Do Atheists Exist?

This post is to move a discussion from Sandbox(4) at Entropy’s request.

Over on the Sandbox(4) thread, fifthmonarchyman made two statements that I disagree with:

“I’ve argued repeatedly that humans are hardwired to believe in God.”

“Everyone knows that God exists….”

As my handle indicates, I prefer to lurk.  The novelty of being told that I don’t exist overcame my good sense, so I joined the conversation.

For the record, I am what is called a weak atheist or negative atheist.  The Wikipedia page describes my position reasonably well:

Negative atheism, also called weak atheism and soft atheism, is any type of atheism where a person does not believe in the existence of any deities but does not explicitly assert that there are none. Positive atheism, also called strong atheism and hard atheism, is the form of atheism that additionally asserts that no deities exist.”

I do exist, so fifthmonarchyman’s claims are disproved.  For some reason he doesn’t agree, hence this thread.

Added In Edit by Alan Fox 16.48 CET 11th January, 2018

This thread is designated as an extension of Noyau. This means only basic rules apply. The “good faith” rule, the “accusations of dishonesty” rule do not apply in this thread.

688 thoughts on “Do Atheists Exist?

  1. Kantian Naturalist: There is a Buddhist teaching that ultimate reality is devoid of all conceptual distinctions, but the Buddhists also recognize the indispensability of conceptual distinctions for conventional reality. This is what is called the “two truths doctrine“.

    Thanks for that link,

  2. phoodoo: If you believe a tree fell in the forest, then it did.At least according to KN, I guess.

    Yes that is the saying, if a tree falls in the forest , did a tree fall in the forest?

  3. newton: phoodoo: If you believe a tree fell in the forest, then it did.At least according to KN, I guess.

    Yes that is the saying, if a tree falls in the forest , did a tree fall in the forest?

    Right, but the saying isn’t IF YOU BELIEVE a tree falls in the forest, does it fall in the forest-is it?

  4. fifthmonarchyman,

    You still have an unsupported claim outstanding. You may have missed my comment that Neil Guano’d despite it not violating the rules. Here it is again:

    fifthmonarchyman:

    What support do you have for your claim that your god must exist in order for the law of “noncontridiction” to be valid and for our powers of reasoning to be generally reliable?

    It’s not a claim it’s a tentative assumption

    You wrote it as a claim. You’re now trying to distance yourself from it because you were asked to support it. Do you think that kind of behavior is honest? Would your god approve?

    based on the fact that no one has been able to articulate a way that we can know our powers of reasoning to be generally reliable that does not include God.

    I will withdraw it just as soon as you provide an answer that is not subject to further regress

    That’s not how rational discourse proceeds. You made the claim, you have to support it. What are your evidence and logic supporting the idea that your god must exist in order for the law of “noncontridiction” to be valid and for our powers of reasoning to be generally reliable? Stop trying to avoid supporting your claim by asking questions of others. Your argument must stand on its own. You don’t win by default.

  5. phoodoo: So without intelligence nothing is true, right?

    You’re misapplying the concept of truth. You’re trying to imply that if things cannot be true, then they’re false, which is nonsensical both ways. Again, things are neither true nor false. It’s our statements about them that can be true or false.

    Feel free to continue ridiculing yourself though.

  6. ALurker,

    You just can’t follow the rules, can you? Are they that hard?
    I don’t think I have seen anyone try as hard as you to so brazenly try to subvert the causes of this website.

    Time and again, you insist on flaunting the rules, despite repeated warnings. I suppose Alan is going to have no choice but to put all your posts in moderation. Its not something he likes to do, but when you force him like this, he really is left with no other choice.

    Its almost as bad as Rumraket posting porn. Its what got him banned, but your violations are much more pervasive and obvious than a woman fingering herself.

    Is this how they teach in the CIA academy?

  7. keiths,

    I flaunt and flount your use of words:

    flaunt
    (flɔnt)

    v.t.
    1. to parade or display ostentatiously.

    2. to ignore or treat with disdain; flout: expelled for flaunting regulations.
    v.i.
    3. to parade or display oneself conspicuously, defiantly, or boldly.

    4. to wave conspicuously in the air.

    [1560–70; of obscure orig.; compare Norwegian dial. flanta to show off]

    flaunt′er, n.

    flaunt′ing•ly, adv.

    usage: Usage guides object strongly to flaunt in the sense “to ignore or treat with disdain,” advising that the proper word for this meaning is flout. Though this use of flaunt has appeared in the speech and edited writing of well-educated, literate people, many speakers and writers avoid it.

    And some don’t.

  8. phoodoo:

    I flaunt and flount your use of words:

    It’s “flout”, not “flount”, phoodoo. See what I mean about educating the ineducable?

