Some people only wish to misuse reason desperately needing to add support for their unjustified beliefs.
Ethical atheism: Addressing the Ethics of Belief
God claims all totally lack a standard of meeting any warrant or justification in their burden of proof, thus the claim as offered debunks itself as any kind of viable claim. Would you be intellectually honest enough to want to know if your belief was completely false, and once knowing it was an unjustified belief, realize it lacks warrant and the qualities needed for belief-retention, as well as grasp the rationality that certain beliefs are epistemically unfounded which compels belief-relinquishment due to the beliefs insufficient supporting reason and evidence, realizing that belief.
To me, belief in gods is intellectually flawed and dishonest compared to the evidence of the natural world being not only explainable on every level as only natural, but also there is not a shred of anything supernatural and every claim tested ever has time and again debunked such nonsense. If anything supernatural or paranormal was provable, the believers would have taken James Randi’s famous million-dollar challenge, or they would have gone and got their Nobel Prize in proving the supernatural or open up a 100% faith-based prayer and miracles hospital. Where the cure for anything and everything is guaranteed because “prayer and miracles works” and the only education was being a religious or spiritual leader. Prove it or it is not really worthy for true belief and if there was actual scientific proof it would silence us rationalists, atheists, and skeptics forever. However, nothing of the sort has ever happened. List of prizes for evidence of the paranormal or supernatural woo-woo go back to at least 1922 with Scientific American. But it did not stop there instead there has been many individuals and groups have offered similar monetary awards for proof of the paranormal or supernatural with some reaching over a million dollars yet as of February 2016, not one prizes have been claimed. Ref Therefore, belief in supernatural or paranormal are not realistic nor are they reasonable. And what’s even crazier is it’s nonsense and they act like it is us rationalists, atheists, and skeptics that have to disprove something they have never proved.
Atheists, please stop saying you have no beliefs.
Well, we all have beliefs it’s unavoidable. The issue is having justified true beliefs that hold warrant or are valid and reliable because of reason and evidence. I am not directing this at anyone, I am only stating this trying to help. Even saying I don’t have a belief is exhibiting a belief that you don’t have a belief. To me, beliefs are not what’s the problem it’s having justified true beliefs warranted on valid and reliable reason and evidence is the issue. Think of it like this there are three belief states one is “lacking belief” which would stand for not having information or not making a decision, belief or disbelief. Some unbelievers in faith, gods or any other magical/supernatural nonsense say they only “lack belief” and do not have disbelief. So they are saying they have a disbelief in the idea that they have a disbelief as they are actively rejecting the concept of them having disbelief. I feel there is a confusion of the definition of disbelief, which is a feeling that you do not or cannot believe or accept that something is true or real. The act of disbelieving is the mental rejection of something as untrue. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disbelief
Thus disbelief is rendered to you do not or cannot believe.
Do we have to ‘believe’ that the scientific method yields qualified truths? You have to use rationalism to establish the rationale and yes it is a belief in a certain style of information possessing but it is a warranted justified true belief both before its use because of reason and after its use in the reliability as well as validating of evidence. At that point beliefs are no longer required as the reproducibility of conclusions makes the facts. I think I can see what the disconnect is for some atheists… Theists try to deflect from debates by saying that atheists “believe in science”. While many of us believe in scientific principles, it is not a belief system. As you said before, we believe things that there are evidence for. It’s not about faith. It’s about evidence, but theists try to call it faith because we didn’t necessarily come up with the ideas ourselves. Which is stupid because belief in science is justified and warranted, as there is evidence to support the justified belief for the ideas whether or not we made them ourselves. I hear the I have no beliefs thinking but they need to read what philosophy, psychology, and neurology to grasp what they state about beliefs or disbeliefs. I am sure they will be the most motivated by science so here is the Neurology of Belief. The difference between believing and disbelieving a proposition is one of the most potent regulators of human behavior and emotion. When one accepts a statement as true, it becomes the basis for further thought and action; rejected as false, it remains nothing more than a string of words someone put together. Functional Neuroimaging of Belief, Disbelief, and Uncertainty
A study was done to test the difference between believing and disbelieving a proposition is one of the most potent regulators of human behavior and emotion. When one accepts a statement as true, it becomes the basis for further thought and action; rejected as false, it remains a string of words. The purpose of these studies is to differentiate belief, disbelief, and uncertainty at the level of the brain. A study was done testing naïve Bayes classification of belief versus disbelief using event-related neuroimaging data. There were significant differences between blasphemous and non-blasphemous statements in both religious people and atheists. These are regions that show greater signal both when Christians reject stimuli contrary to their doctrine (e.g. “The Biblical god is a myth”) and when nonbelievers affirm their belief in those same statements (pc = paracingulate gyrus; mf = middle frontal gyrus; vs = ventral striatum; ip = inferior parietal lobe; fp = frontal pole). http://www.brainmapping.org/MarkCohen/research/Belief.html
According to Michael Shermer an American science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, and Editor in Chief of its magazine Skeptic, we form our beliefs for a variety of subjective, emotional and psychological reasons in the context of environments created by family, friends, colleagues, culture and society at large. After forming our beliefs, we then defend, justify and rationalize them with a host of intellectual reasons, cogent arguments, and rational explanations. Beliefs come first; explanations for beliefs follow. In Michael Shermer’s book The Believing Brain, Michael Shermer calls this process, wherein our perceptions about reality are dependent on the beliefs that we hold about it, belief-dependent realism. Reality exists independent of human minds, but our understanding of it depends on the beliefs we hold at any given time. Michael Shermer patterned belief-dependent realism after model-dependent realism, presented by physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow in their book The Grand Design (click to download). There they argue that because no one model is adequate to explain reality, “one cannot be said to be more real than the other.” When these models are coupled to theories, they form entire worldviews. Once we form beliefs and make commitments to them, we maintain and reinforce them through a number of powerful cognitive biases that distort our percepts to fit belief concepts. Among them are:
Anchoring Bias. Relying too heavily on one reference anchor or piece of information when making decisions.
Authority Bias. Valuing the opinions of an authority, especially in the evaluation of something we know little about.
Belief Bias. Evaluating the strength of an argument based on the believability of its conclusion.
Confirmation Bias. Seeking and finding confirming evidence in support of already existing beliefs and ignoring or reinterpreting disconfirming evidence. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-believing-brain/
Justified True Beliefs?
I follow the standard in philosophy JTB Justified True Beliefs.
Justified / True / Beliefs
To established justification, I use the philosophy called Reliabilism.
Reliabilism is a general approach to epistemology that emphasizes the truth-conduciveness of a belief-forming process, method, or other epistemologically relevant factor. The reliability theme appears both in theories of knowledge and theories of justification.
For the true part, I use the philosophy called The Correspondence Theory of Truth.
The correspondence theory of truth states that the truth or falsity of a statement is determined only by how it relates to the world and whether it accurately describes (i.e., corresponds with) that world.
For the beliefs part, I use what philosophy calls The Ethics of Belief.
The “ethics of belief” refers the intersection of epistemology, philosophy of mind, psychology, and ethics. The central is norms governing our habits of belief-formation, belief-maintenance, and belief-relinquishment. It morally wrong (or epistemically irrational, or imprudent) to hold a belief on insufficient evidence. It morally right (or epistemically rational, or prudent) to believe on the basis of sufficient evidence, or to withhold belief in the perceived absence of evidence. It always obligatory to seek out all available epistemic evidence for a belief.
What is belief? (philosophy)
“belief” to refer to the attitude we have, roughly, whenever we take something to be the case or regard it as true. To believe something, in this sense, needn’t involve actively reflecting on it it seems so evident we just take it as so as such there are a vast number of things ordinary adults believe. Many of the things we all believe, in the relevant sense, are quite mundane: that there is a sun, that a there is a planet we call earth, that it revolves around that sun and that there is some intelligent life on it; albeit sometimes this intelligent life believes unintelligent things. Forming beliefs is thus one of the most basic and important features of the mind, and the concept of belief plays a crucial role in both philosophies of mind and epistemology. Forming beliefs is thus one of the most basic and important features of the mind, and the concept of belief plays a crucial role in both the philosophy of mind and epistemology. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/belief/
Some continue to try and call Atheism a belief system. NO
A.T.H.E.I.S.T.= Against Theological Heresy Endangering Intelligent Sensible Thinking
By me referring to “Theological Heresy” I am saying theology is “Heresy” to reality.
I will now offer helpful but simplistic definitions of why a position of atheism could be chosen it is of course just an over-generalization but it will highlight the main idea though it always will be more substantive in reality and who is applying it.
Here is my list of non-theistic and theistic assumptions
- Weakest implicit Nontheistic/Atheism “negative” / “weak” / “soft” nonbelief similar to Non-Theism
- Strong implicit Atheism “negative” / “weak” / “soft” nonbelief similar to Apatheist Atheism.
- Weak Explicit Atheism “negative” / “weak” / “soft” atheists similar to Agnostic Atheism.
- Strong Explicit Atheism “negative” / “weak” / “soft” atheists similar to Ignostic Atheism.
- Strongest Explicit Atheism “positive” / “strong” / “hard” atheists similar to Antitheist Atheism.
- Weakest implicit Theistic thinking/Theism “negative” / “weak” / “soft” belief similar to Vague Theism
- Weak implicit Theism “negative” / “weak” / “soft” belief similar to apatheist theists.
