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Jesse
07-08-2014, 04:36 PM
WHILE MILITANT ATHEISTS like Richard Dawkins may be convinced God doesn’t exist, God, if he is around, may be amused to find that atheists might not exist.

Cognitive scientists are becoming increasingly aware that a metaphysical outlook may be so deeply ingrained in human thought processes that it cannot be expunged.

While this idea may seem outlandish—after all, it seems easy to decide not to believe in God—evidence from several disciplines indicates that what you actually believe is not a decision you make for yourself. Your fundamental beliefs are decided by much deeper levels of consciousness, and some may well be more or less set in stone.

This line of thought has led to some scientists claiming that “atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think,” says Graham Lawton, an avowed atheist himself, writing in the New Scientist. “They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since we are born believers, not atheists, scientists say. Humans are pattern-seekers from birth, with a belief in karma, or cosmic justice, as our default setting. “A slew of cognitive traits predisposes us to faith,” writes Pascal Boyer in Nature, the science journal, adding that people “are only aware of some of their religious ideas”.


INTERNAL MONOLOGUES

Scientists have discovered that “invisible friends” are not something reserved for children. We all have them, and encounter them often in the form of interior monologues. As we experience events, we mentally tell a non-present listener about it.

The imagined listener may be a spouse, it may be Jesus or Buddha or it may be no one in particular. It’s just how the way the human mind processes facts. The identity, tangibility or existence of the listener is irrelevant.

“From childhood, people form enduring, stable and important relationships with fictional characters, imaginary friends, deceased relatives, unseen heroes and fantasized mates,” says Boyer of Washington University, himself an atheist. This feeling of having an awareness of another consciousness might simply be the way our natural operating system works.


Source and more (http://www.science20.com/writer_on_the_edge/blog/scientists_discover_that_atheists_might_not_exist_ and_thats_not_a_joke-139982)

A little something for our athiest friends to ponder.

Jedidiah
07-08-2014, 05:53 PM
Cute.

rwatts
07-08-2014, 10:46 PM
WHILE MILITANT ATHEISTS like Richard Dawkins may be convinced God doesn’t exist, God, if he is around, may be amused to find that atheists might not exist.

Cognitive scientists are becoming increasingly aware that a metaphysical outlook may be so deeply ingrained in human thought processes that it cannot be expunged.

While this idea may seem outlandish—after all, it seems easy to decide not to believe in God—evidence from several disciplines indicates that what you actually believe is not a decision you make for yourself. Your fundamental beliefs are decided by much deeper levels of consciousness, and some may well be more or less set in stone.

This line of thought has led to some scientists claiming that “atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think,” says Graham Lawton, an avowed atheist himself, writing in the New Scientist. “They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since we are born believers, not atheists, scientists say. Humans are pattern-seekers from birth, with a belief in karma, or cosmic justice, as our default setting. “A slew of cognitive traits predisposes us to faith,” writes Pascal Boyer in Nature, the science journal, adding that people “are only aware of some of their religious ideas”.


INTERNAL MONOLOGUES

Scientists have discovered that “invisible friends” are not something reserved for children. We all have them, and encounter them often in the form of interior monologues. As we experience events, we mentally tell a non-present listener about it.

The imagined listener may be a spouse, it may be Jesus or Buddha or it may be no one in particular. It’s just how the way the human mind processes facts. The identity, tangibility or existence of the listener is irrelevant.

“From childhood, people form enduring, stable and important relationships with fictional characters, imaginary friends, deceased relatives, unseen heroes and fantasized mates,” says Boyer of Washington University, himself an atheist. This feeling of having an awareness of another consciousness might simply be the way our natural operating system works.



Source and More (http://www.science20.com/writer_on_the_edge/blog/scientists_discover_that_atheists_might_not_exist_ and_thats_not_a_joke-139982)

A little something for our athiest friends to ponder.Well I do think I exist.

However, I think that atheism is very much a reaction to the assertion that humans seem to find so easy to make - namely that something or someone must have started it all. To this a few humans who have a natural skepticism question this assumption.

And thus atheism is born.

I suspect we were always around, notwithstanding God's opinions about the matter. :)


A great post btw. And I do think that (some of) we atheists should not be so down on (most) theists. It's not necessarily a BS approach to the universe and existence.

shunyadragon
07-09-2014, 04:03 AM
Somewhat misleading as to what the evidence indicates. Highly anecdotal.

rogue06
07-09-2014, 05:40 AM
Well I do think I exist.
No you don't :smug:

OldHat
07-09-2014, 06:27 AM
Interesting article, though I can see that some atheists may react badly to this.

HMS_Beagle
07-09-2014, 06:37 AM
Title of the article is very misleading. There are no scientific studies referenced concerning "scientists discover atheists might not exist". The author has taken a few personal opinions from scientists and put his own rather religious spin on things. Not particularly honest IMHO.

Chrawnus
07-09-2014, 07:20 AM
Title of the article is very misleading. There are no scientific studies referenced concerning "scientists discover atheists might not exist". The author has taken a few personal opinions from scientists and put his own rather religious spin on things. Not particularly honest IMHO.

Buzzkill. :glare:

HMS_Beagle
07-09-2014, 07:33 AM
Buzzkill. :glare:

Meh :shrug:

Actually the whole article reminded me quite a bit of the propaganda from the professional liars at the Discovery Institute. Every time science makes a new find that modifies some previously accepted idea the DI charlatans will quote-mine and twist the living dickens out the of the research. Then they'll title their twisting "SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY SUPPORTS INTELLIGENT DESIGN!!" :ahem:

OingoBoingo
07-09-2014, 08:23 AM
Meh :shrug:

Actually the whole article reminded me quite a bit of the propaganda from the professional liars at the Discovery Institute. Every time science makes a new find that modifies some previously accepted idea the DI charlatans will quote-mine and twist the living dickens out the of the research. Then they'll title their twisting "SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY SUPPORTS INTELLIGENT DESIGN!!" :ahem:

Do you not read a whole lot of popular science articles? A comparison to Discovery Institute articles is unnecessary. Pop science headline are almost always crafted to grab your attention even if it means fuzzing the truthfulness of their claims. That's standard journalistic practice. I thought everyone knew that. Looking past that, I found the article insightful and interesting.

