Is atheism a religion?


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Eben TheQuiet wrote:


Can i ask the OP, what the purpose of the question was? It sounds like this is a spill-out from another thread.

You are correct.

Quote:
WHat is the point this thread is trying to make?

That atheism is not a religion. On a related note neither are science, logic, and reason.


There's nothing left to discuss, then. Atheism is not a religion. It is the opposite; non-belief in any "higher power" you can count on to save you from something.

The "atheism is a religion" argument comes solely from the religious, who feel some need to ascribe fanaticism to atheists of some imagined stripe. It's a straw man argument.

There's nothing left to say.


If I don't believe in a god (atheist), but instead believe in ghosts and reincarnation and maybe an afterlife where spirits roam to when they are done being reborn, does that mean I can't be religious?

Or at some point can we come to the conclusion that one's belief of a god or gods is separate from whether or not someone is religious?

Religion is a culture. Whether or not you believe in a god, is a belief.

Culture can be comprised of beliefs, but a belief on it's own is not a culture...

DONE

Quit being illogical people...


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bugleyman wrote:

On the other hand, anyone who actually believes they can prove god doesn't exist (who presumably be a textbook atheist) is guilty of exactly the same faulty reasoning as many theists. So in the sense that it is a belief not based on evidence, then I suppose it could be considered a religion, or at least close enough to one for the distinction not to matter.

I have two objections to this argument

1) Being based on faulty reasoning is not sufficient in and of itself to qualify an idea as a religion. Herbal supplements, miracle diets, turn your debt into wealth, fox news, pyramid schemes, and ghosts all suffer from a series lack of evidence and supporting logic, but aren't in and of themselves religions.

2) What qualifies as disproof? Has any idea ever been disproved either because of an internal contradiction or simple inability to produce any reasonably expected evidence?

We do not just say that the people positing the discovery of cold fusion failed to demonstrate they were correct, we say they were proven wrong. They were shown to be perpetuating a hoax.

There's nothing religious about saying "there is no sasquatch" or "there are no St george and the style fire breathing princess kidnaping dragons"... its just that no one argues with you when you say that. Do people become members of the church of A-sasquatchism?

I don't see what's wrong with not kowtowing to the ridiculously strident philosophy that nothing is ever proved or disproved. Philosophies inability to prove the existence of its own rear end or disprove invisible pink unicorns is its problem, not mine.


Ragnarok Aeon wrote:

If I don't believe in a god (atheist), but instead believe in ghosts and reincarnation and maybe an afterlife where spirits roam to when they are done being reborn, does that mean I can't be religious?

Or at some point can we come to the conclusion that one's belief of a god or gods is separate from whether or not someone is religious?

Religion is a culture. Whether or not you believe in a god, is a belief.

Culture can be comprised of beliefs, but a belief on it's own is not a culture...

DONE

Quit being illogical people...

You don't have to believe there's a "god" to be "religious." There are plenty of examples of that.

Define those things as you may. Logic has no part in it.

Shadow Lodge

Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:

The only difference being that religion says "Magic created the universe. Period. No further discussion will be allowed." Whereas athiests say "This is what we think happened. Lets try and prove it."

Edit: Minor verbage changes.

I disagree. Many religions, even those that do ot have any deities at all, or are not beholden to any deities, do have a variety of explanations that are not "magic did it". Many are cloaked in terminology that might seem that way because the writers and the contributors did not have the same mindset or understanding of the world we do, and so do not go into details like we do that would explain it in modern, scientific understandible ways, but that is not just magic. It's usually more along the lines of the specific details do not matter. They are neither the point of the writing nor would they be understood by the vast majority of the disciples.

On the other hand, evolution, the big bang, aliens, or all the other scientific explanations and beliefs are actually very much "magic did it", as none of them can go past a certain point. The big bang, for example, can not, (it is not posssible based on the premise of the big bang itself) to explain what actually happened prior to that. In science all reactions require something equal or greater to cause them, so something(s) must have happened before the big bang. Something had to happen to create all that is in one big ball prior to it's explosion and spreading out of the universe, for example. It's purely a matter of faith at it's core, just one that is seen as acceptible by many, even though it really answers nothing and in fact does ask more questions of itself.

