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  1. #91
    Sniffles
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    Holy shit! I must say I never expected to this much discussion. Gone for barely one day and already onto 9 pages!

    Sadly I'm not in the position or mood to really comment on what has been said thus far. And frankly I usually notice that once a debate of mine has snowballed, it's better to take a back seat and let others fight it out.

    I will say that as far as the basic argument that there's shallow atheists and shallow theists. Yes, but one of the major points stressed by atheists nowadays is how they're supposedly more intelligent and deeper thinkers than the stupid masses who still cling to religion. I've already called into question the validity of this argument, and even if true - it still doesn't prove atheism is the correct position. So other than to stroke their own egos, this argument makes no sense.

    That was the one argument made by the OP; despite all the cockiness for supposedly being more brilliant, many of their arguments against religion are in the end very shallow, especially when compared to the more thoughful perspectives provided by numerous religious thinkers.

    The issue is not about intelligence vs stupidity; but one of truth vs untruth.

  2. #92
    Senior Member Grayscale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grayscale View Post
    thiesm says everything, athiesm says nothing except possibly believing something that is not true. this brings up another question, should someone believe God exists simply because the potential advantage of being right outweigh the cost of being wrong? what other factors are there... time spent devoted to that purpose that could be spent elsewhere? is that accounted for in the positive emotional affects alone?
    another question, regarding the benefits of believing God existing if that were correct--how do you quantify whether someone "believes", what are the practical criteria for saving your eternal soul?

    because it seems to me that someone could have the best of both worlds... that is, profess belief, but simply make no sacrifice for it. in fact, that is what many people do. ignoring that this might be just another way to manipulate the masses, why should someone turn down free "fire insurance"?

  3. #93
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    Yes.
    Certain?

  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Certain?
    No.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  5. #95
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    No.
    Welcome to agnosticism.

  6. #96
    Mamma said knock you out Mempy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Welcome to agnosticism.
    Thank you, PT.

    Now that I think about it, I really don't understand at all what all the goddamn fuss about agnosticism was. Now I'm just irritated that I wasted my time.
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  7. #97
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mempy View Post
    Thank you, PT.

    Now that I think about it, I really don't understand at all what all the goddamn fuss about agnosticism was. Now I'm just irritated that I wasted my time.
    Well, he has a point. Saying "yes or no", then saying "maybe" does have a higher chance of being right than saying "I don't know"... the thing is, it has an equal chance of being wrong. Adding unsubstantiated answers on the logical premise that you have a chance of being right is meaningless if you cannot measure the probability of you being right (the confidence of your information). It is not better to answer the "quantum state" of an atom without measuring it, than to express the limits of our ability to know the state of it.

    Agnostics can come in different flavors, but all of them are merely questioning the certainty of information. Some are harder than others - they question others' confidence... and some are weak, that merely say they cannot know.

  8. #98
    Mamma said knock you out Mempy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Well, he has a point. Saying "yes or no", then saying "maybe" does have a higher chance of being right than saying "I don't know"... the thing is, it has an equal chance of being wrong. Adding unsubstantiated answers on the logical premise that you have a chance of being right is meaningless if you cannot measure the probability of you being right (the confidence of your information). It is not better to answer the "quantum state" of an atom without measuring it, than to express the limits of our ability to know the state of it.
    I think I understand what you're saying. But I think you could clarify a little, too.

    Are you saying, at base, that yes and no have an equal chance of being wrong? I'm with you there. And then you're saying that it's better to express the limits of our ability to know whether God exists or not than it is to pick an unsubstiantiated side just because we have a higher likelihood of being right? Kind of like the old advice teachers give you on multiple choice quizzes: "There are four options, and even if you don't know the answer, if you pick one you have a 25% chance of being right, which is better than not picking one and having a 0% chance of being right."

    Edit: Wait a second. Maybe a better way of saying it is that you think it is better to express the limit of our ability to know than to provide arguments for one side or the other that we don't really have confidence in?
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  9. #99
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mempy View Post
    I think I understand what you're saying. But I think you could clarify a little, too.

    Are you saying, at base, that yes and no have an equal chance of being wrong? I'm with you there. And then you're saying that it's better to express the limits of our ability to know whether God exists or not than it is to pick an unsubstiantiated side just because we have a higher likelihood of being right? Kind of like the old advice teachers give you on multiple choice quizzes: "There are four options, and even if you don't know the answer, if you pick one you have a 25% chance of being right, which is better than not picking one and having a 0% chance of being right."

    Edit: Wait a second. Maybe a better way of saying it is that you think it is better to express the limit of our ability to know than to provide arguments for one side or the other that we don't really have confidence in?
    That's what Reason's point of view is. By choosing no answer at all, you cannot be right.

    I disagree on principle. I do not consider being wrong a "0" answer, and being correct a "1" answer. A non-answer is a zero answer, by virtue of it not being an answer, the answer given to be scale from there; positive or negative, depending on the answer itself. I prefer to think of it as undefined, whereas all knowledge has a positive association. In this case, you average down your more certain knowledge; each additional answer you accept to simply have an answer would drive down the value of all existing knowledge. This becomes a significant issue when you consider most knowledge approaches near-infinite confidence. We tend to know the evidenced world with great certainty.

    So, the reason for my stance is because if one wishes to optimize their correctness in a logical framework, all things should be assumed to be in a state of knowledge. Yet, with each additional assumption, the inability to differentiate between good and bad knowledge would negate the value of having any knowledge at all. With infinite assumptions that could be made, you merely reach the average of all possibilities, with no more knowledge than chance. It would negate the value of having any knowledge at all.

  10. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Welcome to agnosticism.
    Oh, I am agnostic about everything, including my own agnosticism. I do not think that knowledge, as it is traditionally defined, exists at all. Among other things, this means that I think everyone is agnostic about everything, even if they do not realise it. Therefore, I am simply uninterested in answering the question 'can it be known that a God exists?' No, it cannot be known, and neither can anything else. The far more interesting question is 'does a God exist?', I think not.

    I am an agnostic, but that doesn't tell anyone what I actually think about the existence of God: it's uninformative. Far simpler to call me an atheist and be done with it.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

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