- Weak Explicit Theism “negative” / “weak” / “soft” theists similar to agnostic theism.
- Strong Explicit Theism “positive” / “strong” / “hard” theists similar to standard theism.
- Strongest Explicit Theism “positive” / “strong” / “hard” theists similar to gnostic theism.
Ok, well now I will humor you. Some continue to try and call Atheism a belief system. NO. If atheism is to be thought of as a belief system as religionists like to think then its the confirmation of two philosophies Rationalism (reason) and Empiricism (evidence) and in simple terms, it’s the method of only accepting valid as well as reliable reason and evidence. Since god hypothesis claims fail to substantiate with any “evidence” as well as are exposed to contain thinking errors, logical fallacies and internal contradictions it has no warrant nor justification to support “reason” believing it to be in anyway true. Thus, to your belief that Atheism is a belief but you have it backward, we have credible belief systems that lead us to the conclusion of Atheism which is stating I do not have a belief in gods, which because of the facts in evidence is the only rational choice.
What is belief? (Psychology)
Simply, a belief defines an idea or principle which we judge to be true. When we stop to think about it, functionally this is no small thing: lives are routinely sacrificed and saved based simply on what people believe. Yet I routinely encounter people who believe things that remain not just unproven, but which have been definitively shown to be false. In fact, I so commonly hear people profess complete certainty in the truth of ideas with insufficient evidence to support them that the alarm it used to trigger in me no longer goes off. I’ll challenge a false belief when, in my judgment, it poses a risk to a patient’s life or limb, but I let far more unjustified beliefs pass me by than I stop to confront. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have time to talk about anything else. What exactly is going on here? Why are we all (myself included) so apparently predisposed to believe false propositions? The answer lies in neuropsychology’s growing recognition of just how irrational our rational thinking can be, according to an article in Mother Jones by Chris Mooney. We now know that our intellectual value judgments—that is, the degree to which we believe or disbelieve an idea—are powerfully influenced by our brains’ proclivity for attachment. Our brains are attachment machines, attaching not just to people and places, but to ideas. And not just in a coldly rational manner. Our brains become intimately emotionally entangled with ideas we come to believe are true (however we came to that conclusion) and emotionally allergic to ideas we believe to be false. This emotional dimension to our rational judgment explains a gamut of measurable biases that show just how unlike computers our minds are: Confirmation bias, which causes us to pay more attention and assign greater credence to ideas that support our current beliefs. That is, we cherry pick the evidence that supports a contention we already believe and ignore evidence that argues against it. Disconfirmation bias, which causes us to expend disproportionate energy trying to disprove ideas that contradict our current beliefs. The accuracy of belief isn’t our only cognitive goal. Our other goal is to validate our pre-existing beliefs, beliefs that we’ve been building block by block into a cohesive whole our entire lives. In the fight to accomplish the latter, confirmation bias and disconfirmation bias represent two of the most powerful weapons at our disposal, but simultaneously compromise our ability to judge ideas on their merits and the evidence for or against them.
EVIDENCE VS. EMOTION?
Which isn’t to say we can’t become aware of our cognitive biases and guard against them—just that it’s hard work. But if we really do want to believe only what’s actually true, it’s necessary to work. In fact, I would argue that if we want to minimize the impact of confirmation and disconfirmation bias, we need to reason more like infants than adults. Though many people think belief can occur only in self-aware species possessing higher intelligence, I would argue that both infants and animals also believe things, the only difference being they’re not aware they believe them. That is, they do indeed judge certain ideas “true”—if not with self-aware minds, with minds that act based on the truth of them nonetheless. Infants will learn that objects don’t cease to exist when placed behind a curtain around 8 to 12 months, a belief called object permanence (link is external), which scientists are able to determine from the surprise infants of this age exhibit when the curtain is lifted and the object has been removed. Animals will run from predators because they know—that is, believe—they will be eaten if they don’t. In this sense, even protozoa can be said to believe things (e.g., they will move toward energy sources rather than away because they know, or “believe,” engulfing such sources will continue their existence). Infants and animals, however, are free of the emotional biases that color the reasoning of adults because they haven’t yet developed (or won’t, in the case of animals) the meta-cognitive abilities of adults, i.e., the ability to look back on their conclusions and form opinions about them. Infants and animals are therefore forced into drawing conclusions I consider compulsory beliefs—”compulsory” because such beliefs are based on principles of reason and evidence that neither infants nor animals are actually free to disbelieve. This leads to the rather ironic conclusion that infants and animals are actually better at reasoning from evidence than adults. Not that adults are, by any means, able to avoid forming compulsory beliefs when incontrovertible evidence presents itself (e.g., if a rock is dropped, it will fall), but adults are so mired in their own meta-cognitions that few facts absorbed by their minds can escape being attached to a legion of biases, often creating what I consider rationalized beliefs—”rationalized” because adult judgments about whether an idea is true are so often powerfully influenced by what he or she wants to be true. This is why, for example, creationists continue to disbelieve in evolution despite overwhelming evidence in support of it and activist actors and actresses with autistic children continue to believe that immunizations cause autism despite overwhelming evidence against it. But if we look down upon people who seem blind to evidence that we ourselves find compelling, imagining ourselves to be paragons of reason and immune to believing erroneous conclusions as a result of the influence of our own pre-existing beliefs, more likely than not we’re only deceiving ourselves about the strength of our objectivity. Certainly, some of us are better at managing our biases than others, but all of us have biases with which we must contend. What then can be done to mitigate their impact? First, we have to be honest with ourselves in recognizing just how biased we are. If we only suspect that what we want to be true is having an influence on what we believe is true, we’re coming late to the party. Second, we have to identify the specific biases we’ve accumulated with merciless precision. And third, we have to practice noticing how (not when) those specific biases are exerting influence over the judgments we make about new facts. If we fail to practice these three steps, we’re doomed to reason, as Jonathan Haidt argues, often more like lawyers than scientists—that is, backward from our predetermined conclusions rather than forward from evidence. Some evidence suggests we’re less apt to become automatically dismissive of new ideas that contradict our current beliefs if those ideas are presented in a non-worldview-threatening manner or by someone who we perceive thinks as we do. As a society, therefore, we have critically important reasons to reject bad (untrue) ideas and promulgate good (true) ones. When we speak out, however, we must realize that reason alone will rarely if ever be sufficient to correct misconceptions. If we truly care to promote belief in what’s true, we need to first find a way to circumvent the emotional biases in ourselves that prevent us from recognizing the truth when we see it. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201104/the-two-kinds-belief
What is belief? (neuroscience)
Where belief is born: Scientists have begun to look in a different way at how the brain creates the convictions that mold our relationships and inform our behavior. “Belief has been a most powerful component of human nature that has somewhat been neglected,” says Peter Halligan, a psychologist at Cardiff University. “But it has been capitalized on by marketing agents, politics and religion for the best part of two millennia.” That is changing. Once the preserve of philosophers alone, belief is quickly becoming the subject of choice for many psychologists and neuroscientists. Their goal is to create a neurological model of how beliefs are formed, how they affect people and what can manipulate them. And the latest steps in the research might just help to understand a little more about why the world is so fraught with political and social tension. Matthew Lieberman, a psychologist at the University of California, recently showed how beliefs help people’s brains categorize others and view objects as good or bad, largely unconsciously. He demonstrated that beliefs (in this case prejudice or fear) are most likely to be learned from the prevailing culture. When Lieberman showed a group of people photographs of expressionless black faces, he was surprised to find that the amygdala – the brain’s panic button – was triggered in almost two-thirds of cases. There was no difference in the response between black and white people. The amygdala is responsible for the body’s fight or flight response, setting off a chain of biological changes that prepare the body to respond to danger well before the brain is conscious of any threat. Lieberman suggests that people are likely to pick up on stereotypes, regardless of whether their family or community agrees with them. The work, published last month in Nature Neuroscience, is the latest in a rapidly growing field of research called “social neuroscience”, a wide area which draws together psychologists, neuroscientists and anthropologists all studying the neural basis for the social interaction between humans. Traditionally, cognitive neuroscientists focused on scanning the brains of people doing specific tasks such as eating or listening to music, while social psychologists and social scientists concentrated on groups of people and the interactions between them. To understand how the brain makes sense of the world, it was inevitable that these two groups would have to get together. “In the West, most of our physical needs are provided for. We have a level of luxury and civilization that is pretty much unparalleled,” says Kathleen Taylor, a neuroscientist at Oxford University. “That leaves us with a lot more leisure and more space in our heads for thinking.” Beliefs and ideas, therefore, become our currency, says Taylor. Society is no longer a question of simple survival; it is about a choice of companions and views, pressures, ideas, options, and preferences. “It is quite an exciting development but for people outside the field, a very obvious one,” says Halligan. Understanding belief is not a trivial task, even for the seemingly simplest of human interactions. Take a conversation between two people. When one talks, the other’s brain is processing information through their auditory system at a phenomenal