made up by conservapedia or its ilk to try and claim victim status.

Silvanus:

Science is somewhat further reaching than those disciplines. Its purview is 'what conclusions we can draw about the world we live in'.

I'm sorry, but that's a meaningless, weak parallel you've drawn there.

Wrong. All these disciplines clearly examine and draw conclusions about the world we live in. Just different aspects of it, and with some difference in approaches.

All these disciplines (and many others) clearly use logic. The parallel works because I am pointing out you are employing a principle of logic, not science. If you claim it is a principle of science on the basis science may use this principle of logic then, to be logically consistent, you also need to call it a principle of every discipline that also may use the same logical principle. Such as Golf Course Management.

You're (intentionally) misunderstanding.

No I was not intentionally misunderstanding. I was intentionally poking fun at your idea.

Imagine...

This does not actually address the problem, it is simply repetition of what you have previously, erroneously asserted.

So I repeat: science is investigation and measurement of observable phenomena. What is not observable, measurable, and investigable is not open to science, so scientific methodology does not apply.

Probability is a measure of likelihood. Note the word measure. If no data exists, no measurement can be made. One can make no meaningful assessment whatsoever about how long an unobserved piece of string is, or how much time it takes an unobserved chicken to cross an unobserved road, or what the volume of an unobserved barrel with an unobserved number of fish is.

Unmeasurable is unmeasurable.

What you are approximating to is Occam's Razor: use the simplest argument with fewest assumptions needed to come to an answer. Occam's Razor is a principle of logic, not science.

And things do not exist simply because 2,000 year old books tell you they do. It astounds me that people continue to find that a respectable alternative.

That is, finally, something that is true: indeed it isn't, in the absence of any other factors, a respectable alternative. But it's still nothing to do with whether science tells us to disbelieve in what has not been investigated.

Polarity27:

Polytheisms were rarely that simplistic, I suspect there's probably more to it than that.

In any event, it probably doesn't occur to most religious people to worship Xcotl because they're, you know, not Mayan. Culture-based polytheisms weren't universalist religions, they are/were for their own people, not the entire world*. But if I were Mayan and I did hold to my ancestral ways, I'd have to see about finding a way to satisfy the law and Xcotl-- plenty of polytheistic reconstructionists focusing on other cultures have had to do this. Hell, African syncretic traditional religions have to deal with this, and one group fought (and won) a supreme court case to gain the right to perform animal sacrifice. I once met an Aztec reconstructionist whose patron deity needed blood sacrifice. She used a lancet and her own blood, every x number of days. You're using it as a trump card, and my reaction is "there's probably a workaround for that..."

*-well, Rome, but Rome was generally happy figuring out which of their deities to equate to your deities. They weren't spreading the worship of Zeus, they were assuming everyone worshipping a vaguely-similar being was already worshipping Zeus. And they were the ones to coin the actual *concept* of religion as a thing separate from "our way", so Romans were a titch odd anyway.

EDIT: Okay, Biscuit, please cite your source(s) on this god, this throne of skulls, this whole thing you're talking about here because I can't confirm a single bit of it.

I invented his name, its based on a combination of the totally fictional god Khaine and the actual Myan god of sacrifice. It doesnt need to be a real god. He was a thought exercise in how, in some cases, hovering in agnosticism is impossible because some gods demand action, and by choosing inaction you are leaning toward atheism.

The point of my arguement isnt that said god is recorded in history, its that if you respond to the challenge of some god, ANY god, with "I dont know and i refuse to decide either way" i can invent or present a god that forces you to decide either way simply by being. Im sorry you interpreted my literally as presenting a "real" god because i didnt, i fabricated him as an example of a "God that demands action should he exist" and made that action extremely negative on purpose to drive home the point.

I feel kinda bad about this because you presented some really interesting stuff and answered very eloquently. To appease your interest the ACTUAL xcotl is named Mictlantecuhtli who surprisingly was quite keen on ritual cannibalism rather than outright sacrifice but i suppose the killing was implicit. You can only eat yourself for a finite amount of time. The whole skull throne thing is grandeur to drive home the over arching point. Perhaps some gods have work arounds. But i can find or invent ones that dont. And when you need to answer me "Do those gods exist" you are, by not even for a moment considering participating in such acts, pretty much defaulting to atheism.

ClockworkPenguin:

AMMO Kid:
snip

Hmm, there is an error in your reasoning. I think it stems from the fact that 'some atheists' and 'all atheists' can both be written as 'atheists'. Encountering one instance of exaggeration is hardly evidence of some kind of purposeful institutional revisionism. Nor is it sufficient to suggest that arrogance is inherent in atheism. Much of the works attributed to Florence Nightingale where actually done by a black woman named Mary Secole. It doesn't mean all white people are liars.

As an aside, whilst theism and evolution are not incompatible, evolution and biblical literalism most certainly are. The whole 'Darwinian Crusade' sounds like a bullshit emotive term made up by conservapedia or its ilk to try and claim victim status.

