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Why I am not an atheist or an atigerist

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  • gloriousbattle
    Denizen of Moo Uria
    • Jan 2011
    • 119

    Why I am not an atheist or an atigerist

    Essentially because starting with a conclusion that something is not there is no better than starting with a conclusion that something is there. Remember that we do not start life in a vacuum. There are all kinds of phenomena surrounding us that we do not understand. One of the most important jobs we have, if we want to maintain any kind of quality of life, is to figure out what really underlies those phenomena.

    SILLY EXAMPLE

    I live near the jungle. I hear roaring in the jungle at night. I do not understand it, know what causes it, or how to approach it.

    I meet a hermit, who tells me that this is a tiger.

    I meet yet another hermit who tells me that he is an atigerist. He has decided to reject the tiger as being too ephemeral, and the product of a weak, easily frightened mind. He has never seen a tiger, after all, and the roaring can be explained by the wind. He has decided to just get down to the business of living life, and thinks I should too.

    I become an atigerist, and, much relieved, wander off into the jungle to enjoy my day.

    Now, you might argue that atigerism is easily disproven. I could get snide and say that it is not, as nobody who set out to do so ever came back . What's more, knowing human nature as well as I do, I am perfectly convinced that there are people who would maintain their atigerism even if the tiger was chewing off their legs, and would dismiss every problem that followed to some other cause.

    Please understand though, that it doesn't help to turn the tiger into an all -powerful / knowing / loving / wrathful being either. If you go out into the jungle to commune with the tiger, it may well be unimpressed.

    The wise man does neither of these things. Rather, he starts with what he knows -that there is a roaring in the jungle. He speaks to tigerists and atigerists both, reads their writings, etc. He does his own investigation based on what he knows, and is as cautious and conservative as he can be in so doing. He is still human, after all, and not outside the equation. If there is some deadly power in the jungle...

    The one thing that he does NOT do is make wild assumptions as to the existence or nature of the tiger based on his emotions. If he is also a responsible man, he tries to communicate his conclusions to others.

    My ideas, anyway.
    Last edited by gloriousbattle; 02-02-2011, 07:55 AM. Reason: I can't spell
  • J-Sun
    Priest of Nadsokor
    • Dec 2007
    • 2173

    #2
    At some point we all make our best guess. At some point you decide whether you believe in tigers. It may be a lousy guess ("I am 51% sure that there are tigers") or an amazingly educated deduction ("Based upon all available data I am 98% sure tigers don`t exist"), but at some point the decision is made. Becasue all of us at some point need to make a trip into the jungle, and then the time for research and questions and reading is done, and we get on with it. At some point we walk through the jungle.

    In my line of work I meet lots of 20-something agnostics and fewer 40-something agnostics. There's nothing wrong with being agnostic, but after a while, the whole "I don`t know what's out there" slowly turns into "I don`t care what's out there." At some point we get on with living and make one of three decisions: there is a tiger, there is not a tiger, or "I'm not going into the jungle so I could care less."

    I do a lot of funerals. And I sit with a lot of people as they die. Most start asking me about tigers in the end. My own opinion: I think that waiting until the day you have to take a walk through the jungle is a lousy time to figure out if you believe in tigers. You should have made preparations for that before now. (Cf. "Leaf by Niggle" by Tolkein) I have far greater respect for those who have decided that there are no tigers than those who don`t care until the last minute and suddenly it's an emergency.

    Live your life without regrets. Either there is a tiger or there isn`t. I respect those that are taking the best shot they have, whetever their decision. Such people can be engaged in intelligent discourse. I have trouble with those that simply are too lazy to consider the question. Maybe its because they seem to think that, down the road and in the end, an emergency on their part constitutes an emergency on mine. Once lived, you can't change your life. So do your best now while you have the chance.
    "Self-discipline and self-knowledge are the key. An individual becomes a unique universe, able to move at will through all the scales of the multiverse - potentially able to control the immediate reality of every scale, every encountered environment."
    --Contessa Rose von Bek, Blood part 4, chapter 12

    Comment

    • Rothgo
      Champion of the Unbalanced
      • Aug 2006
      • 6663

      #3
      I get what you're saying J-Sun, but not all unknowns are doing so 'cos they can't be bothered. There are also the reasoned unknowns to consider: they estimate that tigers are on 70% say, or 30% - the number doesn't really matter - but having considered it, they have also reasoned that they don't need to 'know', don't need to choose. Tigers will or will not happen and they are OK with either case, odd as that may seem, even when they do take a trip into the jungle.

