A hypothetical question, especially for the atheists and skeptics in the audience...

THEMILKMAN

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As a devout Agnostic, I'll pour over this discussion,absorb any pertinent information and finally formulate a reasonable conclusion about my faith, one way or the other...nope, still nothing.
 

balladbird

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MagunBFP said:
So for someone to be an atheist or to believe in science over mysticism you have to be unemotional about it? You can't get annoyed or emotional when someone is specifically questioning you in an attempt to get you to contradict yourself? Theoretically believing in god should be just as unemotional because unless you're trying to force a belief, just like science, the belief in question just "IS" unquestionably.

Zeal and passion aren't just qualities of the religious believer, they're also not factor that have anything to do with accuracy or truth, they're more of an issue when it comes to accepting things that contradict a belief. Zeal and passion aren't even bad things unless they blind you to actual evidence and fact. Believers of science can be just as passionate when their belief is questioned. You tell an atheist to imagine a world where gravity doesn't exist and they'll more often then not do it as a thought experiment, but if you try to tell them it doesn't and you'll see someone passionately arguing why it does, or they'll just dismiss you as not worth the effort. Their passion doesn't make their belief in science any less adaptable to change.
A fair point. Honestly, I should have reflected on my opinion more before I posted. Upon re-reading it it comes across as horribly judgmental, which wasn't my intent when I sat down to type. While I do maintain that emotion and reason tend to be caustic to one another, it was high foolishness on my part to imply that one should exist without the other.

I suppose in the end, I was simply frustrated that so many people were taking what seemed to be a harmless question, and reacting to it so militantly.

I'm going to be difficult here... Given your insistence above that atheism is all about calm and rational belief in science, and that it's only religions, not science, that are important parts of who people are why would you feel inclined to associate with other atheists regardless of the replies in this thread? Also you mention that you don't specifically identify as Atheist so I'm kinda getting the feeling that this comment of yours was really just a dig at atheist for being "zealous and emotional"
If that was how I came across, then I truly failed to communicate. I wasn't taking a dig at anyone. Well, given what I said, I can't claim that. It would be more correct to say that such wasn't my intention. I identified as an atheist for most of my adult life, and only abandoned the title when the organization I was a part of seemed to focus more on ridicule of religious persons than what they claimed to hold as objectives. Regardless, it was nothing that anyone here could be accused of, and for me to imply there were was immature of me. the only thing I can say of the persons in this thread would be that they were a little overly rigid, in my opinion, not that I communicated it well.

edited for brevity
Again, fair point. Upon rereading the OP, I was entirely too liberal in my interpretation of the question. it's late, and I've learned a good lesson about posting when tired.

Apologies for any offense.
 

Olas

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MagunBFP said:
OlasDAlmighty said:
Queen Michael said:
Or as I like to put it:

Regardless of which event you mention, I as a skeptic feel that there's a 0% chance that the event in question involved anything supernatural or divine. So the question we're basically asked is "Of these events, which all have a 0% chance of being supernatural in any way, which one has the highest chance of involving something supernatural? Which 0% chance is the highest?" and the thing is, if the chance is always 0% then you can't pick a specific one.
Except only an idiot would say there's a completely 0% chance of something being true. Even the most extraordinarily unlikely claim has SOME small likelihood; to say otherwise is just being dismissive for the sake of being dismissive and nothing else.

For example, I may not believe that 9/11 was an inside job orchestrated by the US government, but I still consider that more likely than the prospect that it was carried out by unicorns. You see why assigning a value of zero to everything makes no sense?

Vice versa you can't be 100% sure of anything either, for all you know the entire universe as you know it could be an illusion. So everything really has to fall somewhere in the middle.
I'm only seeing 1 number and no decimal points, so it's more likely that 0% is actually rounding some pretty damn small numbers to the closest whole number, which is the generally accepted convention. Likewise saying that you are 99.9999999999% sure of something can be rounded up to 100% as while you've made allowences for the fact that there is a possibility, slim as it may be, that you aren't right, you're close enough to certain that 100% demonstrates your point.
I don't think he was simply rounding to the nearest whole number, because if he was it would undermine his point that zero is equal to zero and therefore all instances of supernatural events are equally probable. And if he did actually allow a mathematical convention to dictate his beliefs then he's got bigger issues.

