Question about Atheism

  • Thread starter Raza
  • Start date
1,596
0
You have asserted that one cannot prove deities don't exist. Assuming that for the sake of argument, it follows that if one believes that deities do not exist, then that belief cannot have a rational or empirical basis.
In general one cannot proof a negative and as far as our knowledge concerns, about anything can exist. How am I to know that an entity X with property Y does not exist?
This does however not mean that the reasoning one uses to conclude that a deity would need to exist cannot be proven wrong, since this can be shown.
 
Hurkyl
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
14,843
17
In general one cannot proof a negative and as far as our knowledge concerns, about anything can exist. How am I to know that an entity X with property Y does not exist?
I repeat: I'm assuming that you are right about this for the sake of argument. There is no reason to try and justify it.

This does however not mean that the reasoning one uses to conclude that a deity would need to exist cannot be proven wrong, since this can be shown.
This is a red herring -- it has absolutely nothing to do with the point I stated.

If one cannot prove a negative, then one has no basis for believing in a negative. The rigor, or lack thereof, of people believing in a positive has nothing to do with it.
 
verty
Homework Helper
2,157
198
Can't one prove that, for instance, it is not the case that snow is blue?
 
1,596
0
Can't one prove that, for instance, it is not the case that snow is blue?
No. There could be planets out there that have a blue kind of "snow".

But perhaps some negative cases can be proven, but not in general.
 
Last edited:
1,596
0
I repeat: I'm assuming that you are right about this for the sake of argument. There is no reason to try and justify it.

This is a red herring -- it has absolutely nothing to do with the point I stated.

If one cannot prove a negative, then one has no basis for believing in a negative. The rigor, or lack thereof, of people believing in a positive has nothing to do with it.
I don't believe in a negative. Just that the theist refers to a materialist worldview as a "negative" (denying the existence of God) does not mean that it is. In my opinion they believe in a "negative" which is the primacy of matter and indestructability and uncreatability of matter itself.

They pose the idea that matter itself was created by mind, they call God.
For that they don't have proof. They would have to proof that:
- mind can exist in the absence of matter
- consciousness can be defined in the absence of something apart and outside of conciousness (ie. how 'sensical' is a description of a mind which has no external world to reflect on or to be consciouss of?)
- matter can be created from nothing

As you can see, the theist who makes the positive existence claim of there being a mind that just did that, has not much to stand on.

For the materialist, the assumption that matter exists and as far as we know, can not be created or destructed (but transformation is of course possible, matter never stays the same cause it is in motion always, thus creating time and space) is without discussion, and we know that our mind can not function without a brain and neither did we see a mind without any material form.

For the theist then, the only way out of this, would lead him to reject the objective existence of matter. They have no place for their creator, except for their own minds. Which is not proof of there being a mind seperate and outside their own mind, and thus puts them in the position their claim can only be true if they are solipsists (reflect on the world as only and enteirely existing within their own mind).
 
Last edited:
856
2
Because the first statement makes an assumption (the universe was somehow 'made' and 'finetuned') which is baseless. It is in fact assuming there is a God.
The other one assumes that there are infinite universes. I could explain why 1 person is struck by a meteor everyday by assuming that there are infinite people who dont, but that doesnt make that explanation true. It could also be that someone is purposely targeting him. Take ur pick.

It doesn't take "faith" to be an atheist or materialist, just logical conclusion and reasoning.
Yes there is a logical basis for materialism, but so is there for the other options i mentioned. There can be a perfectly logical basis to believe in god too.

You are already making some basic improper reasonings by assuming there is somehow a physical cause for the existence of the universe.
Well, that is of course your error in thinking to just assume that.
The error is that all physical causes you can think of, are already part of the universe.
What is ur definition of universe? I was talking about it not in the sense of 'everything that exists', but the spacetimebubble. Does anyone know if strings are physical?

So in the strict sense, the universe has no cause and therefore no begin. In the philosophical sense the universe is there because there is matter, and there is matter because matter itself is indestructable and uncreatable.
Wasnt there some difference between physical and material? All matter is physical, but not all the physical is material. Btw i dont think many physicists agree that nothing caused the big bang. I know the whole 'time doesnt exist before the big bang' and 'there was no before' are tricky issues, but there are theories about dimensional membranes, black holes reproducing, bigcrunch, infinite other big bangs caused by something, etc. But we just dont know what happened and whether it has an origin or not doesnt argue against god. Religious people often say that god has no beginning.

