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.

1,409 thoughts on “Do Atheists Exist?

  1. fifthmonarchyman:

    I spent a lot of time extricating myself from my faith.

    Interesting choice of words

    And a painful process.

    Do you think you can decide what you believe? If I offered you a thousand dollars to believe in the Easter bunny could you do it?

    What have I ever written here that gives you that idea?

    I mentioned my transition from theist to atheist to make it clear that I have worked hard to eliminate the self-deceptions I had around religion. You don’t get to tell me what I believe or know. When you try to, you break TSZ’s rules.

  2. ALurker,

    without suffering from ignorance, stupidity, or dementia.

    If this was true there are certain posters other then FFM that could never post. Claiming an argument is from ignorance is SOP here. I am ok with a rule like this but singling out FFM is not a good policy. Any more discussion should go to moderation.

  3. ALurker: If you mean more than “truth” by the word “God” then you’re bringing in some baggage.

    I don’t mean more than truth by the term God. I mean that there is more to truth than I bet you know.

    ALurker: This subthread started because I asked you what you meant by the word “God” in your claim “Everyone knows that God exists.” You have yet to answer.

    are you kidding me?

    I provided a short answer “Truth”
    and a longer answer

    quote:
    The Lord our God is but one God, whose subsistence is in Himself; whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light, which no man can approach unto; who is in Himself most holy, every way infinite, in greatness, wisdom, power, love, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; who giveth being, moving, and preservation to all creatures.
    end quote: 1644 LBCF

    What else could you possibly want?

    ALurker: You answer no questions

    Are you kidding me?
    It was my answering your questions that made you mad in the first place.

    It’s possible I missed a question or two. I’m typing as fast as I can and responding to several posters at once while trying to multitask and fulfill my very pressing commitments. If there is something you don’t think Ive answered ask it again and I promise I’ll get to it.

    on the other hand I don’t see your answers to questions like this one

    How can you know your reasoning is valid if God does not exist?

    peace

  4. ALurker,

    Here is an example:

    keiths
    January 7, 2018 at 8:15 pm
    Ignored
    Worth repeating:

    fifth,

    Imagine how you appear to your fellow Christians right now. They know that atheists exist. They’ve seen you affirm that atheists exist. They know that no one in their right mind would deny that atheists exist.

    And still you do it. You, a Christian, are stating an obvious falsehood — one that even you don’t actually believe — in order to save face.

    Do you see what a huge liability you are to your faith? Interestingly, it seems that you do. Whenever I’ve suggested that you send TSZ links to your pastor, your fellow bible study members, and your co-congregants, you’ve resisted. You’re aware of how poor your behavior is and you would prefer to hide it from them.

    You know that it doesn’t bring glory to God when a Christian obnoxiously and defiantly states an obvious falsehood. Yet you do it anyway, because that is what your ego demands.

    It’s a pitiful performance.

    Why did you not flag this as a rule breaking post?

  5. ALurker: What have I ever written here that gives you that idea?

    you said you extricated yourself from your faith.

    That is a positive process you had a belief and you freed your self from it. I just have no clue how that is possible.

    I could understand if you said that through education you found that a belief you once had was no longer tenable.

    But freeing yourself from a belief seems to be an impossible task.
    I would say you can’t help what you believe.

    ALurker: I have worked hard to eliminate the self-deceptions I had around religion.

    How exactly did you do that?
    How did you discover that you were deceiving yourself? Who exactly was doing the deceiving and how did you defeat him?

    peace

  6. colewd:
    ALurker,

    Here is an example:

    Why did you not flag this as a rule breaking post?

    My concern is with fifthmonarchyman’s refusal to abide by the rules in his interactions with me, not to be the volunteer TSZ police.

  7. ALurker: My concern is with fifthmonarchyman’s refusal to abide by the rules in his interactions with me, not to be the volunteer TSZ police.

    Might I suggest that if you think someone is violating the rules you bring that up in the moderation thread.

    I happen to think the moderators here are good folks with a thankless job. I’m sure they would give your complaints a fair hearing

    peace

  8. colewd:
    Entropy,
    The target in this case is the solution to the problem. If evolution does not know the solution to the problem then this program does not simulate evolution.

    I should not answer in haste. You’re right. The program does not simulate evolution. It wasn’t written for that. The program demonstrates the principle that random mutations with selection can achieve results. If you understand this, then we’re on the same page.

  9. fifthmonarchyman: Right, you demonstrate that you know God exists when you act as if you accept that he exists.