The problem with having a discussion like this on a forum is that I honestly don't have a enough time to state example after example whilst providing detailed source information for those who want to take that cheap way out of the conversation. True, you cannot inherently impute the activities and attitudes of one member of a social group to the whole group, but the problem is with the basis for atheist argument.

The real teller of who has more pride comes down to the actual debates between the two views(theism/atheism). Though I will have to get back to you with sources in a different post for the sake of time, I have yet to read any atheist literature that attacks the greatest arguments for theism in honest and understanding depth; whilst I have read lot of literature by theists attacking the basis for atheism in honest and understanding depth. I'll get back to you on this, but for now I think I should bring up again the tactics atheists commonly use in debate, that of reducing your opponents arguments into straw men in order to appear victorious:

The episode involving Gladstone and Wilberforce reveal several methods frequently (emphasis added) used by the Darwinian Crusade [which has always been lead predominantly by atheists at the forefront] to overwhelm its opponents. When possible, focus all attention on the most unqualified and most vulnerable opponents, and when no easy targets present themselves, invent them - as Huxley's celebrated biographer Adrian Desmond admitted, he "made straw men of the Creationists." Thus today it is a rare textbook on general biology or on evolution, to say nothing of popular treatments of evolution and religion, that does not reduce "Creationism" to Bishop Ussher's calculations concerning the age of the earth or William Jennings Bryan's antics during the so called Scopes Monkey Trial. (Rodney Stark, who might I point out is an agnostic)

Granted, I don't have time for a huge response, so I have made an argument out of generalities. These generalities have lots of holes and I'm sure you could nit-pick them to bits if you wanted, but I'll hopefully get back to you in more detail after I hear your response.

And I'm very surprised that the Darwinian Crusade isn't as well known as I thought before this forum discussion. I have heard more about the Darwinian Crusade from the New Atheist literature than any other literature I have read, so I would disagree with it being a "bullshit emotive term made up by conservapedia or its ilk to try and claim victim status." It would appear to be a good name in their eyes.

AMMO Kid:
The problem with having a discussion like this on a forum is that I honestly don't have a enough time to state example after example whilst providing detailed source information for those who want to take that cheap way out of the conversation. True, you cannot inherently impute the activities and attitudes of one member of a social group to the whole group, but the problem is with the basis for atheist argument.

The real teller of who has more pride comes down to the actual debates between the two views(theism/atheism). Though I will have to get back to you with sources in a different post for the sake of time, I have yet to read any atheist literature that attacks the greatest arguments for theism in honest and understanding depth; whilst I have read lot of literature by theists attacking the basis for atheism in honest and understanding depth. I'll get back to you on this, but for now I think I should bring up again the tactics atheists commonly use in debate, that of reducing your opponents arguments into straw men in order to appear victorious:

I'm going to be straight with you here, example after example of atheists being arrogant wont convince me that atheism is inherently arrogant. A brief run down of terms likely to appear in my rebuttal to such a list include; confirmation bias, sampling bias, cherrypicking, anecdotal evidence...

Debates are not the place to look. You don't enter a formal debate with the tactic of passively presenting ones views. You do it to assert that your views are more reasonable than your opponents. There is no place for humility in such an arena.

And whilst I don't have any examples off the top of my head, I would be surprised if, in the heat of the moment, both sides on any given argument don't tend to take debating shortcuts they shouldn't.

Furthermore, there is the issue of perception. As we saw with the bus picture, arguments which you believe to be arrogant or fallacious may be perceived by those with a different viewpoint as being reasonable and arguments which you believe to be in honest and understanding depth may be seen as fallacious ignorant and missing the point by your opposition.

Starting from a Christian perspective, even if it is a toss-up regarding whether or not God exists there is no really compelling reason to stop believing. So atheism looks unreasonable. But starting without any belief, there is no compelling reason to start, which is why atheists think theists look unreasonable.

Agema:

Wrong. All these disciplines clearly examine and draw conclusions about the world we live in. Just different aspects of it, and with some difference in approaches.

All these disciplines (and many others) clearly use logic. The parallel works because I am pointing out you are employing a principle of logic, not science. If you claim it is a principle of science on the basis science may use this principle of logic then, to be logically consistent, you also need to call it a principle of every discipline that also may use the same logical principle. Such as Golf Course Management.

When did I say that those disciplines don't draw conclusions about the world we live in...? I didn't. What I said that was what Science's purview was, my intention was to say that it had no limitations other than that. Would have thought that was obvious.

Agema:

This does not actually address the problem, it is simply repetition of what you have previously, erroneously asserted.

So I repeat: science is investigation and measurement of observable phenomena. What is not observable, measurable, and investigable is not open to science, so scientific methodology does not apply.

Probability is a measure of likelihood. Note the word measure. If no data exists, no measurement can be made. One can make no meaningful assessment whatsoever about how long an unobserved piece of string is, or how much time it takes an unobserved chicken to cross an unobserved road, or what the volume of an unobserved barrel with an unobserved number of fish is.