HMS_Beagle
07-09-2014, 08:43 AM
Do you not read a whole lot of popular science articles? A comparison to Discovery Institute articles is unnecessary. Pop science headline are almost always crafted to grab your attention even if it means fuzzing the truthfulness of their claims. That's standard journalistic practice. I thought everyone knew that. Looking past that, I found the article insightful and interesting.

That's fine for entertainment as long as you recognize it's entertainment. Anyone who gets their science knowledge from superficial heavily spun pop science articles shouldn't expect to be taken seriously in real scientific discussions.

Teallaura
07-09-2014, 08:50 AM
No you don't :smug:
No, no, he exists - you're thinking of Taoist.

Granted, merely existing doesn't mean he actually is what he thinks he is! :wink:




















































:hehe: Sorry, RW - couldn't resist...

rogue06
07-09-2014, 08:50 AM
Do you not read a whole lot of popular science articles? A comparison to Discovery Institute articles is unnecessary. Pop science headline are almost always crafted to grab your attention even if it means fuzzing the truthfulness of their claims. That's standard journalistic practice. I thought everyone knew that. Looking past that, I found the article insightful and interesting.
:hehe:


1050

OingoBoingo
07-09-2014, 10:10 AM
:hehe:


1050

Exactly.

Jorge
07-09-2014, 11:13 AM
Source (http://www.science20.com/writer_on_the_edge/blog/scientists_discover_that_atheists_might_not_exist_ and_thats_not_a_joke-139982)

A little something for our athiest friends to ponder.

Pffftttt!!!

I've known for decades that there is no such thing as an Atheist and have stated
so numerous times here on TWeb. I do use the term "Atheist", of course, as a
sort of generic 'identifying label'. However, my position since sometime in the 1970's
has been that "Everyone has a religion, the only question is WHICH religion."
In fact, I believe that in a recent TWeb post I made that statement again.

BTW, as a corollary I also hold that Everyone serves some 'god', the only question is WHICH 'god'.

So, this "news" is hardly a revalation to me. :shrug:

Jorge

HMS_Beagle
07-09-2014, 01:03 PM
Pffftttt!!!

I've known for decades that there is no such thing as an Atheist and have stated
so numerous times here on TWeb. I do use the term "Atheist", of course, as a
sort of generic 'identifying label'. However, my position since sometime in the 1970's
has been that "Everyone has a religion, the only question is WHICH religion."
In fact, I believe that in a recent TWeb post I made that statement again.

BTW, as a corollary I also hold that Everyone serves some 'god', the only question is WHICH 'god'.

So, this "news" is hardly a revalation to me. :shrug:

Jorge

Then you have the ones who get their "science" from ICR, AIG, and Chick tracts. :lol:

Jesse
07-09-2014, 02:33 PM
I think the Atheists here are missing the point. Instead of attacking the headline of the post, how about showing some proof as to why the science is wrong? Yeah I get it, it is uncomfortable for you to think that you are religious even though you want the world to think you are not. But the science is leading more to the idea that our brains are hard wired for belief in a deity. And I guarantee this will become the consensus as we learn more.

I think it is a bit silly calling this "Pop Sci" because you never heard of it. This idea has been around for a while. I came across this thesis when the book "The "God" Part of the Brain" came out. And now more scientists are looking into it and taking it seriously. I think maybe some of you should too.

klaus54
07-09-2014, 04:10 PM
Jesse,

How do you know that YOU exist?

:lol:

K54

Jesse
07-09-2014, 04:15 PM
Jesse,

How do you know that YOU exist?

:lol:

K54

I don't. I'm a myth :tongue:.

HMS_Beagle
07-09-2014, 04:55 PM
I think the Atheists here are missing the point. Instead of attacking the headline of the post, how about showing some proof as to why the science is wrong?

The article you cited didn't contain any science that suggests "scientists discover atheists don't exist". All science shows is that human minds have evolved a propensity to look for cause and effect in their daily dealings and will sometimes attribute an unknown cause to the supernatural, not necessarily a god. The whole "atheists don't exist" angle touted by the author is personal opinion dressed up with a sensational headline.

Here is the essay that appeared in Nature some years back that was referenced


Being human: Religion: Bound to believe? (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v455/n7216/full/4551038a.html)
Pascal Boyer
Nature 455, 1038-1039 (23 October 2008)

It's an overview of the hypothesized reasons why inventing Gods has historically been such a prominent human behavior. It's quite a bit different that the heavily spun version your blog author put on things.

Jesse
07-09-2014, 05:09 PM
The article you cited didn't contain any science that suggests "scientists discover atheists don't exist". All science shows is that human minds have evolved a propensity to look for cause and effect in their daily dealings and will sometimes attribute an unknown cause to the supernatural, not necessarily a god. The whole "atheists don't exist" angle touted by the author is personal opinion dressed up with a sensational headline.

Here is the essay that appeared in Nature some years back that was referenced



It's an overview of the hypothesized reasons why inventing Gods has historically been such a prominent human behavior. It's quite a bit different that the heavily spun version your blog author put on things.

I believe his "spun" version it to be taken in totality. Not just the one essay he referenced. You seem to be a bit hung up on the "atheists don't exist" part without really understanding it. No one is saying you as an Atheist (the belief) doesn't exist. I am sure you think you are one, but no one is one by naturalistic standards. Meaning, you were born a believer by nature and by nature you still are one even though you say otherwise.

Dean Hamer in his book "The God Gene" goes even further than the author of this piece does. Neuroscientists are starting to accept most of this now. The point that is being made is simple, you really are not an atheist.

HMS_Beagle
07-09-2014, 05:55 PM
The point that is being made is simple, you really are not an atheist.

Sorry but that's still a scientifically unsupported opinion.

1. The human propensity for believing in the supernatural doesn't mean everyone automatically has those beliefs.
2. You can believe in the supernatural without believing in a god or gods. There are plenty of elves, sprites, unicorns and leprechauns to go around.

I'm not bothered in the least :smile: I just find it quite amusing that so many religious fundamentalist will jump at any chance to take a pot shot at atheists.

