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Thread: Does atheism have a rational basis?

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    Igneous Magma
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    Does atheism have a rational basis?

    I wish to argue that atheism does not have a rational basis. Atheism assumes that reason is valid, and I, a Christian agree. However, atheism does not seem to offer an independent standard for reason, and so for escaping claims of biological determinism, or Marxist determinism, or any determinism that says "your thoughts are just the product of your circumstances, rather than having an independent basis".

    If the physical universe is that independent standard, and is utterly independent, then how can we interact with it? It must relate to us in some causal sense, in order for us to interact with it by validating it through reason. Only an independent thing ("Reason") seems available, and we participate in Reason by reasoning. Otherwise Reason or reasoning is just something that happens in our heads, with no relation to the outside world. But perhaps you disagree ...

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    weary pragmatist big_lefty's Avatar
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    Quote Quote by: ovnoclov View Post
    I wish to argue that atheism does not have a rational basis. Atheism assumes that reason is valid, and I, a Christian agree. However, atheism does not seem to offer an independent standard for reason, and so for escaping claims of biological determinism, or Marxist determinism, or any determinism that says "your thoughts are just the product of your circumstances, rather than having an independent basis".

    If the physical universe is that independent standard, and is utterly independent, then how can we interact with it? It must relate to us in some causal sense, in order for us to interact with it by validating it through reason. Only an independent thing ("Reason") seems available, and we participate in Reason by reasoning. Otherwise Reason or reasoning is just something that happens in our heads, with no relation to the outside world. But perhaps you disagree ...
    None of this disputes atheism. Yes, the universe relates to us in an causal sense, but that doesn't have to mean there's a deity involved.

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    Sapere Aude Jack's Avatar
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    then how can we interact with it?
    We interact with it by being a part of it. We are not apart from the basic stuff of the universe. We are composed of the same material that constitutes the universe and everything in it. We are not, as some theologies suppose, apart from nature or special creations of nature.

    The premise of the OP is flawed by the presumption that atheism means something more than the simple lack of a belief in the claims of theism. Materialism or humanism are not inherent aspects of atheism. There are atheists who would contend that we relate to the universe through the collective mind, ESP or crystal energy.

    In rejecting the unsupported claims of theists that their particular god exists atheism is practicing reason and being rational.


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    Igneous Magma
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    universal stuff

    Dear Jack

    Hi. Thanks for engaging. I agree that we are made of the same stuff of the universe, and yet I would suggest that we are also separate from it, so far as we transcend the basic elements of which we are made, just as a tree is separate from the limbs, bits of bark, branches and leaves of which it is composed.

    Assuming that the "OP" is the opening premise, I did in fact equate atheism with strict materialism, given that many atheists adopt it. I also agree that atheists practice reason and are rational by rejecting unsupported claims by anybody. However, I would suggest that theists, and in particular monotheists (such as Einstein and Newton), make claims that ARE supported by reason.

    Cheers,

    o

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    Igneous Magma
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    Dear BL

    Hi. Thanks for engaging. I would ask what is the independent standard upon which atheism bases reason as being independent from causality, and hence makes it so useful as a standard for measuring and describing the universe.

    Hope you're not snowed under,

    o

    Quote Quote by: big_lefty View Post
    None of this disputes atheism. Yes, the universe relates to us in an causal sense, but that doesn't have to mean there's a deity involved.

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    The chosen' frozen' yukonmuffin's Avatar
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    I believe all you have pointed out is that we're not 100% certain of anything, witch is a fair assumption but doesn't disprove atheism.
    Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

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    I'm the camel samsara15's Avatar
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    Quote Quote by: big_lefty View Post
    None of this disputes atheism. Yes, the universe relates to us in an causal sense, but that doesn't have to mean there's a deity involved.
    I can support that idea. However, I am not sure that rational logic applies to the universe.

    In any case, I doubt a deity in the Christian sense plays any part in casuality or the universe. The Christian God seems more a part of humans seeing the universe in human terms.
    Today's ideological enemies may be tomorrow's allies, and vice versa. So be nice to your enemies, you may need their help tomorrow.