In addition to that, many religions have no issues incorporating these things into their own paradigm, because their focus is not to explain the details of creation, but to gie a framework for the betterment of all mankind (or all life, or all souls, or whatever). So, in that light, it is actually the atheists, who, if accepting that as the one truth, need to foresake any other explanation, and thus any other search for an explanation, that are actually more close-minded, (in a general sense, again not all atheists or all religious people). There is this trend, especially amongst the atheists is not a religion, in my experience, to want to put themselves in this open-minded, "I'm searching for the truth" sort of enlightened group, which is contradictory to what athesim, (as I define it, which is the heart of the issue) stands for. I think that atheists, try to ascribe certain qualities, almost heroic or virtueous to atheism that are not part of the equation. Obviously, this goes both ways, but this is the point, it goes both ways.


A highly regarded expert wrote:
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:

If I don't believe in a god (atheist), but instead believe in ghosts and reincarnation and maybe an afterlife where spirits roam to when they are done being reborn, does that mean I can't be religious?

Or at some point can we come to the conclusion that one's belief of a god or gods is separate from whether or not someone is religious?

Religion is a culture. Whether or not you believe in a god, is a belief.

Culture can be comprised of beliefs, but a belief on it's own is not a culture...

DONE

Quit being illogical people...

You don't have to believe there's a "god" to be "religious." There are plenty of examples of that.

Define those things as you may. Logic has no part in it.

I'm asking the people in this thread to be logical. There are plenty of people advocating the idea that not believing in a god is the opposite of having a religion... Also there are people advocating that believing in no god is a religion... It's not; there can be religions that believe in no god such as reincarnation, but just not believing in a god is not a religion.


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Beckett wrote:
much verbiage

You jumped so many trains here, I won't bother to go into where you are totally wrong. Rest easy in knowing that atheists are not planning to outlaw your personal thoughts about the universe.


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Look, all the good things that religion is doing, let it keep on doing them. If people feel comforted by the belief there is an afterlife, that's great. If people are brought to feel a sense of community through their faith, and it guides them to do good things, and gives them the moral courage to pursue their dreams, that's awesome...

...but as soon as you parlay that belief into any sort of doctrine that refutes science and fights it being taught in schools, or flies planes int buildings, or starts wars, or thinks its okay to discriminate against women, or homosexuals, or illegal immigrants...it's my business and I WILL get angry.


I doubt that are actually that high of a percentage of atheists who did the observations, measurements, and calculations to explain leaving them to have garnered the information from highly regarded experts and wordy passages presented to them.


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Ragnarok Aeon wrote:


Quit being illogical people...

You don't have to believe there's a "god" to be "religious." There are plenty of examples of that.

Define those things as you may. Logic has no part in it. I'm asking the people in this thread to be logical. There are plenty of people advocating the idea that not believing in a god is the opposite of having a religion... Also there are people advocating that believing in no god is a religion... It's not; there can be religions that believe in no god such as reincarnation, but just not believing in a god is not a religion.

We come to the religions that believe in a "creator god," and other systems that don't, such as Buddhism. There are many others.

There are countless "religions" out there. What they have in common is belief in metaphysical explanations for things we can't explain, such as how the universe came to be, and who, if anyone, can affect it.

They also pretend to give explanations to such questions, and say a lot of different things as "proof."

Atheists would like something tangible. Prove it, and I'd be a fool to not believe.


Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
I doubt that are actually that high of a percentage of atheists who did the observations, measurements, and calculations to explain leaving them to have garnered the information from highly regarded experts and wordy passages presented to them.

Which is irrelevant, since there are nonetheless experiments which will invariably prove those hypotheses correct.

As it happens, even in basic high school science classes, I've done a good deal of such experiments. Like showing that two objects accelerate at the same rate regardless of size (mass). The beautiful thing about science is that all the tenets of a particular science are logical and necessary extensions of a few basic undisputed observations.


A highly regarded expert wrote:
Atheists would like something tangible. Prove it, and I'd be a fool to not believe.