This however can not be true, since the only minds in existence we know of require there to be matter. Our mind does not exist without a brain.
This is just an assumption, it could be true but its still faith to believe it. We dont know if mind requires matter, if it causes matter, if matter is mind, if mind is matter, or if both are really something else. All we know is that both interact. What we observe about conscious beings is that they are the most creative forces in the universe, so its not at all illogical to think that consciousness is also involved in the history of the universe.
 
Last edited:
377
0
You can often prove a negative by contradiction. You can prove that god does not exist if you clarify what you mean by "god" and "exist" in a certain manner, along with a few other terms that most people don't usually bother to clarify. You can produce your own personal list of postulates and see if they work or not. If you find a contradiction among them then some of them must be false. For example, try this list:

God: creator of the universe.
Create: cause to exist.
Universe: all that exists.
Exist: to be part of the universe.

The definitions of "exist" and "universe" are circular here but it's hard to avoid and it may still be exactly what you mean. Using this example, testing the proposition "god exists" reveals that part of the universe caused the universe to exist. If you reject that something can be created by one of its own parts then something is wrong either with the list or with the proposition. And if what you wrote for "exist", "universe" and "cause" is really what you mean then either the "god exists" proposition is wrong or god cannot be defined as creator of the universe. Either way, this shows that a "creator of the universe" cannot exist and a negative has been proven, unless you are misusing your own words.

Note that no faith was involved, only a few definitions. But since we all use different definitions, we can all reach different personal conclusions. No wonder there is so much disagreement. Also most people never take the time to produce a clear description of the vague notions that can keep us awake at night. Many even prefer not to shine too bright a light on the subject because the findings can be disturbing. Once we've learned to live in peace with our set of beliefs, few dare to subject them to rigorous analysis. There is really little to gain from a day-to-day point of view but a lot of sleep to lose.
 
1,596
0
The other one assumes that there are infinite universes. I could explain why 1 person is struck by a meteor everyday by assuming that there are infinite people who dont, but that doesnt make that explanation true. It could also be that someone is purposely targeting him. Take ur pick.
This does not compare.

It is not clear that a meteor MUST strike a person.

However it is clear that AT LEAST one planet in AT LEAST one universe (if there are more) exist which inhabits consciouss beings.

Yes there is a logical basis for materialism, but so is there for the other options i mentioned. There can be a perfectly logical basis to believe in god too.
There is no ontological basis for the existence of a god/creator.
(see for example the post of out of whack)

Other example:
Why is there something instead of nothing?

There is no answer you might think of to answer the question, since whatever you think of (say entity X) reraises the same question (why is there X instead of nothing).

To only way out is to say that the question assumes something absurd, namely the total seperatedness of being and non-being. Being and non-being can only be regarded as a unity of opposites, which have becoming as their truth.

What is ur definition of universe? I was talking about it not in the sense of 'everything that exists', but the spacetimebubble. Does anyone know if strings are physical?
Well the universe in it's broadest sense.

String are well beyond detectability, they reside at the Planck length.

So far they are only theoretical constructs.

String and M theory are still mathematical models, not physical models.

Wasnt there some difference between physical and material? All matter is physical, but not all the physical is material.
Physical matter and Philosophical matter are different in that philosophical matter covers anything material. So you can say that creation of physical matter is possible (E=mc2 Energy can be converted into mass having particles), but in the philosophical sense, matter is indestructable and uncreatable. Energy and fields are just as material as particles.

The definition of philosophical matter is that what is external to and independend of consciousness, and which is primary.

Matter and motion can not be seperated, and the notion of motions implies there is time and space.

Btw i dont think many physicists agree that nothing caused the big bang. I know the whole 'time doesnt exist before the big bang' and 'there was no before' are tricky issues, but there are theories about dimensional membranes, black holes reproducing, bigcrunch, infinite other big bangs caused by something, etc. But we just dont know what happened and whether it has an origin or not doesnt argue against god. Religious people often say that god has no beginning.
Matter itself in the philosophical sense is indestructable and uncreatable, therefore there is no cause for matter outside of matter itself.

