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Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...

Posted by tuk22 
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
April 24, 2014 12:02PM
"The algorithm of natural selection is such that over time, with changing environmental pressures, an organism with a brain capable of forming beliefs that effect behavior 'and' conform to reality, will, in the long run, be selected for." -- Islander

Brains that "conform to reality" aren't selected for. Brains that increase the chances that a species' members will survive to reach reproductive age are selected for. More often than not, this coincides with a brain that is able to reflect reality but not always. Cognitive biases show that this is not always the case. The fact that we today recognize and understand cognitive bias, however, marks yet another step in our brain's evolution.

See my favorite illusion for more evidence of this: [whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com]
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
April 25, 2014 08:42PM
If you're going to get into metaphysics, the meaning you gave for 'irrational belief' is a man made meaning of convention and it can and does vary. The meaning you gave is not a metaphysical truth. There are other meanings describing what an irrational belief is and the arbitrary one you are chose as your premise, is not a premise that I accept.

It's a categorical term for beliefs without rationality. And faith, by definition, is irrational. I don't use it in a derogatory way like Dick does. I use it to show all metaphysical beliefs that are not scientific are inherently irrational. It levels the playing field while at the same time showing the value of faith. e.g. Belief in God is irrational, but if non-belief causes mental angst and it's your desire to feel better then it's both wise and rational to continue believing in God... Irrationality can be a virtue. e.g. Like giving someone a second chance without any reason to trust them...

Right, Irrationality, as it's normally used in philosophy, refers to thinking that accepts conclusions that are less likely to be true than are conclusions reached by more rational methods of thought.

Philosophy is about consistency and has nothing to do with probability. e.g. it not more or less likely that A theory of time is true, but it might be more consistent to accept a particular theory of time considering other underlying philosophical positions. You have this same confusion with the Philpapers poll. OTOH it makes a lot of sense when a majority of scientists say something is likely to be true...
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
April 25, 2014 08:52PM
So then, atheism is just as irrational as theism is.

They are both irrational, yes. Not the 'I'm without belief' atheists, the 'I believe we live in a world without God' atheists/

So is agnosticism the only rational position to take then? Or is it just as irrational too?

I wouldn't call it rational per se, because you could claim it's impossible to know God and that to me seems like an unjustified position depending on how you define God. I think it's just a term people use (like me) to say... I don't know if God exists. I don't know the likelihood of a God existing.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
April 27, 2014 05:21PM
So then... the entire subject of the existence of God, regardless of pretty much any stance one takes on it, is irrational?

What is the way to not be irrational about the subject of the existence or non-existence of God or a deity of any sort?

.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
April 28, 2014 08:17PM
So then... the entire subject of the existence of God, regardless of pretty much any stance one takes on it, is irrational?

All philosophical beliefs are inherently irrational/faith based. They are divided between necessary and unnecessary assumptions.


What is the way to not be irrational about the subject of the existence or non-existence of God or a deity of any sort?


Become open-minded and acknowledge that you do have faith. And, try to limit the amount of unnecessary assumptions you make... The same goes for a political philosophy... It's not wise to treat your favorite political party like it's your home sports team. Acknowledge conservatism and libertarianism are as valid as progressivism and that they are all faith based assumptions...
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
April 29, 2014 03:07AM
Okay. I open-mindedly acknowledge that I have faith that God either exists or does not.

smiling bouncing smiley -YAY! I'm not irrational!!!

"Acknowledge conservatism and libertarianism are as valid as progressivism and that they are all faith based assumptions..." -Tuk

Well now you're going too far. Acknowledge conservatism is as valid as liberalism or progressivism when the vast majority of what conservatism bases it's policies on is entirely made up, propagandistic, hallucinatory hog-wash??? How are lies, distortions, misinterpretations and bullshit valid?

.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
April 29, 2014 04:13PM
Hornswoggle Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It's natural to believe that God exists (not
> necessarily the God of Abraham, but whatever
> explains existence) because in our reality,
> everything has an explanation. The fundamental
> difference between a conventional God believer and
> an atheist is that the former believes in a
> conscious, personal entity, while the latter
> believes that whatever explains existence isn't
> personal or an entity.

If, as you claim (falsely, BTW) , everything in our reality has an explanation, then what is the explanation for God?
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
April 29, 2014 05:29PM
Okay. I open-mindedly acknowledge that I have faith that God either exists or does not.

smiling bouncing smiley -YAY! I'm not irrational!!!


You don't have faith that God exists or does not exist...

Well now you're going too far. Acknowledge conservatism is as valid as liberalism or progressivism when the vast majority of what conservatism bases it's policies on is entirely made up, propagandistic, hallucinatory hog-wash??? How are lies, distortions, misinterpretations and bullshit valid?

That is politics where everybody lies... I said conservative philosophy e.g. individualism, is as valid as liberalism...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/29/2014 05:31PM by tuk22.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
April 30, 2014 01:08AM
Hornswoggle wrote: The fundamental difference between a conventional God believer and an atheist is that the former believes in a conscious, personal entity, while the latter believes that whatever explains existence isn't personal or an entity.

I don't believe that's true. In my experience, most atheists simply believe that we today do not know what, if anything, explains existence.

It could be the case that existence itself is fundamental (i.e., that what exists today has always existed in some form or other).

It could be the case that existence simply began to exist from nothing for no particular reason or for a reason inscrutable to humans.

It could be the case that something else which is fundamental (i.e., that has always existed in some form or other) and which is "other" than the universe somehow at some point for some reason created everything else from nothing. In this case you might argue that that creative thing or force is God.