Other than the atheist religions who are perfectly content with either a)something intangible (Daosim) or b)not knowing (Buddhism).


meatrace wrote:

Look, all the good things that religion is doing, let it keep on doing them. If people feel comforted by the belief there is an afterlife, that's great. If people are brought to feel a sense of community through their faith, and it guides them to do good things, and gives them the moral courage to pursue their dreams, that's awesome...

...but as soon as you parlay that belief into any sort of doctrine that refutes science and fights it being taught in schools, or flies planes int buildings, or starts wars, or thinks its okay to discriminate against women, or homosexuals, or illegal immigrants...it's my business and I WILL get angry.

People are stupid and dangerous. They will come to stupid beliefs and do harmful things, religious or not. Look at human testing, bigotry based on beliefs of supreme genes, apathy towards humans to boost the economy.

People have many scapegoats to excuse their hate or abuse of people they feel are lower than themselves, religion is just one of the ones used most often.


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Ragnarok Aeon wrote:

People are stupid and dangerous. They will come to stupid beliefs and do harmful things, religious or not. Look at human testing, bigotry based on beliefs of supreme genes, apathy towards humans to boost the economy.

People have many scapegoats to excuse their hate or abuse of people they feel are lower than themselves, religion is just one of the ones used most often.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't mean to imply that people don't do horrible things without religion. But those things are also intolerable, regardless of who does them. People in a religion have to know that, despite the clarity their belief gives them in other things, when it tells them it's okay to do those things it's WRONG.

If your religion tells you it's okay to do these things, you should question your beliefs!


meatrace wrote:
A highly regarded expert wrote:
Atheists would like something tangible. Prove it, and I'd be a fool to not believe.
Other than the atheist religions who are perfectly content with either a)something intangible (Daosim) or b)not knowing (Buddhism).

Again, tangible proof that there's something beyond this life in which your "soul," "essence," or whatever, actually exists after you die would be news, indeed.

Atheism, properly defined, is greater than the dismissal of a creator god. It defies the limits of etymology, and really means the dismissal of ALL metaphysical attempts to explain why we're here.

Give me facts, or keep believing whatever. Just don't kill people for not believing your version, and we can get along.

I acknowledge that the real world doesn't work that way...

Shadow Lodge

A highly regarded expert wrote:
Beckett wrote:
much verbiage
You jumped so many trains here, I won't bother to go into where you are totally wrong. Rest easy in knowing that atheists are not planning to outlaw your personal thoughts about the universe.

I have absolutely no idea how you get this from what I said? That is not what I am saying or even intending to imply.


A highly regarded expert wrote:

Atheism, properly defined, is greater than the dismissal of a creator god. It defies the limits of etymology, and really means the dismissal of ALL metaphysical attempts to explain why we're here.

I hate to have to keep hammering this, but no it doesn't.

Atheism just means lack of belief in a god or gods.
Daoists are atheists, as they have no gods, but they do believe in supernatural forces.
My mom is an atheist, but she believes in a cosmic consciousness.
I'm an atheist and I don't dismiss supernatural explanations for existence, I'm just reserving judgment until sufficient evidence can be presented.

I'm an atheist. My disbelief in any deity or set of deities doesn't define me or my belief structure. All sorts of other things do. I'm sure YOUR belief structure, YOUR worldview is very different, despite us both being atheists.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Muja wrote:


The First Church of Atheism is a construct of "necessity" to allow true "non-denominational" services be practiced. And while the church may claim...

We got married by our Deputy Mayor. It was as non-denominational as one could get.


LazarX wrote:
Muja wrote:


The First Church of Atheism is a construct of "necessity" to allow true "non-denominational" services be practiced. And while the church may claim...

We got married by our Deputy Mayor. It was as non-denominational as one could get.

Clearly they were a member of the Deputy Mayor religion.

Liberty's Edge

meatrace wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Muja wrote:


The First Church of Atheism is a construct of "necessity" to allow true "non-denominational" services be practiced. And while the church may claim...

We got married by our Deputy Mayor. It was as non-denominational as one could get.
Clearly they were a member of the Deputy Mayor religion.

My wife and I were members of the Vice-Consul religion.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
meatrace wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Muja wrote:


The First Church of Atheism is a construct of "necessity" to allow true "non-denominational" services be practiced. And while the church may claim...

