"You are not really an atheist"

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Re: "You are not really an atheist"

Postby GrammarOfAssent » Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:44 pm

On the one hand I can understand the six propositions as being some kind of logic teaser.


No. They are simply six different positions I have heard different atheists take, expressed in terms I can understand. When someone (I forget who) offered Richard Dawkin's position, I said it was not clear to me. I was never offered an explanation. The fact that Dawkin's position contains two vague terms (i.e. "enough evidence" and "completely rule out") is an issue.

And it's a good example of how logic can be relative on occcasions.


That is hilarious.

dobbie wrote: I didn't ask for the name of a god. I asked to name (describe) a god that exists. Providing enough description of the thing under discussion is important. Otherwise too much room is made for ambiguity.


I know that you have used this approach many times. I agree that it is important when a person is attempting to prove a god's existence. I am not. So, I will try a different approach:

I am asking about your current position.

There are gods that have been described to you already (this is group [S], and you know the descriptions of group [S]).

Assume: there is not a god I could describe that you have not heard about already (your knowledge of [S] is complete)

I am also sure (at least partly sure) that you currently claim existence for a great many things (group [P]).

Now. The proposition (#3 restated): "There is at least one member of [S] that is also a member of [P]"

Ask yourself: "Are any of [S] also belonging to [P]?"

If you don't know...then that is what your answer and proposition 3 is your position.

If the answer is anything but "I don't know", then proposition 3 is not for you.

Now, how is it that you require a description of the god I am talking about? I am not even talking about "a god".

But on the other hand they shouldn't be taken very seriously because of their semantic issues. What do you think?


If by, "semantics issues", you are referring to the misunderstandings related to the terms used, then I think those issues should be taken VERY seriously. If you don't understand the terms of a proposition, you ask for clarification. You don't ignore the propositions altogether.

Further, the title "You are not really an atheist" contains a semantics issue, too (about the word atheist). What do you think?


I think 2 things. Here are your words:

"They shouldn't be taken very seriously because of their semantic issues."

"You are not really an atheist" contains a semantics issue"

So it would seem you think that the comment, "you are not really an atheist" should not be taken seriously. I agree, but for the reasons I have stated at least twice already.

The second thing I think is that I have seen several people on this forum claim, "semantics issues" as a reason to end a discussion. That is fine as long as you realize that your (or the other party's) reluctance to deal with the meanings/definitions of the terms used is not a resolution/victory/defeat in a discussion. It just means you or the other person got tired of trying to understand what the other person meant. Again, that is fine, but it won't get you far in the search for truth.
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Re: "You are not really an atheist"

Postby dobbie » Sat Sep 08, 2012 4:26 pm

GrammarOf wrote: The second thing I think is that I have seen several people on this forum claim, "semantics issues" as a reason to end a discussion.

This is the kind of logic flaw I'm talking about. That is, I'm not talking about several people on this forum. The generalization (the tangent) is a logic flaw.

I have the impression you don't really want to understand the other side's position. If you wanted to understand it you might be asking more questions instead of trying to pigeon hole somebody's position.

So it would seem you think that the comment, "you are not really an atheist" should not be taken seriously.
This is what I'm talking about. If you want to know, then why not ask. Ask where the semantic issue is in the word atheist.

There's no point in going in a circle.
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Re: "You are not really an atheist"

Postby GrammarOfAssent » Sat Sep 08, 2012 6:34 pm

dobbie wrote:This is what I'm talking about. If you want to know, then why not ask. Ask where the semantic issue is in the word atheist.


Here is the thing: I don't care about the semantics issue with the word atheist. I care about the semantics issues inherent to a person's position.

If none of the propositions apply to you (as you indicated), that is fine. You are free to offer another (as you did). I asked for more clarification on your position (which was awkwardly stated). You provided that clarification in a round-about way, and is still confusing. I will get to it in a moment.

BloodRedLegend chose #5, and decided to offer his justification for choosing #5. I responded for clarification and he offered it. Then I challenged his reasoning. I wanted to know. So I asked. Then I interacted with the answer.

The original proposition that you used to describe your position you was:
"The god that you name doesn’t exist"

Your judgment was that this is TRUE
"the god that you name doesn’t exist is true"
(You, Sept, 4 @ 4:20 pm, pg 1 LINK)

Your reasoning was: "I see no convincing evidence"

When I interacted with this proposition, you went on to explain the following:
"Somebody is unable to offer convincing evidence for the existence of their god. So their proposal (that their god exists) isn't true for me."
(You, 9/4 @ 9:04)

This is a prime example of what causes people to be confused about what it is you actually are claiming.

At first, you say: "The god that you name (i.e. their god) does not exist" is TRUE.