Jesse
07-09-2014, 06:00 PM
Sorry but that's still a scientifically unsupported opinion.

1. The human propensity for believing in the supernatural doesn't mean everyone automatically has those beliefs.
2. You can believe in the supernatural without believing in a god or gods. There are plenty of elves, sprites, unicorns and leprechauns to go around.

I'm not bothered in the least :smile: I just find it quite amusing that so many religious fundamentalist will jump at any chance to take a pot shot at atheists.

Not really a pot shot when it's coming from Atheists themselves. Nor is the science trying to take pot shots at you or trying to make you bothered. I am just not understanding the push against what the science is saying. What in your view would make this supportable?

HMS_Beagle
07-09-2014, 06:13 PM
Not really a pot shot when it's coming from Atheists themselves.

It was the personal opinion of an atheist, singular, and not in the context of any scientific study.


Nor is the science trying to take pot shots at you or trying to make you bothered. I am just not understanding the push against what the science is saying.

I agree science isn't taking the pot shots, it's the people misrepresenting the science that are taking the pot shots.

My push back is against those trying to spin the science into saying something it doesn't. :shrug:


What in your view would make this supportable?

Demonstrating that there are in fact no atheists in the world would be a start. But you may have a bit of a problem with that one unless you start with the No True Atheisttm fallacy. :wink:

HMS_Beagle
07-09-2014, 06:36 PM
Jesse please excuse my bad manners,

welcome to NS301! :hi:

rwatts
07-09-2014, 10:45 PM
But the science is leading more to the idea that our brains are hard wired for belief in a deity. And I guarantee this will become the consensus as we learn more.

I agree with you on that.

But I am an atheist.


Mind you, perhaps there are some who have brains "hard wired" for atheism. They are kind of mutants?

rogue06
07-10-2014, 02:08 AM
No, no, he exists - you're thinking of Taoist.

Granted, merely existing doesn't mean he actually is what he thinks he is! :wink:








:hehe: Sorry, RW - couldn't resist...
First you gotta convince me that this mythical land known as "Australia" really exists in order for me to accept that someone might be living there. :noid:

Poor Debater
07-10-2014, 02:19 AM
A little something for our athiest friends to ponder.

Right. So all of metaphysics is a psychological construct. Now if only there were a word in the English language to describe people who reject metaphysics, because it's nothing but a psychological construct ... hmmmm ....

tabibito
07-10-2014, 02:27 AM
Dean Hamer in his book "The God Gene" goes even further than the author of this piece does. Neuroscientists are starting to accept most of this now. The point that is being made is simple, you really are not an atheist.

As I understood it, the idea proposed was that humans are hard wired to believe in something greater than themselves, and that this hard wiring wouldn't necessarily tend to a belief in the supernatural. Hero worship and science worship are enough to keep the predisposition mollified.

Also, the "god gene" is associated with "mystic experience" - something that I haven't experienced, and encounters with people who do have the experience lead to me to be skeptical that it has anything to do with Christianity in particular, and possibly with other religions.

Admittedly though, I haven't kept myself abreast of developments since this first made a splash.

rwatts
07-10-2014, 04:00 AM
No you don't :smug:Then you must be talking to yourself. :tongue:

tabibito
07-10-2014, 04:42 AM
Then you must be talking to yourself. :tongue: 

Does "no you don't" in reply to "I think I exist" address "I exist" or "I think"?

Teallaura
07-10-2014, 06:15 AM
First you gotta convince me that this mythical land known as "Australia" really exists in order for me to accept that someone might be living there. :noid:
It's where they bake all the upside down pineapple cakes...

Teallaura
07-10-2014, 06:15 AM
 

Does "no you don't" in reply to "I think I exist" address "I exist" or "I think"?


Yes. :yes:

Jesse
07-10-2014, 11:33 AM
Jesse please excuse my bad manners,

welcome to NS301! :hi:

Lol. You have not shown any bad manners at all HMS_Beagle and thank you for the welcome :). First, I would like to say that I didn't post this piece to try to poke at or tweak Atheists. That wasn't my intention nor do I think it was the authors (I am not sure he himself is a believer). Though I can't really speak for the author's intent.

The science however isn't being spun. They came to their "opinion" from where the science is leading them. You can say the science is wrong, but their conclusions are from the science itself and not them just pulling it out of thin air.

Again, this is not trying to prove that Atheists don't exist physically. Obviously Atheists like you and rwatts exists. The point of what the science is saying is that neurologically and genetically you are not. An example would be if a man became a women (humor me here). A man yes can become a woman through modification, but it is superficial. Your bone structure, your DNA, your chromosomes will always point to the fact that you were born a male. The same applies here. The science is saying you were created to believe in a deity. Of course you can always reject or change that belief. But that wouldn't change the fact that it is inborn.

Now yes the science could be wrong. But from what genetics and neurology is telling us right now, you are not a Atheist by naturalistic standards. I hope I am making some sense :).

didn't No True Atheisttm open for Mötley Crüe in 1986? :P

Jesse
07-10-2014, 11:35 AM
I agree with you on that.

But I am an atheist.


Mind you, perhaps there are some who have brains "hard wired" for atheism. They are kind of mutants?

If in fact there are those hardwired for Atheism, they haven't found it yet. But they have found the opposite as you can see :).

Jesse
07-10-2014, 11:44 AM
As I understood it, the idea proposed was that humans are hard wired to believe in something greater than themselves, and that this hard wiring wouldn't necessarily tend to a belief in the supernatural. Hero worship and science worship are enough to keep the predisposition mollified.

Also, the "god gene" is associated with "mystic experience" - something that I haven't experienced, and encounters with people who do have the experience lead to me to be skeptical that it has anything to do with Christianity in particular, and possibly with other religions.

Admittedly though, I haven't kept myself abreast of developments since this first made a splash.

Dean Hamer's hypothesis was that the gene VMAT2 (one of many) predisposes us to belief in a deity. He didn't say there was a God, just that our genetics point to there needing to be a strong belief in one.

HMS_Beagle
07-10-2014, 01:09 PM
The science however isn't being spun. They came to their "opinion" from where the science is leading them. You can say the science is wrong, but their conclusions are from the science itself and not them just pulling it out of thin air.