We got married by our Deputy Mayor. It was as non-denominational as one could get.
Clearly they were a member of the Deputy Mayor religion.

This being New Jersey, he did shake us down for a campaign contribution after he was done.


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LazarX wrote:
This being New Jersey, he did shake us down for a campaign contribution after he was done.

He wanted your money? That's DEFINITELY a religion!


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Becket wrote:
Something had to happen to create all that is in one big ball prior to it's explosion and spreading out of the universe, for example. It's purely a matter of faith at it's core, just one that is seen as acceptible by many, even though it really answers nothing and in fact does ask more questions of itself.

This is patently false. While the big bang does bring up more questions that we're still trying to answer the big bang is not simply some random story that got cobbled together and was accepted on blind faith.

The entire reason that we conclude the big bang in the first place is because

1) Everything seems to be moving away from everything else
2) Cosmic Background radiation
3) The relatively high amounts of lighter elements (hydrogen) compared to everything else
4) The distribution of galaxies.
5) How galaxies appear to form.

Your accusations that science is just another arbitrarily chosen creation myth are wrong. They are not your feelings, they are not a valid view, it is not simply "how you see it", you are not right "in a certain sense"... you are flat out objectively and incontrovertibly wrong.

Shadow Lodge

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Becket wrote:
Something had to happen to create all that is in one big ball prior to it's explosion and spreading out of the universe, for example. It's purely a matter of faith at it's core, just one that is seen as acceptible by many, even though it really answers nothing and in fact does ask more questions of itself.

This is patently false. While the big bang does bring up more questions that we're still trying to answer the big bang is not simply some random story that got cobbled together and was accepted on blind faith.

The entire reason that we conclude the big bang in the first place is because

1) Everything seems to be moving away from everything else
2) Cosmic Background radiation
3) The relatively high amounts of lighter elements (hydrogen) compared to everything else
4) The distribution of galaxies.
5) How galaxies appear to form.

Your accusations that science is just another arbitrarily chosen creation myth are wrong. They are not your feelings, they are not a valid view, it is not simply "how you see it", you are not right "in a certain sense"... you are flat out objectively and incontrovertibly wrong.

And what part is "patently false", exactly? I can take what you said, and what I said, and have them both still work just fine. Is it just that I called it "faith based" instead of "not fully known" or "not fully understood"? I also didn't say that science was arbitrarily chosen. I actually didn't say anything about science itself if I recall. Just certain explanations that we as a whole tend to take as more credible.

Off topic, but last I heard, science was actually going away from the big bang theory basically for this reason, and that it did not coincide with more modern observations. I could be wrong, and that's neither here nor there.


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Beckett wrote:
And what part is "patently false", exactly?

It's purely a matter of faith at it's core<------ This part

Conclusions based on evidence are not faith. They may not be philosophic certainty, but they are hardly faith. There is a vast difference between just accepting a particular mythology and accepting the best conclusion you can wring out of the evidence that you have.

Shadow Lodge

And the ancients explaining that the gods had come to midgarrd to do battle was based on the evidence that the people at the time observed and understood. That doesn't preclude faith in science, or specifically the examples I gave. I do not me religious faith here, just faith, which is more about believing or understanding past what can be completely and fully explained.

It is faith still, even if the conclusions we draw are made based on our modern interpritation of things.


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Becket wrote:
And the ancients explaining that the gods had come to midgarrd to do battle was based on the evidence that the people at the time observed and understood

No, it was not. What evidence were people using to determine that a giant bear scratched up the side of devils tower, or that Thors hammer smashed in valleys and raised mountains?

Lantern Lodge

Religion stems from a belief therefore having a belief even in a negative statement can result in a religion. there is a difference between not believing in a god and believing that there is no god, namely the latter is a belief.

religion regardless of its truth has a place, its just not as important today. Religion is the driving force behind many peoples charity and sense of community which is hard to find elsewhere. In the old days community meant survival. religion fashioned as it was because education was lacking back then and everything told to the common people had to be put in terms the uneducated could understand easily enough to feel a deep connection.

science is based solely on "falsifiability" the potential for a statement to be proven wrong. gravity is proven because we know what would happen if it was false(though how gravity works is something else) ie we would float instead of falling down.

theory is a way of saying "we think and have yet to prove wrong".

