Poll: If you lack a belief on whether or not something exists, you believe it doesn't exist
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View poll results: If you lack a belief on whether or not something exists, you believe it doesn't exist
Agree
38 29%
Disagree
93 71%
Voters: 131.
Page 1 of 2
#1
I, like a lot of peole, like to read the the religious threads. And while the question I ask was brought up to me by the topic of religion, it's not inherently a religious question. So this isn't a religion thread.

Basically here's the example of how it was brought up to me. I've heard people say that one cannot simply be agnostic. If one is agnostic, he's either an atheist or a theist. If someone simply doesn't have an opinion on whether or not God exists, then he's an atheist.

Now, for the sake of people not going into a discussion on what atheism exactly is, just assume that atheism is defined as "the belief that God doesn't exist". That's how I've seen it defined most often anyways. So the main topic of this thread:

If you lack an opinion on whether or not something exists, does that therefore mean you believe that it doesn't exist?

I personally have to say no, but as always I like to hear a range of other people's opinion on this. Poll coming.
#2
I like that philosophy, I guess, it's uninmportant to the view of the ...viewer, so it could unexist without having the viewer changed by it, so I guess it is so.
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#3
I'm agnostic, I simply dont care if god exists or not, doesnt make me athiest though.
#4
I guess if you don't have an opinion about it, it can't really be something that exists as far as you're concerned, but still, I'd probably disagree.

That's not what agnostic means though, so there'd have to be another name for it.
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#5
I think you are confusing a belief with an opinion. Either you believe something exists, you don't beleve something exists, or you don't know whether or not it exists. That's not a matter of opinion.
Death to Ovation haters!
#6
no. it just means that you are unsure. there's people who have neutral feelings towards it, meaning that they believe in it just as much as they don't. and some other people may believe in it a little less, and for those people the answer would be yes.


those are my two cents. don't know if it made much sense though
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#7
If you believe something doesn't exist, wouldn't that leave out the possibility that you think it MAY exist?

The possibility that it may exist is what matters when not having an opinion on the existence of something.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

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Last edited by metal4all at Dec 27, 2009,
#8
If you weren't The Madcap, I'd bitch about how no-one cares. But alas, I'll just go with "yes".
#9
Religion just isn't an important thing to me. I don't really give a crap if there is a god or if there isn't. I think that means I'm agnostic, but I'm too lazy to google that and make sure I'm right.
#10
Quote by PatchworkMan
I think you are confusing a belief with an opinion. Either you believe something exists, you don't beleve something exists, or you don't know whether or not it exists. That's not a matter of opinion.


Exactly. It's always a ternary system with the concept of existence. Take Bigfoot for example.
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#11
Quote by PatchworkMan
I think you are confusing a belief with an opinion. Either you believe something exists, you don't beleve something exists, or you don't know whether or not it exists. That's not a matter of opinion.
Well, I think that you can lack a belief on whether or not something exists. Let's say that nobody has ever heard of an iPod. They simply don't have any type of belief on whether or not they exist. They obviously don't believe iPods exist, but I don't think they believe iPods don't exist.
#12
Quote by The Madcap
Well, I think that you can lack a belief on whether or not something exists. Let's say that nobody has ever heard of an iPod. They simply don't have any type of belief on whether or not they exist. They obviously don't believe iPods exist, but I don't think they believe iPods don't exist.


Once again, it comes down to the three cases of a) You believe iPods exist, b) You believe iPods don't exist, or c) You don't know if they exist or not.

Even if you don't care about the issue, your belief about the issue falls under one of those three categories.
Quote by denizenz
I'll logic you right in the thyroid.

Art & Lutherie
#13
Until they are ignorant of such a thing, I think they are implicit in their disbelief, but they must be confronted with the choice to be explicit or not. As for the case when they then say "I don't know" I don't actually think there's a middle ground. Or at least, it's so narrow, that it's theoretical in nature; I think one way or another, the human mind will bias itself just by thought. I think the only case where no side is taken is before you've asked the question - and as I see it, that falls into implicit atheism.