Then, you say, "The god that you name (i.e. their god) exists" is NOT TRUE.

In watching TAA, and interacting with many people who do not claim that a god exists, I have found that there is a large number who believe there is a logical difference between the two statements above. What do you think?

Here is an analogy:

2 + 2 does not = 5 is TRUE.

2 + 2 = 5 is NOT TRUE. This is the same as: 2 + 2 = 5 is FALSE

If you are not convinced about the FALSEHOOD of 2 + 2 = 5, then you should say, "I don't know if 2 + 2 = 5", rather than, "2 + 2 = 5 is NOT TRUE".
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Re: "You are not really an atheist"

Postby dobbie » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:01 pm

GrammarOf wrote:
At first, you say: "The god that you name (i.e. their god) does not exist" is TRUE
.
I don't think that we'll ever understand each other. I never said the thing you quoted above.

I said, for the last time, that the proposition I invented was true for me. And what was the proposition I invented? It was that somebody provided evidence for the existence of a god. But I thought it was poor evidence. So the god didn't exist as far as I was concerned. Your abridged version of it didn't ring true for me.

My original statement in its original awkward form:
2- The proposition that the god that you name doesn’t exist is true since I see no convincing evidence.

It was supposed to mean that a person presented evidence. I was the hearer. But the evidence was lousy. So the way I saw it, the god didn't exist. The core of the matter was the person's evidence. Within the limitations of the evidence, I couldn't believe. Better evidence was needed to change my mind. Perhaps the original syntax got in the way and you got some other impression?

Moving off topic: Dictionaries often define the word atheist as a person who doesn't believe in god(s). I'd like to add this to it: Yes, but what are his reasons?

Somebody else started this thread and called it "You are not really an atheist." The complaint was that it was a silly thing to say. I had to agree. The atheist can be described as a guy who asks skeptical questions but then isn't satisfied with the answers. In which case the thread title is like saying "You are not really a skeptic." But he is a skeptic. An atheist doesn't believe owing to the poor evidence. So he's really an atheist in that sense. He has reasons. The thread title appears to suggest all atheists have no reasons. And that was the sematics issue.
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Re: "You are not really an atheist"

Postby GrammarOfAssent » Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:01 am

dobbie wrote:I never said the thing you quoted above...I said, for the last time, that the proposition I invented was true for me.


Well. The evidence shows otherwise. You may not have meant exactly what you said. But you said it. I quoted it and provided a link to your actual post. If you didn't mean what you said, adding, "for me" doesn't change anything. You are the one holding the position, so of course I deduced that it was true for you.

Here is the quote you just claimed to have NEVER said:

"The god that you name (i.e. their god) does not exist" is TRUE

Here you are representing it in your most recent post:

My original statement in its original awkward form:
2- The proposition that the god that you name doesn’t exist is true since I see no convincing evidence.


Do you see why I might be confused about what it is you actually hold to be true?

It was that somebody provided evidence for the existence of a god. But I thought it was poor evidence. So the god didn't exist as far as I was concerned


That is fine. I am sure the scenario you have described here has happened many times. I am sure there are many gods that people have tried to show you evidence for. Out of all of those gods, it seems that you have judged that they do not exist. That being the case, my proposition 3 is not for you, and you do not need me to supply you with a description of the god I'm talking about. Is that still unclear?

So the way I saw it, the god didn't exist. The core of the matter was the person's evidence. Within the limitations of the evidence, I couldn't believe.


That is fine, but you are stating two different concepts here and(seemingly). I have asked for a distinction (if you even see a distinction) between saying, "the god does not exist" and "I do not believe in the god". I have heard the distinction made on TAA. So let me ask it this way:

Do you merely withhold belief in the god you judge to have no evidence for, OR is the lack of belief due to your asserting that the god does not exist. If you do not see a difference, then we have a problem, and it needs clearing up.
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Re: "You are not really an atheist"

Postby GrammarOfAssent » Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:08 am

If I asked you what you thought about the proposition:

"At least one number exists"

...would you ask me, "which number are you talking about"? or "What is your evidence?"

That is what it has been like for me in this thread.
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Re: "You are not really an atheist"

Postby Lausten » Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:30 am

GofA wrote:Fortunately, I don't live my life measuring the worth of my points by your standards, Lausten. There is no need for your intellect to descend to my lowly state. I already know that I am no genius or wise sage.

Well, at least we have come to an understanding. I don't think the forum moderators care about much unless you threaten people.