Liberty's Edge

Beckett wrote:

And the ancients explaining that the gods had come to midgarrd to do battle was based on the evidence that the people at the time observed and understood. That doesn't preclude faith in science, or specifically the examples I gave. I do not me religious faith here, just faith, which is more about believing or understanding past what can be completely and fully explained.

It is faith still, even if the conclusions we draw are made based on our modern interpritation of things.

If my child has faith in the tooth fairy, that doesn't change the fact someone just made the tooth fairy up.

If you want to argue that people actually observed gods doing battle on Midgard...


DarklightHitomi wrote:

Zasril

+

Religion stems from a belief therefore having a belief even in a negative statement can result in a religion. there is a difference between not believing in a god and believing that there is no god, namely the latter is a belief.

Not all beliefs are religions. I believe i am sitting in a chair. I believe being hit in the head with a rock hurts. I believe I can carve a wooden chain. I believe I am the prince of Singapore.

Likewise non beliefs do not constitute religions. We do not have a church of the anti-sasquatch, or aalienabductionists, or amoonlandinghoaxists.

Liberty's Edge

@Beckett - Scientific theory exists to be tested and proven wrong. That is the whole process.

If I say Santa Claus brings gifts to good boys and girls, I can test that theory and prove it to be false, or at least prove it to be so improbable that it is irrelevant to discussion as a likely cause.

Religion sets out beliefs, but when those beliefs fail to be true after testing, rather than saying "That theory has now been proven wrong" tries to still fit the square peg in the round hole.

Many of the greatest scientific theories in history have been proven to be completely wrong once newer methodology was available. Because science isn't faith based, it is fact based.

The ancients believed a lot of things that we now know are wrong. But apparently they aren't subject to being tested and disproved.

As to the "all you have" comment, I can actually give you a ton of other logical fallacies that occur with and omnipotent or omniscient deity, but if you are going on "faith" that God can magically transcend logic and reason, they won't be relevant to you.

Either all things in the universe follow rules, or they don't. If God is a magical outlier in your worldview, no amount of evidence is going to change that.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

A highly regarded expert wrote:

The "atheism is a religion" argument comes solely from the religious, who feel some need to ascribe fanaticism to atheists of some imagined stripe. It's a straw man argument.

There's nothing left to say.

At least part of the "atheism is a religion" argument comes from atheists who are trying for their groups to achieve the same kinds of recognition and privileges that churches get--particularly military atheists who are trying to get atheist chaplains. Whether or not they actually think atheism is a religion, they are trying to get the status of a religion.


It sounds like there's a few issues being talked about. The first is the on-going debate about what atheism is and is not as well as what religion is and is not. The second seems to be ciretose trying to absolutely refute the existence of everyone's god(s).

atheism and religion
Can we at least agree that we're not all talking about the same things? Are we talking about the traditional definition of religion? Or are we talking about 'religion as a legal status for governmental support purposes'?

Are we talking about how to classify individual atheists? Or are we trying to figure out how to religiously classify this giant body of people who have drastically different motivation and world-views as 'religious' or 'not religious'?

disproving God
First of all, is this even the appropriate place to have this discussion? The thread is about the above. If people don't mind a thread carrying on two discussions, I'll post any of my other thoughts about this. I certainly want to be respectful to the OP, though.

Ciretose, if you really want to disprove all of our god(s), then I'd suggest we either get sign-off from the majority here that it's kosher in this thread, or start a new thread. :)


Eben the quiet wrote:

disproving God
First of all, is this even the appropriate place to have this discussion?

Possibly. If the definition of a religion is an unfounded belief, or a belief based on faith, then providing a foundation or logical argument for that belief undercuts the definition.

Quote:
The thread is about the above. If people don't mind a thread carrying on two discussions, I'll post any of my other thoughts about this. I certainly want to be respectful to the OP, though.

pbbth.. why would anyone respect that dofus...

The two subjects overlap a fair bit. They're bound to get entangled. Why fight the tide? Just enjoy the waves and don't let it turn into a tsunami.