Agnostic and Gnostic are drastically misunderstood and misused words, they apply to whether a person believes that their position can be PROVEN or not. Gnostic and agnostic theists exist just as gnostic and agnostic atheists. Agnostic does NOT mean you don't know whether god exists or not, it means whether you believe it can be PROVEN that God exists or not.
#14
Quote by The Madcap
Well, I think that you can lack a belief on whether or not something exists. Let's say that nobody has ever heard of an iPod. They simply don't have any type of belief on whether or not they exist. They obviously don't believe iPods exist, but I don't think they believe iPods don't exist.


I don't think that analogy works in this case. God is something you have heard of. Either you believe there is a God, you believe there is no God, or you're not sure. Anything else is a lie.
Death to Ovation haters!
#15
Quote by The Madcap
Well, I think that you can lack a belief on whether or not something exists. Let's say that nobody has ever heard of an iPod. They simply don't have any type of belief on whether or not they exist. They obviously don't believe iPods exist, but I don't think they believe iPods don't exist.
I think this is different than with the God example in the OP.

With this, the person has never heard of the iPod. If you don't know of something, you can't have a belief about it. You can't fathom anything that's impossible to comprehend.

With the OP, I stick with my first post. Saying you don't believe it exists leaves out the possibility you believe that it may exist - which is there when you don't hold a belief on it.

Edit: ^+1
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
#17
Quote by genghisgandhi
This. Its impossible to prove either way, so why bother?

I don't think that addresses the point of this thread.
Death to Ovation haters!
#18
I think LB's well written response explains it best. You can exhibit strong indifference towards the existence of something, but your mind is biased into either believing in its existence, not believing in its existence, or not knowing which way to go.
Quote by denizenz
I'll logic you right in the thyroid.

Art & Lutherie
#19
Hmm...if I lack an opinion on the existence of air, does that make air nonexistent? Well, when I was too young to form decent opinions, that didn't cause air to cease to exist, did it? So, clearly, the answer to TS's question is no.
#20
Quote by darkstar2466
I think LB's well written response explains it best. You can exhibit strong indifference towards the existence of something, but your mind is biased into either believing in its existence, not believing in its existence, or not knowing which way to go.


It's not a mental bias, it's just logical reality. You believe something exists, you don't believe something exists, or you don't know. What else is there?
Death to Ovation haters!
#21
Quote by PatchworkMan
I don't think that analogy works in this case. God is something you have heard of. Either you believe there is a God, you believe there is no God, or you're not sure. Anything else is a lie.
Well, the reason I used that example is because I was more curious as how it relates to people who haven't really heard of the idea a certain god or gods at all. Mainly I was curious with how it relates to children. Probably should have said that, though.

Anyways, I get what you're saying, now.

Also, I never meant to imply that agnosticism is a lack of belief in a god or gods. I've always thought of agnosticism as the idea that the existence of God(s) is unknowable.
#22
Quote by PatchworkMan
It's not a mental bias, it's just logical reality. You believe something exists, you don't believe something exists, or you don't know. What else is there?


I don't actually get the impression he's disagreeing with you, patch.

For others interested, I found this on the wiki article, highlighted in bold. Link to article below.

Implicit atheism and explicit atheism are subcategories of atheism coined by George H. Smith (1979, p.13-18). Implicit atheism is defined by Smith as "the absence of theistic belief without a conscious rejection of it" (i.e., those who have not thought about the existence of deities, let alone decided against it, are de facto atheists). Explicit atheism is defined as "the absence of theistic belief due to a conscious rejection of it" (those who have thought about the existence of deities and have concluded they do not believe any exist), which, according to Smith, is sometimes characterized as antitheism.[1]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Implicit_atheism
#23
Quote by PatchworkMan
It's not a mental bias, it's just logical reality. You believe something exists, you don't believe something exists, or you don't know. What else is there?


I was using the word bias to mean a person's inclination to pick one of the three camps. There is nothing else.

Now onto more interesting philosophical topics, shall we talk about the ship of Theseus?

http://www.answers.com/topic/ship-of-theseus
Quote by denizenz
I'll logic you right in the thyroid.

Art & Lutherie
#24
Quote by darkstar2466
I was using the word bias to mean a person's inclination to pick one of the three camps. There is nothing else.

Now onto more interesting philosophical topics, shall we talk about the ship of Theseus?

http://www.answers.com/topic/ship-of-theseus


Interesting since I think the same thing happens with the human body, although I am unsure as to the replacement of neurons.
#26
Quote by genghisgandhi
It addressed the post that I quoted. Anyway, your post addressed the thread even less than mine.