The singularity ideas (for example Penrose had that idea) that there was no 'before' the big bang, have been abandoned in favour of other realistic models like inflation.

A singularity is where the theory breaks down that predicts it, so you can't assume there was a singularity in the first place.


This is just an assumption, it could be true but its still faith to believe it. We dont know if mind requires matter, if it causes matter, if matter is mind, if mind is matter, or if both are really something else. All we know is that both interact. What we observe about conscious beings is that they are the most creative forces in the universe, so its not at all illogical to think that consciousness is also involved in the history of the universe.
Mind must out of necessity be material since it interacts with matter. If mind was something entirely different as matter, how could you speak or move?
There aren't minds without matter.

The error in the assumption that consciousness has something to do with the universe (although one needs to have consciouss to understand how the universe/material world works, but that is something different) is that it would force one to think of mind as something completely seperate from matter to begin with.

If mind created matter, then what was this conscious mind consciouss about in the absence (prior) to matter? In absence of matter (an outside/external world) there is nothing to reflect upon or to be consciouss of.

(self consciousness neither does work since how can one distinguish between self and not-self, if there isn't anything in the first place).
 
Last edited:
Hurkyl
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
14,843
17
Just that the theist ...
Why are you talking about theists?
 
856
2
However it is clear that AT LEAST one planet in AT LEAST one universe (if there are more) exist which inhabits consciouss beings.
The point i was trying to make was that invoking infinite universes is rather similar to invoking a god.

There is no ontological basis for the existence of a god/creator.
(see for example the post of out of whack)
Of course there is, we can see conscious beings create things all around us. It is only when u assume that these conscious beings came forth from complete nonconscious stuff, that the ontological basis vanishes.

Other example:
Why is there something instead of nothing?

To only way out is to say that the question assumes something absurd, namely the total seperatedness of being and non-being. Being and non-being can only be regarded as a unity of opposites, which have becoming as their truth.
I dont understand what this has to do with god.

Physical matter and Philosophical matter are different in that philosophical matter covers anything material. So you can say that creation of physical matter is possible (E=mc2 Energy can be converted into mass having particles), but in the philosophical sense, matter is indestructable and uncreatable. Energy and fields are just as material as particles.
Those last things u mention are not considered matter, but i dont think this really matters to our discussion. In many of ur sentences u arent really talking about 'matter', but about 'brain'.

Mind must out of necessity be material since it interacts with matter. If mind was something entirely different as matter, how could you speak or move?
There aren't minds without matter.
If u type on ur keyboard, does that make u a computer? No, it just shows that u interact with the computer at some level. This interaction is all we have with matter and consciousness aswell. We can also say, if we wish to abandon dualism, that both are the same at the level where they interact(monism). But what is this level? Is it physical in any sense we know? If mind and matter are flipsides of the same coin, then this doesnt imply the coin is material.
 
Curious3141
Homework Helper
2,830
86
Sorry for my late reply.


I don't know. I like to think of it as teaching a dog on how derivatives works, it simply won't happen. Our brains are not sophisticated enough to know that or to even comprehend that .

Actually my point was to direct the questions you were asking back at you. You asked "What came before the Big Bang/the Universe?" and I replied "What came before Allah?" If an atheist answers either "nothing" or "I don't know" to the first question, your answers will be no better for the second.

"Goddidit" is not an answer to anything. It is just as good (or bad) as saying "something just is, because it is". If you can say that about god, you can say it about the physical Universe too.
 
1,596
0
The point i was trying to make was that invoking infinite universes is rather similar to invoking a god.
Quite the opposite.
A finite universe raises the question: why is it there, what was it caused by, etc.

The universe is infinite because matter is always in motion and matter is indestructable and uncreatable.

Of course there is, we can see conscious beings create things all around us. It is only when u assume that these conscious beings came forth from complete nonconscious stuff, that the ontological basis vanishes.
If you look deeper into it, even conscious beings don't create stuff, but we would rather have to call it development.
There wasn't an instantanious moment of creation of a car for instance, more like a development process of thousands of years.