However, since the second possibility seems to violate the metaphysical principle "nothing comes from nothing" and since the third possibility not only violates that same metaphysical principle but also relies on two assumptions, not just on one, I prefer the first possibility.

But admittedly it's just a preference at this point. There's no real evidence to support any possible state of affairs that may have existed before or prior to or on the other side of the expansion of the universe.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
April 30, 2014 08:54AM
"You don't have faith that God exists or does not exist..." -Tuk

No... I'm afraid you're wrong. I have a strong and totally unwavering faith that God either exists or does not. I'd like to see someone shake me from it.

Don't I at least get some points for not saying that I know that God either exists or doesn't exist?

.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
April 30, 2014 11:08AM
But you do know that the proposition "God either exists or does not exist" is true. Anyone who understands the meaning of the terms and the relations between the terms in that sentence knows it's true.

If anything, you should have points deducted for apparently believing that such matters depend on faith.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
April 30, 2014 04:26PM
I never said that such matters depended on faith. So no points lost. If pressed, sure, I know it's true. That knowledge is part of my faith.

At what point does faith turn into knowledge?

.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
April 30, 2014 10:05PM
Never.

Faith and knowledge are two different things. Among other things, knowledge has to have strong evidential justification (a posteriori knowledge) or logical proof (a priori knowledge); faith does not. Knowledge has to be true; faith does not. Faith is closer to merely having a strong belief about something than it is to having knowledge about it.

"Either p or ~p" is a case of a priori knowledge (knowledge that rests on logical proof, not on experiential fact). You don't have to know anything about whether God actually exists to know that "Either God does exist or does not exist" is true. To know that this statement is true requires no faith whatsoever.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
April 30, 2014 10:11PM
I don't feel that my faith is required. I just have it. I guess my faith then is a bonus.

.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
April 30, 2014 10:24PM
Right. Evidence is so overrated. eye rolling smiley
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
April 30, 2014 10:29PM
Seriously, you do seem to be one of the ones on the board who puts more confidence in your faith about things, in your gut feelings about them than in the evidence for them. Do you agree with that or no?

This isn't to say that you completely ignore evidence. I don't think you do completely ignore evidence. I just don't think that evidence is the be-all and end-all for you that it might be for some.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
May 01, 2014 03:20AM
"Right. Evidence is so overrated" -Dick

I never said nor implied anything like that.

Why do I even bother trying to converse with someone who twists everything I say?

"Seriously, you do seem to be one of the ones on the board who puts more confidence in your faith about things, in your gut feelings about them than in the evidence for them. Do you agree with that or no?" -Dick

No I don't. Gimme an example. I think you're confusing me with someone else.

.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
May 01, 2014 11:52AM
Well, one thing that comes to mind immediately is your politics. I don't know how much of your thing is schtick and how much is really you but you seem to genuinely believe that conservatives are wrong about virtually everything. Worse, you seem to think -- and please, please correct me if I'm wrong here -- that conservatism is more character flaw than legitimate political stance. You're not alone in this, fwiw. It's the biggest reason there's so much animosity in politics today. We've had years and years, decades really, of candidates and parties telling us that the other guy isn't just wrong but that he's evil, as well . . . and we've bought it.

Also, it's funny the way that you use language so imprecisely at times (which we all do on occasion) yet consistently (dare I say, always?) blame any misunderstanding that results on the other person's bad intentions. For you, honest misunderstandings seem to be nonexistent. Take this thread for instance. You use the word 'faith' in its epistemic sense as if it does not mean something like belief in the absence of convincing evidence when it clearly does have that connotation in this context and then pretend as if faith is just something additional to rational belief or knowledge rather than opposed to it.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
May 01, 2014 03:59PM
Ponderer wrote: I never said nor implied anything like that. Why do I even bother trying to converse with someone who twists everything I say?


You just finished expressing, what seemed to me at any rate, to be a very favorable opinion of accepting a claim based on faith. After all, you called your "faith" in this instance a "bonus" in addition to your intuitive knowledge that the claim is true. So -- let me just ask you -- do you believe that in general accepting claims on faith (i.e., in the absence of good evidence) is a wise thing to do? If not, then in what way is having faith in something that you already know is obviously true a "bonus" rather than just a totally unnecessary redundancy?
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
May 01, 2014 04:52PM
"Well, one thing that comes to mind immediately is your politics. I don't know how much of your thing is schtick and how much is really you but you seem to genuinely believe that conservatives are wrong about virtually everything. Worse, you seem to think -- and please, please correct me if I'm wrong here -- that conservatism is more character flaw than legitimate political stance." -Dick

If conservatives are proven to be right about something, I don't contest it. Is it my fault how incredibly rare a thing it is that they are proven right? Is it my fault that they lie incessantly? Is it my fault that they create their own dream world based on erroneous, dogmatic paranoia and hateful, sociopathic bigotry? Is it my fault that their destructive policies are sold to the population in a totally mendacious and distorted fashion? How is a thinking person supposed to react to such situations? Shrug them off? Just say, "Oh well."? Take a "balanced" approach and contend that their lies are just as valid as the truth?

Here's your correction: Conservatism is not a character flaw in itself. I don't believe that it is. It's just that conservatism seems to attract a certain sort of person who already has certain character flaws in a greater proportion than any other predominant political view. And the conservative hierarchy exploits the character flaws of a great proportion of the people they have attracted to its benefit. I think that unfortunately for conservatism, it has allowed the predominant character flaws of its members to become its foundation and driving force behind it.

It's unfortunate for conservatism that the character flaws of the people it attracts appears to define conservatism anymore. What else is to be expected when the conservative parties and organizations embrace and exploit the character flaws of their members? Your misunderstanding is understandable.

.




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2014 04:59PM by Ponderer.
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