Author Topic: What is atheism?  (Read 473 times)

Tank

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What is atheism?
« on: July 14, 2018, 10:07:53 AM »
What is atheism?

I see a lot of rubbish spoken online (and off) about what atheism is. So here is a description from an atheist of long standing and experience about what atheism actually is.

Atheism is the realisation that there is no substantive, reasonable, rational and repetitive evidence for the existence of a sentient intelligence that created and controls the Universe we exist in.

It's that simple. If there is no evidence that something exists it is best to proceed as if it does not exist rather than make up stories to suit ones desire for it to exist.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Dave

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Re: What is atheism?
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2018, 10:30:04 AM »
What is atheism?

I see a lot of rubbish spoken online (and off) about what atheism is. So here is a description from an atheist of long standing and experience about what atheism actually is.

Atheism is the realisation that there is no substantive, reasonable, rational and repetitive evidence for the existence of a sentient intelligence that created and controls the Universe we exist in.

It's that simple. If there is no evidence that something exists it is best to proceed as if it does not exist rather than make up stories to suit ones desire for it to exist.

Is it really that simple? I can't disagree with that personal view of atheism, it is succinct enough to match my own pretty closely.  However, I have a niggling feeling that atheism is not fully dependent on rationality (might need time to develop that - if I don't forget about it like I do so often!) Perhaps your definition is too "intellectualised", Tank, we describe ourselves as atheists because we gave considered and rejected the alternative(s), an intellectual decision. Are there not those who simply do not bother to condider the nature of the universe but "have no truck with that god stuff"?

I have met at least one self-declared atheist who was into "alternative therapies", especially flower remedies - hardly rational as we might see it. Though she did not believe in healing stones . . .

Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.

Tank

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Re: What is atheism?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2018, 10:53:23 AM »
What is atheism?

I see a lot of rubbish spoken online (and off) about what atheism is. So here is a description from an atheist of long standing and experience about what atheism actually is.

Atheism is the realisation that there is no substantive, reasonable, rational and repetitive evidence for the existence of a sentient intelligence that created and controls the Universe we exist in.

It's that simple. If there is no evidence that something exists it is best to proceed as if it does not exist rather than make up stories to suit ones desire for it to exist.

Is it really that simple? I can't disagree with that personal view of atheism, it is succinct enough to match my own pretty closely.  However, I have a niggling feeling that atheism is not fully dependent on rationality (might need time to develop that - if I don't forget about it like I do so often!) Perhaps your definition is too "intellectualised", Tank, we describe ourselves as atheists because we gave considered and rejected the alternative(s), an intellectual decision. Are there not those who simply do not bother to condider the nature of the universe but "have no truck with that god stuff"?

I have met at least one self-declared atheist who was into "alternative therapies", especially flower remedies - hardly rational as we might see it. Though she did not believe in healing stones . . .

Well atheism is only related to theism and while in general atheists do eschew many other aspects of 'woo' it is not a prerequisite for being an atheist.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Recusant

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Re: What is atheism?
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2018, 12:50:48 PM »
Absence of belief in deities. I think anything beyond that is superfluous.
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Tank

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Re: What is atheism?
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2018, 01:11:39 PM »
Absence of belief in deities. I think anything beyond that is superfluous.
In a sense I agree however why would there be absence of belief?
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Dave

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Re: What is atheism?
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2018, 01:15:11 PM »
Absence of belief in deities. I think anything beyond that is superfluous.

Can atheists believe in the "spiritual plane", does the supernatural necessarily require a deity?

(Surprisingly I can't find a :devils advocate: )
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Dave

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Re: What is atheism?
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2018, 01:16:00 PM »
Absence of belief in deities. I think anything beyond that is superfluous.
In a sense I agree however why would there be absence of belief?

Good point!
Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.

Dave

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Re: What is atheism?
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2018, 01:26:23 PM »
What is atheism?

I see a lot of rubbish spoken online (and off) about what atheism is. So here is a description from an atheist of long standing and experience about what atheism actually is.

Atheism is the realisation that there is no substantive, reasonable, rational and repetitive evidence for the existence of a sentient intelligence that created and controls the Universe we exist in.

It's that simple. If there is no evidence that something exists it is best to proceed as if it does not exist rather than make up stories to suit ones desire for it to exist.