    You do this all the time.

    Like when you assume the law of noncontridiction is valid and that your senses and powers of reasoning are generally reliable. When you have no justification for doing so if God does not exist.

    peace

    That would require me sharing your retarded presuppositions. If I don’t believe or accept them, I don’t act as if I accept she exists when I use logic and reason. Ironically it’s you who constantly fails at logic & basic reasoning.

    But enough of this. Will you publish your “research” any time soon? we need something new to laugh at you

  10. dazz: , I don’t act as if I accept she exists when I use logic and reason.

    How do you know that your reasoning is valid?
    If you don’t know it’s valid why do you act as if it is valid?
    How do you know that logic is universal and binding?
    If you don’t know that logic is universal and binding why do you act as if it is?

    dazz: Will you publish your “research” any time soon?

    If by publish you mean share my paper then as soon as I achieve a P value of less than .05 on my latest data sets.

    This morning its close to .7 the progress is slow as we only get one data point a day.

    I’m at a little over 100 data points right now with this go round.

    peace

  11. dazz: I don’t act as if I accept she exists when I use logic and reason.

    Of course you do if you don’t have a justification for doing so that does not include God.

    peace

  12. J-Mac:
    Lets say I’m an atheist….

    Interesting idea. Anyway, I wonder why you comment if you’re not willing to read the answers given to you.

    J-Mac:
    I have been admiring the Fibonacci sequence present in nature…

    OK.

    J-Mac:
    I acknowledge that nature used a mathematical formula to create life systems that have Fibonacci sequence in them… Nobody can deny this fact that nature used a mathematical formula in many life forms…

    And here you run amok. The Fibonacci sequence arises naturally from the way in which things proceed. For example, Fibonacci sequences result from very simple asymmetries in growth with no mathematical effort whatsoever. It’s us who apply mathematics to understand and explain what the final “products” look like, but nature doesn’t do any math.

    J-Mac:
    But if someone says; if you acknowledge that many life systems have been made using a mathematical formula, you must also acknowledge that a mathematician applied this formula because natural processes don’t known mathematics…

    That would be a second mistake, since your ignorance first made you think that nature did math, now you’re saying that nature cannot do math, and thus some mathematician must have done it, even though you don’t see any evidence of mathematicians drawing spots in pineapples, for example.

    J-Mac:
    If I disagree, would it make me what fifth has been talking about? Would it make me an atheist who acknowledges the obvious-mathematical formula-but refuses to attribute this formula to a mathematician because of its implications?

    Nope. It should inspire you to figure out what might be going wrong with your thinking that lead you towards those deep conceptual mistakes (thinking that nature needs to do math for the sequence to arise, and then thinking that the only possible answer to the presence of the pattern is magical invisible mathematicians).

  13. J-Mac: I have been admiring the Fibonacci sequence present in nature…

    As a mathematician, I have been admiring the empty set. So we both admire the same thing. But I call it “the empty set” and you call it “the set of Fibonacci sequences present in nature.”

    Yes, some people say that the Fibonacci sequence can be found. But when you check, you find that there are only imperfect approximations. And they have a simple explanation. They arise from naturally occuring growth processes — no mathematical formula is needed.

  14. ALurker: Nice assertion.Got any rational arguments to back it up?

    And before you try to turn around and ask me a question instead of answering, just don’t.You made the claim, you support it.

    Oh! Welcome to the roundabout of presuppositional bullshitologetics!

  15. dazz: That would require me sharing your retarded presuppositions. If I don’t believe or accept them, I don’t act as if I accept she exists when I use logic and reason. Ironically it’s you who constantly fails at logic & basic reasoning.

    The problem is that FMM thinks that you and the atheists of his fantasies are the same thing.

    When FMM says that the “beauty” of the “method” is that it’s all about presuppositions, what he means is that he takes refuge in his fantasies, and ignores you and your answers to just pretend that he’s talking to the atheists of his imagination.