Ludicrous. Both those examples assume a starting point of a known, existing object. They state that there IS something to measure in the first place.

You've cut out what I wrote and dismissed it. That's not very nice. Your point about "the probability of bacteria" in 1600 was fallacious, misunderstanding the very nature of applying probabilities (they are applied with existing knowledge; if we had all knowledge, there would be no need for applying probabilities). You failed to recognise that the probability that we can apply changes as evidence emerges. That was the purpose of the 'fairies' analogy. It did address precisely what you brought up.

Agema:

What you are approximating to is Occam's Razor: use the simplest argument with fewest assumptions needed to come to an answer. Occam's Razor is a principle of logic, not science.

No, what I was bringing up was not Occam's Razor. Many scientific conclusions are not the "simplest"; but they are the most likely, based on evidence.

Agema:
That is, finally, something that is true: indeed it isn't, in the absence of any other factors, a respectable alternative. But it's still nothing to do with whether science tells us to disbelieve in what has not been investigated.

I don't think you understand what the scientific method is. Hypotheses are afforded likelihood of truth according to evidence. That's kinda fundamental to the method.

Saying "God is unmeasurable" is another way of stating, "God doesn't need evidence for us to assume the truth of him".

And that's never true of any objective statement, ever.

Silvanus:
When did I say that those disciplines don't draw conclusions about the world we live in...? I didn't.

You did, implicitly. You argued science was further reaching than the other disciplines, with a purview of drawing conclusions about the world we live. That construction suggests that the comparative further reach of science IS that it draws conclusions about the world. But I'm happy to accept you did not mean that, you simply worded it badly.

You've cut out what I wrote and dismissed it. That's not very nice.

In the interests of brevity I find it useful to remove the immaterial, and I explained why. My apologies if you found that offensive.

Your point about "the probability of bacteria" in 1600 was fallacious, misunderstanding the very nature of applying probabilities (they are applied with existing knowledge; if we had all knowledge, there would be no need for applying probabilities). You failed to recognise that the probability that we can apply changes as evidence emerges. That was the purpose of the 'fairies' analogy. It did address precisely what you brought up.

My point about bacteria is to humorously point out that the criterion you used to argue science claims god does not exist dictates the non-existence of all unknowns including innumerable things that do, actually, exist. That's not a fallacy.

Note what I've bolded.

This is recapitulating what I have already stated: one needs data to measure probability. If there is no existing knowledge on the existence or otherwise of a god (or anything else), one therefore cannot measure the probability of it existing. Now you have agreed with my point, why are you still arguing?

No, what I was bringing up was not Occam's Razor. Many scientific conclusions are not the "simplest"; but they are the most likely, based on evidence.

More strictly, I said you were approximating to it. And you are.

I don't think you understand what the scientific method is.

Given I have a science degree, PhD, ten years postdoctoral experience and plenty of peer-reviewed, published science papers, I believe have a better understanding than most.

Hypotheses are afforded likelihood of truth according to evidence. That's kinda fundamental to the method.

Saying "God is unmeasurable" is another way of stating, "God doesn't need evidence for us to assume the truth of him".

And that's never true of any objective statement, ever.

Indeed, hypotheses are afforded likelihood of truth according to evidence in scientific method. Therefore, in the absence of evidence, any conclusion one draws on a hypothesis is necessarily unscientific.

Saying God is (currently) unmeasurable says nothing more than science is (currently) not an appropriate tool on which to base assumptions of his existence or non-existence. There may be - and are - lots of perfectly good non-scientific reasons to make assumptions, however.

Agema:

You did, implicitly. You argued science was further reaching than the other disciplines, with a purview of drawing conclusions about the world we live. That construction suggests that the comparative further reach of science IS that it draws conclusions about the world. But I'm happy to accept you did not mean that, you simply worded it badly.

OK. Yeah, I can see that I may have stated that badly. It wasn't my intention.

Agema:

My point about bacteria is to humorously point out that the criterion you used to argue science claims god does not exist dictates the non-existence of all unknowns including innumerable things that do, actually, exist. That's not a fallacy.

But those things, such as bacteria, or perhaps more applicable, dark matter, have evidence. Evidence that was found long after 1600. And, when such evidence was found, the probability that could rationally be applied by an observer increased.

Agema:

This is recapitulating what I have already stated: one needs data to measure probability. If there is no existing knowledge on the existence or otherwise of a god (or anything else), one therefore cannot measure the probability of it existing. Now you have agreed with my point, why are you still arguing?

I haven't agreed with your point. The probability of Frost Giants surfing turtles around Andromeda is not "unknowable" because we lack data about it; the probability is negligible. If more evidence emerged, then the probability would increase. This has not happened.

Agema:
More strictly, I said you were approximating to it. And you are.

How?! When I'm specifically stating that the simplest explanation is NOT usually the correct one?

Agema:

Given I have a science degree, PhD, ten years postdoctoral experience and plenty of peer-reviewed, published science papers, I believe have a better understanding than most.