rate. That person’s beliefs act as filters for the deluge of sensory information and guide the brain’s response. Lieberman’s recent work echoed parts of earlier research by Joel Winston of the University of London’s Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience. Winston found that when he presented people with pictures of faces and asked them to rate the trustworthiness of each, the amygdalae showed a greater response to pictures of people who were specifically chosen to represent untrustworthiness. And it did not matter what each person actually said about the pictured faces. “Even people who believe to their core that they do not have prejudices may still have negative associations that are not conscious,” says Lieberman. Beliefs also provide stability. When a new piece of sensory information comes in, it is assessed against these knowledge units before the brain works out whether or not it should be incorporated. People do it when they test the credibility of a politician or hear about a paranormal event. Physically speaking, then, how does a belief exist in the brain? “My own position is to think of beliefs and memories as very similar,” says Taylor. Memories are formed in the brain as networks of neurons that fire when stimulated by an event. The more times the network is employed, the more it fires and the stronger the memory becomes. Halligan says that belief takes the concept of memory a step further. “A belief is a mental architecture of how we interpret the world,” he says. “We have lots of fluid things moving by – perceptions and so forth – but at the level of who our friends are and so on, those things are consolidated in crystallized knowledge units. If we did not have those, every time we woke up, how would we know who we are?” These knowledge units help to assess threats – via the amygdala – based on experience. Ralph Adolphs, a neurologist at the University of Iowa, found that if the amygdala was damaged, the ability of a person to recognize expressions of fear was impaired. A separate study by Adolphs with Simon Baron-Cohen at Cambridge University showed that amygdala damage had a bigger negative impact on the brain’s ability to recognize social emotions, while more basic emotions seemed unaffected. This work on the amygdala shows it is a key part of the threat-assessment response and, in no small part, in the formation of beliefs. Damage to this alarm bell – and subsequent inability to judge when a situation might be dangerous – can be life-threatening. In hunter-gatherer days, beliefs may have been fundamental to human survival. Neuroscientists have long looked at brains that do not function properly to understand how healthy ones work. Researchers of belief formation do the same thing, albeit with a twist. “You look at people who have delusions,” says Halligan. “The assumption is that a delusion is a false belief. That is saying that the content of it is wrong, but it still has the construct of a belief.” In people suffering from prosopagnosia, for example, parts of the brain are damaged so that the person can no longer recognise faces. In the Cotard delusion, people believe they are dead. Fregoli delusion is the belief that the sufferer is constantly being followed around by people in disguise. Capgras’ delusion, named after its discoverer, the French psychiatrist Jean Marie Joseph Capgras, is a belief that someone emotionally close has been replaced by an identical impostor. Until recently, these conditions were regarded as psychiatric problems. But closer study reveals that, in the case of Capgras’ delusion for example, a significant proportion of sufferers had lesions in their brain, typically in the right hemisphere. “There are studies indicating that some people who have suffered brain damage retain some of their religious or political beliefs,” says Halligan. “That’s interesting because whatever beliefs are, they must be held in memory.” Another route to understanding how beliefs form is to look at how they can be manipulated. In her book on the history of brainwashing, Taylor describes how everyone from the Chinese thought reform camps of the last century to religious cults have used systematic methods to persuade people to change their ideas, sometimes radically. The first step is to isolate a person and control what information they receive. Their former beliefs need to be challenged by creating uncertainty. New messages need to be repeated endlessly. And the whole thing needs to be done in a pressured, emotional environment. “Beliefs are mental objects in the sense that they are embedded in the brain,” says Taylor. “If you challenge them by contradiction, or just by cutting them off from the stimuli that make you think about them, then they are going to weaken slightly. If that is combined with very strong reinforcement of new beliefs, then you’re going to get a shift in emphasis from one to the other.” The mechanism Taylor describes is similar to the way the brain learns normally. In brainwashing though, the new beliefs are inserted through a much more intensified version of that process. This manipulation of belief happens every day. Politics is a fertile area, especially in times of anxiety. “Stress affects the brain such that it makes people more likely to fall back on things they know well – stereotypes and simple ways of thinking,” says Taylor. “It is very easy to want to do that when everything you hold dear is being challenged. In a sense, it was after 9/11.” The stress of the terror attacks on the US in 2001 changed the way many Americans viewed the world, and Taylor argues that it left the population open to tricks of belief manipulation. A recent survey, for example, found that more than half of Americans thought Iraqis were involved in the attacks, despite the fact that nobody had come out and said it. This method of association uses the brain against itself. If an event stimulates two sets of neurons, then the links between them get stronger. If one of them activates, it is more likely that the second set will also fire. In the real world, those two memories may have little to do with each other, but in the brain, they get associated. Taylor cites an example from a recent manifesto by the British National Party, which argues that asylum seekers have been dumped on Britain and that they should be made to clear up rubbish from the streets. “What they are trying to do is to link the notion of asylum seekers with all the negative emotions you get from reading about garbage, [but] they are not actually coming out and saying asylum seekers are garbage,” she says. The 9/11 attacks highlight another extreme in the power of beliefs. “Belief could drive people to agree to premeditate something like that in the full knowledge that they would all die,” says Halligan of the hijacker pilots. It is unlikely that beliefs as wide-ranging as justice, religion, prejudice or politics are simply waiting to be found in the brain as discrete networks of neurons, each encoding for something different. “There’s probably a whole combination of things that go together,” says Halligan. And depending on the level of significance of a belief, there could be several networks at play. Someone with strong religious beliefs, for example, might find that they are more emotionally drawn into certain discussions because they have a large number of neural networks feeding into that belief. “If you happen to have a predisposition, racism for example, then it may be that you see things in a certain way and you will explain it in a certain way,” says Halligan. He argues that the reductionist approach of social neuroscience will alter the way people study society. “If you are brain scanning, what are the implications for privacy in terms of knowing another’s thoughts? And being able to use those, as some governments are implying, in terms of being able to detect terrorists and things like that,” he says. “If you move down the line in terms of potential uses for these things, you have potential uses for education and for treatments being used as cognitive enhancers.” So far, social neuroscience has provided more questions than answers. Ralph Adolphs of the University of Iowa looked to the future in a review paper for Nature. “How can causal networks explain the many correlations between brain and behavior that we are discovering? Can large-scale social behavior, as studied by political science and economics, be understood by studying social cognition in individual subjects? Finally, what power will insights from cognitive neuroscience give us to influence social behavior, and hence society? And to what extent would such pursuit be morally defensible?” http://www.theguardian.com/science/2005/jun/30/psychology.neuroscience
Beliefs comprise more distributed and therefore less accessible central cognitive processes assumed to not really be like more established and accessible modular psychological process (e.g., vision, audition, face-recognition, language-processing, and motor-control systems). Belief can be defined as the mental acceptance or conviction in the truth or actuality of some idea (Schwitzgebel, 2010). Beliefs thus involve at least two properties: (i) representational content and (ii) assumed veracity (Stephens and Graham, 2004). It is important to note, however, that beliefs need not be conscious or linguistically articulated. It is likely that the majority of beliefs remain unconscious or outside of immediate awareness, and are of relatively mundane content: for example, that one’s senses reveal an environment that is physically real, that one has ongoing relationships with other people, and that one’s actions in the present can bring about outcomes in the future. Beliefs thus typically describe enduring, unquestioned ontological representations of the world and comprise primary convictions about events, causes, agency, and objects that subjects use and accept as veridical. Beliefs can be distinguished from other types of cognitive “representations” that are more frequently referred to in contemporary cognitive science, such as memory, knowledge, and attitudes. In contrast to memory, beliefs can apply to present and future events, as well as the past. In some cases, it may also be possible to distinguish between memories that are believed (as in the vast majority of memories) and memories that are not believed (as in false memories when a person recognises that the remembered event could not have occurred;Loftus, 2003). In contrast to knowledge, beliefs are, by definition, held with conviction and regarded as true (Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975; Eagly and Chaiken, 1993; Wyer and Albarracín, 2005). Beliefs also typically involve a large self-referential element that may not be present in knowledge. Finally, in contrast to attitudes (as understood in social psychology, rather than the broader philosophical usage), beliefs need not contain an evaluative component, which is a defining characteristic of attitudes in social psychology (Eagly and Chaiken, 1993). On the other hand, beliefs may provide a framework for understanding attitudes (e.g., the belief that an object has a particular property and the belief that this property should be evaluated in a particular way; for further discussion, see Kruglanski and Stroebe, 2005; Wyer and Albarracín, 2005). In all three cases, however, there is likely to be considerable overlap with belief and the different constructs may involve shared underpinnings. Semantic memory, for example, which involves memory for meaning, is likely to have many commonalities with belief. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4327528/
Beliefs come first, explanations for beliefs follow.