Yes, but it's still offtopic. Patch was just nudging you in the right direction

And why bother indeed? Because it's interesting.
#27
i consider myself to be agnostic. i have been to church many times both catholic and christian, much of my family is christian, however i am not 100% convinced, however i hold no doubts about god.

i guess its just all a matter of personal beliefs, i believe that one certainly can be agnostic. which is why i disagreed w/ the poll
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#28
Quote by scotch59
i consider myself to be agnostic. i have been to church many times both catholic and christian, much of my family is christian, however i am not 100% convinced, however i hold no doubts about god.

i guess its just all a matter of personal beliefs, i believe that one certainly can be agnostic. which is why i disagreed w/ the poll


I do not understand this. Could you clarify, please?
#30
^ I think he means that he holds no doubt toward the existence of god.

Quote by LordBishek
Interesting since I think the same thing happens with the human body, although I am unsure as to the replacement of neurons.


I think this argument only works for inanimate objects? I have never heard a relation to the human body before. That's kind of creepy to think about.
Quote by denizenz
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#31
Quote by darkstar2466
I think this argument only works for inanimate objects? I have never heard a relation to the human body before. That's kind of creepy to think about.


Depends how you view consciousness. Theological considerations postulate a soul; which suggests a permanent attachment from birth to death. But if consciousness is merely electrochemical reaction, then who the hell knows?
You don't even have to look at it as a complete replacement, because if it IS a different body, at what point does it cease to be the original, and switch to the new? It is a slippery slope.

And yeah, it is a bit creepy :/
#32
some people just dont know what to believe, they aren't sure if there's a God but don't deny the possibility
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#33
Quote by LordBishek
Depends how you view consciousness. Theological considerations postulate a soul; which suggests a permanent attachment from birth to death. But if consciousness is merely electrochemical reaction, then who the hell knows?
You don't even have to look at it as a complete replacement, because if it IS a different body, at what point does it cease to be the original, and switch to the new? It is a slippery slope.

And yeah, it is a bit creepy :/


The argument for animate objects is so different because of consciousness. If you replace every part of the body except the brain, I would say that it is still the same person. But if you replace the brain, it is a different person. This is because the brain dictates the identity of our being, whereas WE dictate the identity of an inanimate object.
Quote by denizenz
I'll logic you right in the thyroid.

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#34
The idea of an "object" distinct from its surroundings is just a human invention anyway, I see it as having more to do with how we're naturally inclined to see things than anything physical. The distinction between the ship and some algae growing on it or a table in one of the rooms is just as arbitrary, so I don't think there's a reason for the atoms technically being different ones to matter.

So yeah, I'd say it's the same ship, and the same person. The concept of an entity is seperate from the physical things that make up the entity, like how Opeth is still Opeth despite having no original members.
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Last edited by whalepudding at Dec 27, 2009,
#35
^In response to your sig, take 1000 hits of LSD and see how powerful reality is then.
This is basically the two wrongs make a right proposal.
I said 'no', because technically to believe something is not the same as not believing the opposite.
#36
I, like some others in the first page, don't really care if a deity exists or not. I'm not sure what that really makes me, but I'll be lurking to see what everyone else has to say.
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#37
Quote by darkstar2466
The argument for animate objects is so different because of consciousness. If you replace every part of the body except the brain, I would say that it is still the same person. But if you replace the brain, it is a different person. This is because the brain dictates the identity of our being, whereas WE dictate the identity of an inanimate object.

But the brain, while not being an inanimate object, is still an object. Its distinctions from everything else is just as arbitrary, and still definted by others. What would happen if the same result was achieved without outside interference - all the atoms in the brain were naturally, gradually replaced, and during that time the personality changed due to mental illness or some life-changing event?
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#38
Quote by darkstar2466
I was using the word bias to mean a person's inclination to pick one of the three camps. There is nothing else.

If there is nothing else, then how is it a matter of inclination?
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#39
I'm not sure if I'm interpreting the question right..

based on your paragraph, I think that somebody who is agnostic because they are oblivious (for lack of better terms, I mean somebody who is unaware of God) is neither a theist nor an atheist. Ugh, actually it is so hard because theist is the binary 1 and atheist is the 0. If you are not a theist than you are an atheist, whether or not you would or would not believe in God if you were aware.