Words are wind. Favourite phrase of mine from the George R. R. Martin books.

Agema:

Indeed, hypotheses are afforded likelihood of truth according to evidence in scientific method. Therefore, in the absence of evidence, any conclusion one draws on a hypothesis is necessarily unscientific.

Saying God is (currently) unmeasurable says nothing more than science is (currently) not an appropriate tool on which to base assumptions of his existence or non-existence. There may be - and are - lots of perfectly good non-scientific reasons to make assumptions, however.[/quote]

Such as? Philosophy? (I'm quite genuinely interested in this last point, I don't mean to sound contrary here).

Silvanus:
But those things, such as bacteria, or perhaps more applicable, dark matter, have evidence. Evidence that was found long after 1600. And, when such evidence was found, the probability that could rationally be applied by an observer increased.

And so may we one day find good scientific evidence of the existence or non-existence of god. In the meantime, it's just a scientific unknown.

Agema:
I haven't agreed with your point. The probability of Frost Giants surfing turtles around Andromeda is not "unknowable" because we lack data about it; the probability is negligible. If more evidence emerged, then the probability would increase. This has not happened.

It is indeed "improbable", albeit using the sense of probability outside its scientific meaning. It's implausibility is not because of science.

Agema:
How?! When I'm specifically stating that the simplest explanation is NOT usually the correct one?

By suggesting that a lack of evidence (of any sort, for or against) indicates non-existence (as suggested by you, in the form of negligible probability). That is to take the root of simplicity by not introducing unnecessary concepts. Introducing "negligible probability" seems to me little more than trying to slightly hedge one's bets.

Words are wind. Favourite phrase of mine from the George R. R. Martin books.

One might well retreat to cynicism and quips when confronted with uncomfortable possibilities.

Such as? Philosophy? (I'm quite genuinely interested in this last point, I don't mean to sound contrary here).

Basic reasoning tools, logic, philosophy. All within that sort of remit, as I have already stated several times.

Chris Mosher:
Can some explain why it's more arrogant to have a bus sign that says there is probably no god so don't worry then to knock on my door and ask me if I have been saved?
I just don't seem how the displays of arrogance from one end are any worse.

One would be matter of promoting personal belief and offering answers about the world while the other acknowledges such a belief and dismisses its validity.

I'm not about to "rate" the arrogance of either, but when one is a promotion of thought, provoking doctrine and principle and the other goes out of its the way to tell people that it's wrong, there is a stark difference in attitude. We could revisit the nativity display example, which features promotion (putting things on display) and telling people it's wrong (using the law to remove them).

BiscuitTrouser:

I invented his name, its based on a combination of the totally fictional god Khaine and the actual Myan god of sacrifice. It doesnt need to be a real god. He was a thought exercise in how, in some cases, hovering in agnosticism is impossible because some gods demand action, and by choosing inaction you are leaning toward atheism.

Mayans are an *existing* people, and making up shit about them to win internet points is kind of a jerk move. The whole setup sounded like Bad Hollywood Aztecs, so I'm glad I looked it up and called you on it.

The point of my arguement isnt that said god is recorded in history, its that if you respond to the challenge of some god, ANY god, with "I dont know and i refuse to decide either way" i can invent or present a god that forces you to decide either way simply by being. Im sorry you interpreted my literally as presenting a "real" god because i didnt, i fabricated him as an example of a "God that demands action should he exist" and made that action extremely negative on purpose to drive home the point.

Except by inventing a god from an existing polytheistic system, you missed your point by a mile. The only god that demands anything merely by existing is the Christian one (and maybe the Muslim one, I'm not that up on my Muslim theology) because the idea that this god is for absolutely everyone is the Entire Bloody Point. Other religions just don't work that way. Now, if it's actually your culture, that's a bit of a different thing. Except then I'd offer up Shinto, an example of an extant, unbroken polytheistic culture-bound religious practice that is orthopraxic-- people do the practices to honor their culture and family, but belief is not required of them and often isn't given (as Katatori, who lives in Japan, has said about 98 kajillion times). If any of the polytheisms that practiced human sacrifice in history survived to the present, they would almost certainly have adapted. Whether people believe in them or not is irrelevant, if you're not one of theirs, it's not your problem.

I feel kinda bad about this because you presented some really interesting stuff and answered very eloquently. To appease your interest the ACTUAL xcotl is named Mictlantecuhtli who surprisingly was quite keen on ritual cannibalism rather than outright sacrifice but i suppose the killing was implicit. You can only eat yourself for a finite amount of time. The whole skull throne thing is grandeur to drive home the over arching point. Perhaps some gods have work arounds. But i can find or invent ones that dont.