In this book, The Believing Brain Michael Shermer is interested in more than just why people believe weird things, or why people believe this or that claim, but in why people believe anything at all. By assessing the neuroscience behind our beliefs. The brain is a belief engine. From sensory data flowing in through the senses, the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns and then infuses those patterns with meaning. The first process Michael Shermer calls patternicity: the tendency to find meaningful patterns in both meaningful and meaningless data. The second process he calls agenticity: the tendency to infuse patterns with meaning, intention, and agency. We can’t help believing. Our brains evolved to connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen. These meaningful patterns become beliefs. Once beliefs are formed the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which adds an emotional boost of further confidence in the beliefs and thereby accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive feedback loop of belief confirmation. Michael Shermer outlines the numerous cognitive tools our brains engage to reinforce our beliefs as truths and to ensure that we are always right. Interlaced with his theory of belief, Michael Shermer provides countless real-world examples of belief from all realms of life, and in the end, he demonstrates why science is the best tool ever devised to determine whether or not a belief matches reality. http://www.michaelshermer.com/the-believing-brain/
Philosophies for Good Belief Formation
Philosophies for good belief formation: “Reliabilism” and “Correspondence Theory of Truth”
You if a reasoned thinker likely uses both of the philosophies I stated to some extent you just did not realize that you were doing so. If you reserve belief waiting for large consensuses you would be following “reliabilism” and withhold belief until evidence for that belief is established would be “correspondence theory of truth.” Reliabilism would say before you even can assess if evidence is warranted or justified it must come from a reliable source. In other words, a peer-reviewed journal is reliable or at least can be warranted to be reliable until shown otherwise. The bible with unknown authorship without corroborating facts and demonstrated lies and at least half-truths are unwarranted and unjustified as a reliable source, thus cannot be used as evidence until some part one was trying to uses was proven otherwise. Narrowly speaking, the correspondence theory of truth is the view that truth is correspondence to, or with, a fact—a view that was advocated by Russell and Moore early in the 20th century. But the label is usually applied much more broadly to any view explicitly embracing the idea that truth consists in a relation to reality, i.e., that truth is a relational property involving a characteristic relation (to be specified) to some portion of reality (to be specified). This basic idea has been expressed in many ways, giving rise to an extended family of theories and, more often, theory sketches. Members of the family employ various concepts for the relevant relation (correspondence, conformity, congruence, agreement, accordance, copying, picturing, signification, representation, reference, satisfaction) and/or various concepts for the relevant portion of reality (facts, states of affairs, conditions, situations, events, objects, sequences of objects, sets, properties, tropes). The resulting multiplicity of versions and reformulations of the theory is due to a blend of substantive and terminological differences. The correspondence theory of truth is often associated with metaphysical realism. Reliability theories of knowledge of varying stripes continue to appeal to many epistemologists.
Here is a Reliabilism link: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/reliabilism/
Here is a link for the Correspondence Theory of Truth: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-correspondence/
Be Careful What You Believe
We accumulate beliefs that we allow to negatively influence our lives often without realizing it. However, it is our willingness to alter skewed beliefs or assertions that impede our balance, which brings about a new caring, connected and critical awareness.
Analytical atheism: comes to disbelief because of deliberative analytical thinking on the god concepts. Psychologists believe that humans process information in two main ways: some thought processes are more intuitive and automatic, whilst others are more analytical and deliberative. In studies it has been shown that religious and supernatural beliefs are associated mostly with intuition and deliberative analytical thinking is less likely to hold religious and supernatural beliefs. 1
Apistevist atheism: an atheist is one who is not a theist, one who is not a believer; an agnostic is one who lacks knowledge; apistevist is the term for one who lacks or denies faith, especially of the religious or superstition variety. I happen to know many people who are hard-core theists and insist that their faith is rational, based on things they see as evidence supporting or convincing what they feel is a need for religious faith. Then there are others religious believers who go the route of pure and simple faith without feeling the need for evidence. Apistevist atheists reject how many theists arguing for their beliefs coming from faith alone even if believers think it has some kind of evidence. 1
Axiological atheism: is a constructive Value centered ethics driven atheism which rejects the existence of gods in favor of a “higher absolute,” such as humanity and society. This form of atheism favors humanity as the absolute source of ethics and values, and permits individuals to resolve moral problems without resorting to faith or god myths. Axiological or constructive atheism conveys messages of liberation, full-development, and unfettered happiness. Axiological or constructive atheism life meaning in humanity, ethics and values surpasses one of the most common criticisms of atheism that denying the existence of a god leads to moral relativism, leaving one with no moral or ethical foundation or renders life meaningless and miserable. Axiological Atheism can be thought to involve ethical/value theory reasoned and moral argument driven atheism, anti-theism, anti-religionism, ignosticism, apatheism, secularism, and humanism. Axiological Atheist, can be understood as a value theory or value science Atheist. As such axiological atheism’s ethically reasoning is constructive and pro-humanity. We who believe we are thinking rational, leading to opposition or hate of religion may that be limited to the nonfactual or oppressive ideology and not the people. Beyond just not being something lets be something, rational thinking should challenge myths but also prove our love for humanity and care for all living beings. In most cases, Axiological atheism would assert the traditional concept of “Atheism” answers only a single question: Is there a creator god or not? That is an important question, but if your answer is “no”, it is only a starting point and not a way of life. You may have reached that viewpoint based on your respect for logic, evidence, science, and personal experience which to are vital values. Yet, after you have reached that initial “no god” answer, all the other important questions in life, all the options for mental and emotional wholeness and social and environmental harmony, ethics and morality, personal fulfillment, social values, philosophy, and psychology remain open. That is where “Axiological Atheism” holds a connection to both further challenging the god concept and devaluing religion and adding a value meaning and ethical axiological ideology to guide universally desirable secular ethical way of being or a value-driven life lived in this reality. What is Axiology, Formal Axiology & Axiological Profiling? Axiology is the name for “value theory.” It is derived from the Greek word “axios” meaning “worth.” Formal axiology is the logic-based science of value anchored in a “hierarchy of meaning” from the most meaningful or richest value to the most destructive or greatest value loss. The logic specifies 18 different levels of richness. Hartman’s “hierarchy of value” is the mathematical measuring standard for human evaluative judgment and decision-making in life and in all social sectors of life in our culture. When people make value judgments, they use both their mental and emotional capacities to arrive at their decision. Some people have very solid and reliable decision-making abilities – while others routinely make wrong or inaccurate choices. Axiological profiles measure the quality of the respondent’s judgment and decision-making by gauging both their mental clarity and their emotional orientation & conditioning. Dr. Leon Pomeroy in his book, The New Science of Axiological Psychology (Pomeroy, 2005), has shown that formal axiology is also empirically valid. Thus, in our axiological assessment profiles, we have the solid support of both scientific methods: the deductive logic-based axiomatic method and the inductive, empirical method. Dr. Pomeroy spent over 20 years collecting statistical data for his book cross-nationally, from numerous and diverse eastern and western countries and cultures, and proving that cultures all over the world make value judgments in the same way. Neuro‐Axiology: merges Neuroscience understanding how the brain works with Axiology’s formal science that makes possible the objective measurement of value how humans make value judgments. (You will ALWAYS choose what you think adds the MOST value to your life.) Accepting the standard of a neuroscientific model of consciousness means that everything we think, feel, remember, and do is a function of the brain. This includes the emotion of empathy. We are not empathic because it makes sense to be empathic – meaning that most humans don’t simply reason their way to empathy. Nor do we simply learn empathy (although brain development is an interactive process with the environment, so we can’t rule out environmental influences). For the most part, we have empathy because our brains are wired with empathy as a specific function. Like every function of the body you can think of, if it is not essential for survival then some subset of the human population likely has a disorder or even absence of this function. We recognize the biological limits of empathy or absence of empathy as the disorder, psychopathy. It is estimated that about 1% of the general population are psychopaths, while about 20-30% of the US prison population. Dr. Robert S. Hartman discovered that people hold back a 40% latent reserve of cooperation and productivity until they have been valued as human beings. Axiology is the science of how humans value and make value judgments as well as how they relate to ethics (not moral values often religious or culture relative). The basics of Axiology are in its 3 Classes of Value and 6 “Advisors”. The following are the Classes of Value: 1. Systemic: plans, rules, best practices, procedures; ideas or expectations 2. Extrinsic: practical or situational; measurable, tracked; tasks (tangible) 3. Intrinsic: personal or transcendent; infinitely valuable; irreplaceable; human beings (intangibles). The following are the 6 Advisors which consist of 2 views of one inward and one outward and one must remember people are neither their thoughts nor their advisors. 