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Vatican: It's ok to believe in aliens

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Masquerouge, May 14, 2008.

  1. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Both, actually. Strong atheism makes the stronger claim, weak atheism makes the weaker claim.

    It's obvious to me that one of the statements makes a logically stronger (more constrained) claim than the other. It's so obvious to me that I'm gonna have to think a bit about how to present this to someone who doesn't comprehend it.

    Get out of what? You make it sound like I'm some sort of craazy claim.

    "I do not believe that God exists" --> If you made a list of all the things I believe, "I believe that God exists" would not be one of them. The statement makes no claim on the existence of "I believe that God does not exist" on this list of things that I do believe. It might be there, but it also might not.

    This is the weaker of the two statements, since it is not as constrained.

    Things you might find on my list: "I believe that I was born in Poland", "I believe that 2+2 is 4", and so on.

    "I believe that God does not exist" --> makes the claim that "I believe that God does not exist" is on the list of things that I believe... for sure. If I had to produce such a list, I would include "I believe that God does not exist".

    Now, you, as a believer, might have a hard time understanding the difference between the two. To you, you either believe that God exists, or you don't. I understand that..

    But the difference is essentially what differentiates Strong atheism vs weak atheism and to a lesser degree atheism vs agnosticism.

    Agnostics do not believe that God exists.. They make no positive claim that God exists, therefore they do not believe that God exists.

    However, an agnostic also does not believe the opposite.. Thus, to say that an agnostic "believes that God does not exist" would be incorrect.

    I jumped on this because in order to really understand my opinion on the question of God, you sort of have to understand this important distinction. So many people out there try to lump people into two camps.. "YOu either believe or you don't!".. but that's just not how it works, and if you do that, you will never understand my stance on the subject. Since the purpose of these forums is an exchange of ideas, and since God comes up fairly frequently in our discussions, you should make a point of understanding this distinction.. saving you the embarassment of fighting strawmen in the future (ie. making claims about my beliefs or lack thereof that are just incorrect)

    If you are unable to address my points without flaming, then perhaps you do not belong in this (heated??) debate.
     
  2. Great Librarian

    Great Librarian Warlord

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    You called the debate 'heated', why the question marks? I don't know that it is heated.
     
  3. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    Well, I did think that your claim is crazy because I do not believe that it is possible to have no stance on something. In this instance, you either think god exists, think he doesn't or say you don't know. If you say God does not exist, you are holding a belief - a negative belief, but still a belief.

    But now I see where you are coming from - it's not that I haven't known this, it just didn't occur to me yesterday. By saying that you don't know, you do not actually believe that god exists. But that is not an atheist's position anyway. And Great Librarian's original claim was that by believing god doesn't exist (the atheist position), he is not actually having a belief because there is a lack of belief there. Now, I can't make any sense of that.

    Why do you assume I'm a believer? And if I am, am I constrained by doctrine, let alone a popular one?

    So at the end of the day, what you term as weak atheism is really agnosticism, as I suspected when I started reading your reply. And I would go further to say that agnostics do hold a belief of their own - they merely believe that it is impossible, at least for the moment, to determine whether god exists.

    I'm not saying that you either believe in god or you don't, but that you have to have a belief, whatever that belief means.

    It was never really heated for me. I never felt anger or frustration. If anything, I've only felt amused.
     
  4. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    You're the one who called it heated, thus my question marks :)

    Sure it is! There is an infinite amount of somethings, and nobody has an inifnite amount of positive beliefs in their "belief repository".

    Ahh, but saying "I do not believe that God exists" is not the same as saying "God does not exist". That was kinda my point :)

    That is the agnostic position as well as the weak atheist position. I'm saying I don't know - and also that I have no stance on it.

    That is the strong atheist position, a subset of atheism. The all-encomassing atheist position is slightly different - not belieivng that God exists. Again, a different position with different logical conclusions.

    Sorta. All weak atheists are agnostic.. but not all agnostics are weak atheists.

    That isn't just a term I made up btw..

    Some of them, yeah.

    I do hold a positive belief regarding God.. but it is neither "I believe that God exists" nor is it "I believe that God doesn't exist".. it isn't "It's impossible to know whether God exists or not" either.

    If I had to state a positive belief regarding God, I'd have to say "I believe that I do not believe that God exists"

    So yeah, you can make anything into a belief. but does it really make sense? I think it's somewhat convoluted.

    Yeah, I must, technically, since we've discussed the subject and I've thought about it.. I must have some sort of a belief, like I explained above.. but that doesn't mean that "I believe that God doesn't exist" is the same thing as "I don't believe that God exists", which is what I was trying to explain all along.

    That was directed at mr librarian
     
  5. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    Do you believe that Alexander the Great ate fish on his 13th birthday?

    The two answers are quite different:
    "I do not believe he ate fish"
    "I believe that he didn't eat fish"
     
  6. Sidhe

    Sidhe Deity

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    I think there is no way to know if he ate fish or not on his 13th birthday, and that is perfectly consistent. :)

    You can have no stance on whether God exists or not, I have the stance that until evidence arises there is no way of knowing, if it can be called a stance, so I will take the stance of being unsure. You could be a more rigid agnostic and say we will never know or that we can't ever know, and so have no stance ever. It's not an illogical "stance", and it's perfectly possible to have that "stance" and remain consistent. Agnosticism is not a stance it is being unwilling to make a stance, it is the fence sitters option and it has no real challenge on consistency. I have no idea what the problem is with that?
     