And *my* point is that you'd *have* to invent ones that don't, and if you did, the worldbuilding would likely lack sense. Did you think people offered sacrifices because it was fun? There's a reason behind anything that was done in history. When people reconstruct, reconstructionism as a methodology is less interested in literally replicating historical practices than figuring out *why* they were done. A lot of blood sacrifice practices come down to two things, reciprocity (a gift for a gift) and "in dire times, we offer that which is most dear" (which is just a bigger form of a gift for a gift). Think about it, rescue from severe drought or protection for the tribe from warfare is a pretty damn big gift, if the people perceive that their gods helped them with that. (Note also that there are plenty of recorded instances of people cursing out their gods if their gods don't deliver. There are also instances of offing the leader in cases like these (hey, that's a really big sacrifice, and you get a sacrifice and a coup for the price of one!).) Point being, the spirit of the idea doesn't require the literal. One example: I often see some pretty amazing things burnt as offerings in my religion. One year the entire festival made a quilt together: every person made a square, it was sewn together, and then later that night it was burnt. My square was hand-dyed, hand-painted, and took me about ten hours to make. No dead anythings, but I didn't stint on my gift.

And when you need to answer me "Do those gods exist" you are, by not even for a moment considering participating in such acts, pretty much defaulting to atheism.

No. You can avoid considering even for a moment participating in such acts without having to make any judgment whatsoever about whether the gods exist or not. You can also say "I think they exist" without participating in whatever they require of their followers because, if you aren't one, it's not your damn problem in the first place.

This is what annoys me about when atheists try to be cute, like you did, and make up shit to trap religious people-- most of you only know Christianity and expect every other religion works just like Christianity.

After all the immoral shit religion has done, and continues to do, us atheists are entitled to be slightly arrogant. Especially considering that there is no conclusive evidence that any of the claims made in any holy book or scripture are reality.

BiscuitTrouser:
In some cases, hovering in agnosticism is impossible because some gods demand action, and by choosing inaction you are leaning toward atheism.

The point of my arguement isnt that said god is recorded in history, its that if you respond to the challenge of some god, ANY god, with "I dont know and i refuse to decide either way" i can invent or present a god that forces you to decide either way simply by being.

Okay, some fridge logic here, since this is still rattling around in my brain.

1. You can remain undecided about the existence (or ultimate reality) of a deity and decide quite firmly that said deity's followers are a bag of dicks and you want nothing to do with them. All religious doctrine filters through people, even experiential doctrine. You can say "maybe" to the god while saying "nope nope nope" to the filter.

2. Yes, if the filter makes metaphorical gun-to-the-head threats (i.e. worship me this way or else you're damned for eternity), this is, in fact, saying "if your filter is right, this means I choose the gun".

3. You don't *need* to invent a god like that, we've already got a perfectly adequate one.

And when you need to answer me "Do those gods exist" you are, by not even for a moment considering participating in such acts, pretty much defaulting to atheism.

See, this is the part that's interesting to me because I do think you're onto something here, but I'd bold the first part of the sentence and drop out the bit between the commas entirely. It's not the lack of participation that's interesting, it's the "do those gods exist?" response. Christians have some darned interesting situational atheism, and if their first question is "yeah, but do those gods even exist?", some agnostics seem to have picked it up. See, *I* wouldn't participate in human sacrifice because I disagree with human sacrifice, not because I think the gods who seem to have liked it don't exist. I find a lot of Christians have it the other way 'round first, which is interesting for any number of reasons. "Why do you have a problem with my atheism when your religion already requires it for every god but one*?" is an interesting question, and you don't need to invent anything to ask it.

*- or more, if you're Catholic (Trinity + Mary and lesser saints and sometimes also + Satan and lesser demons) or a certain kind of Protestant (Trinity + Satan and lesser demons), which makes the situational atheism even *odder*, IMO.

AgedGrunt:

Chris Mosher:
Can some explain why it's more arrogant to have a bus sign that says there is probably no god so don't worry then to knock on my door and ask me if I have been saved?
I just don't seem how the displays of arrogance from one end are any worse.

One would be matter of promoting personal belief and offering answers about the world while the other acknowledges such a belief and dismisses its validity.

I'm not about to "rate" the arrogance of either, but when one is a promotion of thought, provoking doctrine and principle and the other goes out of its the way to tell people that it's wrong, there is a stark difference in attitude. We could revisit the nativity display example, which features promotion (putting things on display) and telling people it's wrong (using the law to remove them).

You are aware that by coming to my home knocking on my door to promote your thought provoking doctrine you automatically dismissing whatever I may believe. The very act assumes that you have some knowledge so important that it must be heard no matter what I believed before opening my door. It also assumes I have never sought out that information before you came a knocking.

Edit:

Oh and just to be clear personally I doubt either atheists or theists are more arrogant then the other. Arrogance is a human trait and seems to me to be shared equally by all groups.

Reeve:
After all the immoral shit religion has done, and continues to do, us atheists are entitled to be slightly arrogant. Especially considering that there is no conclusive evidence that any of the claims made in any holy book or scripture are reality.

No, there really is no entitlement, and you're throwing bad behavior after bad behavior. That statement is arrogant itself and satisfies what OP described.