  9. phoodoo: flaunt
    (flɔnt)
    v.t.
    1. to parade or display ostentatiously.
    2. to ignore or treat with disdain; flout: expelled for flaunting regulations.
    v.i.
    3. to parade or display oneself conspicuously, defiantly, or boldly.
    4. to wave conspicuously in the air.
    [1560–70; of obscure orig.; compare Norwegian dial. flanta to show off]
    flaunt′er, n.
    flaunt′ing•ly, adv.
    usage: Usage guides object strongly to flaunt in the sense “to ignore or treat with disdain,” advising that the proper word for this meaning is flout. Though this use of flaunt has appeared in the speech and edited writing of well-educated, literate people, many speakers and writers avoid it.

    keiths can’t read this part:

    2. to ignore or treat with disdain; flout

  10. keiths,

    I think you should be expelled for flaunting the regulations keiths.

    You and Alurker (Patrick, CIA Operative, Mischievious Ops).

  11. phoodoo:

    keiths can’t read this part:

    2. to ignore or treat with disdain; flout

    phoodoo can’t read this part:

    Usage guides object strongly to flaunt in the sense “to ignore or treat with disdain,” advising that the proper word for this meaning is flout.

  12. phoodoo,

    In another fifty years or so, usage may have shifted enough that ‘flaunt’ will be generally accepted in place of ‘flout’. Right now, it tags you as the sort of person who might say or write ‘irregardless’.

    It’s your choice.

  13. keiths: In another fifty years or so, usage may have shifted enough that ‘flaunt’ will be generally accepted in place of ‘flout’. Right now, it tags you as the sort of person who might say or write ‘irregardless’.

    Can’t you just except this as an alternative, and wave the rule? It could of been ignored, after all. What is important is what he meant to infer.

    Glen Davidson

  14. ALurker: That’s not how rational discourse proceeds. You made the claim, you have to support it. What are your evidence and logic supporting the idea that your god must exist in order for the law of “noncontridiction” to be valid and for our powers of reasoning to be generally reliable? Stop trying to avoid supporting your claim by asking questions of others. Your argument must stand on its own. You don’t win by default.

    The whole idea of presuppositional apologetics is that they always win by default because they say they do.

  15. Kantian Naturalist: The whole idea of presuppositional apologetics is that they always win by default because they say they do.

    Win about what?

    What exactly is the game and how is victory determined?

    If you win by saying that you win then of course by definition the person who says he wins….. wins…..

    Peace

  16. Glen:

    Can’t you just except this as an alternative, and wave the rule? It could of been ignored, after all. What is important is what he meant to infer.

    It’s alright with me.

  17. GlenDavidson: Can’t you just except this as an alternative, and wave the rule?It could of been ignored, after all.What is important is what he meant to infer.

    Glen Davidson

    I will tell you why, because keiths was unaware that it was an alternative. So keiths like trying to brag about how smart he believes he is, and has a profound inability to accept when he is wrong. You see it in all his arguments, he is tryng so so hard to catch people in what he thinks is some great gottcha moment, that almost all of his posts drip with such pathetic obvious neediness.

    keiths will argue anything ad nauseum, even when he knows he is wrong, and even when it the most boring point ever written, he does this in every thread he participates in. His debate style is universally disliked on all sides. I suggest he try to change, but I don’t know if he can.

    Its sorry to say that I believe MOST posters on this site would agree with me here.

  18. phoodoo,

    keiths will argue anything ad nauseum, even when he knows he is wrong, and even when it the most boring point ever written, he does this in every thread he participates in.

    That’s an interesting and phoodooesque claim. And since I do it “in every thread I participate in”, according to you, it will be extremely easy for you to find examples to point to.

    Let’s start with this thread. Where in this thread have I argued something ad nauseam, knowing I was wrong?

  19. fifth,

    I don’t think you ever answered this question:

    Earlier in the thread, in an attempt to cover your ass, you backed away from your assertion that knowledge is justified true belief.

    If knowledge isn’t justified true belief, then what is it?

  20. fifthmonarchyman: What exactly is the game and how is victory determined?

    At some point you did not believe as you do. Now that you do believe as you do somebody else “won”. Once you convert others to your way of thinking you will also “win”.

    fifthmonarchyman: If you win by saying that you win then of course by definition the person who says he wins….. wins…..

    And so the “winners” sit in the corner mumbling to themselves while the rest of us actually get on with things.

    It’s funny how “revelation” only tells us what we already know. No mysteries solved, no new insights gained into anything at all, theological or otherwise.

    It’s almost as if “revelation” is meaningless.