Those last things u mention are not considered matter, but i dont think this really matters to our discussion. In many of ur sentences u arent really talking about 'matter', but about 'brain'.
In the philosophical sense also fields and energy is material.
In philosophy matter is just a abstract category.
Physics is more specialized about the different forms and interactions of matter, and distinghuishes particles, waves, fields, etc.
Materialism does not rely on a specific physical theory to explain matter.

If u type on ur keyboard, does that make u a computer? No, it just shows that u interact with the computer at some level. This interaction is all we have with matter and consciousness aswell. We can also say, if we wish to abandon dualism, that both are the same at the level where they interact(monism). But what is this level? Is it physical in any sense we know? If mind and matter are flipsides of the same coin, then this doesnt imply the coin is material.
Our brain is material. There isn't a need to invoke a different category of existence to explain mind, matter is already complex enough.
 
Last edited:
856
2
Quite the opposite.
A finite universe raises the question: why is it there, what was it caused by, etc.
I dont know what view of the universe u have, but i do know that noone in science has much certainty about what really is the nature of the universe. Im sure u do not claim to know, but this knowledge is required in order to dismiss the idea of intelligence involved in the origin/evolution/whatever of the universe.

If you look deeper into it, even conscious beings don't create stuff, but we would rather have to call it development.
There wasn't an instantanious moment of creation of a car for instance, more like a development process of thousands of years.
But the key is that there was subjectivity involved, the process was guided by intelligence, and this demonstrates the ability of mind to influence physicalness.
 
Last edited:
1,596
0
I dont know what view of the universe u have, but i do know that noone in science has much certainty about what really is the nature of the universe. Im sure u do not claim to know, but this knowledge is required in order to dismiss the idea of intelligence involved in the origin/evolution/whatever of the universe.
The view I have on the universe is no different then I have on matter, i.e that matter is eternal and in motion.

But the key is that there was subjectivity involved, the process was guided by intelligence, and this demonstrates the ability of mind to influence physicalness.
The mind is material, so this it not very surprising that we can interact with matter.
And the key is not that it involves subjectivity, but that things evolve, and that it is not something instantanious, but involving a complicated process of exhange with nature.

Like explained with the evolution of a car is that it is in fact evolved from a charot, which itself was evolved from a wheel. And neither was the wheel invented, but was merely an adapted form of natural objects that posses the property of roling.
Likewise the engine was neither an instantanious invention, but a stepwise refinement from previous machines, powered by some fuel, and ultimately derived from nature also in the form of fire.

So a more clarifying point of view is that all these "creations" are just forms of interactions of humans with nature, and utilizing nature for the benefit of survival.
 
856
2
The view I have on the universe is no different then I have on matter, i.e that matter is eternal and in motion.
But u think that it justifies atheism without any faith involved, yet i know of no ideas in science that do.

The mind is material
What made u so sure that this is so? Is there any experiment that has demonstrated this?

Likewise the engine was neither an instantanious invention, but a stepwise refinement from previous machines, powered by some fuel, and ultimately derived from nature also in the form of fire.
So what is ur point? U just admitted that subjectivity can evolve matter over long periods of time, how does any of that argue for atheism?
 
1,596
0
But u think that it justifies atheism without any faith involved, yet i know of no ideas in science that do.
I don't see it as a justification for atheism, but as a reasoned conclusion for materialism. And while it might be the case that not all practising scientists are devoted consciously to materialism, in practice they however must all formulate their ideas at the basis of matter. The very fact that in order to develop a theory and to test them, you in fact apply a materialist assumption about reality is sufficient proof of that.
Without that, all that science could provide were subjective truths.

What made u so sure that this is so? Is there any experiment that has demonstrated this?
Is there any experiment that does not demonstrate this? The very fact that one can do an experiment, already uses the assumption that there is a material world, isn't it?

So what is ur point? U just admitted that subjectivity can evolve matter over long periods of time, how does any of that argue for atheism?
How does that any of that conflict materialism in your opinion?
Is subjective mind somehow impossible if the world consists of matter?

Science has sufficiently provided ground that also the subjective experiences are in fact material. There is nothing that escapes the material world.
 