Chris Mosher:
You are aware that by coming to my home knocking on my door to promote your thought provoking doctrine you automatically dismissing whatever I may believe. The very act assumes that you have some knowledge so important that it must be heard no matter what I believed before opening my door. It also assumes I have never sought out that information before you came a knocking.

I disagree about door-to-door preaching necessarily being a dismissal. I've had JW come by and all they did was offer a conversation and, if I would listen, they'd share what they have. It was very friendly and they didn't impose at all.

One day I'd love to see someone come knock on my door and ask, "Have you heard the echo of the Big Bang? The universe is expanding; one day we will collide in a great galactic dance with the almighty Andromeda! Would you like a pamphlet on Near-Earth Objects? Our equipment can currently only detect them, but we desperately need the union of humanity if we actually need to do something to prevent apocalypse."

Aris Khandr:
...There is exactly the same level of proof of fairies as there is of your god. So how can you believe in one but not the other? Where is your proof that fairies aren't real?

So, you're arguing then that theists must believe all claims? Unfortunately, this creates a blanket rule that not only do theists not preach, adhere to or proclaim, that no one does. Why are you holding them to a rule that no one is arguing exists?
It's what's described as a psychological fallacy - using known information about yourself to fill in unknown information about others. The best example is merely the religious who believe the non-religious are inherently evil. It's simply not true.
Atheists claim that they adhere to a blanket rule for themselves, though I'd argue they elect to apply it at their discretion. Theists have never claimed to do the same, and so don't have to explain their adherence to one such rule. They believe because of choice, not evidence.

...Logic is not limited in its usefulness here.

Unfortunately, that's not entirely accurate. Logic really only applies to statements, and not to the real world or the nature of reality. Logic is not an absolute, and thus cannot be applied to things we fundamentally don't understand. It deals only with the validity of arguments, not with the truth of the premises of those arguments.
So, for example, the following statement is logically sound:
All things that flow can leak.
Electricity flows.
Electricity can leak.

It's entirely logical, but also profoundly incorrect. If someone, not understand electricity and believing the above statement, were to apply logic to their day to day actions, they would cover their electrical outlets when not in use to prevent electricity from spilling out. So, no, logic is very limited.
In the context of atheism VS theism, it's not very practical because we have no understanding of "god" or "gods" with which to apply logic. This is why idiot questions like "Can God create a rock so heavy he can't lift it?" come from. If yes, how can he be God if he can't do something? If no, how can he be God if can't do something? The logic here is sound, but ultimately irrelevant, because we don't understand what a "god" is.

Balberoth:
The thing is though, it's not atheism vs. theism, it's science vs. theism, and that makes for a very different conversation...

That's kind of a straw man argument I believe, reliant on scientific thinking being a requirement of or sole cause behind atheism. We know that isn't true, for a few reasons. There are religious scientists, and their are atheists who couldn't detail anything resembling the scientific method, or any of the arguments relating to the "evidence against God" that are in common usage.
The "scientific evidence" against God is reliant on God not existing, and it's a fundamentally flawed concept. The hardest problem is the simplest: if God exists, then the "scientific evidence" against God isn't actually evidence that God doesn't exist. The "evidence" can only be said to be such if one takes the position of "God does not exist" before looking at it.
One cannot substantiate the claims that "Evolution = No God", "Physics = No God" or other such claims because we're fundamentally incapable of it. We lack the necessary knowledge to make the required connections, and so one/they cannot be said to exist.
Arguing that "science" disproves God's existence is basically arguing that "Knowledge of the mechanics of [x] prevents God from being a party to/in it", which better minds than my own have compared to the Puppeteer analogy. "I see no strings for God to hold, and so there can be no God to hold them." This, of course, begs the question: why does God need to hold strings?

Polarity27:

Mayans are an *existing* people, and making up shit about them to win internet points is kind of a jerk move. The whole setup sounded like Bad Hollywood Aztecs, so I'm glad I looked it up and called you on it.

Youre right. In future i should make it clear ive invented said god. Its cultural significance had nothing to do with my argument and was made purely for some familiar context. It was totally unnecessary and im in the wrong. I sincerely apologise for this and hope that i wouldnt offend anyone of Myan decent.

Except by inventing a god from an existing polytheistic system, you missed your point by a mile. The only god that demands anything merely by existing is the Christian one (and maybe the Muslim one, I'm not that up on my Muslim theology) because the idea that this god is for absolutely everyone is the Entire Bloody Point. Other religions just don't work that way. Now, if it's actually your culture, that's a bit of a different thing. Except then I'd offer up Shinto, an example of an extant, unbroken polytheistic culture-bound religious practice that is orthopraxic-- people do the practices to honor their culture and family, but belief is not required of them and often isn't given (as Katatori, who lives in Japan, has said about 98 kajillion times). If any of the polytheisms that practiced human sacrifice in history survived to the present, they would almost certainly have adapted. Whether people believe in them or not is irrelevant, if you're not one of theirs, it's not your problem.