Cool, then what do i need to submit to be refuted, Ciretose?

What about the last proposal for you to refute was refutable? If it's not an appropriate thing to submit, then let me know what about my beliefs I need to give you so you can prove it wrong.

I'm really not being snarky. I'm genuinely interested to hear your thoughts on how's it's provably wrong or untrue.

Shadow Lodge

ciretose wrote:
@Beckett - Scientific theory exists to be tested and proven wrong. That is the whole process.

I understand, and I agree. Honestly, on this part, I'm not sure if you are agreeing with me or not. I am not suggesting that science is faith. I am suggesting that there are parts of science that require or utilize faith. The big bang, (which I accept by the way) is a belief that does not have solid evidence but does have suggestive results that can be observed for use to be fairly sure it may have happened. It is also kind of an anomily, as no one saw it, it is not reproducable, and no one can possibly even begin to know or guess any sort of variables surrounding it as an event. It isn't even comparrible to anything, remotely.

ciretose wrote:

As to the "all you have" comment, I can actually give you a ton of other logical fallacies that occur with and omnipotent or omniscient deity, but if you are going on "faith" that God can magically transcend logic and reason, they won't be relevant to you.

Either all things in the universe follow rules, or they don't. If God is a magical outlier in your worldview, no amount of evidence is going to change that.

I'm sorry, but this doesn't prove or disprove anything you claimed. I'm really not trying to be rude, but it isn't even clever. Presenting two mutually exclusive premises and then pointing out how it obviously creats a paradox. Assuming that God, or the gods, or whatever you want to attribute this to must do something because they can do something, and assuming that then disproves their existence. Yet, you are failing to actually prove the thing itself, which was your claim.

Saying that God is all knowing, but if for some reason we did something he didn't know, that would make him not all knowing, (obviously).

But that only proves that if God exists and if he is also all knowing, and if we somehow did something without him knowing it, you would be right, not that that actually happened at some point in time. Secondly, you also fail to prove that, assuming all of the above, there is no other reasoning, such as God turning his super diviner powers on/off at will.

Then, if God has free will, who says they can not, (again assuming all powerful/all knowing, know every result of every decision they make, regardless. Maybe he flips a coin. Maybe he goes off of how he feels at the moment, still knowing what will happen either way, and a catrillion other possiblities besides down the road. Think Doc Manhattan.


So, did we figure anything out yet?

Also, any of you guys ever read Catch-22? It's a pretty fun book.

In one chapter, Yossarian gets involved in some metaphysical pillow talk with the girl he's performing adultery with. They both agree that they don't believe in God and this spurs Yossarian onto a really vituperative tirade against God, kind of like a combination of Hitchens and Voltaire and Heinlein in Stranger In a Strange Land. I won't attempt to do it justice (and it's been years since I've read it) but it's really good, if you like that kind of thing.

Anyway, his girlfriend gets real upset, and they have a fight. It turns out that they didn't disbelieve in the same God, either.

Hee hee!


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Beckett wrote:
The big bang, (which I accept by the way) is a belief

Let me preface this by admitting that I'm a scientist, by training and profession. For me, the Big Bang is not a belief. It's a provisional hypothesis to account for a number of observations. Gravity is likewise not a belief, because although the math isn't too hard, that still leaves me with no idea how it ultimately works (and assigning "gravitons" to it doesn't help that). In fact, I have no beliefs at all -- only more or less confidence in certain models and hypotheses. I tend to provisionally accept the ones that demonstrate greater predictive power or general utility, and reject the ones that lack these qualities, but that's as far is it can go.

Being a scientist properly means leaving beliefs at the door, and accepting that while better approximations are possible, certainty isn't. If you can't grasp this mind-set, then science will always be a mystery to you, and the type of atheism that I and many others (Dawkins, et al.) ascribe to will also be incomprehensible.


Would it be fair, then, Kirth, to suggest that science is in fact your religion? I mean, other than lacking a certain amount of 'hocus-pocus' (which is to say belief/faith in things which cannot be tangibly tested/proven), it seems to fit at least most of the criteria for being a religion (at least more than atheism does).