Last edited:
856
2
I don't see it as a justification for atheism, but as a reasoned conclusion for materialism.
A reasoned conclusion for materialism is something different as a justification for atheism. There can be reasoned conclusions for all kinds of ideas, but untill they are confirmed by experiment or some other way then we wont know if they are true. Science has many well reasoned theories, but only a minority turn out to be match observations. Also two ideas can be eachothers opposites, but both could still be supported by reasoning.

Is there any experiment that does not demonstrate this? The very fact that one can do an experiment, already uses the assumption that there is a material world, isn't it?
All experiments dont demonstrate it and the rules that science requires theories to conform to, dont make reality conform aswell.

How does that conflict materialism in your opinion?
Is subjective mind somehow impossible if the world consists of matter?
Materialism is a possibility and im not excluding it.

Here is a video in which a neuroscientist talks about mind, brain and reality:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9122930135704146433 [Broken] - fast forward it to 25.00 minutes (u can click on the timeline right away so no need for the whole thing to load)

Also, earlier u said this:

heusdens said:
If mind created matter, then what was this conscious mind consciouss about in the absence (prior) to matter? In absence of matter (an outside/external world) there is nothing to reflect upon or to be consciouss of.

(self consciousness neither does work since how can one distinguish between self and not-self, if there isn't anything in the first place).
Compare it to these experiences that people actually have:
('baseline reality' is the everyday reality around us)
To simplify the issue somewhat, let us for the moment contrast the most extreme unitary state, what we have called Absolute Unitary Being (AUB), with baseline reality. AUB refers to the rare state in which there is a complete loss of the sense of self, loss of the sense of space and time, and everything becomes a infinite, undifferentiated oneness. Such a state usually occurs only after many years of meditation. In comparing AUB to baseline reality, there is no question that AUB wins out as being experienced as "more real." People who have experienced AUB, and this includes some very learned and previously materialistically oriented scientists, regard AUB as being more fundamentally real than baseline reality. Even the memory of it is, for them, more fundamentally real. Thus, if we use the criterion of the sense of certainty of the reality of a particular state, AUB wins hands down.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/questionofgod/voices/newberg.html
 
Last edited by a moderator:
1,596
0
A reasoned conclusion for materialism is something different as a justification for atheism. There can be reasoned conclusions for all kinds of ideas, but untill they are confirmed by experiment or some other way then we wont know if they are true. Science has many well reasoned theories, but only a minority turn out to be match observations. Also two ideas can be eachothers opposites, but both could still be supported by reasoning.
The point I want to make clear is that the framework of materialism is about the only plausible framework we have. In fact, our everyday experience conforms to that. We never doubt that our experiences are formed on the basis of our sensory perceptions are formed and caused by an independend external material world. Our consciousness does not 'create' the external material world, but rather the other way around.
By the way, it is good to mention that this fact of reality is in fact something which one has to learn, it does not come instinctly. At very young age we learn that we can not manipulate the external world directly with our thoughts, that our consciousness is some reflection of an outside material world, existing independend of our consciousness.
It might be that due to some complications or illneses or other circumstances, some people don't have this same sense of reality, or at least have some serious doubts about it.
For most people though, and most if not all practical considerations, there is no shead of doubt that materialism (a material world which exist primary, independend and external to our consciousness, which is reflected in our consciousness) is true.

All experiments dont demonstrate it and the rules that science requires theories to conform to, dont make reality conform aswell.
I don't exactly understand what you say.

What I was trying to argue is that for scientific tests and observations, and that they tell us something about external reality, the assumptions (sometimes unknowingly) is made that there is an independend material world, external to our consciousness.
If not, how could we do any experiment at all and establish some basic and objective facts about reality?

Materialism is a possibility and im not excluding it.
You seem very unconvinced about materialism, although it is the best established fact of reality. But please provide me any sound argument why the basic assumptions of materialism would not be correct.

You would need to explain:
- Why it is we seem to observe an objective material world, on which we all can agree?
- Explain how mind could exist, independend of matter.
- Explain how matter (or at least the illusion of it) can be created by mind itself.

Unless you can give some sound proof of that, I am not ready to doubt materialism.