Actually i invented said god because i dont really see the Christian god as one requiring effort. Most if not all of the rules are things we do anyway every day by accident like "Be a good person" and "Apologise when you do wrong". If you cut down what moderate Christianity is it really doesnt require action to be an ok believer. You just do things you do anyway which is easy to do. Its why i thought my example was necessary. To frame it from a context where the things you have to do arnt things like "Breathing" and "Being pleasant to people". Youve made it abundantly clear ive failed though and my entire example has fallen to pieces. Ill concede this. I find the ideas of these religions, that are opt in and out and culture only based really interesting.

I admit total ignorance on this topic. This was why i was in error. I can assure you i never intended to maliciously paint polytheistic religions. Thank you for bringing to light this kind of thing. I dont want to offend

And *my* point is that you'd *have* to invent ones that don't, and if you did, the worldbuilding would likely lack sense. Did you think people offered sacrifices because it was fun? There's a reason behind anything that was done in history. When people reconstruct, reconstructionism as a methodology is less interested in literally replicating historical practices than figuring out *why* they were done. A lot of blood sacrifice practices come down to two things, reciprocity (a gift for a gift) and "in dire times, we offer that which is most dear" (which is just a bigger form of a gift for a gift). Think about it, rescue from severe drought or protection for the tribe from warfare is a pretty damn big gift, if the people perceive that their gods helped them with that. (Note also that there are plenty of recorded instances of people cursing out their gods if their gods don't deliver. There are also instances of offing the leader in cases like these (hey, that's a really big sacrifice, and you get a sacrifice and a coup for the price of one!).) Point being, the spirit of the idea doesn't require the literal. One example: I often see some pretty amazing things burnt as offerings in my religion. One year the entire festival made a quilt together: every person made a square, it was sewn together, and then later that night it was burnt. My square was hand-dyed, hand-painted, and took me about ten hours to make. No dead anythings, but I didn't stint on my gift.

This is really damn interesting. I just had no idea about how all this stuff functions. I suppose the rigid doctrine of modern religions is fairly new since it was required to be internationally binding. Previous to this i can see why cultural religions wouldnt need set in stone absolute dogma if they were just integrated with daily life on a personal or familial basis. You address the lack of a need to invent one in your other post.

This is what annoys me about when atheists try to be cute, like you did, and make up shit to trap religious people-- most of you only know Christianity and expect every other religion works just like Christianity.

If its any consolation i know better than to do that again. Thank you for all youve written though. Its been a really nice read! Anywhere i can read more about polytheism. May i ask what name your polytheism is under or closest to? Id love to read some more about it.

Polarity27:

1. You can remain undecided about the existence (or ultimate reality) of a deity and decide quite firmly that said deity's followers are a bag of dicks and you want nothing to do with them. All religious doctrine filters through people, even experiential doctrine. You can say "maybe" to the god while saying "nope nope nope" to the filter.

2. Yes, if the filter makes metaphorical gun-to-the-head threats (i.e. worship me this way or else you're damned for eternity), this is, in fact, saying "if your filter is right, this means I choose the gun".

3. You don't *need* to invent a god like that, we've already got a perfectly adequate one.

This is true but option 2 is one i rarely see put around by people in this forum or in discussion. Few people like to, for whatever reason, admit "This god may exist but id rather go to his hell than worship him". It doesnt seem to come naturally to people.

See, this is the part that's interesting to me because I do think you're onto something here, but I'd bold the first part of the sentence and drop out the bit between the commas entirely. It's not the lack of participation that's interesting, it's the "do those gods exist?" response. Christians have some darned interesting situational atheism, and if their first question is "yeah, but do those gods even exist?", some agnostics seem to have picked it up. See, *I* wouldn't participate in human sacrifice because I disagree with human sacrifice, not because I think the gods who seem to have liked it don't exist. I find a lot of Christians have it the other way 'round first, which is interesting for any number of reasons. "Why do you have a problem with my atheism when your religion already requires it for every god but one*?" is an interesting question, and you don't need to invent anything to ask it.

This seems like a better trump card building on what i said above. People are reluctant, in my experience, to take the stance i talked about above. This kind of questioning presses home on that. I like that. Its a stronger point in my view.

Anyway overall, sorry. Its clear that, as a member of a polytheistic religion or otherwise, what i wrote could offend someone of myan faith or descent. And that was never my aim whatsoever. In future ill be clear on what i have invented with negative traits and what is an actual surviving culture.

Uh, I think it's a matter of warped perspective. Say I owned a restaurant that I really liked, claimed it was the greatest and that every other restaurant should be like it. Then a health-and-safety inspector comes in to point out how I shouldn't be reheating spinach. It would be in my vested interest to be all defensive, try to justify my spinach-conservation, tell him, "My own dear mother taught me reheating spinach is a-okay!", and dismiss him as a snob that doesn't know what he's talking about. I wouldn't care if the reheated spinach is full of nitrosamines, or about the greater good, I'd care that I was being slighted.