      Comment

      • Nathaniel
        Champion of the Balance
        • Nov 2006
        • 1989

        #4
        A silly counter-example

        I live near the bush (its like jungle, but Australian and flamable)

        I sometimes hear booming sounds that are a lot like thunder.

        I meet a bushie who tells me that it is Dropbears that make the sound, and he sells me a magic necklace made from bottlecaps that wards them off.

        I meet a seccond bushie who explains that it is really just thunder, and that the first bushie lies a lot, especialy to tourists, and makes a pretty tidy profit doing so

        so I decide to become an adropbearist.
        /end of silly counterexample

        And starting with the assumption that there is nothing there IS massively different than assuming that there is, we do it all the time quite legitimately. The list of things I assume are not there is stageringly large. When I open my clothes drawer I assume that it does not contain
        1) Tigers
        2) Sharks
        3) the 1978 lineup of the Boston Celtics
        4) the 1978 Superbowl lineup of the L.A. Red Sox (I know, there was never such a thing, weird huh?)
        5) An Indochinese contortionist (though one could theoretically have hidden in there)

        This is just a quick list of 5 random examples, the actuall list of things I assume at a pre-conscious level are not in my clothes drawer is actuall much much longer. I could be bit harsh and say that another thing that isn't in there is clean, freshly washed sox, even though it would be re-assuring to think that ( I am pretty lax about such things)

        The point is that unless there is some reason to think that a particular thing exists, assuming it doesn't is actually the sensible starting point. Most atheists (who have done the legwork themselves) take that position because of the aplication of Okham's Razor, and are able to put together a pretty decent idea of how things run that does not require the existence of a god or God, and if a system does not require something, it isn't really sensible to automatically include it.

        on an asside, as a friend of mine is fond of saying, "Everyone is an Atheist about other people's religion"

        Comment

        • gloriousbattle
          Denizen of Moo Uria
          • Jan 2011
          • 119

          #5
          Originally posted by Nathaniel View Post
          The point is that unless there is some reason to think that a particular thing exists, assuming it doesn't is actually the sensible starting point.
          My issues with this line of reasoning:

          1. I have seen too many strange things in my life to discount the supernatural. The strange thing about this is that even the most ardent atheists will generally admit the same. When then pressed, the response usually is equivalent to "...and so I'm comfortable with not believing in anything, and I don't want to get uncomfortable."

          For somebody like that, attempt no answer; there would be no point.

          2. You want proof of the supernatural? Here it is. Either: a. the universe has always existed, b. the universe does not exist, c. the universe popped into existence out of nothing, or, d. something created the universe.

          The trouble is that none of those 4 are in any sense reasonable, and yet one of them has to be the case.

          3. Finally, the atheist position really fails to deal with why the vast majority of human beings have believed in -and feared- the supernatural throughout all our history, and well into pre-history. Somehow, this guy has an epiphany on the bus, or something, that invalidates the past 10,000 years of human thought, including that of Plato, Aristotle, and some other fairly sharp guys. Okay.

          Remember, though, that I am not saying that the opposing viewpoint is right either. I think that rattling bones, channeling aliens in southern California, and slapping whatever God may be with all sorts of attributes is equally silly. My point is that this is really not something about which pronouncements from on high should be made. If we are going to deal with it at all, it should be done as a matter of serious research and investigation.

          Comment

          • gloriousbattle
            Denizen of Moo Uria
            • Jan 2011
            • 119

            #6
            Originally posted by J-Sun View Post
            Either there is a tiger or there isn`t. I respect those that are taking the best shot they have, whetever their decision.
            I agree completely. My problem is with those who believe that they have the 'scientific answer' when, in fact, what they have is as unreasoning as anything out there, and probably more so, as it is not an attempt to understand, but to discount.

            Comment

            • gloriousbattle
              Denizen of Moo Uria
              • Jan 2011
              • 119

              #7
              Originally posted by opaloka
              Many years later, after the peasants had become prosperous, their village became a town, they had explored the world and made contact with all kinds of other people who taught them things and whom they learned from, they did actually see a tiger. They beat the crap out of it. With sticks.
              Lol! Try that some time. Let me know how it works out for you.

              Comment

              • opaloka
                digital serf 41221z/74
                • Jun 2006
                • 3746

                #8
                Modern Aetheism stems from an unwillingness to recognize as real anything that cannot be proven or at least extrapolated via the methods of science. It is essentially 'skepticism'.

                Religion, when it confronts the unknowable, takes the leap of faith into that chasm - it by definition involves faith.