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    weary pragmatist big_lefty's Avatar
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    Quote Quote by: ovnoclov View Post
    Dear BL

    Hi. Thanks for engaging. I would ask what is the independent standard upon which atheism bases reason as being independent from causality, and hence makes it so useful as a standard for measuring and describing the universe.

    Hope you're not snowed under,

    o
    You're welcome and thanks for responding,

    It's news to me that atheism has anything to do with reason being independent from causality. I can't answer that question since I don't agree with the premise behind it.

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    Lobotomized Angry Citizen's Avatar
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    I wish to argue that atheism does not have a rational basis. Atheism assumes that reason is valid, and I, a Christian agree. However, atheism does not seem to offer an independent standard for reason, and so for escaping claims of biological determinism, or Marxist determinism, or any determinism that says "your thoughts are just the product of your circumstances, rather than having an independent basis".
    Or maybe it's because atheism should be the basis for theology. Anything beyond atheism should be suspect. Frankly, there is no basis for God, any more than there is a basis for a teapot orbiting the sun, its radius larger than Earth's to the sun, yet smaller than Mars' to the sun. If one approaches all questions from a positive, supportive standpoint instead of a negative, skeptical standpoint, one loses that basic filter for determining reality from fiction.

    There is no God. Until you can prove me wrong, that fact will remain immutable.
    A man said to the universe:
    "Sir, I exist!"
    "However," replied the universe,
    "The fact has not created in me
    A sense of obligation."


    -- Stephen Crane

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    weary pragmatist big_lefty's Avatar
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    Quote Quote by: samsara15 View Post
    I can support that idea. However, I am not sure that rational logic applies to the universe.

    In any case, I doubt a deity in the Christian sense plays any part in casuality or the universe. The Christian God seems more a part of humans seeing the universe in human terms.
    Quite right and an excellent point. It's an attempt to impose human standards on a universe which probably does not conform to them, which is why it makes no sense. It's tempting to think you have to be stupid to buy into it, but I do know some smart people who do. Mind you, I also find it stupid, to a lesser degree, to be certain there can't be a God, because once again, it's based on human notions (albeit more sensible ones) which likely don't apply to the universe. The universe is vast and unknowable, therefore we can't possibly know the truth about this.

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    weary pragmatist big_lefty's Avatar
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    Quote Quote by: Angry Citizen View Post
    Or maybe it's because atheism should be the basis for theology. Anything beyond atheism should be suspect. Frankly, there is no basis for God, any more than there is a basis for a teapot orbiting the sun, its radius larger than Earth's to the sun, yet smaller than Mars' to the sun. If one approaches all questions from a positive, supportive standpoint instead of a negative, skeptical standpoint, one loses that basic filter for determining reality from fiction.

    There is no God. Until you can prove me wrong, that fact will remain immutable.
    I disagree with your last point, because it's not a fact that there is no God.
    It's just human conceit to think our notions of what is a sound basis for evidence of God should conform to something that is outside of corporeal human reality.

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    Lobotomized Angry Citizen's Avatar
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    I disagree with your last point, because it's not a fact that there is no God.
    It's just human conceit to think our notions of what is a sound basis for evidence of God should conform to something that is outside of corporeal human reality.
    I disagree. It has been shown that religious experiences can be neurologically mapped. It has been shown that religions almost never agree on even the most fundamental nature of so-called divine beings. The historical veracity of the Bible, the Koran and the Torah is lower than the most unreliable texts. Religions speak of a bygone era, comfortably in the past, when miraculous, strange things occurred. It shrouds itself in a web of fear, perpetuates through child indoctrination, and cloaks its inability to prove itself with cop-outs such as your statement regarding 'corporeal reality'. What the hell kind of reality do you think there is beyond this one, and what on Earth makes you think it exists?

    Just as it is a 'fact' that will-o'-the-wisps do not guard buried treasure, so too is it a comfortable 'fact' that religion is bullshit. In short, religion is explainable. God is not.
    A man said to the universe:
    "Sir, I exist!"
    "However," replied the universe,
    "The fact has not created in me
    A sense of obligation."


    -- Stephen Crane

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