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Human Endeavour Includes thinking really hard...

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Old 1st October 2015, 04:53 PM   #292211  /  #1
Brother Daniel
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shenanigans with "belief"

There’s a pretty substantial subset of atheists among whom some really weird things are done with the idea of “belief”. I’ve gotten into this on TR on several occasions now.

One of the symptoms is the claim (apparently made seriously) to have no beliefs at all!

If I ask the obvious question (“Do you really believe that you have no beliefs?”), they don’t seem to get the point. It’s weird.

Another symptom: When discussing cases where I would say it’s awfully hard NOT to believe in something – e.g. my belief that I am sitting in a chair right now – these people will say things like “but when something is tangible, you don’t NEED to believe in it”. I’ve seen this invocation of “need” on several occasions, from several people. But what does (this kind of) “need” have to do with whether you DO believe or not?

My best guess as to what’s going on (based on further prodding of such people) is that they’re restricting the meaning of “belief”, to apply only to “irrational belief”, or “insufficiently supported belief”, or something roughly along those lines.

And if that’s what they’re doing, then that has other problems. For one thing, I think I have common usage on my side (with “belief” being much broader in application than these atheists want it to be). I’m not 100% against rebelling against common usage, but this particular rebellion doesn’t serve any useful purpose, IMO. They’re just making communication more difficult.

And even with that restriction, the claim to have no beliefs is still silly.

This rubbish strikes me as too stupid to have been invented multiple times independently. So here’s what I’m wondering: Does anyone know where this kind of thing started? Is there (for example) some Gnu Atheist Guru who wrote something like that in a book somewhere?

eta in b4 who cares
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Old 1st October 2015, 05:16 PM   #292217  /  #2
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I believe that everyone has irrational beliefs.
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Old 1st October 2015, 05:21 PM   #292220  /  #3
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It is annoying. I think it stems from there being a casual use for the word 'belief' (I believe the sun will rise tomorrow) and a formal use of the word, implying theism, and perhaps a third use, say foretelling weather because of folk beliefs.

Early on, theists made arguments like 'I can't see air but I believe it's there', which were silly irt theistic beliefs. I think that's where atheists began to be frustrated with such uses of the word. Hence:

Quote:
they’re restricting the meaning of “belief”, to apply only to “irrational belief”, or “insufficiently supported belief”, or something roughly along those lines.
I agree it's dumb, and applies mostly to people who like to nitpick on both sides. I don't think it was an atheist guru that started it, I think it was just a grassroots reaction to the silliness of the 'air is invisible' meme.
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Old 1st October 2015, 06:23 PM   #292223  /  #4
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this is above my head
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Old 1st October 2015, 06:35 PM   #292226  /  #5
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Basically it is common for atheists to abuse language, logic, rational thought, and the scientific method to support their absurd belief system.

They twist all of the above out of any semblance of reality because if used properly they would have to accept how wrong they are. Instead they prefer the no rules way of life.

It is a rare atheist that is not a selfish prick with morals that change based upon how the circumstance fits their current desires.
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Old 1st October 2015, 06:41 PM   #292230  /  #6
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lol
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Old 1st October 2015, 06:43 PM   #292231  /  #7
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trust Jerome to shit up the thread 4 posts in

However, he does hit upon something that is true though not confined to atheists, it is common for people to create their own definitions for words for various different reasons.
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Old 1st October 2015, 07:08 PM   #292237  /  #8
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if anyone is familiar with beliefs, it's jerome
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Old 1st October 2015, 08:13 PM   #292244  /  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brother Daniel View Post
There’s a pretty substantial subset of atheists among whom some really weird things are done with the idea of “belief”. I’ve gotten into this on TR on several occasions now.

One of the symptoms is the claim (apparently made seriously) to have no beliefs at all!

If I ask the obvious question (“Do you really believe that you have no beliefs?”), they don’t seem to get the point. It’s weird.

Another symptom: When discussing cases where I would say it’s awfully hard NOT to believe in something – e.g. my belief that I am sitting in a chair right now – these people will say things like “but when something is tangible, you don’t NEED to believe in it”. I’ve seen this invocation of “need” on several occasions, from several people. But what does (this kind of) “need” have to do with whether you DO believe or not?

My best guess as to what’s going on (based on further prodding of such people) is that they’re restricting the meaning of “belief”, to apply only to “irrational belief”, or “insufficiently supported belief”, or something roughly along those lines.

And if that’s what they’re doing, then that has other problems. For one thing, I think I have common usage on my side (with “belief” being much broader in application than these atheists want it to be). I’m not 100% against rebelling against common usage, but this particular rebellion doesn’t serve any useful purpose, IMO. They’re just making communication more difficult.

And even with that restriction, the claim to have no beliefs is still silly.

This rubbish strikes me as too stupid to have been invented multiple times independently. So here’s what I’m wondering: Does anyone know where this kind of thing started? Is there (for example) some Gnu Atheist Guru who wrote something like that in a book somewhere?

eta in b4 who cares
They are baby atheists. Let them mature some and they will grow out of it. Rebellion is the word. It's hard sometimes, and they grow armor, because that change from believer to non believer is tough on some.
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Old 1st October 2015, 08:56 PM   #292251  /  #10
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shenanigans with "belief"

I think atheists are referring to weird (to some) religious belief plus belief that gib is not lizard people. I.e. unprovable ones.