  16. J-Mac:

    But if someone says; if you acknowledge that many life systems have been made using a mathematical formula, you must also acknowledge that a mathematician applied this formula because natural processes don’t known mathematics…

    J-Mac made a similar mistake a while ago:

    Larry maybe a speculative expert on photosynthesis but he has no clue how quantum superposition works in the process… He quoted one article on his blog that seems to suggest the photosynthesis doesn’t use quantum entanglement but he disregarded many, many other experiments that prove it otherwise…

    I was being facetious in regard to Joe Felsenstein as being an expert in quantum physics because he embarrassed himself several times at TSZ commenting on quantum mechanics…

    I would like to emphasize is that sunlight photon harvesting system used in photosynthesis is beyond irreducibly complex…It is beyond our imagination…

    There is just no way that any mechanism of evolution can evolve a systems that is able to absorb light that resides in two places at once…

    How does a system evolve to find and absorb a photon of sunlight if its position is described by the mathematics of quantum theory which describes the position of a particle only in terms of probabilities?

    How does a system evolve to employ quantum superposition to finding particles of light that can occupy multiple positions at once and can simultaneously travel along all possible paths to achieve the remarkable efficiency of photosynthesis at the same time?

    Do you even comprehend how such a system works?

    My reply:

    Dude, you are seriously confused.

    Evolution doesn’t care about the theories behind the phenomena it exploits. It does not have to understand or model those phenomena. It just uses them.

  17. Neil Rickert: naturally occuring growth processes

    That’s a nice way to replace a mathematician… It’s amusing how brainwashing can effect some who without hesitation replace what is obvious with what is delusional and be so certain about it…
    Its funny that over billions of years natural growth processes never rebelled and decided to go against mathematics… They are stubborn little buggers

  18. keiths,

    Yep. Same kind of mistake.

    Ooooh! Planets calculate gravitational effects to run around their orbits! There must be an invisible magical physicist tracing those trajectories and moving them along!

  19. Ups I farted! The positions of all fart particles are impossible to calculate other than in probabilities! How can my ass perform those calculations naturally? Farting requires invisible magical mathematicians! Thou shall not ignore the implications!

  20. ALurker,

    My concern is with fifthmonarchyman’s refusal to abide by the rules in his interactions with me, not to be the volunteer TSZ police.

    Comment in moderation issues.

  21. Entropy: When FMM says that the “beauty” of the “method” is that it’s all about presuppositions, what he means is that he takes refuge in his fantasies, and ignores you and your answers to just pretend that he’s talking to the atheists of his imagination.

    I have no idea what this is supposed mean.

    I can’t recall talking about a “method” and I don’t recall ever ignoring an answer.

    I do recall not getting many answers and none that are not subject to further regress.

    peace

  22. Entropy: And before you try to turn around and ask me a question instead of answering, just don’t.You made the claim, you support it.

    Oh! Welcome to the roundabout of presuppositional bullshitologetics!

    I have a technical question.

    Often when I check into rapidly growing threads like this one I come across a response to an earlier post that I don’t recall reading.

    Then when I click on the name attached to the quote so that I can understand the context it was given in, it seems to be a dead end not leading anywhere.

    Is there something i’m doing wrong?
    How do i go back and read the original post in that situation?

    I really don’t what to miss a question that Alurker has asked but I need to know what they are.

    peace

  23. fifthmonarchyman: I have no idea what this is supposed mean.

    Precisely. Thanks for making my point. You cannot get it because you hide behind your fantasies.

    fifthmonarchyman: I can’t recall talking about a “method”

    Nice of you to keep making my point. I paraphrased, but you said that the beauty of whatever-you-call-the-method was that it’s about presuppositions, that you didn’t have to be smart to perform the act, or whatever you call it.

    fifthmonarchyman: and I don’t recall ever ignoring an answer.

    Yet:

    fifthmonarchyman: I do recall not getting many answers and none that are not subject to further regress.

    Nice of you to exemplify my point. Of course you wouldn’t remember getting many answers. Of course you’d remember getting only those that are “subject to further regress.” You ignore answers and substitute for those of the atheists of your imagination.

  24. Entropy: Of course you’d remember getting only those that are “subject to further regress.” You ignore answers and substitute for those of the atheists of your imagination.

    Here is an idea.

    Why don’t you give me an answer that is not subject to further regress and then anytime I ask a question you can just link to that answer,

    I should be a simple way to prove you have justification and you’d only have to do it once.

    It would certainly save a lot of time and you wouldn’t have to deal with the questions anymore.

    peace

  25. fifthmonarchyman: I have a technical question.

    Hum. I checked. Something’s wrong with the system. It normally puts a link to the page and the comment, but that time it didn’t. Maybe because the thread was growing too fast and added a page while I wrote that. Here the proper link for the one you used as example of the problem.

  26. Entropy: but you said that the beauty of whatever-you-call-the-method was that it’s about presuppositions

    I said the beauty of presuppositionalism was that it’s about presuppositions.