1. World View: Empathy-Intuition “people”, Practical Judgment “tasks, & Systems Thinking “plans & ideas” 2. Self View: Self-Esteem “who you are”, Role Awareness “what you do,” & Self Direction “where you go”. The word “Axiological” (to the term “Axiological atheism” is meant to denote an atheistic “Value” rejection of the existence of gods or supreme beings and in favor of a “higher absolute” such as humanity or universal ethical principles. The perception of moral obligation removed from ethical sensitivity to universal justice [is] thus unintelligible as “higher absolute”. As a form of atheism, Axiological favors humanity as the absolute source of holistic ethics and care values which permits individuals to resolve moral problems without resorting to a god’s moral obligation which is anti-humanity and not needing to connect to equal justice. Axiological Atheism can be seen as ethically reasoned antitheism and antireligionism where it is all about axiology values that underlie the universal truths. A few examples of universal truths such as there is no such thing as just rape, no honorable thoughtful unwanted torture, and no just humanistic caring abuse of the innocent. You can offer excuses but the true values violations hold true. Axiologists are broadly concerned with all forms of value including aesthetic values, ethical values, and epistemic values. In a narrow sense, axiologists are concerned with what is intrinsically valuable or worthwhile—what is desirable for its own sake. All axiological issues are necessarily connected to ontological and epistemological assumptions. Axiology in Axiological Atheism can be seen as applying science of morality, referring to its ethically naturalistic views basing morality on rational and empirical consideration of the natural world. The idea of a science of morality has been explored by writers like Joseph Daleiden in The Science of Morality: The Individual, Community, and Future Generations or more recently by neuroscientist Sam Harris in the 2010 book The Moral Landscape. Harris’ science of morality suggests that scientists using empirical knowledge, especially neuropsychology and metaphysical naturalism, in combination with axiomatic values as “first principles”, would be able to outline a universal basis for morality. Harris and Daleiden chiefly argue that society should consider normative ethics to be a domain of science whose purpose amounts to the pursuit of flourishing (well-being). “Science” should not be so narrowly defined as to exclude important roles for any academic disciplines which base their conclusions on the weight of empirical evidence. The term “science of morality” is also sometimes used for the description of moral systems in different cultures or species. The axiological movement emerges from the phenomenological method. The axiologists sought to characterize the notion of value in general, of which moral value is only one species. They argue against Kant, that goodness does not exclusively derive from the will, but exists in objective hierarchies. They emphasize the extent to which it is through emotions and feelings that human beings discern values. The notion of right action is understood derivatively in terms of the values which emotions reveal. Evolutionary psychology seems to offer an account of the evolution of our “moral sense” (conscience) that dispenses with any reference to objective values. Its apparent elimination of objective values on the grounds of their being unneeded in explanation has led the skeptical writings of J.L. Mackie and Michael Ruse. By contrast, Robert Nozick has resisted this interpretation of evolution (1981) arguing that an evolutionary account of the moral sense can no more dispense with values than an evolutionary account of perception can dispense with perceptual objects objectively present in the world. Axiologists in contemporary ethics are Platonists such as Iris Murdoch and Neo-Kantian theorists such as John Rawls and Robert Nozick. Tenets of Secular Ethics involve a width and diversity of their philosophical views, but secular ethicists generally share one or more principles: • Human beings, through their ability to empathize, are capable of determining ethical grounds. • Human beings, through logic and reason, are capable of deriving normative principles of behavior. • Human beings have the moral responsibility to ensure that societies and individuals act based on these ethical principles. • Societies should, if at all possible, advance from a less ethical, less empathy, and unjust form to a more ethical, more empathy and just form.1 2 3
Epistemological atheism: highlights a branch of philosophy that deals with determining what is and what is not true, and why we believe or disbelieve what we or others do. On one hand, this is begging the question of having the ability to measure “truth” – as though there is an “external” something that one measures against. Epistemology is the analysis of the nature of knowledge, how we know, what we can and cannot know, and how we can know that there are things we know we cannot know. In Greek episteme, meaning “knowledge, understanding”, and logos, meaning “discourse, study, ratio, calculation, reason. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion. In other words, it is the academic term associated with study of how we conclude that certain things are true. Epistemology: the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. From this atheist orientation, there is no, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be, any “external” something so there can be no god-concept. Many debates between atheist and theists revolve around fundamental issues which people don’t recognize or never get around to discussing. Many of these are epistemological in nature: in disagreeing about whether it’s reasonable to believe in the existence of a god something, to believe in miracles, to accept revelation and scriptures as authoritative, and so forth, atheists and theists are ultimately disagreeing about basic epistemological principles. Without understanding this and understanding the various epistemological positions, people will just end up talking past each other. it’s common for Epistemological atheism to differ in what they consider to be appropriate criteria for truth and, therefore, the proper criteria for a reasonable disbelief. Atheists demand proof and evidence for other worldviews, yet there is no proof and evidence that atheism is true. Also, despite the abundant evidence for Christianity and the lack of proof and evidence for atheism, atheist reject the truth of Christianity. *Epistemology (knowledge of things) questions to explode or establish and confirm knowledge. Epistemology “Truth” questions/assertion: Lawyer searches for warrant or justification for the claim. Epistemology, (understanding what you know or can know; as in you do have and thing in this reality to know anything about this term you call god, and no way of knowing if there is anything non-naturalism beyond this universe and no way to state any about it if there where). -How do know your claim? -How reliable or valid must aspects be for your claim? -How does the source of your claim make it different than other similar claims? I may respond, “how do you know that, what is your sources and how reliable they are” (asking to find the truth or as usual expose the lack of a good Epistemology) Atheists refuse to go where the evidence clearly leads. In addition, when atheist make claims related to naturalism, make personal claims or make accusations against theists, they often employ lax evidential standards instead of employing rigorous evidential standards. For the most part, atheists have presumed that the most reasonable conclusions are the ones that have the best evidential support. And they have argued that the evidence in favor of a god something’s existence is too weak, or the arguments in favor of concluding there is no a god something are more compelling. Traditionally the arguments for a god something’s existence have fallen into several families: ontological, teleological, and cosmological arguments, miracles, and prudential justifications. For a detailed discussion of those arguments and the major challenges to them that have motivated the atheist conclusion, the reader is encouraged to consult the other relevant sections of the encyclopedia. Arguments for the non-existence of a god something aredeductive or inductive. Deductive arguments for the non-existence of a god something are either single or multiple property disproofs that allege that there are logical or conceptual problems with one or several properties that are essential to any being worthy of the title “GOD.” Inductive arguments typically present empirical evidence that is employed to argue that a god something’s existence is improbable or unreasonable. Briefly stated, the main arguments are: a god something’s non-existence is analogous to the non-existence of Santa Claus. The existence of widespread human and non-human suffering is incompatible with an all powerful, all knowing, all good being. Discoveries about the origins and nature of the universe, and about the evolution of life on Earth make the a god something hypothesis an unlikely explanation. Widespread non-belief and the lack of compelling evidence show that a god something who seeks belief in humans does not exist. Broad considerations from science that support naturalism, or the view that all and only physical entities and causes exist, have also led many to the atheism conclusion. 1234
Ethical atheism: heavily involved and utilizes ethical thought and standards to navigate atheism or the humanism that is likely to follow such an ethical awareness. Ethical atheism strives to utilize the strong force of ethics and ethical challenge to address the many issues that not only arise in combating the fanatical promotion of harmful myths but ethical ways to positively navigate all of life’s real struggles or options to behave in interactions with others. God claims all totally lack a standard of meeting any warrant or justification in their burden of proof, thus the claim as offered debunks itself as any kind of viable claim. Would you be intellectually honest enough to want to know if your belief was completely false, and once knowing it was an unjustified belief, realize it lacks warrant and the qualities needed for belief-retention, as well as grasp the rationality that certain beliefs are epistemically unfounded which compels belief-relinquishment due to the beliefs insufficient supporting reason and evidence, realizing that belief. To me, belief in gods is intellectually flawed and dishonest compared to the evidence of the natural world being not only explainable on every level as only natural, but also there is not a shred of anything supernatural and every claim tested ever has time and again debunked such nonsense. If anything supernatural or paranormal was provable, the believers would have taken James Randi’s famous million-dollar challenge, or they would have gone and got their Nobel Prize in proving the supernatural or open up a 100% faith-based prayer and miracles hospital. Where the cure for anything and everything is guaranteed because “prayer and miracles works” and the only education was being a religious or spiritual leader. Prove it or it is not really worthy for true belief and if there was actual scientific proof it would silence us rationalists, atheists, and skeptics forever. However, nothing of the sort has ever happened. List of prizes for evidence of the paranormal or supernatural woo-woo go back to at least 1922 with Scientific American. But it did not stop there instead there has been many individuals and groups have offered similar monetary awards for proof of the paranormal or supernatural with some reaching over a million dollars yet as of February 2016, not one prizes have been claimed. Therefore, belief in supernatural or paranormal are not realistic nor are they reasonable. And what’s even crazier is it’s nonsense and they act like it is us rationalists, atheists, and skeptics that have to disprove something they have never proved. I do think critical thinkers and thinkers who are intellectually honest should follow something close to “The Ethics of Belief” or they are likely not honest thinkers. “The Ethics of Belief” was published in 1877 by philosopher William Kingdon Clifford outlined the famous principle “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything on insufficient evidence.” Arguing that it was immoral to believe things for which one lacks evidence, in direct opposition to religious thinkers for whom “blind faith” (i.e. belief in things in spite of the lack of evidence for them) was seen as a virtue. To me, it comes down to the question, would you be intellectually honest enough to want to know if your belief was completely false? And once knowing it was an unjustified belief, realize it lacks warrant and the qualities needed for belief-retention, as well as grasp the rationality that compels belief-relinquishment due to the beliefs insufficient supporting reason and evidence. The act of believing, just because one wants to believe, when everything contradicts the belief is intellectually unethical or deluded. Beliefs are directly connected to behavior, behavior is directly involved in ethics, and ethics requires involvement in social thinking which requires us to mature or discipline our beliefs. Ethics of Belief: sufficient evidence to support belief. An honest thinker would want to know what is sufficient evidence for the reliability and validity to support belief. According to the legal decision in 1950, evidence is sufficient when it satisfies an unprejudiced mind. Sufficient evidence can be said to reference the evidence of such value as to support the belief. The word sufficient does