Sadly it is being spun. The science doesn't say people are predisposed to not be atheists. It say people are predisposed to believe in the metaphysical. The two aren't the same thing. Atheist doesn't mean someone who rejects the supernatural. It means someone who rejects the idea of a God - a Supreme Omnipotent Being- a specific instance of a metaphysical manifestation.


Again, this is not trying to prove that Atheists don't exist physically. Obviously Atheists like you and rwatts exists. The point of what the science is saying is that neurologically and genetically you are not.

Again, that is not what the science is saying. That is the personal interpretation of the author of the article. Just because a few scientists may share his personal opinion that doesn't make it a scientifically established fact.


An example would be if a man became a women (humor me here). A man yes can become a woman through modification, but it is superficial. Your bone structure, your DNA, your chromosomes will always point to the fact that you were born a male. The same applies here. The science is saying you were created to believe in a deity. Of course you can always reject or change that belief. But that wouldn't change the fact that it is inborn.

I know it sounds like I'm arguing semantics here but in science definitions are important. All Gods belong to the metaphysical realm but not all hypothesized metaphysical beings are Gods.


Now yes the science could be wrong. But from what genetics and neurology is telling us right now, you are not a Atheist by naturalistic standards. I hope I am making some sense :).

As much as anyone here ever does. :teeth:


didn't No True Atheisttm open for Mötley Crüe in 1986? :P

Could be. :lol:

Jesse
07-10-2014, 01:28 PM
Sadly it is being spun. The science doesn't say people are predisposed to not be atheists. It say people are predisposed to believe in the metaphysical. The two aren't the same thing. Atheist doesn't mean someone who rejects the supernatural. It means someone who rejects the idea of a God - a Supreme Omnipotent Being- a specific instance of a metaphysical manifestation.



Again, that is not what the science is saying. That is the personal interpretation of the author of the article. Just because a few scientists may share his personal opinion that doesn't make it a scientifically established fact.



I know it sounds like I'm arguing semantics here but in science definitions are important. All Gods belong to the metaphysical realm but not all hypothesized metaphysical beings are Gods.



As much as anyone here ever does. :teeth:



Could be. :lol:

Ok I will go with you on that. It is true that Atheism is a rejection of the belief in any Gods. But do not Atheists (most?) deny any metaphysical realities because they can not be proven scientifically? Most seem to reject any and all "supernatural" explanations.

I do understand what you are saying though. If you don't think the science is saying "Atheists don't exist", what do you think it is saying in totality? Now to be fair, if this was the other way around, I would still believe it because of what is being said in total of what we know how the brain works and how human history has panned out. But that is my personal opinion.

klaus54
07-10-2014, 01:34 PM
Come to think of it I've never seen HMS_B and rwatts sez he's from "Australia", a mythical land that only the most credulous believes exists. I mean how could people live their whole lives upside down. Pfff...

So, Jesse may be onto something.

K54

P.S. Seriously though, being pre-wired to believe in a higher power is not the same as being pre-wired to be a theist.

Jesse
07-10-2014, 01:40 PM
Come to think of it I've never seen HMS_B and rwatts sez he's from "Australia", a mythical land that only the most credulous believes exists. I mean how could people live their whole lives upside down. Pfff...

So, Jesse may be onto something.

K54

P.S. Being pre-wired to believe in a higher power is not the same as being pre-wired to be a theist.

Not sure what you are getting at here.

Teallaura
07-10-2014, 01:42 PM
Pantheism? :shrug:

klaus54
07-10-2014, 01:46 PM
Not sure what you are getting at here.

Simple, why does being pre-wired to believe in a higher power imply that this higher power is personal and transcendent? Couldn't it just be a leader or some authority to which one is accountable? A gubmint for example?

K54

Jesse
07-10-2014, 01:48 PM
Pantheism? :shrug:

Panthiesm is still Theism :).

Jesse
07-10-2014, 01:49 PM
Simple, why does being pre-wired to believe in a higher power imply that this higher power is personal and transcendent? Couldn't it just be a leader or some authority to which one is accountable? A gubmint for example?

K54

We are specifically talking metaphysical. So yes the debate is in the realm of Theism. Not something non Theist.

klaus54
07-10-2014, 02:01 PM
Panthiesm is still Theism :).

No it snot. Unless you use a non-standard definition.


Theism, in the broadest sense, is the belief that at least one deity exists.[1] In a more specific sense, theism is commonly a monotheistic doctrine concerning the nature of a deity, and that deity's relationship to the universe.[2][3][4][5] Theism, in this specific sense, conceives of God as personal, present and active in the governance and organization of the world and the universe. As such theism describes the classical conception of God that is found in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theism

klaus54
07-10-2014, 02:03 PM
We are specifically talking metaphysical. So yes the debate is in the realm of Theism. Not something non Theist.

Why isn't the pre-wiring the author's bringing up not simply for a "higher power"? How would one distinguish this from theism via the extant methodology?

K54

Jesse
07-10-2014, 02:03 PM
No it snot. Unless you use a non-standard definition.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theism


the·ism
noun \ˈthē-ˌi-zəm\

: the belief that God exists or that many gods exist


http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theism

klaus54
07-10-2014, 02:07 PM
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theism

The standard definition today implies personal and immanent. Deism, which posit an impersonal non-immanent Deity is different to Theism.

Anyhoo, sorry to derail the thread.

Carry on...

K54

Jesse
07-10-2014, 02:10 PM
The standard definition today implies personal and immanent. Deism, which posit an impersonal non-immanent Deity is different to Theism.

Anyhoo, sorry to derail the thread.

Carry on...

K54

I don't know anyone who uses the term Theism to mean just one god. Whoever is, is using it incorrectly. Like Wikipedia.

klaus54
07-10-2014, 02:18 PM
The standard definition today implies personal and immanent. Deism, which posit an impersonal non-immanent Deity is different to Theism.

Anyhoo, sorry to derail the thread.

Carry on...