    It was a joke, Get it?

    presuppositionalism is about presuppositions

    The name tells you everything you need to know.

    Alurker had been researching wikipedia when all he had to do was read the name to understand what it was about.

    I thought it was funny

    peace

  27. fifthmonarchyman:
    I should be a simple way to prove you have justification and you’d only have to do it once.

    Justification for what? We’ve never talked about justifications for anything.

  28. fifthmonarchyman: Faith is not believing something with out evidence. It’s trusting in someone who has proven themselves faithful.
    We need faith because that is the only way to please God

    Why do we need evidence if we are hardwired and already know God exists? There is no need for evidence and faith.

  29. ALurker: fifthmonarchyman: Like when you assume the law of noncontridiction is valid and that your senses and powers of reasoning are generally reliable. When you have no justification for doing so if God does not exist.

    Nice assertion. Got any rational arguments to back it up?

    The only way I can know if you have a justification or not is if you tell me what your justification is.

    That is why I ask questions.

    I have been asking questions like that for years and no “atheist” has ever given an answer that is not subject to a similar question. It usually goes something like this

    ME: How do you know that your reasoning is valid?
    Atheist: I compare my conclusions with those of other people
    Me: How do you know that this is a good way to validate your reasoning?
    Atheist: It has always worked that way in the past
    ME: How do you know that what happened in the past is relevant to what will happen now
    Atheist: I use my reasoning
    ME: but how do you know your reasoning is valid?
    Etc
    Etc
    Etc

    world with out end amen

    It’s this lack of ability to give an answer that is cogent and not subject to further regress that causes me to tentatively assume that “atheists” don’t have adequate justification for assuming things like the validity of their reasoning,

    This is only a tentative assumption and I’ll withdraw it as soon as an answer is given that is not subject to further regress.

    I hope that helps

    peace

  30. Entropy: We’ve never talked about justifications for anything.

    I haven’t talked about much of anything with you. You usually just curse at me with drive by comments for some reason.

    I have talked a lot with other people about how we justify the foundations of our understandings.

    That is what the questioning is about

    Entropy: Here the proper link for the one you used as example of the problem.

    Thanks

    peace

  31. J-Mac: Why do we need evidence if we at hardwired and already know God exists?

    we don’t need additional evidence

    quote:
    For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
    (Rom 1:19-20)
    end quote:

    J-Mac: There is no need for evidence and faith.

    What we need is a new heart to accept the evidence that we already have and to put faith in the God we already know exists

    quote:

    For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
    (Eph 2:8)

    end quote:

    peace

  32. fifthmonarchyman: I have talked a lot with other people about how we justify the foundations of our understandings.

    Well, you should not mistake me for other people. If it helps (ha! as if you’re going to try and understand!), if your conversations with atheists go the way you exemplified, then neither you, nor the imaginary atheist, understand the problem of asking-and-then-answering an absurd question. If you think you have an answer to an absurd question, and the answer is “God.” Then your imaginary friend is an answer to an absurd question, which would be fitting.

    Shalom

  33. Entropy: If you think you have an answer to an absurd question, and the answer is “God.” Then your imaginary friend is an answer to an absurd question, which would be fitting.

    Surely you agree that God if he exists could reveal stuff to me so that I could know it?

    If you don’t agree with this please just say so and we can discuss it further.

    Entropy: then neither you, nor the imaginary atheist, understand the problem of asking-and-then-answering an absurd question.

    Why is it absurd to ask you how you know that your reasoning is valid?

    Are you saying the question does not make sense for some reason or that your trust in your ability to reason does not need any justification?

    peace

  34. fifthmonarchyman: Why is it absurd to ask you how you know that your reasoning is valid?

    1. It’s a self-defeating (or self-answering) question. It assumes that my reasoning is valid, otherwise I would not be able to understand the question.

    2. If you’re talking about reasoning in general, then the question self-implodes. Validity belongs to the system of reason.

    Maybe you have some conceptual problems that you’d like to check before attempting to continue.

  35. fifthmonarchyman: J-Mac: There is no need for evidence and faith.
    What we need is a new heart to accept the evidence that we already have and to put faith in the God we already know exists

    You can’t be serious?!
    You contradicted yourself more than once…

  36. J-Mac: You contradicted yourself more than once…

    please elaborate.
    I for one hate contradictions so I’ll do my best to clear them up if i know what they are

    peace

  37. Entropy: It assumes that my reasoning is valid, otherwise I would not be able to understand the question.

    We do assume our reasoning is (mostly) valid we all do that. You assume it just as I do.