Is it really that simple? I can't disagree with that personal view of atheism, it is succinct enough to match my own pretty closely.  However, I have a niggling feeling that atheism is not fully dependent on rationality (might need time to develop that - if I don't forget about it like I do so often!) Perhaps your definition is too "intellectualised", Tank, we describe ourselves as atheists because we gave considered and rejected the alternative(s), an intellectual decision. Are there not those who simply do not bother to condider the nature of the universe but "have no truck with that god stuff"?

I have met at least one self-declared atheist who was into "alternative therapies", especially flower remedies - hardly rational as we might see it. Though she did not believe in healing stones . . .

Well atheism is only related to theism and while in general atheists do eschew many other aspects of 'woo' it is not a prerequisite for being an atheist.

Fair enough, I thought too much about the "rational" aspect but you had specified that being re a creative intelligence. Hmm, are there any theisms that do not have a creator legend but still involve themselves with the supernatural I wonder . . . Quick search finds none but the creator legend probably started long after humans prayed just for something pragmatic, like a child or a good hunt. Or no more thunder storms.
Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.

Bluenose

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Re: What is atheism?
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2018, 02:10:50 PM »
Many many years ago when I first started thinking about these sorts of things, I came to the conclusion that the fundamental difference between an atheist and a believer is what I called the basic assumption.  Whether or not there is a cause or purpose for the universe.  I could find no reason to think there was such a cause, so I rejected the idea as not useful.
“The story so far:
In the beginning the Universe was created.
This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”

― Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

+++ Divide by cucumber error: please reinstall universe and reboot.  +++

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Re: What is atheism?
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2018, 02:40:34 PM »
Absence of belief in deities. I think anything beyond that is superfluous.
In a sense I agree however why would there be absence of belief?

The basis for the absence of belief is worthy of discussion, but in my view the term "atheism" in and of itself doesn't require any explanation of reasons. It describes a position on the existence of deities; any additional baggage is beyond the remit of the word. People can be just as unthinkingly atheist as they can be theist. To assert that "atheism" describes not only a position on the existence of deities, but also a position on evidence supposedly supporting said deities' existence (implying that all atheists have given serious thought to the issue of evidence) is to ignore that fact.
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Dave

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Re: What is atheism?
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2018, 03:17:07 PM »
As has been said before, a new term is seriously heeded. There have been "Brights", a term for which I have no time, nor for the arrogance I found on one "Bright" forum.

I call myself an atheist and a humanist, both of which are accurate for my purposes. But I would wish for something to include a disbelief in all aspects of the supernatural or other "non-rational" approaches to the macrocosm or microcosm.

OK, this is outside the scope of the original post but, I feel, it worth exploring the whole
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Bad Penny II

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Re: What is atheism?
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2018, 03:28:58 PM »
An atheist is not a theist.

I don't know what atheism is.
But we know what it isn't.
Probossibly.
Certainty disturbs me


No one

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Re: What is atheism?
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2018, 03:30:13 PM »
It's a super cool club where the dregs of humanity swap baby eating secrets.

Bad Penny II

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Re: What is atheism?
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2018, 04:16:06 PM »
It's a super cool club where the dregs of humanity swap baby eating secrets.

Truth be told I only swap to misdirect.
I expect others do the same and I spend most of my time reverse engineering their misdirections to discern what they didn't want me to.
Certainty disturbs me


Tank

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Re: What is atheism?
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2018, 07:02:51 PM »
Absence of belief in deities. I think anything beyond that is superfluous.
In a sense I agree however why would there be absence of belief?

The basis for the absence of belief is worthy of discussion, but in my view the term "atheism" in and of itself doesn't require any explanation of reasons. It describes a position on the existence of deities; any additional baggage is beyond the remit of the word. People can be just as unthinkingly atheist as they can be theist. To assert that "atheism" describes not only a position on the existence of deities, but also a position on evidence supposedly supporting said deities' existence (implying that all atheists have given serious thought to the issue of evidence) is to ignore that fact.
I do agree that there are unconsidered atheists as there are unconsidered theists. But because they have made no effort to consider and derive their position they are thus both thoughtless in their position. I am discussing those atheists that have come to a considered opinion. And in my experience it is the lack of evidence for the existence of a sentient involved 'god' that brings a realisation that there is no god.   
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.