                I'm the last person to say the two approaches to dealing with the unknowable are mutually exclusive, but they are not the same thing.
                Last edited by opaloka; 02-02-2011, 03:51 PM.

                Comment

                • opaloka
                  digital serf 41221z/74
                  • Jun 2006
                  • 3746

                  #9
                  Originally posted by gloriousbattle View Post
                  Lol! Try that some time. Let me know how it works out for you.
                  Words in the wind.

                  Comment

                  • RexDart
                    Nomad of the Time Streams
                    • Jan 2011
                    • 35

                    #10
                    Originally posted by gloriousbattle View Post
                    Originally posted by Nathaniel View Post
                    The point is that unless there is some reason to think that a particular thing exists, assuming it doesn't is actually the sensible starting point.
                    My issues with this line of reasoning:

                    1. I have seen too many strange things in my life to discount the supernatural.

                    2. You want proof of the supernatural? Here it is. Either: a. the universe has always existed, b. the universe does not exist, c. the universe popped into existence out of nothing, or, d. something created the universe.

                    The trouble is that none of those 4 are in any sense reasonable, and yet one of them has to be the case.

                    3. Finally, the atheist position really fails to deal with why the vast majority of human beings have believed in -and feared- the supernatural throughout all our history, and well into pre-history. Somehow, this guy has an epiphany on the bus, or something, that invalidates the past 10,000 years of human thought, including that of Plato, Aristotle, and some other fairly sharp guys. Okay.
                    1. People have been befuddled by the world around them since they became aware of it. The ancient Egyptians saw the sun being created each morning and destroyed each night and didn't discount the supernatural...assumed that it was eaten at night & reborn in the morning... were they correct? Would you say that deserves any consideration as a plausible explanation?

                    2. What's wrong with the assumption that something that currently exists, existed previously? And how is that supernatural?

                    3. It's not really the athiest's position to explain why religious peoples are religious... that's up to the religious peoples. I think we as a species jump to the "Creator created it!" assumption because we ourselves are creators, so that's what makes sense to us, until we discover otherwise (and sometimes beyond).

                    Also, I think you'll find that Plato, Aristotle, and some other fairly sharp guys have all held some pretty wacky notions, too.

                    Comment

                    • Wanderlust
                      Lemon Curry?
                      • Apr 2008
                      • 3627

                      #11
                      Agnostic, here. Not really sure why.
                      Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.

                      ~Henry David Thoreau

                      Comment

                      • gloriousbattle
                        Denizen of Moo Uria
                        • Jan 2011
                        • 119

                        #12
                        Originally posted by opaloka View Post
                        Modern Aetheism stems from an unwillingness to recognize as real anything that cannot be proven or at least extrapolated via the methods of science. It is essentially 'skepticism'.

                        Religion, when it confronts the unknowable, takes the leap of faith into that chasm - it by definition involves faith.

                        I'm the last person to say the two approaches to dealing with the unknowable are mutually exclusive, but they are not the same thing.
                        You miss the point.

                        Comment

                        • opaloka
                          digital serf 41221z/74
                          • Jun 2006
                          • 3746

                          #13
                          Um, no. Perhaps I should have been more clear.

                          Comment

                          • opaloka
                            digital serf 41221z/74
                            • Jun 2006
                            • 3746

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Wanderlust View Post
                            Agnostic, here. Not really sure why.
                            lol. Dont know why.

                            Comment

                            • gloriousbattle
                              Denizen of Moo Uria
                              • Jan 2011
                              • 119

                              #15
                              Originally posted by RexDart View Post

                              1. The ancient Egyptians saw the sun being created each morning and destroyed each night and didn't discount the supernatural...assumed that it was eaten at night & reborn in the morning... were they correct? Would you say that deserves any consideration as a plausible explanation?
                              Straw man argument.

                              Originally posted by RexDart View Post

                              2. What's wrong with the assumption that something that currently exists, existed previously? And how is that supernatural?
                              So you are saying that the universe always was, and always will be? Hawking and a few other physicists might have a few things to say about that.

                              Originally posted by RexDart View Post

                              3. It's not really the athiest's position to explain why religious peoples are religious... that's up to the religious peoples. I think we as a species jump to the "Creator created it!" assumption because we ourselves are creators, so that's what makes sense to us, until we discover otherwise (and sometimes beyond).
                              So psychology is not a part of science? What about human perception of the universe? What about epistemology?

                              If you want to honestly discuss this, I'm happy to, but I am not interested in trading quips.
                              Last edited by gloriousbattle; 02-02-2011, 05:52 PM.

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