MagunBFP said:
[Based on your example though, given there is literally no evidence supporting the existence of Unicorns, and we know that everyone who boarded the planes involved in the 9/11 tragedy were seen while they were boarding and during the flight but there was not a single report of "omfg there's a fucking unicorn on this plane" it's not unreasonably to assume there was an absolute 0% chance that unicorns were involved. Call me an idiot if you like but there are just somethings that absolutely can not happen.
What, like breaking the sound barrier? Or microbes being able to live in boiling water? A lot of people have had to eat their words because they said something was impossible that was really just improbable. I'm not trying to defend the prospect of unicorns, but I positively hate the attitude that we should come to definite conclusions about the universe based on what appears to be the case.

This being said, unicorns being the cause of 9/11 was intended to be an example of extremely unlikely scenario, whereas many strange events and phenomena have much more evidence and therefore should be given more consideration, if not a lot.
Also given that the universe is the only reality that you are aware of, and that it's impossible to actually observe "beyond" the possible illusion of it, you can safely say that something is 100% accurate or likely in this universe. Unless you accept the existence of God, in which cause it's always possible he'll fuck with your probabilities I hear he does that for shits and giggles
Again I simply disagree that even if you accept the universe we live in to be real that certain things are guaranteed to be absolutely 100% likely. We don't have complete knowledge of everything, or even very many things, so the possibility of there being illusions within this illusion is still very much there.

Sure, we have to form beliefs just to survive, but those are still just beliefs, not certainties.
 

MagunBFP

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balladbird said:
MagunBFP said:
So for someone to be an atheist or to believe in science over mysticism you have to be unemotional about it? You can't get annoyed or emotional when someone is specifically questioning you in an attempt to get you to contradict yourself? Theoretically believing in god should be just as unemotional because unless you're trying to force a belief, just like science, the belief in question just "IS" unquestionably.

Zeal and passion aren't just qualities of the religious believer, they're also not factor that have anything to do with accuracy or truth, they're more of an issue when it comes to accepting things that contradict a belief. Zeal and passion aren't even bad things unless they blind you to actual evidence and fact. Believers of science can be just as passionate when their belief is questioned. You tell an atheist to imagine a world where gravity doesn't exist and they'll more often then not do it as a thought experiment, but if you try to tell them it doesn't and you'll see someone passionately arguing why it does, or they'll just dismiss you as not worth the effort. Their passion doesn't make their belief in science any less adaptable to change.
A fair point. Honestly, I should have reflected on my opinion more before I posted. Upon re-reading it it comes across as horribly judgmental, which wasn't my intent when I sat down to type. While I do maintain that emotion and reason tend to be caustic to one another, it was high foolishness on my part to imply that one should exist without the other.

I suppose in the end, I was simply frustrated that so many people were taking what seemed to be a harmless question, and reacting to it so militantly.

I'm going to be difficult here... Given your insistence above that atheism is all about calm and rational belief in science, and that it's only religions, not science, that are important parts of who people are why would you feel inclined to associate with other atheists regardless of the replies in this thread? Also you mention that you don't specifically identify as Atheist so I'm kinda getting the feeling that this comment of yours was really just a dig at atheist for being "zealous and emotional"
If that was how I came across, then I truly failed to communicate. I wasn't taking a dig at anyone. Well, given what I said, I can't claim that. It would be more correct to say that such wasn't my intention. I identified as an atheist for most of my adult life, and only abandoned the title when the organization I was a part of seemed to focus more on ridicule of religious persons than what they claimed to hold as objectives. Regardless, it was nothing that anyone here could be accused of, and for me to imply there were was immature of me. the only thing I can say of the persons in this thread would be that they were a little overly rigid, in my opinion, not that I communicated it well.

edited for brevity
Again, fair point. Upon rereading the OP, I was entirely too liberal in my interpretation of the question. it's late, and I've learned a good lesson about posting when tired.