not mean conclusive. Conclusive evidence is evidence that serves to establish a fact or the proven truth of something. To me, the test for belief analysis in relation to the offered evidence attempting to affirm the belief, would be is it sufficient evidence such as, could any rational addresser of the belief in question to find the essential elements of the issue sufficiency evidence is beyond a reasonable doubt. it is reasonable to require a greater level of evidence proportional to the importance of the belief or the external effects of the belief. – IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF LUCILLE CRUSON STATE LAND BOARD V. LONG, ADM’R, ET AL. OREGON SUPREME COURT. ARGUED JUNE 13, 1950 REVERSED AUGUST 29, 1950 *538538 APPEAL FROM CIRCUIT COURT, LINN COUNTY, VICTOR OLLIVER, JUDGE. Someone asked why would a critical thinker follow another old book from 1877? Well the age of evidence or thinking is relevant if it is reasonable. Saying it’s age is old is not a refutation of its arguments. Moreover, it could be said that for ethical atheism applied logically “to me” in general ethics must be equally applied or the concept of ethics has no ethical meaning to begin with. Ethical atheism could be seen as thinking that if the idea of god implies the abdication of human reason and justice; it is the most decisive negation against of human rights, dignity, and liberty. Therefore ethical atheism holds a necessarily requirement to disbelief in order to end such unethical thinking and to end a god only morality enslavement of mankind. Ethical atheism holds all to ethical standards therefor if god did exist, it would be necessary to abolish him so we could be freely utilize human rights, dignity, reason and justice. Ethical atheism promotes atheism because it is both the logical and the ethical position to take in a world where religious people fly planes into skyscrapers, blow themselves up on crowded busses, and do all sorts of horrible things in the name of an imaginary sky monster. As an atheist ethicist, I am not just an Atheist (disbelieving claims of gods), an Antitheist (seeing theism as harmful) and an Antireligionist (seeing religion as untrue and/or harmful). Also as an atheist ethicist I value and require reason and evidence to support beliefs or propositions as well as am against all pseudohistory, pseudoscience, and pseudomorality. Why are gods even concerned with belief, as if they truly wanted it so bad they would be real and being more than just mental projections of which they are now they would show themselves and we all would believe. Therefore we can rightly conclude with no evidence of them at all, that belief in god(s) is the thing people do when playing at reality is valued more than understanding the actual natural only nature of reality. 1 23456
Evidential atheism: thinks that whether or not belief in a divine being is epistemically acceptable will be determined by the evidence. I intend to treat “evidence” in a broad sense including a priori arguments, arguments to the best explanation, inductive and empirical reasons, as well as deductive and conceptual premises. (Also note that one could be an evidentialist theist.) The evidentialist theist and the evidentialist atheist may have a number of general epistemological principles concerning evidence, arguments, implication in common, but then disagree about what the evidence is, how it should be understood, and what it implies. They may disagree, for instance, about whether the values of the physical constants and laws in nature constitute evidence for intentional fine tuning, but agree that whether God exists is a matter that can be explored empirically. 1
Ignostic atheism:ignosticism is similar to agnosticism, but where agnosticism is the claim that you can’t know something (god), ignosticism is the claim that, if the definition of something (god) is incoherent, then it can’t be meaningfully discussed, and if the definition of something (god) is unfalsifiable, then it has no meaning. Ignosticism or igtheism is the idea that every theological position assumes too much about the concept of God and other theological concepts. Ignosticism could possibly be one of the best argument against god concepts ever as it sees all efforts surrounding existence of a God concept semantically twisting the definition of God to mean that which is incomprehensible. If God is incoherent then the experiences believers attribute to God are by extension unintelligible and therefore meaningless. In which case you void any and all purported experiences of God because you couldn’t comprehend them. Ignostic atheism holds two interrelated views about to reject all God concepts. They are as follows: 1) The view that a coherent definition of God must be presented before the question of the existence of god can be meaningfully discussed. 2) If the definition provided is unfalsifiable, the Ignostic atheist takes the theological noncognitivist position that the question of the existence of a God concept is rendered meaningless thus must stay refuted. As with any topic, and especially in the realm of the supernatural and woo, the subject of any debate should be coherently defined. If one offers a clear definition of an entity, then in order to take a position whether it exists or not the definition of the entity must be one in which its existence can be falsified (there is a rational and logical method by which we can test the existence of the subject as it has been defined). Few theists ever offer a clear definition of God. The few who do offer a definition almost never offer one in which the existence of that God could be tested. The rare falsifiable definition offered regarding God’s existence is easily falsified. And so as with any subject (such as the existence of almost all supernatural entities) debate about the existence of God is, for the far majority of such conversations, pointless. 123
Investigative atheism: investigative atheism may take some interest in showing how the skeptical theistic way of reasoning, brought into the larger flow of total evidence skepticism, can be used to expose certain additional sources of doubt about theism sufficient to prevent overhasty migration to theism on the part of those left unconvinced by atheism. Moreover, and more positively, it can be used to inspire a greater openness to new religiously-relevant investigative results in the future. With these thoughts in mind, let’s add two more skeptical theses to our list: We have no good reason for thinking that the arguments from horrors or hiddenness against theism we know of are representative, relative to the property of (potentially) constituting a successful proof that theism is false, of the arguments from horrors or hiddenness against theism there are. And we have no good reason for thinking that the possible goods we know of are representative, relative to the property of consistency with a person being axiologically ultimate, of the possible goods there are but are always investigating and open. 1
Logical atheism: logical atheism holds that the various conceptions of gods, such as the personal god, are ascribed logically inconsistent qualities. Such atheists present deductive arguments against the existence of God, which assert the incompatibility between certain traits, such as perfection, creator-status, immutability, omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, omnibenevolence, transcendence, personhood (a personal being), nonphysicality, justice, and mercy. Logical arguments for atheism attempt to show that the concept of god is self-contradictory with some known fact. These incompatible-properties arguments attempt to demonstrate a contradiction in the concept of God. If an argument of this type were successful, it would mean that the existence of god is utterly impossible; there is a 0% probability that gods exists. 12
Materialistic atheism: materialists most likely value physicalism and may say that morality and concepts of god evolved thus extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence so god is not reality nor is such myths authoritative. Atheists are usually materialists of some sort, rejecting the idea that there exists anything independent of the workings of matter and energy. Materialism often entails atheism unless a person believes in a purely physical god, but atheism does not entail materialism. It may be hard to believe in a god in a materialistic philosophy, but an atheistic philosophy need not be materialistic. Materialistic atheism could involve an individualistic thinking earthier consciously or subconsciously to fulfill a survival of the fittest “things” or “needs” (to consume or accumulate) in order to “survive” are a value physicalism requires since you are the only thing you can count on, knowing no god is waiting to help. 1
Metaphysical atheism: metaphysical atheism can include any doctrines that hold to a atheistic metaphysical monism (the homogeneity of reality). Only a metaphysical atheism is based on absolute metaphysical atheism thus subscribe to some degree of physicalism, and explicitly deny the existence of non-physical beings most notably gods. Metaphysical atheism may be either: a) absolute — an explicit denial of God’s existence associated with materialistic monism (all materialistic trends, both in ancient and modern times); b) relative — the implicit denial of God in all philosophies that, while they accept the existence of an absolute, conceive of the absolute as not possessing any of the attributes proper to God: transcendence, a personal character or unity. Relative atheism is associated with idealistic monism (apantheism, pantheism, panentheism, deism). Metaphysical atheism could be the view that a god exists but doesn’t have a mind, which is basically a special type of deism. One important distinction is precisely whether an atheist can be a deist or pantheist. One view of atheism is that no gods can exist. Another view is merely that personal gods don’t exist. 1
Naturalist atheism: naturalist atheism is the philosophical doctrine that the observable physical world is all there is thus there can be no god. Most philosophers of science adhere strictly to this view and positively deny that any supernatural or miraculous effects or forces are possible thus one is almost required to hold a view of atheism. Naturalist atheists are driven by the humility lacking desire to plumb the depths of reality, to know what objectively exists, to understand how things fundamentally work, and to have maximally transparent explanations of phenomena. Naturalist atheism thus is a philo-scientific way of knowing what can justifiably believe which gets us reliable beliefs about the world. Naturalist atheism can be called a philo-scientific epistemology because it combines openness to philosophical critique with a reliance on scientific criteria of explanatory adequacy as vetted by that critique and the actual practice of science. Naturalist atheism holds that science and philosophy are continuous, interpenetrating and collaborative in our investigation of reality; neither is foundational to the other. Naturalist atheism mainly wants not to be deceived by supernatural or divine being claims, or to make errors of logic or method or assumptions when understanding the world which leave open the possibility of a God’s existence. 1
Noncognitivism atheism: is the position that religious language — and specifically religious terms like “god” — are not (cognitively) meaningful. Noncognitivism atheism argues that religious language is not meaningful because its empirical claims cannot be verified, even in theory. Likewise they further think there are no positive attributes that can be ascribed to entities like “god,” and entities without attributes are meaningless.This means that noncognitivism denies the essential meaningfulness of religious language, religious arguments, and religious apologetics. If they aren’t meaningful, then they can’t be either true or false and believing them to be true is pointless. 1