  7. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

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    I just think it is unfortunate that yet another thread has become a debate either on the nature of belief and disbelief or whether God exists. Should we expect this from now on any time God or religion is mentioned in the OP?
     
  8. Masquerouge

    Masquerouge Deity

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    Particularly when you think that my purpose in making this thread was to show that science and religion do not have to be at odds...

    Oh well.
     
  9. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    In my defense, the thread was already derailed before I put forth my objections ;)

    Btw Sidhe, people believe things even though it is impossible to know them. El Machinae's example is a beautiful of what I've been trying to say.
     
  10. Great Librarian

    Great Librarian Warlord

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    Mhmm?...

    I definitely didn't call the debate heated, you did and then I quoted you, saying you were stepping into 'some sort of heated debate' albeit without using quotes. I don't think that the debate was ever heated, it's just been tiresome and yet another thread has been derailed.
     
  11. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    You present a contradictory argument, so I'm not sure I get your point. But, yes, it is impossible to have no stance. Your stance is that you do not wish to take conclusive stance and/or might never do so. There is no such thing as a no-belief or a no-stance. Don't know? Your personal stance is that you are unsure (as you said). That is not a conclusive stance, but it is one.

    That's simply what I've been trying to say all along.
     
  12. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    Well, I suppose the 2nd part of the quote addresses the 1st and concludes our part of the argument?
     
  13. Sharwood

    Sharwood Rich, doctor nephew

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    I was thinking the same damn thing. We don't need to get this bs argument with GL going again, and I have no desire to argue anythng else in the area. I thought this thread would be cool, and I could say things like:

    What if the aliens are homosexual? Or reveal that their leader is named Elohim, and Elijah is in their ships bathroom taking a dump? How will the Vatican explain that?
     
  14. Sidhe

    Sidhe Deity

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    Then your talking rubbish, quite simply. A stance involves a decision, you can't be pro Iraq and not have a stance on Iraq, you can't be anti Iraq likewise. You could be undecided or uncommitted, in which case you are neutral and have no stance. Let's stop playing stupid semantic games, stances are for opinions not the lack of one. Ignosticism is the classic lack of no stance, not only do you not have an stance on Gods existence but is totally and utterly irrelevant.

    stance

    –noun

    2. a mental or emotional position adopted with respect to something: They assumed an increasingly hostile stance in their foreign policy.

    Ok, dictionary decided, you are wrong.
     
  15. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    :lol: Speak for yourself, mate.

    Your dictionary definition doesn't prove your right. In fact, it can prove you wrong. An undecided position is also a mental/emotional position.

    You can't think absolutely nothing of something you are talking about. That's just how the mind works. It's not semantics. You are playing with semantics.

    Sorry, you need to come up with something more sophisticated than a simple definition that you thought has to be interpreted in whatever way you think it is :p

    And it's agnosticism, by the way. And it remains that atheism (believing that no god exists) is not a lack of belief.
     
  16. Sidhe

    Sidhe Deity

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    well if reality doesn't thrill you then there's nothing else to try. Suffice to say I'm sure everyone else in reality will go on believing it's possible not to have a stance on something, like in the real world where real people live. :D

    Christ, just say you were wrong, no one cares that much, it's a simple matter of what something is, not what you'd like it to be, and a stance is an attitude or reflection on what your opinion towards or against something is. It just is alight. :) I bet you've even read a hundred times phrases like Geoff had no stance on marijuana because he never used it and never cared if anyone else did. And so on, but now whenever you come across it just pretend such a phrase is false and that the author was ********. If that floats your boat.
     
  17. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    Of course, if you wish to take every spoken or thought word literally, you can go on believing that. The mind always comes to a decision about something, whether that is actually what you would call decisive or not. When a person says he has no stance, all he is saying is his stance is neutral because of a lack of information or interest. He is not saying it because he literally thinks or can think no thoughts whatsoever about the subject at hand.
     
  18. Sidhe

    Sidhe Deity

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    A stance is active not passive. That's the problem you seem unable to grasp. It's active because stance is a physical action, that reflects the way you approach a subject. If you don't have anything to say or care one way or the other then you have no stance, even if subconsciously you might have some repressed feelings you don't consciously know about. It's not a stance.
     
  19. lutzj

    lutzj The Last Thing You See

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    This will never be an issue, since Chuck Norris has pre-empitively killed all alien life.
     
  20. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    How is a stance physical or an action? You mean you are associating the physical meaning of the word with the mental/philosophical one? That's just laughable. And I'm not aware that thoughts are either active or passive or whether there is any relevance even if some sort of a strange and somewhat arbitrary distinction of such can be made.

    I guess in the real world, where people get mixed up over different meanings of the same word and where people don't think what they say through, people seem able to have no stance. That I agree. However, I would then question whether the 'real' world is actually synonymous with reality.
     

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