Christianity is, in essence, an evangelical religion; its mission is to supplant other worldviews, ethics and multiculturality be damned. And the Western World has long tolerated and sponsored conversions and proselytizing, so they're taken for granted - "rediscovering one's faith" is widely held as something deep, spiritual and positive; "losing faith" on the other hand... Well, it's not surprising that the very notion of a sceptic and disbeliever is offensive to some Christians.

Usually, the titular "arrogant atheist" hasn't really done much - when is the last time an atheist came knocking on your door to hand out Dawkins pamphlets? Really, atheism as a movement isn't very forceful, aggressive and invasive, especially when compared to religious practices, and has little public presence if you aren't actively trying to inform yourself on it. Its proponents are typically authors, scientists and polemicists. I don't think any of them are violent, and most are more than a bit coy and reserved. The only "arrogance" they present is, apparently, having the gall to question the hegemonic authority of faith-based institutions.

TL;DR version: arrogance is a point of view. I'm sure a 1140s crusader would consider you "arrogant" if you tried telling him not to pillage a Muslim village.

Self assertion is completely normal: Religious folks do it without even thinking about it and when they see aethiests get up and angry about it they think the aethiest is over reacting. Reciting dogma in front of an aethiest is basically a self assertion of ones faith, by which the aethiest is going to respond in kind.

Agema:

And so may we one day find good scientific evidence of the existence or non-existence of god. In the meantime, it's just a scientific unknown.

When that day comes, the probability that can rationally be applied increases. In the absence of any such evidence, the default position is non-existence, the same position people find no problem taking with regards manticores and chimeras.

Agema:

It is indeed "improbable", albeit using the sense of probability outside its scientific meaning. It's implausibility is not because of science.

What makes the frost giants "improbable", but god "unknowable"? I'm merely applying the same standard to claims that have the same body of evidence. Everybody's happy to accept negligible probability of one, but not the other. If you'd like to be consistent, I'd like to hear you agree that the turtle-surfing frost-Jotun are not of negligible probability.

You realise that I'm not suggesting scientific analysis specifically rules out religious claims, right...?

Agema:

By suggesting that a lack of evidence (of any sort, for or against) indicates non-existence (as suggested by you, in the form of negligible probability). That is to take the root of simplicity by not introducing unnecessary concepts. Introducing "negligible probability" seems to me little more than trying to slightly hedge one's bets.

'Hedge my bets'? If I were betting, not a single penny would go on religious claims. Stating "negligible probability" is merely stating the truth, because religious claims are not impossible.

I suppose the non-introduction of unnecessary concepts is simplicity, that's true. I don't think I invoked Occam's Razor, but I'd far rather stop arguing this point, because it's not important.

Agema:
One might well retreat to cynicism and quips when confronted with uncomfortable possibilities.

You seriously think you've "opened my eyes", and I can't deal with it? What I meant by my reply was that it doesn't matter one iota to me what qualifications you have. I find it pretty hilarious that you found it relevant to bring up your PhD in a forum argument.

Agema:

Basic reasoning tools, logic, philosophy. All within that sort of remit, as I have already stated several times.

Hrmm. The last part of my reply was an effort to alleviate the tone; I see I failed.

How do any of these give us reason to assume the existence of the supernatural invisible flying creator-being? It's illogical, contrary to everything we know of the world, fulfills no function regarding the origin of the Universe, because it simply regresses the problem.

Silvanus:
[

What makes the frost giants "improbable", but god "unknowable"? I'm merely applying the same standard to claims that have the same body of evidence. Everybody's happy to accept negligible probability of one, but not the other. If you'd like to be consistent, I'd like to hear you agree that the turtle-surfing frost-Jotun are not of negligible probability.

You realise that I'm not suggesting scientific analysis specifically rules out religious claims, right...?

I'd say because you'd know a Frost giant when you saw it. You could arguably see a manifestation of divinity or whatever, and be none the wiser. Technically, not seeing a frost giant is not proof of its absence, but you could work out basic properties of Frost Giants from the mythos, and conclude that none of the places that could harbour them do, and that the effects attributed to them have other causes. Then, you would either have to redefine Frost Giants ( I don't know, maybe they can travel between parralel universes, or they are just sort of conscious conglomerations of coldness or something) or dispense with the idea entirely.

God keeps getting redefined, to the point where it is so hard to pin down that it's unknowable. Giants are generally understood to be large humanoids, which we can be reasonably certain don't exist on earth.

Ranorak:
The issue is rather simple.

If a Christian puts up a sign that says "In God We Trust" no one cares.
If an Atheist puts up a sign that says "There is no God" everyone call him arrogant.

Why?
Both have the same message; "I am right, and the other is not."
Both make a claim that is, as of yet, unknowable to be true.
The Christian claims he knows what is right, and the atheist claims the same.

Yet one is considered mean, arrogant and offensive to people's believes, and the other is printed on coins.

You know, we may get things wrong every now and again, but sometimes we just get something very, very right.

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