Non-evidential atheism: goes beyond a limitation in common atheism which likely is using evidentialist theory of knowledge which is any theory of knowledge that says that having evidence for a thing is necessary for knowing that thing. A non-evidentialist theory of knowledge denies this most commonly offering instead two additional non-evidentialist theories of knowledge: the causal theory, and reliabilism. Even if a belief lacks a credible rational it is not automatically irrational it may simply be utilizing a less supported or even wishful idealism stance that may even be somewhat flawed and yet still not irrational which is to be without the faculty of reason or deprived of reason. According to the Causal Theory of Knowledge, the difference between a true belief that isn’t knowledge and a true belief that is amounts to the following: if a true belief that P is knowledge, then it is causally connected to the fact that P. The simplest sort of causal connection would be direct: one where the fact that P is the cause of a subject’s belief that P. Causal connections can also be indirect: perhaps the fact that P causes the fact that Q which causes the subject to believe that P. It allow that you can know P if P is “logically related” to a fact that is causally connected to your believing P. According to the Reliabilism theory of Knowledge, which holds that the difference between mere true belief on the one hand and knowledge on the other is that the latter is formed via a reliable process: Reliabilism S knows that P if and only if S’s true belief that P was caused by a reliable process. What is a “reliable process”? Well, think of an analogy. A reliable car is one that generally works when you want it to. What “work” do we want our belief-forming processes to do? We want them to form true beliefs. So a reliable belief-forming process is one that generally leads to true beliefs. Reliabilism says that knowledge is true belief that was formed by a process that can generally be relied on to form true beliefs. As long as perception, memory, testimony, and reasoning are reliable in this sense, they can give us knowledge. If the processes of reasoning that lead us to form inductive generalizations (like “All men are mortal”) are reliable, then according to RT, they can lead us to knowledge. 1
Objectivism atheism: objectivism holds that in order to obtain knowledge, man must use an objective process of thought. The essence of objective thought is, first, integration of perceptual data in accordance with logic and, second, a commitment to acknowledging all of the facts of reality, and only the facts. In other words, the only thoughts to consider when forming knowledge of reality are those logically derived from reality. objectivism as an atheistic thinking upholds ultimate reason, not faith of any kind could be seen as a form of agnosticism. Objectivism atheist asserts proof of disbelief by our level of knowledge such as a certainty of religious rightness only a subjective deduction, probability of rightness is an unreasonable inconclusive induction, probability of wrongness is the most reasonable conclusive induction, certainty of complete wrongness holds more reason but still can be only a subjective deduction. Regardless of what certain religions, scientists, or philosophers believe or say they have to either prove that a thing is certain (i.e. it can never be altered) or they have to accept its probabilistic nature (i.e. there might be a time in the future or unobserved past when the reason does not hold). 1
Ontological atheism: ontological atheism asserts Ontological theism arguments aim too high. Just like logical calculus cannot ascertain a specific basic proposition is correct, existential calculus should not be able to conclude that some specific being exists. Logical calculus can show that if a bachelor exists then a man exists (since a bachelor is, specifically, a man), and existential calculus might be able to show that if certain things exist then a god something exists. But ontological arguments try to prove that something (god) exists without committing to the existence of any specific thing. They can therefore be roughly divided into several types:- (a) ones that assume that a god something exists from the get-go, but disguise it in some way; (b) ones that make an error in existential calculus, so are not sound; (c) ones that are correct but trivial, e.g. showing that the sum of all things exists in some sense. rethinks if one agrees that the existence of a god something has indeed been proven, you still really don’t know much about that god other than that it is infinite and perfect. These characteristics seem to be quite dangerous in light of the characteristics of a god something that have been posted by many organized religions. They posit someone who cares for us and who would simultaneously damn us to eternity in hell for our failure to believe in him thus we cannot and should not believe in a god something. Using rationality, one cannot conceive of a god something with infinite perfection, with anthropomorphic qualities (i.e. human motivation, characteristics, or behavior) or an infinite god holding judgments or care about what humans do. Ontological atheism reveals that the Ontological theism argument is problematic on four grounds: A) It defines a god something as a Necessary being which is necessarily O, and then “derives” that god is a necessary being. This isn’t so much a flaw as it is misleading. B) It assumes that which it seeks to prove, namely it assumes that the Necessary-god-Something is logically possible, which denies the very possibility that god doesn’t exist. Instead of wrestling with the claim that god doesn’t exist and showing it is false, the argument a-priori assumes that it is false. C) It relies on a confusion between epistemic and logical possibility. As a broad proposition the Necessary-god-Something needs to be treated as an epistemic possibility, leading to a weakened 1B which cannot support the rest of the argument. D) Even the weakened 1B should not be accepted. Like all Necessary postulates, that a Necessary-god-Something exists is either true in all possible worlds or not true in all possible worlds. The argument doesn’t advance the position that it is true in all possible worlds. Ontology (Greek meaning ontos, “being; that which is”; and logos meaning “discourse, study, ratio, calculation, reason”). Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence, or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. *Ontology (thingness of things) questions to define or compare and contrast thingness.* Ontology “Reality” questions/assertion: Witness gives evidence about the claim. Ontology, (understanding the thingness of things; like what is or can be real, like not god). -What is your claim? -What aspects must be there for your claim? -What makes your claim different than other similar claims? Take for instance how Religion supporters try the evaluation tactic of saying “there are peaceful Religions.” I may respond, what do you mean by Religion and what do you mean by painful or good” (asking to find the truth or as usual expose the lack of a good Ontology). To me belief ontologies address the conceptual schemas involved, at the intersection of three elements: A belief is a placeholder for a mental agreement to a offered idea, behavior or thing. We don’t know what us being accurately believed and this means all beliefs are open to challenge or they should be. Many people either have no standard to how they test or process their thinking and thus have untrustworthy and such a lack of a developed thought structure employ thinking systems with a high susceptibility to flaws, And this is where we use ontological challenging or ontological disproofs which are logical arguments posed against arguments made by an attacker/challenger to hone in and access the thinking of believing flaws, and the attacker capability to exploit a flaw. Ontological disproofs, are sophisticated ontological arguments, ontological challenges or ontological disproofs accusations that demand equally sophisticated responses, to which, many people are unprepared. Belief or argument forms should be valid, to prove them sound or unsound, strong/weak, or well defined/undefined, as weak premises must be shown to be false. By use ontological challenging, you are shining a light on its ways claimed or points proposed, outlined or arranged which equals a thing or its qualities to define it that makes the depth and fullness to a being or thing, like just what is provisional about the thing in question or offer, are the characteristics of adequate development structure and infrastructure of the ontology involved in claims or propositions as truth, fact, or knowledge? One ontological criticism focuses on the semantics that are given for quantifiers qualities used or involved as the notation of the language representations of the contents of belief talk, proposing that the qualities offered are fully alike (unequivocal) when the items or properties identified to you are likely one of the three partly unlike (equivocal). To me, ontologies are like an adequate way or web of elements involved in the thingness of things or ideas. Point by slow methodological point, is the most effective way to use ontological challenging. Ontologically challenge needs to be done, in order to develop in the other person, an ontological insecurity about what the person, place, thing, or idea are construction of and just what is being claimed, portrayed or proposed as truth, fact, or knowledge? A belief or set of beliefs, likely have a relationship between ideas of the thing expose the cracks and fissure in the conceptualizations divided up or overlap but often while a belief or set of beliefs are offered with assurance, they instead ontologically inadequate or almost completely ontologically empty. By exposing ontological vulnerabilities or weakness in a belief or set of beliefs can rise person’s sense of ontological Insecurity as the thinker realized they may not know that that know. In my way of thinking as ontological insecurity refers or relates to in an existential sense a person’s sense of “belief” deflation, discrediting, or disproving. Such an ontologically insecure thinker, maybe so ontologically desperate, to stop/lower believing/accepting the level of “reality or existence” of the things or ideas they were just referring to. In contrast, the ontologically secure thinker, maybe so ontologically stable in relation to ontological commitment of their fragments involved to feel a high level. Ontological arguments or Ontological commitment need to demonstrate or require demonstration of the disciplined or disordered structures but, a priori and necessary premises to the conclusion. 1, 2
Philosophical atheism: uses philosophy to justify non-belief. Philosophical atheists have not shared a common set of atheism no god or gods exist views, philosophical convictions can often set them off from other groups of atheism thinkers. There are different kinds of philosophical atheists as well as many philosophical justifications for atheism. Many rationalist atheists feel that the idea of a god something as presented by the major religions is essentially self-contradictory, and that it is logically impossible that such a god something could exist. Others are atheists through skepticism, because they see no evidence that a god something exists. Of course, some people are atheists without having any particular logical argument to back up their atheism. For some, it is simply the most comfortable, common sense position to take. Philosophical atheism is different addressing one of agnosticism’s biggest objections the limit to knowledge a god something exists or agnosticism’s believed impossibility to prove the nonexistence of something. There are many counterexamples to prove the nonexistence of something. For example, it is quite simple to prove that there does not exist a prime number larger than all other prime numbers. Of course, this deals with well-defined objects obeying well-defined rules. Whether a god somethings or universes are similarly well-defined is a matter for debate. However, assuming for the moment that the existence of a god something is not provably impossible, there are still subtle reasons for assuming the nonexistence of a god something. If we assume that something does not exist, it is always possible to show that this assumption is invalid by finding a single counterexample. If on the other hand we assume that something does exist, and if the thing in question is not provably impossible, showing that the assumption is invalid may require an exhaustive search of all possible places where such a thing might be found, to show that it isn’t there. Such an exhaustive search is often impractical or impossible. There is no such problem with largest primes, because we can prove that they don’t exist. Therefore it is generally accepted that we must assume things do not exist unless we have evidence that they do. To assume that a god something exists is to make an assumption which probably cannot be tested. We cannot make an exhaustive search of everywhere a god something might be to prove that he doesn’t exist anywhere. If a god something interacts with our universe in any way, the effects of his interaction must have some physical manifestation. Hence his interaction with our universe must be in principle detectable. If a god something is essentially undetectable, it must therefore be the case that he does not interact with our universe in any way. Many atheists would argue that if a god something does not interact with our universe at all, it is of no importance whether he exists or not. A thing which cannot even be detected in principle does not logically exist. Things do not exist merely because they have been defined to do so. We know a lot about the definition of Santa Claus–what he looks like, what he does, where he lives, what his reindeer are called, and so on. But that still doesn’t mean that Santa exists. 1