K54

P.S. Sorry, one more thing. Regarding the Merriam-Webster definition: (emphasis mine)



belief in the existence of a god or gods; specifically : belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of the human race and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world

By this definition theism (God transcendent and immanent) vis-a-vis deism (God transcendent, not immanent) and pantheism (God immanent, not transcendent).

klaus54
07-10-2014, 02:19 PM
I don't know anyone who uses the term Theism to mean just one god. Whoever is, is using it incorrectly. Like Wikipedia.

Doesn't matter if it's one or more gods. Immanence and Transcendence are the key concepts.

K54

Christianbookworm
07-10-2014, 02:20 PM
Hmmm...
there's monotheism, pantheism, panentheism, and polytheism. So, theism doesn't just refer to monotheism.

Christianbookworm
07-10-2014, 02:21 PM
Doesn't matter if it's one or more gods. Immanence and Transcendence are the key concepts.

K54

I thought polytheist deities aren't as powerful as a monotheist deity?

Jesse
07-10-2014, 02:23 PM
P.S. Sorry, one more thing. Regarding the Merriam-Webster definition: (emphasis mine)

Yeah I get it. Theism is still the broad term for those who believe in a god or many.

Monothiest: Belief in one God.

Polythiest: Belief in many gods.

I am not real sure why we are arguing this point though.

Jesse
07-10-2014, 02:25 PM
Hmmm...
there's monotheism, pantheism, panentheism, and polytheism. So, theism doesn't just refer to monotheism.

That is what I was trying to get across. Not sure why it was hard to understand.

HMS_Beagle
07-10-2014, 03:26 PM
We are specifically talking metaphysical. So yes the debate is in the realm of Theism. Not something non Theist.

All Gods belong to the metaphysical realm but not all hypothesized metaphysical beings are Gods.

That point is still rather important, wouldn't you agree?

Jesse
07-10-2014, 03:35 PM
All Gods belong to the metaphysical realm but not all hypothesized metaphysical beings are Gods.

That point is still rather important, wouldn't you agree?

It is an important distinction to make yes. But again, Atheists believe by in large in nothing metaphysical because it can't be "proven" by science. And that is exactly what Graham Lawton said in New Scientist and why it is "psychologically impossible". Unless someone down the line decided Atheism means something else entirely and didn't tell us.

HMS_Beagle
07-10-2014, 03:44 PM
But again, Atheists believe by in large in nothing metaphysical because it can't be "proven" by science.

Sorry but you're going to have to back up that claim with some actual data. I don't recall seeing any study about Atheist metaphysical beliefs but then again I haven't looked very hard.

Jesse
07-10-2014, 03:52 PM
Sorry but you're going to have to back up that claim with some actual data. I don't recall seeing any study about Atheist metaphysical beliefs but then again I haven't looked very hard.

Well I haven't polled the Atheist community to see what the percentage break down is, maybe someone already did? I wasn't saying it as a proof, just an observation.

HMS_Beagle
07-10-2014, 03:59 PM
Well I haven't polled the Atheist community to see what the percentage break down is, maybe someone already did? I wasn't saying it as a proof, just an observation.

Anecdotal data based on one's personal observations isn't very scientific. I agree there's a good chance that if someone is an atheist they will also reject paranormal phenomena. I will also bet a week's salary that I can find examples of atheists who still believe in ghosts, ESP, telekinesis, and all sorts of other metaphysical phenomena. Which kinda stops your "atheism means no metaphysical beliefs" idea dead in its tracks. :smile:

Roy
07-10-2014, 04:05 PM
Hmmm...
there's monotheism, pantheism, panentheism, and polytheism. So, theism doesn't just refer to monotheism.Don't forget atheism, allotheism, animotheism, bitheism, hecastotheism, hylotheism, kathenotheism, misotheism,...

Roy

Jesse
07-10-2014, 04:06 PM
Anecdotal data based on one's personal observations isn't very scientific. I agree there's a good chance that if someone is an atheist they will also reject paranormal phenomena. I will also bet a week's salary that I can find examples of atheists who still believe in ghosts, ESP, telekinesis, and all sorts of other metaphysical phenomena. Which kinda stops your "atheism means no metaphysical beliefs" idea dead in its tracks. :smile:

Hmm. "atheism means no metaphysical beliefs" isn't a belief of mine though. I only stated that I have observed that most Atheists reject the supernatural. Again, I didn't post it as truth. Just MY observation. It doesn't have to be scientific because I wasn't making a science claim.

HMS_Beagle
07-10-2014, 04:23 PM
Hmm. "atheism means no metaphysical beliefs" isn't a belief of mine though. I only stated that I have observed that most Atheists reject the supernatural. Again, I didn't post it as truth. Just MY observation. It doesn't have to be scientific because I wasn't making a science claim.

You started this whole thread with the premise that science has shown there's no such thing as an atheist. You chided those who disagreed that they were ignoring the science.

I corrected you in that science shows most (not all) people are predisposed to have metaphysical beliefs

Now you say the view all atheists reject all metaphysical beliefs is not scientific, just a personal observation.

Do you admit there can be atheists who still hold metaphysical beliefs then?

Christianbookworm
07-10-2014, 04:29 PM
I admit the thread title is a bit misleading. Don't really see how metaphysical beliefs would make sense in a naturalistic world view. What would be the cause of metaphysical things if there wasn't a God? Please explain.

Jesse
07-10-2014, 04:30 PM
You started this whole thread with the premise that science has shown there's no such thing as an atheist. You chided those who disagreed that they were ignoring the science.

I corrected you in that science shows most (not all) people are predisposed to have metaphysical beliefs

Now you say the view all atheists reject all metaphysical beliefs is not scientific, just a personal observation.

Do you admit there can be atheists who still hold metaphysical beliefs then?

1. I gave no premise. I shared an article and said it was food for thought for Atheists.

2. Do I stand behind the authors premise that we are hard wired to believe in God or gods? Yes.

3. The science shows that most (probably all) humans are born with metaphysical beliefs and a strong belief in God/gods.

4. My observation is that most Atheists discount belief in the supernatural.

Anymore questions?

HMS_Beagle
07-10-2014, 05:34 PM
The science shows that most (probably all) humans are born with metaphysical beliefs

True except for the "probably all" part you tacked on. That's not science, that's your anecdotally supported only opinion.


and a strong belief in God/gods.