Apologies for any offense.
Ahh, the "awesome" eloquence and "impeccable" logic of "goddamn why aren't I in bed" o'clock. Also...

OP... This. This event in this moment right here, God does intervene and we have proof. There was a disagreement on the internet and it was discussion rationally, points were made, counter points were presented and an agreement was reached and that was it.
 
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The dreaded sock goblin. That little bastard warps into my bedroom and steals one of each of my socks and then disappears to use them for his own nefarious purposes in the lost sock dimension.
 

God's Clown

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I have to assume it was the work of a hypothetical satan that My Name is Earl got canceled. A show that good can only be canceled by a great and mighty evil. The same goes for Firefly.
 

Robot Number V

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Well, I think of it this way: If every single thing that has ever happened is equally unlikely to have been influenced by the "supernatural" then....Wait a minute, I need to talk about that for a bit. "Supernatural". What the flying hell is that supposed to mean? What EXACTLY qualifies something as supernatural? Is it ghosts? Is it UFOs? Is it anything that we can't currently prove the existence of? Because that makes absolutely no sense. If some scientists managed to bust themselves a few ghosts and showed the evidence to me, and proved that it was indeed a bunch of transparent, float-y dead people, I would fucking believe in ghosts. "Supernatural" is basically a term for shit that doesn't exist, because once we prove that it DOES exist, it STOPS BEING SUPERNATURAL.

But fine. I'll just use the other term to answer your question, "divine influence"....Well....Everything. Right? If I'm saying that one event was influenced by Fucking God, then by definition, I'm implying that everything was influenced by the same God. I can't just say that God popped into existence just to dictate the amazing life of David Tennant, but had absolutely nothing do with the rest of existence.[footnote]For the record, David Tennant is a man who played the 10th incarnation of a character called The Doctor, on the popular show Dr. Who. The Doctor is a single character who has been portrayed by 12 different actors over about 50 years. Tennant's life is amazing because he grew up as a huge Doctor Who fan, and then grew up to be what many people consider to be the best version of the character. Not only that, but he married the daughter of the man who played the 5th Doctor. And the 5th Doctor was his favorite incarnation of the character growing up. And Tennant's wife (his childhood icon's daughter) is super hot. So...Yeah.The man has perfected life.[/footnote]

Actually, you know what? I change my mind. My answer is "David Tennant's entire fucking life".
 

MagunBFP

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OlasDAlmighty said:
MagunBFP said:
OlasDAlmighty said:
Except only an idiot would say there's a completely 0% chance of something being true. Even the most extraordinarily unlikely claim has SOME small likelihood; to say otherwise is just being dismissive for the sake of being dismissive and nothing else.

For example, I may not believe that 9/11 was an inside job orchestrated by the US government, but I still consider that more likely than the prospect that it was carried out by unicorns. You see why assigning a value of zero to everything makes no sense?

Vice versa you can't be 100% sure of anything either, for all you know the entire universe as you know it could be an illusion. So everything really has to fall somewhere in the middle.
I'm only seeing 1 number and no decimal points, so it's more likely that 0% is actually rounding some pretty damn small numbers to the closest whole number, which is the generally accepted convention. Likewise saying that you are 99.9999999999% sure of something can be rounded up to 100% as while you've made allowences for the fact that there is a possibility, slim as it may be, that you aren't right, you're close enough to certain that 100% demonstrates your point.
I don't think he was simply rounding to the nearest whole number, because if he was it would undermine his point that zero is equal to zero and therefore all instances of supernatural events are equally probable. And if he did actually allow a mathematical convention to dictate his beliefs then he's got bigger issues.
That's a fair call, he most likely did intend for his point be have an absolute 0% probablity, my bad.