I agree with Zel; it gets old to keep hammering at that. (Forums that are broader than that suit me better. 'Nuff said.)

ETA You go, Jerome! Wow you know loads of stuff!
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Old 1st October 2015, 09:08 PM   #292257  /  #11
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The parish I play music for is currently between priests and an interim priest(-ess: though the Anglicans seem to have a tough time wrapping their lips around the word 'priestess on loan from the diocese is in charge. She has some interesting views regarding theistic belief, which no one's managed to sort out yet because half the parishioners think she may be talking over their heads and the other half think she may be on a spectrum between 'eccentric' and 'completely off her head'.

I may, if the opportunity arises, ask her a couple belief related questions with reference to Bro D's OP.
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Old 1st October 2015, 09:11 PM   #292261  /  #12
Brother Daniel
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A different belief-related shenanigan:

One correspondent of mine (a theist, this time) tried to redefine "belief" in such a way that it wasn't about a mental state.

"To believe X", he suggested, "means to act as if X is true."

But that definition doesn't work either, as it presupposes that the truth of the matter (X versus ~X), as opposed to one's mental model, is what governs your actions.

The only sense I can make out of this one is if he was trying to say something like "...to act as if you ______ that X is true" -- where some verb goes into the blank.

The best verb to fit the concept being referenced is "believe", but that's the word that he's trying to (re)define. So in that case his definition would be circular, hence useless.

I don't know how common this is, but anyway it's pretty dumb.
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Old 1st October 2015, 09:23 PM   #292265  /  #13
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On yet another different note: A lot of people treat belief as a matter of choice.


It seems to me that a chosen belief is (necessarily) a dishonest one. And that beliefs usually aren't chosen anyway.
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Old 1st October 2015, 09:43 PM   #292274  /  #14
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:getout:
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Old 1st October 2015, 10:39 PM   #292287  /  #15
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Old 1st October 2015, 10:47 PM   #292290  /  #16
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science requires a load of belief; even faith, that the data produced by others is correct. how many people have ever seen the stratigraphic context of the Burgess Shale, let alone dated something via the uranium series, or repeated the Michelson-Morley experiment?
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Old 1st October 2015, 11:12 PM   #292304  /  #17
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Or actually went to the moon.
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Old 1st October 2015, 11:20 PM   #292308  /  #18
Brother Daniel
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Originally Posted by MSG View Post
science requires a load of belief; even faith, that the data produced by others is correct. how many people have ever seen the stratigraphic context of the Burgess Shale, let alone dated something via the uranium series, or repeated the Michelson-Morley experiment?
Why do I get the feeling that you're setting an aspie trap?
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Old 1st October 2015, 11:35 PM   #292312  /  #19
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I wouldn't do that to you bro d
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Old 1st October 2015, 11:41 PM   #292315  /  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brother Daniel View Post
A different belief-related shenanigan:

One correspondent of mine (a theist, this time) tried to redefine "belief" in such a way that it wasn't about a mental state.

"To believe X", he suggested, "means to act as if X is true."

But that definition doesn't work either, as it presupposes that the truth of the matter (X versus ~X), as opposed to one's mental model, is what governs your actions.

The only sense I can make out of this one is if he was trying to say something like "...to act as if you ______ that X is true" -- where some verb goes into the blank.

The best verb to fit the concept being referenced is "believe", but that's the word that he's trying to (re)define. So in that case his definition would be circular, hence useless.

I don't know how common this is, but anyway it's pretty dumb.
I use the word "think" in the blank. To me "think" implies a flexibility, as though I can easily change my mind if I find out it isn't true. I find this to be important in life = )

I don't know if this preceded my atheism or not. I have been one for a very long time. I didn't read Hitchens or Dawkins et al cause they are babies compared to me : )
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Old 1st October 2015, 11:43 PM   #292316  /  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome View Post
Basically it is common for atheists to abuse language, logic, rational thought, and the scientific method to support their absurd belief system.

They twist all of the above out of any semblance of reality because if used properly they would have to accept how wrong they are. Instead they prefer the no rules way of life.

It is a rare atheist that is not a selfish prick with morals that change based upon how the circumstance fits their current desires.
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Old 2nd October 2015, 12:05 AM   #292325  /  #22
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I don't ever recommend reading a Jerome post but if you do, try substituting the word televangelist for atheist

ETA especially the last paragraph
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Old 2nd October 2015, 12:41 AM   #292359  /  #23
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Originally Posted by Carlsson View Post
this is above my head
Feel free to just use
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Old 2nd October 2015, 12:46 AM   #292361  /  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome View Post
It is a rare atheist that is not a selfish prick with morals that change based upon how the circumstance fits their current desires.
Weird it's almost like morals are a relative thing and not at all objectively tied to reality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magicziggy View Post
Or actually went to the moon.
I usually just gel my hair vertically and then drive around the neighborhood really fast.
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Old 2nd October 2015, 01:23 AM   #292398  /  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Majiffy View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome View Post
It is a rare atheist that is not a selfish prick with morals that change based upon how the circumstance fits their current desires.
Weird it's almost like morals are a relative thing and not at all objectively tied to reality.
As least you can admit it, most hide from that particular atheist truth.
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