Nope. You (and admittedly a few others) tacked that bit on too. That's not science either.


Anymore questions?

Nope. You're entitled to you non-scientific opinion. :teeth:

HMS_Beagle
07-10-2014, 05:41 PM
I admit the thread title is a bit misleading. Don't really see how metaphysical beliefs would make sense in a naturalistic world view. What would be the cause of metaphysical things if there wasn't a God? Please explain.

Leprechauns. Pure energy life forms who inhabit the 23rd dimension. Passing time travelers whose vehicle creates temporal vortexes. Any sort of natural phenomena we haven't discovered yet.

"We don't know" doesn't equal "my particular God must have done it".

Duragizer
07-10-2014, 10:49 PM
Would the belief that we're artificial intelligences existing in someone's supercomputer count as metaphysical?

Jesse
07-11-2014, 02:51 AM
True except for the "probably all" part you tacked on. That's not science, that's your anecdotally supported only opinion.



Nope. You (and admittedly a few others) tacked that bit on too. That's not science either.



Nope. You're entitled to you non-scientific opinion. :teeth:

These things you consider "tacked on" is what constitutes good science. No science is 100% and can't be because new evidence may change it at a later date. It seems that you want 100% or you consider it an unscientific opinion. Well the scientists who support the evidence are happy with 99.9% of what the science says. You can get a hold of them and argue the rest as "opinion".

You seem to be really stuck on one small part of this equation while ignoring everything else. Using the term "opinion" for whatever you consider uncomfortable. So I am not sure what more I can offer you in this debate. It seems to just be going in circles now. The post and content within was in my opinion a really good primer on what genetics and the neurological sciences are saying about our brains and it's hard wiring. In no way was it suppose to present anything wider. The piece, as I said before, was just food for thought. If you really care about this area of study, I would suggest reading a few authors like Rhawn Joseph, Dean Hamer, etc. Or if you are so inclined, buy a copy of the Zygon journal.

Jesse
07-11-2014, 02:52 AM
Would the belief that we're artificial intelligences existing in someone's supercomputer count as metaphysical?

I am not sure. Never thought about it. But maybe?

OingoBoingo
07-11-2014, 07:13 AM
Leprechauns. Pure energy life forms who inhabit the 23rd dimension. Passing time travelers whose vehicle creates temporal vortexes. Any sort of natural phenomena we haven't discovered yet.

"We don't know" doesn't equal "my particular God must have done it".

I agree with you that the word "atheist" is best understood as a rejection, disbelief, or more recently, a lack of belief in deities, but you have to admit that thats not what most people hear from atheists themselves. For example, check out the American Atheists' "What is Atheism" section,

The only common thread that ties all atheists together is a lack of belief in gods and supernatural beings.

So that would likely disclude things like elves, sprites, unicorns and leprechauns.

phank
07-11-2014, 05:05 PM
I would not argue against the claim that humans are born instinctively teleological. We simply implicity presume a purpose for everything, which implies a purpose-holder. When little kids start asking questions that start with "why" (like, why did grandpa die, or why is the sky blue) they are NOT asking about medicine or Rayleigh scattering. They are asking for the purpose served by the death or the color. I suspect it's natural (if not logical) for people to simply impose or project nonexistent purposes onto everything. To me, atheism requires the hard-earned ability to realize and accept that most things in life occur without any "higher purpose", and don't need one.

I think most religions have as one of their underpinnings the ability to answer ill-formed questions, in the "have you stopped beating your wife" sense of being based on, and impossible to even phrase without, one or more false assumptions. Theological issues like "why does God allow evil" strike me as counting angels on pinheads, since the entire bizarre concepts of gods and evils must be bought into for the question to be coherent.

So I read the OP as asking to what degree it's even possible to scrub the instinct for teleological thought out of the brain. OF COURSE it rains so that plants can grow. Why ELSE would it rain?

Jesse
07-13-2014, 02:59 AM
I would not argue against the claim that humans are born instinctively teleological. We simply implicity presume a purpose for everything, which implies a purpose-holder. When little kids start asking questions that start with "why" (like, why did grandpa die, or why is the sky blue) they are NOT asking about medicine or Rayleigh scattering. They are asking for the purpose served by the death or the color. I suspect it's natural (if not logical) for people to simply impose or project nonexistent purposes onto everything. To me, atheism requires the hard-earned ability to realize and accept that most things in life occur without any "higher purpose", and don't need one.

I think most religions have as one of their underpinnings the ability to answer ill-formed questions, in the "have you stopped beating your wife" sense of being based on, and impossible to even phrase without, one or more false assumptions. Theological issues like "why does God allow evil" strike me as counting angels on pinheads, since the entire bizarre concepts of gods and evils must be bought into for the question to be coherent.

So I read the OP as asking to what degree it's even possible to scrub the instinct for teleological thought out of the brain. OF COURSE it rains so that plants can grow. Why ELSE would it rain?

Thanks for the thoughts phank. Yes. The majority of scientists in the fields of genetics and neurology have come to the conclusion that we are indeed born teleological. The fact that if you are hardwired as a human for belief, as most of history has shown us, you cannot scrub it from your mind. So being an Atheist or not can't erase the fact that you are an inherent believer. You made really good points here. Alas, I fear that since most had probably not read the actual article or considered what was being said, it will get lost. It seems to me most of the post responses don't understand how the majority of science is handled. It's why I stopped trying to get an actual deep conversation going.

Ucchedavāda
07-13-2014, 03:57 AM
The majority of scientists in the fields of genetics and neurology have come to the conclusion that we are indeed born teleological.

What evidence is there of this, especially for geneticists? The reason why I ask is that only a fraction of geneticists even work on human genetics in the first place, of which only a fraction would be working on genes relating to human behavior, and even then they might not touch upon this specific issue. For example, why would a geneticist specializing in, say, plant immunology come to this conclusion? A similar argument can be made for neurologists (or rather, neuroscientists), though I would expect a larger fraction of these to have formed an opinion on issue.