  21. OMagain: At some point you did not believe as you do. Now that you do believe as you do somebody else “won”.

    “I once was lost and now I’m found, was blind but now I see” I would say that means I won.

    I certainly did not loose

    OMagain: Once you convert others to your way of thinking you will also “win”.

    I’m not trying to convert others to my way of thinking.

    I would be pleased if more lost people were found and more blind people see. But that is not something I can accomplish.

    I certainly would not think of blind people seeing and lost people being found as my “winning” a game but as other people getting an amazing gift.

    OMagain: And so the “winners” sit in the corner mumbling to themselves while the rest of us actually get on with things.

    Right, if we define wining as saying you win then it seems to be a really silly game. I sure would not want to play it.

    That is why I was inquiring as to what the actual game was and how winners were determined.

    When I’m inquiring about presuppositions it’s in a effort to make the axioms for the discussion clear and transparent.

    I think that is beneficial to everyone involved

    OMagain: It’s funny how “revelation” only tells us what we already know. No mysteries solved, no new insights gained into anything at all, theological or otherwise.

    I would say revelation is the only possible way you can learn new things.

    And if you already know something it’s because it was previously revealed to you.

    peace

  22. Kantian Naturalist:

    That’s not how rational discourse proceeds. You made the claim, you have to support it. What are your evidence and logic supporting the idea that your god must exist in order for the law of “noncontridiction” to be valid and for our powers of reasoning to be generally reliable? Stop trying to avoid supporting your claim by asking questions of others. Your argument must stand on its own. You don’t win by default.

    The whole idea of presuppositional apologetics is that they always win by default because they say they do.

    All joking aside, is it really that simple? They don’t conceal their bad logic any better than fifthmonarchyman?

  23. fifthmonarchyman:

    Kantian Naturalist: The whole idea of presuppositional apologetics is that they always win by default because they say they do.

    Win about what?

    What exactly is the game and how is victory determined?

    If you win by saying that you win then of course by definition the person who says he wins….. wins…..

    Now you’re playing around with words instead of supporting your claim. Would your congregation find your behavior godly? Once again:

    fifthmonarchyman,

    You still have an unsupported claim outstanding. You may have missed my comment that Neil Guano’d despite it not violating the rules. Here it is again:

    fifthmonarchyman:

    What support do you have for your claim that your god must exist in order for the law of “noncontridiction” to be valid and for our powers of reasoning to be generally reliable?

    It’s not a claim it’s a tentative assumption

    You wrote it as a claim. You’re now trying to distance yourself from it because you were asked to support it. Do you think that kind of behavior is honest? Would your god approve?

    based on the fact that no one has been able to articulate a way that we can know our powers of reasoning to be generally reliable that does not include God.

    I will withdraw it just as soon as you provide an answer that is not subject to further regress

    That’s not how rational discourse proceeds. You made the claim, you have to support it. What are your evidence and logic supporting the idea that your god must exist in order for the law of “noncontridiction” to be valid and for our powers of reasoning to be generally reliable? Stop trying to avoid supporting your claim by asking questions of others. Your argument must stand on its own. You don’t win by default.

  24. keiths: And since I do it “in every thread I participate in”, according to you, it will be extremely easy for you to find examples to point to.

    Precisely!

  25. ALurker: You wrote it as a claim.

    I did not write it as a claim. It’s not a claim it’s a tentative assumption based on the fact that no sufficient justification has been offered for these things that does not include God.

    If you read it as a claim that is on you.
    It was not ever my intention to present it as such.

    I will say that the assumption gets stronger the more time goes by with no justification offered from your side.

    peace

  26. fifthmonarchyman: I did not write it as a claim. It’s not a claim it’s a tentative assumption based on the fact that no sufficient justification has been offered for these things that does not include God.

    Is the assumption of God the sufficient justification for the assumption of God?

    Sounds like an infinite regress

  27. newton: Is the assumption of God the sufficient justification for the assumption of God?

    No, God’s existence is sufficient justification for knowledge.

    No one here has disagreed with the proposition that if God exists then he could reveal stuff so that I could know it.

    I don’t know that God exists because I assume God exists. I know God exists because God has made his existence known to me…..just as he has to everyone.

    peace

  28. It isn’t vacuous, I have disagreed with it, and it’s actually irrelevant. Even if it were true, it wouldn’t help fifth’s argument. We’ve explained that to him again and again, but he simply can’t grasp the logic.

    By the way, Neil, there’s a moderation issue awaiting your attention.

  29. Neil Rickert: It is vacuous. It doesn’t say anything.

    please explain.
    I think it says that knowledge is possible if God exists.
    That’s certainly something, is it not?

    peace

  30. Neil Rickert: No, it doesn’t say that. It only says what God could do. It doesn’t tell us anything about what god would do or does do.