OlasDAlmighty said:
MagunBFP said:
Based on your example though, given there is literally no evidence supporting the existence of Unicorns, and we know that everyone who boarded the planes involved in the 9/11 tragedy were seen while they were boarding and during the flight but there was not a single report of "omfg there's a fucking unicorn on this plane" it's not unreasonably to assume there was an absolute 0% chance that unicorns were involved. Call me an idiot if you like but there are just somethings that absolutely can not happen.
What, like breaking the sound barrier? Or microbes being able to live in boiling water? A lot of people have had to eat their words because they said something was impossible that was really just improbable. I'm not trying to defend the prospect of unicorns, but I positively hate the attitude that we should come to definite conclusions about the universe based on what appears to be the case.

This being said, unicorns being the cause of 9/11 was intended to be an example of extremely unlikely scenario, whereas many strange events and phenomena have much more evidence and therefore should be given more consideration, if not a lot.
That's the thing though, defend unicorns... present an argument that would rationally allow for even a minute chance that they exist. If there are no reasons then it can logically be said that there is 0% chance of them being involved with 9/11. I'm not saying that we need to have definite conclusion about everything, where it either is or it isn't, and I'll agree with you that there have been more then a few absolute statements that have been made that have later been completely wrong, but your point was that only an idiot uses absolutes, if I can show a single thing that we can agree is an absolute then that allows for the potential for others... or is that an absolute impossibility?

OlasDAlmighty said:
MagunBFP said:
Also given that the universe is the only reality that you are aware of, and that it's impossible to actually observe "beyond" the possible illusion of it, you can safely say that something is 100% accurate or likely in this universe. Unless you accept the existence of God, in which cause it's always possible he'll fuck with your probabilities I hear he does that for shits and giggles
Again I simply disagree that even if you accept the universe we live in to be real that certain things are guaranteed to be absolutely 100% likely. We don't have complete knowledge of everything, or even very many things, so the possibility of there being illusions within this illusion is still very much there.

Sure, we have to form beliefs just to survive, but those are still just beliefs, not certainties.
I can tell you with 100% certainty that to continue living you need to inhale oxygen, you will also need to exhale carbon dioxide. I can also tell you with 100% certainty that if your head is removed from your body for a period of time longer then 10 minutes you will die. That's 3 facts that I am willing to stand behind with 100% certainty, so as above if I can give you examples of absolutes doesn't that mean that some things are actually factual and not just opinions? Or are you 100% certain that there are no 100% certainties?
 

bartholen_v1legacy

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Uuuuugghh, another silly thread turned into "atheists and agnostics at war with even remotely religious concepts #23479" by people who just can't chill out.

OT: If I'm allowed to stretch this into a series of events instead of just one single event, I'd probably pick colonialism and its eventual culmination into WWI. It would seem logical for Satan, the embodiment of all evil, to make up a centuries long scheme of limitless suffering and exploitation, and end it with the greatest wave of death and destruction the world had ever seen up until that point. Makes it even more delicious that before WWI there'd been almost no war in Europe close to a 100 years, which meant that when the war started, nobody knew what it was going to be like and was actually pretty excited about it.

And then, oooh boy.

captcha: collaborate and listen. Yes, that would be pretty good advice for this thread.
 

Adeptus Aspartem

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How about Religion itself? If there is some supernatural-nonsense, then the founding of religion is probably those occurences fault.
 

SwagLordYoloson

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INB4 Westboro Baptist Church founding.

The founding of Electronic Arts, obviously satanists summoned a demon to haunt their publishing.
 

Longstreet

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I can only think of one answer here.



Otherwise, To the OP, although i get what you are saying, try and pick a better wording for it next time.
 