It just isn't a good example because it is binary.

Let's make a new anecdote, perhaps a child in the middle of the jungle and the tooth fairy (and that jungle clan doesn't have a tooth fairy myth). The child has no opinion on whether a tooth fairy exists and we are not using a binary term (the the tooth fairy is not a deity so the child is neither a theist or an atheist). Well, ugh, we could manipulate the situation to where the child is either gnostic or agnostic towards the existence of a tooth fairy. asdf;a;lsdkfowiehre . . .

ANYWAY, the point is that we are outright confusing the logic of truth values. The knowledge of something is not the same truth value of belief. To take this to the original situation, the truth value of gnosis and theism are two separate things. The "people sayers" are implying the clause, "If X is AGnostic of situation Y, then X is AThiest" (basically meaning, "If you don't know it, you don't believe it.") This is easily proven false with a simple one: God (well, the most complex thing in the world..) One can be both agnostic and theist. Ugh, I'm manipulating terms now too..

basically, to make my long post mean something:::
Gnosis and theism are two completely different truth values, even if you take the situation that would normally follow, "one has to be aware of something to believe in it" (which I would think is true? (OH, let's use Gnosis as "knowledge of" in a way that is you have become aware of it, not that you are 100% sure it exists (I forgot the philosopher, but his quote is something like, "Once you become aware of something, it exists," so if you make up a thing called a splooge, it exists because you have become aware of it, whether or not it is imaginary and there are no physical splooges) FUCK))).

OK, I swear this will be done soon,
So if we take, "one has to be aware of something to believe in it" we are unable to take the logical route that, "if one is unaware of something, they disbelieve in it" because that is a completely different logical statement.


my god, I am the most horrible typer in the universe.

Can somebody perhaps create sparknotes on this?


foodit really quick: for that whole atheism situation, it is word manipulation that makes it work; if you are not a theist, then you are an atheist. An atheist is not an "unbeliever" but a "nonbeliever". Theist = one who believes in God, correct. Atheist is ~Theist (or "it is the case that one does not believe in God"). So the situation is word manipulation.

foodit 2:

"If you lack a belief on whether or not something exists, you believe it doesn't exist"

breaking this situation down, we get:
Gxy = x has gnosis on y
Txy = x believes in y
y is you!
z is God (Zuul)

then we get
IF ~Gyz THEN ~Dyz

This would read, "if it is not the case that you believe in God, then it is not the case that you believe in God"

continued:
In an IF statement, if the first term is False, then it doesn't matter what the second term is. Uh, wording.. hm. I need my book I don't own it right now. It is hard to type without it.
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Last edited by lordofthefood1 at Dec 27, 2009,
#40
Quote by PatchworkMan
Anything else is a lie.

I used to live with a host-mother for some time (to help get my feet on the ground financially so I could go to school). While you think of life in a theoretical world of "yes", "no", and "a lie" - let me tell you, that indeed you may find people who simply never answer that question. EVER.

They simply don't find the question remotely important at all and not deserving of an answer because of how unimportant it is. As hard as it may seem for some of you users to find that to be possible at all - it exists.

After living there for some time I decided to actually ask her about her thoughts on religion, God, and politics. All I got in response was a death glare:



She did not find them to be questions worthy of any response at all. That to even think about discussing matters like these was absolute foolishness. I never brought up these topics around her again. Ever. (Don't bite the hand that gives you a room to live in. Nobody cares about your 'correctness' on petty issues that you inflate to be a life-threatening deal with 'evidence' to support your thoughts.) Again, I know this is impossible for some to comprehend.

"But it does have importance! Politics exist in real life even though there are debates about religion! It directly affects you! It's be stupid to ignore these things!", one might frantically say. Listen my friend, please. There are those out there who do not care. They find the fact that you occupy your time with these matters to be infantile and that you could be doing other things that bring in more financial income. Accept it, they exist - regardless of how 'wrong' you think they are. While it's easy to say whatever you want without any life-repercussions here on a forum, it's very different in reality.

What I'm trying to tell you PatchworkMan is this: While you may believe that matters like these involve only three concrete answers and nothing else, that isn't always the case in reality.

Observer: Dude, you're incorrect - on so many levels.
Zap: K, coo.

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