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As far as atheism being the default position...

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4 years ago#1
I saw it in another topic and it got me thinking.

Why do people think this is the case? Surely the default position would be reserving judgment as there's no evidence presented either way? Atheism is a disbelief that a God exists (either weak or strong) and to disbelieve something you must have a reason to not believe it..or you must have a reason to believe in not A (where A stands for the existence of God). Therefore the most you have is agnosticism. I really don't see what's wrong with 'no opinion' as the default position though.
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4 years ago#2
Some of us atheists like to think that, because almost everyone has to believe something completely inane.
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4 years ago#3
If people define atheism as "lack of belief" and babies lack belief then they are atheists.

Woops, thought you said something about babies. Doesn't really change my argument any though. If someone lacks belief then they are an atheist according to the definition that seems common on this board.
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4 years ago#4
koala_cool_j posted...
to disbelieve something you must have a reason to not believe it..or you must have a reason to believe in not A (where A stands for the existence of God).

Err, no you don't. You don't need a reason to not believe something, you need a reason to believe something. "No reason to believe X" is pretty much a reason to not believe X.

koala_cool_j posted...
Therefore the most you have is agnosticism. I really don't see what's wrong with 'no opinion' as the default position though.

Then the distinction lies in differing definitions. While some people view agnosticism as something similar to "no opinion," "weak" atheism is actually the closest position to "no opinion" that one can take. Agnosticism refers to an actual assertion about our ability to verify whether god exists, and not a declaration of one's personal beliefs on the subject, except in some cases where the individual may be reluctant to refer to their lack of belief in god as atheism due to a stigma against the term, may not know what these words actually mean, or may ignore the generally accepted definitions of these terms for whatever other reason.
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4 years ago#5
Then a rock is also atheist. I think "lacks belief" is generally understood as "having the capacity for belief, yet lacking it". Otherwise it's nonsense.
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4 years ago#6
Hustle Kong posted...
Then a rock is also atheist. I think "lacks belief" is generally understood as "having the capacity for belief, yet lacking it". Otherwise it's nonsense.

If you were to apply a label to the rock, then I suppose it would be, though I don't know why you would want to do that.
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4 years ago#7
If people define atheism as "lack of belief" and babies lack belief then they are atheists.

Woops, thought you said something about babies. Doesn't really change my argument any though. If someone lacks belief then they are an atheist according to the definition that seems common on this board.


But....that's not the definition of atheist. I agree if that WERE the definition it would be the case, but that's not the definition. The definition of atheism is disbelief in a deity (in any degree of intensity, strong, weak, medium, mild, whatever) Agnosticism is essentially the lack of belief in a deity.

Err, no you don't. You don't need a reason to not believe something, you need a reason to believe something. "No reason to believe X" is pretty much a reason to not believe X.

This is a common misconception I hear a lot.

If I told you the stock market would crash tomorrow because that's what my Chinese fortune cookie says (as if there's other nationalities of fortune cookies) then you do not have a good reason to believe the stock market would crash. However, that doesn't believe it isn't going to crash, you would simply have to reserve judgment because you do not know, and you have no reason to believe either way. You'd be stuck at 50 percent probability of each rationally.

Then the distinction lies in differing definitions. While some people view agnosticism as something similar to "no opinion," "weak" atheism is actually the closest position to "no opinion" that one can take. Agnosticism refers to an actual assertion about our ability to verify whether god exists, and not a declaration of one's personal beliefs on the subject, except in some cases where the individual may be reluctant to refer to their lack of belief in god as atheism due to a stigma against the term, may not know what these words actually mean, or may ignore the generally accepted definitions of these terms for whatever other reason.

The definition I'm using is from the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, that's pretty much what everyone uses IIRC.
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'They've picked their heads up off the ground, and they now have a lot to carry on their shoulders.' -Ron Atkinson
4 years ago#8
"If you were to apply a label to the rock, then I suppose it would be, though I don't know why you would want to do that."

Why would one want to apply a label to a baby? It makes the same amount of sense. Atheism as a label ONLY makes sense when speaking about absence of belief where belief is a possibility.
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Shooting Game never die.
It prays that the clover of luck be always in your mind.
4 years ago#9
" The definition of atheism is disbelief in a deity (in any degree of intensity, strong, weak, medium, mild, whatever) Agnosticism is essentially the lack of belief in a deity."

Weak atheism is the non-belief, or lack of belief in a deity.
---
Shooting Game never die.
It prays that the clover of luck be always in your mind.
4 years ago#10
koala_cool_j posted...
But....that's not the definition of atheist.

Yes, it is. The active belief that god does not exist is considered atheism as well, though.

koala_cool_j posted...
The definition of atheism is disbelief in a deity (in any degree of intensity, strong, weak, medium, mild, whatever)

Lack of belief is a form of disbelief, and even active disbelief also involves a lack of belief, of course, so it's still a valid definition.

koala_cool_j posted...
Agnosticism is essentially the lack of belief in a deity.

No, not at all. You can believe in (a) god(s) and be agnostic simultaneously.
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