Nooh

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The Russian winter defeating both Napoleon and Hitler. Two of the biggest wars in Russian history just happened to occur during winters where it was exceptionally cold, and neither of the two attackers remembered to accommodate for that. Probably as close to divine intervention as I can think of.
 

Knife

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bartholen said:
Uuuuugghh, another silly thread turned into "atheists and agnostics at war with even remotely religious concepts #23479" by people who just can't chill out.
No it's more "Bad phrasing on part of the OP, and us not being mind readers trying to truthfully answer what he wrote and not what he thought. Considering the question was unanswerable it was pretty hard and seemed more like an insult than an honest question. And when when we answered to the best of our abilities, people started demonizing us for being liers, having no imagination or having some sort of agenda against religious folk.". I urge you to actually read the original question at face value - it's like asking a person with no pets "What's the colour of your dog?" (saying something is hypothetical doesn't make it hypothetical, in order for something to be hypothetical you need to establish some basic ground for what the hypothetical situation is - which the OP didn't do, maybe he thought it was obvious, but it was not) instead of "What would the colour of your dog be if you hypothetically had a dog?".
bartholen said:
OT: If I'm allowed to stretch this into a series of events instead of just one single event, I'd probably pick colonialism and its eventual culmination into WWI. It would seem logical for Satan, the embodiment of all evil, to make up a centuries long scheme of limitless suffering and exploitation, and end it with the greatest wave of death and destruction the world had ever seen up until that point. Makes it even more delicious that before WWI there'd been almost no war in Europe close to a 100 years, which meant that when the war started, nobody knew what it was going to be like and was actually pretty excited about it.

And then, oooh boy.

captcha: collaborate and listen. Yes, that would be pretty good advice for this thread.
Look up the Franco?Prussian War of 1870?1871, one of the major causes for WW1 that happened roughly 40 years before WW1 (and that's just France and Germany, Europe has plenty of wars in the 19th century).
 

Olas

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MagunBFP said:
That's the thing though, defend unicorns... present an argument that would rationally allow for even a minute chance that they exist. If there are no reasons then it can logically be said that there is 0% chance of them being involved with 9/11.
What? The existence of horses with horns on their head? You think that would be a difficult proposition to invent? Quite easy actually. Give me time and I could come up with a thousand stories explaining how unicorns caused 9/11. We know horses exist, and we know of creatures growing horns, we even know of creatures that look like horses growing things similar to horns (antlers), so the prospect of something like unicorns evolving in nature is quite easy to believe. Alternatively maybe they were genetically engineered in a lab by a mad scientist. Or maybe they're from another planet and the fact that they look like horses is coincidental. Perhaps they teleported onto the airplanes mid flight to hijack them with advanced technology we haven't invented yet, or perhaps they used cloaking technology to board the planes. Perhaps they framed Al Queda to hide their existence from mankind.

And even if I was remarkably uncreative and couldn't think of a single explanation for how unicorns could plot 9/11, it still wouldn't discount the possibility of it being true. The possibilities of the universe are not limited what humans can think up or imagine. I doubt that if you tried to explain what causes sickness to someone in ancient Mesopotamia that they'd even listen to you for more than a few seconds. Often what we find to be true about the universe exceeds our wildest dreams.


MagunBFP said:
I can tell you with 100% certainty that to continue living you need to inhale oxygen, you will also need to exhale carbon dioxide. I can also tell you with 100% certainty that if your head is removed from your body for a period of time longer then 10 minutes you will die. That's 3 facts that I am willing to stand behind with 100% certainty,

You may be certain that all 3 of those "facts" are true, not only am I not certain, I bet within your lifetime there will be people who are alive in every meaningful sense who's brains are attached to something other than a standard human body and who violate all three of your rules.

Inhaling oxygen? We can already oxygenate blood directly without getting the lungs involved? Exhaling CO2? You're joking right?

It's true that it appears the brain requires oxygen to function, but maybe someday we'll create a chemical substitute that works better than oxygen. Or maybe we'll find an even more direct way of bringing energy to neurons entirely.