Compare it to these experiences that people actually have:
('baseline reality' is the everyday reality around us)
You want me to conclude that some shift of consciousness, in which one looses sight on the basic facts of reality (time, space, etc), under very special conditions (namely long time meditation)

Let me explain first that, since the brain is a material organ, of course the way we perceive of reality is influenced by all kind of physical things. For instance drugs, or other physical/medical factors.

That does not disproof materialism, on the contrary this fits materialism.

Secondly, what the meditation does is in fact bring the brain in some other state, in which the daily perception of time and space etc. gets lost.
That is perhaps a 'ground' state of the brain, when for quite some time the normal impulses that go into the brain, are not there.

Our perception then of normal reality gets lost. Just because the brain then does not receive the information to establish those facts.

So, also this is not some proof that materialism is incorrect. In fact one could observe the brain (the electric activity of the brain) to validate the fact that it has other a different perception of reality. Which just proofs the brain is material.
 
1,596
0
Here is a video in which a neuroscientist talks about mind, brain and reality:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9122930135704146433 [Broken] - fast forward it to 25.00 minutes (u can click on the timeline right away so no need for the whole thing to load)
I will comment this later. I'm not an expert on the brain but it appears to me that brain researchers have some evidence for some kind of brain function which - when stimulated - causes mysthical experiences.
That is of course something that fits the materialistic conception of our mind, we find a materialistic cause for this experiences!

Perhaps also see this video (D.C. Dennet)
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3133438412578691486 [Broken]
 
Last edited by a moderator:
856
2
I will comment this later. I'm not an expert on the brain but it appears to me that brain researchers have some evidence for some kind of brain function which - when stimulated - causes mysthical experiences.
That is of course something that fits the materialistic conception of our mind, we find a materialistic cause for this experiences!
U will be glad to hear that the person speaking in the video is the very one that discovered these brain areas which are involved in mystical/god experiences.

U gave the wrong link btw, its the same one as mine.
 
856
2
The point I want to make clear is that the framework of materialism is about the only plausible framework we have. In fact, our everyday experience conforms to that. We never doubt that our experiences are formed on the basis of our sensory perceptions are formed and caused by an independend external material world. Our consciousness does not 'create' the external material world, but rather the other way around.
Materialism would be perfectly plausible in a world without any observers. In a world with them, it becomes quite problematic.

If u hold that our consciousness doesnt create the external world, then u will have a hard time explaining how the human species has transformed the world around us in the past few hundred years, but that our brains havent changed much.

What I was trying to argue is that for scientific tests and observations, and that they tell us something about external reality, the assumptions (sometimes unknowingly) is made that there is an independend material world, external to our consciousness.
If not, how could we do any experiment at all and establish some basic and objective facts about reality?
But what does this have to do with the topic? Noone is denying there is an external world. Its not an "either u are an atheist, or u deny there exists a material world" situation.

Unless you can give some sound proof of that, I am not ready to doubt materialism.
U seem to think that materialism is the default position, that we have to accept it untill its proven wrong.

Suppose we see matter as 'blue' and consciousness as 'red'. Someone sits in a completely blue room. He thinks "hey, this is easy, everything is simply blue!". But as he inspects the room, he discovers a tiny red dot on a wall. This red dot conflicts with his notion that the entire room is blue. He cannot deny that the red dot is there, yet he cannot explain it with his theory "everything is simply blue".

This is the position we find ourselves in. Materialism should not be accepted as true untill it is capable of explaining the clear contradictions of its tenets. The red dot on the wall may look small compared to the giant blue room, but its implications can be huge.

You want me to conclude that some shift of consciousness, in which one looses sight on the basic facts of reality (time, space, etc), under very special conditions (namely long time meditation)
U made some statements about which experiences would not be possible. Here we have a group of people who have such experiences. As far as metaphysical views can be supported by experience, this is it. And it doesnt point towards materialism.
 
1,596
0
U will be glad to hear that the person speaking in the video is the very one that discovered these brain areas which are involved in mystical/god experiences.

U gave the wrong link btw, its the same one as mine.
Here it is:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3133438412578691486 [Broken]
 
Last edited by a moderator:
1,596
0
Materialism would be perfectly plausible in a world without any observers. In a world with them, it becomes quite problematic.