Jesse
07-13-2014, 04:26 AM
What evidence is there of this, especially for geneticists? The reason why I ask is that only a fraction of geneticists even work on human genetics in the first place, of which only a fraction would be working on genes relating to human behavior, and even then they might not touch upon this specific issue. For example, why would a geneticist specializing in, say, plant immunology come to this conclusion? A similar argument can be made for neurologists (or rather, neuroscientists), though I would expect a larger fraction of these to have formed an opinion on issue.

Ok I am specifically talking about geneticists that work on polymorphic genes. Such as VMAT1, VMAT2, etc. inhibitors. There are plenty of articles in that area from those scientists. I should have qualified my answer since not everyone would know what I was talking about. Though since we are talking about humans, I didn't think anyone would lump someone specializing in plant immunology with them. And yes neuroscientists have formed and opinion on this and it is not hard to find.

There is just not more I can say about this. Those interested will look it up for themselves. Maybe someone else that has studied this more than I have will have some input :).

Ucchedavāda
07-13-2014, 04:40 AM
Ok I am specifically talking about geneticists that work on polymorphic genes. Such as VMAT1, VMAT2, etc. inhibitors. There are plenty of articles in that area from those scientists. I should have qualified my answer since not everyone would know what I was talking about. Though since we are talking about humans, I didn't think anyone would lump someone specializing in plant immunology with them. And yes neuroscientists have formed and opinion on this and it is not hard to find.

There is just not more I can say about this. Those interested will look it up for themselves. Maybe someone else that has studied this more than I have will have some input :).

Thanks for the clarification, but I'm afraid that I have to ask you to explain what you mean by "polymorphic genes", as I doubt that you just mean genes with multiple alleles.

Jesse
07-13-2014, 04:54 AM
Thanks for the clarification, but I'm afraid that I have to ask you to explain what you mean by "polymorphic genes", as I doubt that you just mean genes with multiple alleles.

Oh no problem at all. I might have been unclear about this one too. I mean for instance, VMAT2 has a polymorphism named "A33050C" that is one of two variations. That is a poly-morph used for this area of study. That is what I meant by that :).

Ucchedavāda
07-13-2014, 05:03 AM
Oh no problem at all. I might have been unclear about this one too. I mean for instance, VMAT2 has a polymorphism named "A33050C" that is one of two variations. That is a poly-morph used for this area of study. That is what I meant by that :).

So, am I understanding you correctly if I interpret post #75 as referring specifically to geneticists who work with the (various alleles of the) genes "VMAT1, VMAT2, etc."?

Jesse
07-13-2014, 05:09 AM
So, am I understanding you correctly if I interpret post #75 as referring specifically to geneticists who work with the (various alleles of the) genes "VMAT1, VMAT2, etc."?

Almost :). VMAT1, VMAT2 are not genes. They are proteins. Inhibitors like them have polymorphisms that geneticists study. Those geneticist work mostly with polymorphic genes. :).


EDIT: Am I correct in stating VMAT2 is not a gene? I sometimes get it confused. I'll just say genetic protein even though that sounds redundant for this :|.

Ucchedavāda
07-13-2014, 05:53 AM
Almost :). VMAT1, VMAT2 are not genes. They are proteins. Inhibitors like them have polymorphisms that geneticists study. Those geneticist work mostly with polymorphic genes. :).


EDIT: Am I correct in stating VMAT2 is not a gene? I sometimes get it confused. I'll just say genetic protein even though that sounds redundant for this :|.

I see what you mean, thank you for the clarification. :)

And VMAT2 is a gene (http://www.ensembl.org/Homo_sapiens/Gene/Summary?db=core;g=ENSG00000165646;r=10:119000604-119038941) (also known as SLC18A2), which encodes the VMAT2 (or SLC18A2) protein.

Jesse
07-13-2014, 06:12 AM
I see what you mean, thank you for the clarification. :)

And VMAT2 is a gene (http://www.ensembl.org/Homo_sapiens/Gene/Summary?db=core;g=ENSG00000165646;r=10:119000604-119038941) (also known as SLC18A2), which encodes the VMAT2 (or SLC18A2) protein.

Anytime :). And thank you correcting me on it being a gene. I am getting senile :).

Carrikature
07-15-2014, 09:17 PM
I admit the thread title is a bit misleading. Don't really see how metaphysical beliefs would make sense in a naturalistic world view. What would be the cause of metaphysical things if there wasn't a God? Please explain.

First point, naturalism isn't required fir atheism. Second, the cause of god is a good enough cause for everything else, and that includes being without a cause.

Teallaura
07-16-2014, 07:55 AM
First point, naturalism isn't required fir atheism.True, but it helps. The non-naturalist atheists are usually a little :lolo:


:teeth:



Second, the cause of god is a good enough cause for everything else, and that includes being without a cause.
:huh: Um, what?

tabibito
07-16-2014, 08:39 AM
Eventually, causes all point to the existence of something that is eternal. Nothing could exist unless something eternal existed. With the scientific community now accepting that the universe is not eternal - something outside the universe that is eternal exists. The scientific community is also satisfied that with current technology, whatever it is can't be detected - hence unknowable (at least for now). But many deny any possibility that this unknowable something might be intelligent.

klaus54
07-16-2014, 11:26 AM
...
:huh: Um, what?

Perhaps he means God as the Uncaused Cause, aka the Cosmological Argument? Of course a witty Atheist can pick that apart too.

Philosophical arguments for and against God, in my opinion, come to a draw.

K54

Teallaura
07-16-2014, 12:40 PM
Perhaps he means God as the Uncaused Cause, aka the Cosmological Argument? Of course a witty Atheist can pick that apart too.

Philosophical arguments for and against God, in opinion, come to a draw.

K54

:shrug: Yeah, that was kinda my impression but the sentence makes no sense.

Carrikature
07-16-2014, 08:43 PM
True, but it helps. The non-naturalist atheists are usually a little :lolo:


:teeth:


:huh: Um, what?

Nutty tends to go by what a person will or won't accept. Some would consider belief in bigfoot nutty, while others claim to have seen it. Some accept ghosts and get called crazy while still others would consider both ideas to be about on par. It can be perfectly coherent to accept non-natural things without believing there's some supreme power or intelligence that exists. That's part of the problem with the OP's article, the author doesn't seem to understand that non-religious and atheist aren't synonyms.