It actively shapes your worldview. It answers some specific existential questions for you. it then informs -- based on that worldview and answers to those existential questions -- how you live your life.

Really all it lacks is the god(s) figurehead and the ritual. Though the rigid practice of science itself could fall into the category of ritual.

It's gotta be closer than saying being an atheist is your religion, i would think.


Eben TheQuiet wrote:
Would it be fair, then, Kirth, to suggest that science is in fact your religion? It actively shapes your worldview.

No; I picked the profession because my world-view made me admirably suited to it. I was a skeptic long before I was a scientist. In terms of religion, I consider myself a Zen Buddhist (albeit not a very good one!).


Oh, fine, crap on my little idea there.


Mu!


Eben TheQuiet wrote:

Would it be fair, then, Kirth, to suggest that science is in fact your religion? I mean, other than lacking a certain amount of 'hocus-pocus' (which is to say belief/faith in things which cannot be tangibly tested/proven), it seems to fit at least most of the criteria for being a religion (at least more than atheism does).

It actively shapes your worldview. It answers some specific existential questions for you. it then informs -- based on that worldview and answers to those existential questions -- how you live your life.

Really all it lacks is the god(s) figurehead and the ritual. Though the rigid practice of science itself could fall into the category of ritual.

It's gotta be closer than saying being an atheist is your religion, i would think.

It also lacks any of the cultural/ethnic trappings that are a hallmark of religion; this has much to do with my "science doesn't care why, only how" statement about a million posts ago.

The thing about science is that "science" is an extremely broad term, usually used in place of "logic" or "rationalism"*. That is to say, Kirth has told me in the past that he's a hydro-geologist; broadly speaking, science may well function as you describe, but I'd submit that hydro-geology, or any of specific field of science, does not.

*Rationalism is particularly aggravating because there's religious rationalism and philosophic rationalism, and they're pretty well opposite.


Though I would be interested to know, Kirth, whether you knew you were a scientist before a Zen Buddhist or vice versa... if you don't mind sharing.


Eben the quiet wrote:
It actively shapes your worldview. It answers some specific existential questions for you. it then informs -- based on that worldview and answers to those existential questions -- how you live your life.

Science really doesn't do the "ought" questions that a religion does. Its pretty much limited to is.


Eben TheQuiet wrote:
Though I would be interested to know, Kirth, whether you knew you were a scientist before a Zen Buddhist or vice versa... if you don't mind sharing.

(Shrugs) I'd studied Zen around the same time I was an undergraduate, but didn't self-identify as such until I'd practiced for a few years and found that the benefits were more or less as advertised. There are points I disagree with, as with anything -- but I never argue with results. (Granted, in that respect you could consider it more applied psychology than religion, but whatever.)


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Science really doesn't do the "ought" questions that a religion does.

My only problem with this statement is that religion, as a whole, eagerly claims the "ought" questions but generally does a lousy job with them. Seems like there "ought" to be something better!


I can't disagree with any of that from either of you. To me, my faith is based on how the Bible answers "why", which then flows naturally to an "ought".

And as to Kirth's statement about there 'ought' to be something better... I generally agree that religions (even the general lifestyle of the one to which I subscribe) fail pretty consistently. I can only speak for my faith, though, when I say that's a failure of the people who translate and practice the faith than it is with the belief system itself. Heck, I'm positive that I consistently don't live up to what my faith subscribes is the right way to live. But that's on me and my faith system shouldn't take the fall for it.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Eben TheQuiet wrote:
Though I would be interested to know, Kirth, whether you knew you were a scientist before a Zen Buddhist or vice versa... if you don't mind sharing.
(Shrugs) I'd studied Zen around the same time I was an undergraduate, but didn't self-identify as such until I'd practiced for a few years and found that the benefits were more or less as advertised. There are points I disagree with, as with anything -- but I never argue with results. (Granted, in that respect you could consider it more applied psychology than religion, but whatever.)

As an undergraduate, did you already know what you wanted to do (and were admirably suited for) with your life?

Sorry if I'm being pushy or nosy (feel free to tell me to butt out). I'm insatiably curious about motivation and the question of 'why'. So figuring out how one relates to the other (if it does) is important to me.

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