    It’s what we call a presupposition

    What I want to know is can it be justified given your worldview.

    Entropy: If you’re talking about reasoning in general, then the question self-implodes. Validity belongs to the system of reason.

    1) How do you know that?
    2) What “system” is the correct one for reasoning about actual reality in the universe? And how do you know that?

    Entropy: Maybe you have some conceptual problems that you’d like to check before attempting to continue.

    Maybe, if you have some guidance in this regard I’m all ears.
    Just be ready to justify your answers.

    Peace

  38. J-Mac: Looks like fifth is one of the Bible-bashing grannies…
    God help us all!

    I’m not sure what the “Bible-bashing grannies” are, it sounds like a cool roller-derby team 😉

    I’ve certainly been called worse than that in this very thread.

    peace

  39. J-Mac,

    maybe the confusion comes from our understandings of the term “faith”

    To me Faith simply means trust in someone (or something) who has proven themselves faithful.

    What does it mean to you?

    peace

  40. fifthmonarchyman: To me Faith simply means trust in someone (or something) who has proven themselves faithful.

    “Surely… we cannot imagine any certainty that is not tinged with doubt, or any assurance that is not assailed by some anxiety.”

  41. fifth:

    Rather me (and the Apostle Paul) are speaking about what people know.

    I wish God would reveal some grammar to you. And punctuation. And speling to.

    Why do you suppose he doesn’t? Doesn’t he know that your poor writing reinforces the aura of incompetence you project?

    Why can’t he give you a nudge and say, “Pssst, fifth — it’s ‘contradiction’, not ‘contridiction’. And ‘descent’, not ‘decent’. And ‘summary’, not ‘summery’. And ‘straight’, not ‘strait’.”?

    He’s supposedly omnipotent. What’s the problem?

  42. fifth,

    You’re still refusing to acknowledge the magnitude of your mistake.

    You wrote:

    I would say everyone knows God exists.
    I make no claims to know what folks believe.

    And:

    No one is saying anything about what folks believe

    Yet you also say:

    Knowledge is justified true belief

    But if knowledge is justified true belief, then when you say this…

    I would say everyone knows God exists.

    …you are saying that everyone has a justified true belief that God exists.

    It follows that you are contradicting yourself when you say:

    I make no claims to know what folks believe.

    You are embracing a falsehood and rejecting a truth.

    That isn’t a surprise to people who are familiar with your behavior. You’re a poor thinker who will resort to dishonesty to cover up your mistakes. Truth is secondary to ego in your value system.

    That’s bad enough, but consider this: You claim that God is truth. So when you embrace falsehood and reject the truth, you are rejecting God himself, according to your own worldview.

    You are rejecting God in a very public fashion. Seems like an odd thing for a supposed Christian to do.

    What’s up with that?

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to acknowledge your mistake and correct it, rather than turning your back on the truth, and hence on God himself?

  43. newton: “Surely… we cannot imagine any certainty that is not tinged with doubt, or any assurance that is not assailed by some anxiety.”

    yes,

    When my daughter asks me to have faith that she will complete her assignment on time just as she has always done I have some doubts and anxiety. The amount doubt I have depends on my past experience of her study habits and my knowledge of the difficulty of the assignment.

    But I make a conscious choice to trust that she will do what she says she will do based on what I know.

    That is what faith is

    When it comes to the faith in God that salvation demands I need to make a conscious choice to trust that God loves me and wants the best for me.

    That can be a difficult thing to do if I focus on my perceived circumstances rather than the cross.

    peace

  44. keiths: Why do you suppose he doesn’t?

    maybe to keep me humble and to show that the truth of the message is not in anyway dependent on the esthetics of the communication.

    quote:
    But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
    (2Co 4:7)

    end quote:

    😉

    or maybe to distract you so that you miss the point.

    quote:

    so that “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.”
    (Mar 4:12)

    end quote:

    peace

  45. keiths,

    Keiths,

    1) The definition that I provided for knowledge as justified true belief is not scripture so it could very well be incomplete or misleading.

    2) Scripture does not say that everyone believes God exists it says that everyone knows God.

    3) It’s possible even likely that we hold many beliefs unconsciously and don’t even realize that we believe them.

    4) forum rules specifically prohibit me from saying that you believe something when you claim not to

    peace

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