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Re: [atheists-27] Why (Almost All) Cosmologists are Atheists

From: Mathew G.
Sent on: Sunday, March 24, 2013 1:11 PM
Any sensible person has to be agnostic towards well defined factual assertions about how the world works that are not favored or disfavored by empirical evidence.  Is theism a well-defined assertion for which the overall available evidences have no direction or weight?  My answer is that theism either incorporates claims that violate the laws of physics, or it is ill-defined, and therefore is counter-evidenced, or not properly justified.

Now, what about the so-called sophisticated theologians and liberal theists who redefine theism in an effort to not directly conflict with the laws of physics?  They are taking an ideology first approach and they are either inserting entirely superfluous factual assertions without any proper justification, such as claiming god manipulates the outcomes at the quantum mechanical level so we cannot detect god's interventions, or they just define god as being synonymous with fact free poetic adornments that leave god ill-defined so that god exists becomes an assertion that has no substance.  There is no proper reason to believe, let alone worship, such a god.

On Mar 24, 2013, at 12:48 PM, Chad  <[address removed]> wrote:

Zhibo,
Atheists and religious people alike have beliefs that cannot be proven by evidence, logic, or reason.  An atheist does not know there is no god, they believe it to be true.  Atheists accept this belief because it works out better intellectually than the religious alternative.  However, they can never know for certain.  Which brings me to agnostics.  An agnostic carries the same beliefs but portends to be more clever or smarter than the atheist.  Boiled down both have the same beliefs.  Recently, I watched Dr. John Shook in one of his God debates.  He rather smartly pointed out that scientists and philosophers all around the world believe in the principle of uniformity: what we observe now of the laws of nature happens everywhere in the natural universe, always has and always will.  However,  there is no evidence to support this whatsoever.  They assume it from the outset in order to explain coherently scientific evidence  about the Universe.  Makes things make sense.  Religious people make this same assumption with the Koran and the Bible to explain things about the Universe.  My overall point is that there are many things  people BELIEVE to be true but could never KNOW to be true. For example: I don't believe the Dali Llama is living his seventh life cycle but i cannot know-know.
 What makes an atheist/agnostic better, I believe, is their logical assessment of evidence.  Religious people tend to lack real intellectual curiosity (outside of church/temple/mosque propaganda) and are from birth bullied into their  beliefs. It should be a capital crime to damage a the soft brain of a child with tales of the Arch, sharia law, or whatever it is the jews do their kids. 

Chad  


From: Zhibo Lai <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Sunday, March 24,[masked]:57 AM
Subject: Re: [atheists-27] Why (Almost All) Cosmologists are Atheists

Matthew, good points and good question "why are we atheists." I've always been curious about this answer from other people as well.

My answer is I consider myself an "atheist" more so on the grounds of semantics, after long discussions with a good atheist friend. Though, what I really consider myself is an agnostic--one who does not know whether there is a god or not. Again, it's purely a semantic difference here. If to be an atheist is to say "I do not believe in god," then I'm an atheist. However, a belief is not the same as "I know there is no god." For to "know" in this case is to say I'm absolutely certain there is no god. And I can be absolutely certain of nothing, not even "I think, therefore I am." <- this is another topic, i won't get into here> Thus, I still consider myself an agonistic.

The word God is an overloaded term which means many different things to different people. If you define god as an all good, all powerful, all knowing creator of everything that sent Jesus down to absolve our sins, then I can safely say I'm 99.99% certain this god does not exist. But, if you say god is simply the creator of our universe, and that's all we know (it could be limited in power, intelligence, or even dead by now), then I would be fully agnostic in this definition, for I have no evidence or experience to suggest that this god does or does not exist.

I'm also a fan of quantum physics, though it's way above my IQ grade, I read the dumbed down laymen's books of it. In this relatively new field of physics, it opens up a lot more possibility for there to exist this creator/god. For example, in recent science news, physicist are now searching for proof that we live in a simulation. Here's one such article http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/11/physicists-may-have-evide_n_1957777.html

If it turns out to be true that we live in a matrix like simulated world, then there is a God(s)--with respect to the definition that it is our Creator(s). What then do we make of such a group called the atheists?





From: Mathew Goldstein <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Saturday, March 23,[masked]:56 PM
Subject: [atheists-27] Why (Almost All) Cosmologists are Atheists

An obvious topic for an atheist email group is to answer the question why we are atheists.  Some people treat this as a question about personal history: When I was xx years old such and such happened.  But I see this as primarily being an intellectual question.  

I am a philosophical naturalist, and my belief that there are no gods (note that I am asserting positively that my belief is there are no gods, I am not merely asserting I don't believe in any gods) is just a by-product of my conclusion that we live in a material world, to quote from a Madonna song.  Like all of my conclusions about what is true or false about how the world works, this is justified based on "looking at", or "reading from", what the overall empirical evidences depict, or say.  In other words, if the overall empirical evidences favored the conclusion that there is one or more gods, then (and only then) I would be a theist.  

Here is as article by Sean Carroll that illustrates how to go about properly justifying beliefs from the empirical evidences, an essential skill that I think far too many people fail to practice, and that I think is worth reading: Why (Almost All) Cosmologists are Atheists http://preposterousuniverse.com/writings/nd-paper/





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