MagunBFP said:
so as above if I can give you examples of absolutes doesn't that mean that some things are actually factual and not just opinions? Or are you 100% certain that there are no 100% certainties?
I didn't say there were no certainties, only that idiots have them. Wise people have beliefs. I suppose some smart people who are simply misguided could have them too. However it is the nature of science to be skeptical, not rigid and certain.

And as far as your attempt at finding a logical contradiction in my argument is concerned. It would have been easier to just ask if I wasn't certain that 2+2=4. I am certain of that, however I'm not talking about the purely conceptual, I'm talking about the real observable world around us.
 

Joccaren

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Candlejack000 said:
If someone far smarter than me can explain how the universe just pooped into being I may very well give up on higher powers existing. Until then I chose to believe in a non-interfering deity because to accept that the universe simply came into being messes up a huge part of my understanding of the world. Once the universe can exist from nothing then so could anything. So instead of evolving from apes a group of humans large enough to sustain a population just appeared on the Earth, after all while we may be living and intelligent we are made mass just like the self-creating universe.
I pose a question to you; How did this non-interfering deity pop into existence?
Why is a non-interfering deity's magical appearance out of nothingness easier to believe that the universe doing the same thing?
This is where it becomes somewhat circular logic. "The universe had to have a creator, it couldn't have spontaneously popped into existence or existed forever, so I'll invent a creator that needed no creator and spontaneously existed/always existed to create universe".
Its adding in an extra step that doesn't need to exist.
Even following the logic that if the singularity that spawned the universe can appear out of nothing then anything can, we have evidence that the universe exists. It either existed forever or was at some point created/spontaneously appeared. We do not have evidence of a deity ever existing. Logically one would find it easier to believe that the singularity popped into existence than a deity popped into existence, created the singularity, then disappeared.
 

Eddie the head

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The thing with the most evidence to back it up as being divine. I'll believe in the divine, I'll believe in anything no matter how absurd, if there is evidence for it.
 

Ragsnstitches

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Mick P. said:
Ragsnstitches said:
I am sceptical of the claims of Alternative medicines and celebrity diets. I am not sceptical of how a specialist doctor can find out my genetic illnesses that can be past onto my progeny from a vial of my blood or why processed carbohydrates are going to put me in an early grave if I don't monitor my diet.
This isn't so. Skeptics are actually more concerned with questions of the supernatural than anything else. Real actual skeptical thought is not concerned with evidence, it's concerned with that for which there is no available evidence. Skeptical of whether or not reality is what it appears to be. Why can't you just be an NPC in a video game? And why can't the real you be dreaming in a dream in a dream in a dream, how would you know the difference? Is each dream a virtual reality program invented by an inventor in a virtual reality program? These are questions a skeptic ask, and they are not useless questions.

There is a difference between being skeptical, and being a skeptic. One is an adjective, the other is a school of thought, which leads to useful and ever novel ways of understanding. People talk a lot but they don't understand what they talk of. Skepticism is concerned with deep philosophical conclusions that are only rivaled by the likes of religious belief. It doesn't mean that you don't believe in imaginary father figures for the hell of it and you do believe that the sun will rise whether you'd like it to or not. Those aren't interesting dilemmas.
You are right that there is philosophical scepticism. But Scepticism has multiple modern meanings and I am speaking entirely of its most common modern usage, which is a common element to modern atheists and a fundamental element in the scientific process, and that is:

"an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object"

or equally valid to my standing:

"the method of suspended judgement, systematic doubt, or criticism"

It is not exclusively focused on the supernatural, just on unproven claims. Hence why I'm sceptical of unproven alternative medicines (but not totally dismissive of them) but not sceptical of modern medicine derived from genetic studies, as in my original example. It can also extend to supernatural claims, though I have very little reason to even consider the possibility of a supernatural reality so I'm mostly dismissive of it, not doubtful.