Polyatheist atheism: the act of having many gods you do not believe in. A term used by atheists to point out the fact that basically everyone on earth is an atheist to some extent. Nobody on Earth believes in every god, therefore everyone is an atheist. Such as one saying I am a Christian thus without saying it is an atheist to many or all other gods, one saying I am a Muslim without saying it is an atheist to many or all other gods, or Such as one saying I am a Buddhist without saying it is an atheist to many or all other gods. Therefore an Atheist who is using Polyatheist atheism would say see I don’t believe in any of those gods including yours, therefore I am a polyatheist. 1
Practical atheism: mostly consist with an intuitive system, so intuition to such an atheist is a really practical type of knowing. Practical atheism uses mental shortcuts and gut feelings. This type of thinking uses a kind of “atheistic common sense” to justify their non-belief in gods. Usually there would be a use of the old reliable saying “seeing is believing” or they have never proved themselves to me to justify a practical atheism non-belief in gods or anything supernatural. In practicalistic atheism, individuals live as if there are no gods and explain natural phenomena without resorting to the divine. Practical atheism develops conscious thoughts and common sense counter beliefs to challenge seeing the need to believe. Some of practical atheist’s using such personal common sense disbeliefs could be seen as accurate and useful, whereas some could be inaccurate and limiting in actual application to convince to others understanding of such a personal relative atheistic common sense. Moreover, the existence of gods may not always be completely denied just inferred, designated unnecessary to prove or disprove or useless to their lives; gods neither provide purpose to life nor influence everyday life anyways they see. A practical atheist could state, I am me, I am hear in reality therefore I exist; gods’ that are claimed to exist are not about me nor exist in my reality. Gods’ existing is about existence of lives that are placed outside reality. So the gods proposed are limited because they cannot be shown in reality and I am not limited because I can be shown in reality. Seeing gods in reality would allow belief but since nonreality cannot be seen outside reality, I am thus an atheist because my intuition lives in reality where gods do not exist. 1
Psychological atheism: how do psychologists who believe in God and follow a religious tradition reconcile their beliefs with adherence to the science of psychology? In Adieu to God: Why Psychology Leads to Atheism, Mick Power argues that science has all the answers. Psychological atheists are those atheists that say god is only a human invention. Research shows that Psychologists are the least religious amongst professors in America. Sigmund Freud famously argued that God and other religious beliefs are human inventions, created to fulfill various psychological and emotional wants or needs. Psychological atheism also addresses psychological, sociological and economical arguments: Some thinkers, including the anthropologist Ludwig Feuerbach like Sigmund Freud argued that God and other religious beliefs are human inventions, created to fulfill various psychological and emotional wants or needs. Marxists like Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and the Russian anarchist and revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin have argued that belief in God and religion are social functions, used by those in power to oppress and enslave the working classes. Psychological atheism will differ depending on the psychology approached followed or valued because “psychology” is not some unitary disciple: experimental psychologists are scientists; clinical psychologists are not medical doctors; organizational psychologists are not much concerned with religious salvation; social psychologists often sound like sociologists but they are not. 12
Scientific atheism: uses the scientific method to justify non-belief in gods or the supernatural and scientific atheists may also reject all things not materialistic or evolutionary derived. Scientific atheists often start with the position of philosophical atheism and then, due to their scientific theorizing, concluding that the actions of a “god” have no place in an any scientifically-controlled experiment and are simply myths people created to explain the natural scientific world they in less modern times could not understand. Informed consensus rule is a cornerstone of Atheistic thought. Scientific Atheism works on the principle that the utilization of credible evidence in personal, political and national decisions be the main guide for societies. The consequences of choices take into account the understanding of a common empathy and compassion. Scientific Atheism analytically examines the failings of systems, which allow preferential treatment to the disadvantage of arbitrarily victimised groups. It acknowledges that the rich tapestry of humanity is not open to the selective interpretation of writings from ignorant times. Pigeonholing scientific Atheism into a decidedly unacceptable category reeks of irresponsible promotion. It misrepresents a positive response to the dire circumstances afflicting a world in turmoil. Scientific Atheism places Homo sapiens in proper perspective in the Universe, away from unevidenced, dangerous and improbable illusions erroneously manufactured in the superstitious cauldrons of antiquity. Scientific Atheism unequivocally affirms that we are alone in a cosmos devoid of supernatural realms. The existence of such mental notions are invalidated by the total absence of evidence. Consequently, humanity has to deal with the psychological implications of that knowledge effectively if we are to survive. 1
Seeker atheism: you embrace the fact that you may not have all the answers, you may not be sure if others do either or what answers you have in need clarification. You’re part of a category, which tends to be among the least critical of religion as most other groups. You come across as non-committal, which hopefully doesn’t bleed over into your personal life as well, but it might, and you may get harassed for being somewhat of an intellectual coward from other atheists. Nonetheless, you embrace your uncertainty. 1
Skeptical atheism: takes on fundamental religious claims directly, claiming religious tradition need skeptical investigations and without external proof the only thinking is atheism. Skeptical atheism feels skepticism towards the paranormal claims, astrology, and psychic healers should go hand in hand with skepticism towards the claim that gods exist, religious and holy claims are true are often treated separately but skeptical atheism asserts that they should not be because both criticisms generally stem from a common commitment to a naturalistic and materialistic view of the universe rejecting the paranormal, supernatural, and magical thinking. This atheism arises in the context of total evidence skepticism and so (given my particular way of developing that skepticism) with an awareness of human immaturity in scientific time. The seeming paradoxicality of this idea is erased when we notice that total evidence skepticism may be accepted for the purposes of deeper inquiry and so along with the aim to make what progress we can, even at our relatively primitive stage of development, by reference to (among other things) what seems to us most obviously true. The Skeptical atheist will think their own position may represent such progress. Nevertheless, skepticism still marks the larger context in which they operate. 1
Theodicean atheism: theodicean atheists believe that the world as they experience it cannot be reconciled with the qualities commonly ascribed to god and gods by theologians. Theodicean atheism is a specific branch of theology and philosophy that exposes the irreconcilable existence of evil or suffering in the world with the assumption of a benevolent god or the problem of evil. An attempt show there can be no co-existence of an “all good” creator god thus the irresponsible creation of “all bad” evil-meaning one is true the other cannot be true. 12
Theological noncognitivism atheism: theological noncognitivism atheists – holds that the statement “god exists” does not express a proposition, but is nonsensical or cognitively meaningless. A theological noncognitivist atheist claims “god” does not refer to anything that exists, “god” does not refer to anything that does not exist, “god” does not refer to something that may or may not exist, and “god” has no literal significance, just as “Fod” has no literal significance. The term God was chosen for this example, obviously, any theological term [such as “Yahweh” and “Allah”] that is not falsifiable is subject to scrutiny. Many people who label themselves “theological noncognitivists” claim that all alleged definitions for the term “God” are circular, for instance, “God is that which caused everything but God”, defines “God” in terms of “God”. They also claim that in Anselm’s definition “God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived”, that the pronoun “which” refers back to “God” rendering it circular as well. Others who label themselves “theological noncognitivists” argue in different ways, depending on what one considers the “theory of meaning” to be. Michael Martin, writing from a verificationist perspective, concludes that religious language is meaningless because it is not verifiable. 1
I am not sure we can get all people to agree on any of this which is not my point anyway it is to inform and offer new possible ideas concerning disbelief but just like the exact diffusion of a god concept existence, some stuff will hold a never-ending problem. Therefore in trying to define or analyze atheism styles in this way I have some aspects may hold a possible challenge, similar to those connected to theism and god concepts which should make most atheists somewhat Ignostic.
Here is a video on this subject of belief by Matt Dillahunty
This meme is meant merely as a joke for atheist. However, I don’t think it’s that far off the mark. Because I do think critical thinkers and thinkers who are intellectually honest should follow something close to “The Ethics of Belief” or they are likely not honest thinkers.
“The Ethics of Belief” was published in 1877 by philosopher William Kingdon Clifford outlined the famous principle “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything on insufficient evidence.” Arguing that it was immoral to believe things for which one lacks evidence, in direct opposition to religious thinkers for whom “blind faith” (i.e. belief in things in spite of the lack of evidence for them) was seen as a virtue. Ref Ref
To me, it comes down to the question, would you be intellectually honest enough to want to know if your belief was completely false? And once knowing it was an unjustified belief, realize it lacks warrant and the qualities needed for belief-retention, as well as grasp the rationality that compels belief-relinquishment due to the beliefs insufficient supporting reason and evidence. The act of believing, just because one wants to believe, when everything contradicts the belief is intellectually unethical or deluded. Beliefs are directly connected to behavior, the behavior is directly involved in ethics, and ethics requires involvement in social thinking which requires us to mature or discipline our beliefs.
Here is the “The Ethics of Belief”: http://www.uta.edu/philosophy/faculty/burgess-jackson/Clifford.pdf
Ps, someone asked why would a critical thinker follow another old book from 1877? Well, the age of evidence or thinking is relevant if it is reasonable. Saying it’s age is old is not a refutation of its arguments.
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