If u hold that our consciousness doesnt create the external world, then u will have a hard time explaining how the human species has transformed the world around us in the past few hundred years, but that our brains havent changed much.
What is 'creating'? We merely see an interchange between the natural world, and us human beings, and since human beings are part of the natural world, this is like saying that the natural worlds interacts with itself, which it always does.

The idea of matter in a world without consciouss beings would be absent.
Matter is an abstract categorie of thought. There is no distinction between matter and consciousness in a world without consciouss beings.

But what does this have to do with the topic? Noone is denying there is an external world. Its not an "either u are an atheist, or u deny there exists a material world" situation.
No, and I'm not talking about atheism but about materialism. Materialism does not state "there is no God", but states that the external world and also human consciousness can be explained on the basis of matter in motion which is infnite/eternal.
The issue is wether matter is primary or not, and not mind. I hold on to the idea that that is the case.

U seem to think that materialism is the default position, that we have to accept it untill its proven wrong.

Suppose we see matter as 'blue' and consciousness as 'red'. Someone sits in a completely blue room. He thinks "hey, this is easy, everything is simply blue!". But as he inspects the room, he discovers a tiny red dot on a wall. This red dot conflicts with his notion that the entire room is blue. He cannot deny that the red dot is there, yet he cannot explain it with his theory "everything is simply blue".

This is the position we find ourselves in. Materialism should not be accepted as true untill it is capable of explaining the clear contradictions of its tenets. The red dot on the wall may look small compared to the giant blue room, but its implications can be huge.

U made some statements about which experiences would not be possible. Here we have a group of people who have such experiences. As far as metaphysical views can be supported by experience, this is it. And it doesnt point towards materialism.
It sure does.

There is nothing in this experience that contradicts materialism. It would be like saying that the consciouss experience would provide evidence against materialism. I does not, it only proofs the existence of subjective feelings, experiences and knowledge.

I can show you why in this post, which explores such an experience (I show how one can 'create' such an experience in little over 10 minutes, without having to meditate for days).
 
Last edited:
856
2
What is 'creating'? We merely see an interchange between the natural world, and us human beings, and since human beings are part of the natural world, this is like saying that the natural worlds interacts with itself, which it always does.
Creating, shaping, etc. it doesnt matter, the point is that subjectivity influences matter. Whether this subjectivity actually initiates completely new quantum events, or completely novel ideas, dreamworlds, etc. doesnt matter for now. U say its natural, and i agree, and this also demonstrates that the idea of a god is not in principle supernatural. If its natural when our own minds do it, why would it be supernatural when it happens at some other point in time, for instance at the moment of the big bang.

The idea of matter in a world without consciouss beings would be absent.
Matter is an abstract categorie of thought. There is no distinction between matter and consciousness in a world without consciouss beings.
I agree, matter as we know it is just the properties we have observed it to have. However, those properties which u hold to be fundamental, do not in any way describe the act of observing. Thats why materialism only tells half the story of whats going on.

The issue is wether matter is primary or not, and not mind. I hold on to the idea that that is the case.
But u think materialism justifies claiming that atheism does not require faith?

There is nothing in this experience that contradicts materialism. It would be like saying that the consciouss experience would provide evidence against materialism. I does not, it only proofs the existence of subjective feelings, experiences and knowledge.
Of course conscious experience is evidence against materialism. The red dot in the room is evidence that the room isnt all blue. U are using the basic assumption of materialism(brain produces consciousness), as an argument for materialism!
 
Last edited:
856
2
Here it is:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3133438412578691486 [Broken]
Always interesting these interviews. Its important to realise that Dennetts ideas are highly speculative. Not that other ideas arent, but this means it requires faith to believe in them, and thus atheism dependent on his ideas does too.

With my link i wanted to show u that the relation between brain and experience can be interpreted in other ways than the materialist one. The guy speaking in it describes (partly in the interview but also in his papers) how we ultimately decide whether something is 'real' or not.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Related Threads for: Question about Atheism

  • Last Post
2
Replies
35
Views
3K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
47
Views
6K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
46
Views
5K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
46
Views
5K
  • Last Post
6
Replies
138
Views
21K
  • Last Post
4
Replies
79
Views
6K
  • Last Post
Replies
24
Views
3K
  • Last Post
4
Replies
89
Views
6K
Top