I like to use scientific definitions when it comes to terms like "true" and "prove". The philosophical definitions of those terms are fun, but you are trying to nail them down and use them logically. If you are asking "what is truth" in the same way Pilate asked Christ, then we can talk all day and enjoy an adult beverage and feel quite erudite in the process. But, in the way you are asking, my response is, go look up the scientific definitions for those terms yourself if you want to know what I mean.
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Re: "You are not really an atheist"

Postby dobbie » Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:53 pm

GofA wrote:
Here is the quote you just claimed to have NEVER said:

"The god that you name (i.e. their god) does not exist" is TRUE

... I quoted it and provided a link to your actual post.
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4377&sid=8246c64485afe1daf63437c17f019110#p20947

Well, that link (above) shows that there was more to the sentence.
The proposition that the god that you name doesn’t exist is true since I see no convincing evidence.

At this point the exchange has become too spooky and strange.
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Re: "You are not really an atheist"

Postby GrammarOfAssent » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:35 pm

dobbie Said:

Well, that link (above) shows that there was more to the sentence.

Supplying the reason for your claim does not effect the meaning of the claim itself. In other words, when you give me the reasons why you hold a thing to be true, that is great and it helps me to understand how you arrived at your position. However, it has very little bearing on the final position considered in itself.

I might say I do not think 2 + 2 = 5 is true since 2 + 2 only = 4. My position is true (2 + 2 does not = 5), even if I were to offer a dancing dragon's former roommate's mother-in-law as my reason for holding it. Just a thought.
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Re: "You are not really an atheist"

Postby GrammarOfAssent » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:53 pm

Lausten Said:

I like to use scientific definitions when it comes to terms like "true" and "prove". The philosophical definitions of those terms are fun, but you are trying to nail them down and use them logically.

Where did those "scientific definitions" come from? I wonder...

If you are asking "what is truth"

I'll go ahead and stop you right there. I am not asking "what is truth". I am asking, "How do you, personally, express what you, personally, hold [i]to be true (or false)?"[/i].

But, in the way you are asking, my response is, go look up the scientific definitions for those terms yourself if you want to know what I mean.

If you are referring to "what you mean" when you say, "enough evidence" and "completely rule out", then forgive me when I respond, "No thank you". Since you are the one using the terms, I thought it would be perfectly reasonable to ask you to give clarification about them. You don't have to. A common courtesy would be to direct me to where you get the definitions you are using. You don't even have to do that.

If you are referring to the "scientific definitions" of "truth" and "prove", I would just like to ask where those definitions came from.
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Re: "You are not really an atheist"

Postby Lausten » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:20 am

I'm bored now.
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Re: "You are not really an atheist"

Postby BahRayMew » Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:51 am

GrammarOfAssent wrote: Which, if any, describes your position most accurately (combinations are fine)? If none of the propositions below describe your position, then, as concisely as possible provide it.:

1) The proposition, "A god exists", is FALSE

2) The proposition, "No god exists", is TRUE

3) The proposition, "A god exists", can be neither TRUE nor FALSE.

4) The proposition, "A god exists", can not be answered at this time.

5) The proposition, "A god exists", is PROBABLY FALSE

6) The proposition, "No god exists", is PROBABLY TRUE


Against my better judgment, I shall be perfectly blunt.

My position is some combination of 1,2,4,5 and 6.
1 and 2 are opinions that I have. (I am assuming that "1" refers to a particular god, while "2" refers to the idea that there are no gods anywhere.)
5 and 6 is something everybody must admit as a pointless and mulish nod to intellectual rigor.
4 is itself an opinion you can have which you might have to admit as possibly being false.
For the sake of brevity, I will assert 1 and 2 and go from there. I have no idea why this should give you so much trouble.

This brings me to the bluntness. I sense a kind of sophistry of the sort that annoys me to death. There's this kind of tortured and labored pedantry that people often think of as being profound and credible. It's as if people are trying to pantomime an android that is completely incapable of understanding subtext.
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Re: "You are not really an atheist"

Postby GrammarOfAssent » Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:03 pm

BahRayMew:

For the sake of brevity, I will assert 1 and 2 and go from there. I have no idea why this should give you so much trouble.

If you don't have any idea why this should give so much trouble, read the above exchange. So far you are the only person to recognize that 1 and 2 go together. As far as #1 meaning "a particular" god: In the clearest sense, it means "at least one particular".

There's this kind of tortured and labored pedantry that people often think of as being profound and credible. It's as if people are trying to pantomime an android that is completely incapable of understanding subtext.

haha. 1) Thank you for your bluntness. 2) I do not think this line of questioning is profound or credible. Rather, it is one of the most basic and simple exercises of thinking. It simply asks what position a person holds. The difficulty some people had with it reflects the norm of my experience with those who lack a belief in any sort of deity. I have heard each one of those positions from the mouths of atheists (in the most general use of the word).

Thank you for answering the question directly and honestly. If you label yourself anything at all, how do you do so?
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