    Yes, “could do” means it’s possible “would do” and “does do” mean something more.

    Possible is something. It’s not everything but it’s something.

    Possible is especially relevant because no one has been able to show that knowledge is possible in a world with out God

    peace

  31. fifthmonarchyman: No one here has disagreed with the proposition that if God exists then he could reveal stuff so that I could know it.

    I don’t know that God exists because I assume God exists. I know God exists because God has made his existence known to me…..just as he has to everyone.

    The following argument is logically invalid:

    1. If God exists, then knowledge is possible.
    2. Knowledge is possible.
    3. Therefore, God exists.

    This is a logical fallacy calling “affirming the consequent.”

  32. fifthmonarchyman: no one has been able to show that knowledge is possible in a world with out God

    Except for a few thousand years of philosophers from dozens of different cultures, but so what?

  33. Kantian Naturalist: Except for a few thousand years of philosophers from dozens of different cultures, but so what?

    What philosopher has shown that true knowledge is possible, without a God?

    Beliefs, certainly. But you have yet to show why anyone should trust their beliefs, in a world without God.

  34. Kantian Naturalist: Except for a few thousand years of philosophers from dozens of different cultures, but so what?

    1) Appeal to authority much?

    2) If they have shown that knowledge is possible it should not be difficult to provide a cogent answer to the question that I have been asking that is not subject to further regress.

    I’ll ask it again so as to make it easy for you

    Given your worldview how do you know stuff?

    or if you like.

    If God does not exist how do you know stuff?

    peace

  35. Kantian Naturalist: 1. If God exists, then knowledge is possible.
    2. Knowledge is possible.
    3. Therefore, God exists.

    No, That is not it at all.

    1. If God exists, then knowledge is possible.
    2. God exists.
    3. Therefore, knowledge is possible.

    Do you see the difference in the two arguments?

    peace

  36. fifthmonarchyman: No, God’s existence is sufficient justification for knowledge.

    Unfortunately we have the assumption of God’s existence as justification

    No one here has disagreed with the proposition that if God exists then he could reveal stuff so that I could know it.

    Except for this ,whether it is logically possible for omnipotent, omniscient being to reveal something to a finite being which they can know is true without assuming something about the nature of that being. Assuming a particular God’s existence.

    I don’t know that God exists because I assume God exists

    My point

    I know God exists because God has made his existence known to me…..just as he has to everyone.

    Except you can’t know that is true unless you know it is logically possible and to do that you must first assume the existence of a particular God.

    peace

  37. I’m still interested in your response to this question, fifth:

    Earlier in the thread, in an attempt to cover your ass, you backed away from your assertion that knowledge is justified true belief.

    If knowledge isn’t justified true belief, then what is it?

  38. Also this one, fifth:

    But for fifth’s benefit, let me make the parallels even more obvious. It’s the same bad logic in both cases:

    This…

    fifth: Jesus is God.

    critic: How do you know that?

    …uses the same logic as this:

    fifth: x is odd.

    critic: How do you know that?

    And this:

    fifth: I know it because God revealed it to me.

    critic: Wait a minute. How do you know the revelation is genuine?

    …uses the same logic as this:

    fifth: I know it because I know that x-2 is odd.

    critic: Wait a minute. How do you know that x-2 is odd?

    And this:

    fifth: I know it because God revealed it to me.

    critic: But how do you know that revelation is genuine?

    …uses the same logic as this:

    fifth: I know it because I know that x-4 is odd.

    critic: How do you know that x-4 is odd?

    And so on.

    Fifth’s summary:

    It’s revelation all the way down.

    …uses the same bad logic as this:

    It’s odd numbers all the way down.

    How fifth can manage not to see the problem is difficult to explain, other than in rather uncomplimentary terms.

    Or maybe anti-revelation is a thing. The Bible talks about God sending spirits to deceive people. Perhaps fifth is a target.

  39. newton: Unfortunately we have the assumption of God’s existence as justification

    No as I have said probably dozens of times. We don’t assume that God exists we know God exists. Since God exists knowledge is justified.

    newton: whether it is logically possible for omnipotent, omniscient being to reveal something to a finite being which they can know is true without assuming something about the nature of that being.

    Once again, If knowledge is impossible then knowledge is impossible. That much is obvious.

    However if knowledge is possible at all then by definition God can accomplish it. …….

    I know that….

    Get it now?
    Did you see what I did there?

    peace

  40. Neil Rickert: But some folk have no need for that hypothesis.

    That is the claim that needs to be supported.

    Asserting that you don’t need God to justify things like knowledge is not remotely the same thing as demonstrating it.

    peace

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