Thursday, March 1, 2007

Atheists are as irrational as religious believers

Or more irrational.
This is an argument I've heard a-lot lately, especially from people calling themselves agnostic.

The reasoning is that we atheists believe that something doesn't exist though we have no evidence that it doesn't exist.

If I told you of a lollipop pooping pink rhino that I believe may exist though I have no evidence to present to you, or no evidence that you found credible or scientifically sound, would you be irrational for not believing in this rhino?

If 2,000 years from now your ancestors also did not believe in this rhino would they be irrational?

Do you believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster? If not, does this make you irrational?

I can think of lots of things that you don't believe in and I can make up lots of things for you not to believe in.

Lack of evidence is a perfectly rational reason to believe that something does not exist.

An atheist may believe that there could possibly be other life out there in this big universe, and that this other life could be more advanced than we are currently. Atheists can leave room for lots of possibility in the undiscovered world, but while we work on discovery it is not irrational to let go of the old explanations that were made up in the absence of knowledge.

It was once believed that god "put the baby there." Now we know about sperm and egg and the humping. It was once believed that god responded to the sacrifice of animals. Now we know about the protein in their blood serving as fertilizer, we also know that poop works better. Would it be rational for me to continue believing that god is behind the other mysteries we haven't solved or is it more rational, as a scientific minded person to accept that there are unknowns?

To simplify and summarize let me ask you this; How the hell do you prove something DOESN'T exist? Why, that's just silly. You prove something DOES exist, or you prove that it's likely it DOES exist while you continue to look for absolute proof of it's existence.


Keith Lowell Jensen said...

Myspace comment section crapped out. Here's an e-mail debate that I'm moving over here.

From: The Sean Chronicles
Date: Mar 1, 2007 3:27 PM

God ate my response, the bastard, so I had to repost.

Agnostic means "without knowledge of."

Atheist means "without God."

An agnostic is not an atheist, necessarily, although may have "atheistic tendencies" because there is no corroborative proof of God's existence.

An atheist has faith that God does not exist, absent proof... and right, you can't prove a negative, so that's why an agnostic is the more reasonable approach, and you made this thread about "reason," right?

The more-reasonable approach is to say, "I don't believe God exists because I have seen no corroborative proof."

The less-reasonable approach is to say, "God doesn't exist because I have seen no corroborative proof."

The irrational approach is to say, "God exists because the Bible tells me so, and look at all the pretty flowers, they prove He exists because they're so pretty and perfect."



From: The Happy Go Lucky Atheist
Date: Mar 1, 2007 3:36 PM

I don't know why your posts are being eaten.
I keep getting e-mails telling me that people are posting but their posts aren't there?

Anyway, I don't agree with your definition of atheism. I don't have faith that god doesn't exist any more than I have faith that flying lollypop pooping rhinos exist.

Now seriously, would you argue that it's "less reasonable" to say that this rhino doesn't exist? Or would you actually say you don't believe he does exist?

If we have a name for everything that we don't believe in than we will have many many titles.

I also disagree that theism = god. It doesn't. It equals belief in god. Theo equals god, as in theocracy.



You dang sure do have faith that God doesn't exist, because you can't prove that he doesn't and you have no way of explaining the origin of the universe and life on this planet, absent theory (which may be theory with which I happen to "believe," but that's all it is).

Theory is about belief, just as faith is about belief.

You can't prove a negative... therefore introducing straw dog fallacies like "lollipop pooping rhinos" to cartoonify the subject matter... which is denigration, not evidence... doesn't mean God doesn't exist any more than it means lollipop pooping rhinos don't exist.

Do I believe they exist? No.

But they might.

And if a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his ass a'hoppin!

Table and four chairs, you got a dinnette set... table and no chairs? You got dick...

Keith Lowell Jensen said...

So Now I say:

Fine. If you want to define it as faith that I'm pretty damn sure, betting sure even, that things that someone made up, things that they have evidence of are not real then I can live with it. But I think it's a broad and impractical definition of faith. It certainly doesn't compare with the sort of faith we talk about when people are willing to martyr themselves, slay their neighbors, or even just give up their hard earned bread because they believe in something regardless of it's lack of evidence and countless contradictions.

And my cartoon rhino is a fictional character that I made up, not to grade the debate but to show that it's easy to just make something up and you are not irrational nor are you guilty of "faith" if you don't believe in that thing I just made up. Though it's redundant, I made the point in the original post.

TheLabRat said...

THere is a huge difference between "faith" and "trust," though both are directly tied to the idea of "belief." THe semantic difference between the two is so obvious, especially in terms of any kind of theological debate, that I'm a little surprised the issue keeps getting brought up. Someone of religious background, believes in god because they have faith. Someone of scientific inclination believes in evolution because they trust the work of thousands of scientists who have used a proven method (namely, the scientific one) to add more conrete evidence to their Theory.

If there is a god, I doubt it's possible to prove it's existence. But when I receive such scientific proof, I will happily change my mind on the subject. But of course, if there is a god, and it really will send me to hell for not believing in it all this time, then I will happily tell that god to fuck right off for being more egomaniacal than your average actor.

Tastycat said...

Theists are fundamentally more irrational than atheists due to the simple fact that atheists don't argue and war about who doesn't believe in which non-god.

I can agree that atheists are as irrational as theists on the basis that no one (or very few people) has proof of anything except for something that someone told them happened, either yesterday or ten thousand years ago. Unfortunately for theists, that side of things has conflicting facts about the origins of everything, the timeline of when everything occurred, and the ramifications of believing vs. non-believing; atheists merely argue on the basis that those discrepancies lead to the belief that it's all made up.

Consider this:
Lets say somewhere a few thousand years ago some dude gets murdered. Let's call him Steve.
Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, etc. all have conflicting stories about what happened to Steve, and not just in minor ways. I could understand if after a few thousand years the Jews thought he was killed in the morning, and the Christians thought he was killed in the afternoon. We're talking major discrepancies here: Hindus say that he was killed at 2:15am in a bar fight in Santa Monica, Muslims say he got stabbed by a hooker at 9:00pm when he was trying to collect his pimpin' money, Christians say he was crucified at 3:00pm because he was giving out bad advice on car insurance, and the Jews say that Steve fell down in the shower while playing with himself and cracked his skull open. There are some pretty good reasons to question what happened to Steve - at this point it's almost looking like an urban legend, and should be treated the same as one.

Do you believe in urban legends?

I don't.

Keith Lowell Jensen said...

Keep in mind the difference between proof and evidence. There may not be proof of much, but I at leat like a bit of evidence with my cocoa. That makes things a bit easier for Thor's followers, but still they come up short.