As for the second part, Klaus has the right of it. If there's any such thing as an uncaused cause, there's no particular reason it's limited to one form but not another. If God can 'just exist', so too could the universe itself. As Klaus says, such arguments generally come to a draw.


Btw, I'm typing this on my new tablet. Most of my posting has been done on my phone the last two weeks, so coherent responses have been a lot harder to type. I'll probably have to go back and repost most things, assuming I bother.

Teallaura
07-17-2014, 08:10 AM
Nutty tends to go by what a person will or won't accept. Some would consider belief in bigfoot nutty, while others claim to have seen it. Some accept ghosts and get called crazy while still others would consider both ideas to be about on par. It can be perfectly coherent to accept non-natural things without believing there's some supreme power or intelligence that exists. That's part of the problem with the OP's article, the author doesn't seem to understand that non-religious and atheist aren't synonyms.I mostly agree - but in practice, I seldom see the coherent ones.


As for the second part, Klaus has the right of it. If there's any such thing as an uncaused cause, there's no particular reason it's limited to one form but not another. If God can 'just exist', so too could the universe itself. As Klaus says, such arguments generally come to a draw.Eh, I think the second part needs a lot of work but I had just wanted to understand what you were saying, so I won't debate it at present (I already owe you an answer in another thread anyway!).



Btw, I'm typing this on my new tablet. Most of my posting has been done on my phone the last two weeks, so coherent responses have been a lot harder to type. I'll probably have to go back and repost most things, assuming I bother.
Ah, explains much...

Juvenal
07-20-2014, 10:16 AM
PUZZLING RESPONSES

These findings may go a long way to explaining a series of puzzles in recent social science studies. In the United States, 38% of people who identified themselves as atheist or agnostic went on to claim to believe in a God or a Higher Power (Pew Forum, “Religion and the Unaffiliated”, 2012).

[...]

The implication is that we all believe in a not dissimilar range of tangible and intangible realities. Whether a particular brand of higher consciousness is included in that list (“I believe in God”, “I believe in some sort of higher force”, “I believe in no higher consciousness”) is little more than a detail.

Source (http://www.science20.com/writer_on_the_edge/blog/scientists_discover_that_atheists_might_not_exist_ and_thats_not_a_joke-139982)


Dear Jesse,

I find it puzzling, at best, that the author somehow manages to go from "38 percent" to "we all believe" in support of the premise that atheists don't exist. I would personally see this as evidence of the opposite conclusion. 62 is, after all, generally perceived as larger than 38.

Pew Research is highly reliable in my experience, so I've gone to the trouble of reading Religion and the Unaffiliated (2012) (http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise-religion/). The author appears to be citing data from the following figure:


1168

... without acknowledging the included clarification:


In addition, about four-in-ten atheists and agnostics (including 14% of atheists and 56% of agnostics) say they believe in God or a universal spirit.

I would note that 86 is generally perceived as larger than 14 as well, and, as it further diminishes the author's case, note that its exclusion casts doubt on the objectivity of the author.


A little something for our athiest friends to ponder.

In point of fact, whatever TWebbers may believe about my own existence, I have never claimed to be athier than anyone else, and am more than willing to grant rwatts the athiest position on the board, should he ever wish to claim it.

As ever, Jesse

klaus54
07-20-2014, 10:44 AM
Spelling note: The word in question is spelled ATHEIST.

"I before E except after C or when sounded as A as in 'neighbor' and 'weigh'"

Hey, waitaminnit...

Carry on.

K54

Jesse
07-22-2014, 12:41 AM
Dear Jesse,

I find it puzzling, at best, that the author somehow manages to go from "38 percent" to "we all believe" in support of the premise that atheists don't exist. I would personally see this as evidence of the opposite conclusion. 62 is, after all, generally perceived as larger than 38.

Pew Research is highly reliable in my experience, so I've gone to the trouble of reading Religion and the Unaffiliated (2012) (http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise-religion/). The author appears to be citing data from the following figure:


1168

... without acknowledging the included clarification:


In addition, about four-in-ten atheists and agnostics (including 14% of atheists and 56% of agnostics) say they believe in God or a universal spirit.

I would note that 86 is generally perceived as larger than 14 as well, and, as it further diminishes the author's case, note that its exclusion casts doubt on the objectivity of the author.



In point of fact, whatever TWebbers may believe about my own existence, I have never claimed to be athier than anyone else, and am more than willing to grant rwatts the athiest position on the board, should he ever wish to claim it.

As ever, Jesse

Hey there Jesse (funny how we have the same name :teeth:),

Thanks for the extra info. I have no idea what the authors religious affiliation is so I can't say whether there is bias or not. I do think a lot of people are not boiling down his long article into it's most basic premise. The premise is that everyone is born with a metaphysical outlook. "Atheists might not exist" is a catch title but also true. Atheist or not, you will always, as a human, have a metaphysical outlook.

I thought it would be something interesting to ponder for Atheists because of such a large percentage of Atheists that do and don't believe in God/U.S. is so close. It makes you wonder what "Atheism" means to most Atheists. I think the fact that there is this much confusion is a bit more proof of my position. Thanks for your input :).

Teallaura
07-22-2014, 07:03 AM
Hey there Jesse (funny how we have the same name :teeth:),

Thanks for the extra info. I have no idea what the authors religious affiliation is so I can't say whether there is bias or not. I do think a lot of people are not boiling down his long article into it's most basic premise. The premise is that everyone is born with a metaphysical outlook. "Atheists might not exist" is a catch title but also true. Atheist or not, you will always, as a human, have a metaphysical outlook.

I thought it would be something interesting to ponder for Atheists because of such a large percentage of Atheists that do and don't believe in God/U.S. is so close. It makes you wonder what "Atheism" means to most Atheists. I think the fact that there is this much confusion is a bit more proof of my position. Thanks for your input :).


When you first came I had to check your profile to be sure you weren't Taoist - I thought for a sec that he'd changed his name again... :hehe:

Jesse
07-22-2014, 05:42 PM
When you first came I had to check your profile to be sure you weren't Taoist - I thought for a sec that he'd changed his name again... :hehe:

Heh. Nope. We are two completely different people lol :smile:.