I just started a forum looking into the subject. It was great and polite but the discussion veered into all about people who believe in God and how that is fallacious.
Here I hope we focus on the atheist. Can the atheist actually know something that is not empirical. For this discussion let us completely leave religion alone. (even though here they put atheism under religion)
Here we are not discussing whether or not there is knowledge outside of physical evidence. I think all knowledgeable critical thinkers know that there is. But if you just cannot stay away from the argument that it does not exist if it is not proven to your understanding do not
post here. It is off topic.
They only question here is: Are atheists incapable of understanding something without empirical evidence.
Empirical here means known by 5 senses.
Evidence here means circumstantial or direct
Short answer is no. Without evidence there is usually nothing but speculation. Knowing something means being certain of it. You cannot have certainty without evidence. Even then it’s not all cut and dried.
We can be certain of many things. But for most things we go by probability considering the evidence at hand. No need to believe anything at all. Either it is a fact or it is speculative and therefore not a fact. Belief in facts is redundant and belief in speculative ideas is folly.
Better to form opinions based on the facts at hand, without the need to invest belief into what the facts will eventually reveal.
You can understand something without evidence just fine. I understand Santa Claus perfectly, for example. I understand the many stories of his origin, his deeds, his motives, and his methods. I also understand the Grinch in the same way, along with Harry Potter, Aragorn, Philip J. Fry, Hiro Protagonist, and John McClane.
I understand these characters in every way, but that doesn't change the simple fact that they're fictional characters. Just because they aren't real doesn't mean I don't take the time to understand them. And understanding them doesn't make them real.
Very nice. Well laid out. Billions claim to know Jesus, personally. Stop with the fictional analysis it demeans you. You are switching back to an attack on believers --- try to stay focused here. It is not about them but about you.
I don't think that is anything but an answer to your question. Atheists can learn about non-evidence based entities just as well as anyone else--through books, the spoken word etc.
Everyone knows about the Easter bunny, or angels, or ghosts, or ancestor spirits, or Gaea, or the group mind, or psychic powers. Knowing about them is a universal ability. Believing in them is an individual calling/choice/variable.
And knowing they exist is impossible without empirical evidence.
Such knowledge is not belief is not understanding or even knowledge of and about a fiction or myth.
That is my point --- atheist believe that anything they cannot directly experience is not real.
How about something they alone have experienced and cannot prove? Do they know it happened, or can they only believe it did? Same for a person they met, or place they had been, if neither exists any longer and they do not possess the documentation required to prove they ever did?
in my youth I competed in an obscure, but highly technical form of motorsports. I would spend many hours practicing in various venues, (mostly forest land). One day I happened upon a more experienced rider, who generously spent the better part of a day with me. Tips and tricks garnered from that chance encounter improved my skills significantly. Communication was primarily non verbal, as we both were geared up and riding the whole time. He would demonstrate moves and strategies and I would attempt to duplicate what I saw.
Fast forward over 30 years, and I do not even recall his name. Those woods and the topography that facilitated the specific maneuvers are long gone. Is it your contention then, that the things I learned, the time I enjoyed and the tutelage that shaped my approach to that sport going forward, are all things I know or merely beliefs that I hold? I can prove none of this.
Of course it real knowledge. You observed and even practiced those observations and used them to improve. You can not have done that without knowledge.
And yes, you CAN prove much of it, by teaching the same thing to others. You cannot prove how you came by that knowledge, but that is common in our lives and of little concern. You know it was true then, you know your memory may have a few holes in it, and you know that as a whole it is as true now as it was then.
Well just have to take your word for it, it doesn't really effect anyone but yourself one way or another, but if you want to tell us you meet God and he is real and needs us to follow some rules, It does effect others and we will need evidence. For instance if I were to tell you that I have property for sale, that you may want to purchase, do you hand over your money with seeing the property, the deed and a lawyer?
The explanation above, along with our conversation last week in another thread, ( http://hubpages.com/forum/post/2512071 ), are just my attempts at incrementally clarifying the parameters of what it is to "know" something.
I have nothing to sell you, have no need or want of your money, nor do I benefit from any decision you do or don't make regarding anything at all. If I share what I know, (or from your perspective, what I claim to know), it is just me putting out there something for those who are interested. I neither seek nor require affirmation from others, as it is not relevant to what I know to be true.
Previous conversations in this vein have stalled because of my perceiving it futile to try and get past the outcries of "foul" that I should have the audacity to claim 'knowledge" in what others see as delusional "belief". It seemed detractors wouldn't move forward unless I acquiesced by denying what I know to be true, simply because they are far from understanding how that can be. Doing so would negate the very premise that needs to be established. No quick answer will resolve the impasse. It would take a gradual presentation aimed at facilitating realizations which may free folks locked in a materialistic mindset.
I have been trying to take a more palatable approach in this endeavor, but haven't the time to kick against the goads. I realize I cannot expect a fully receptive environment and don't require one, but it is unproductive to proceed if it is not at least tolerant. If not, I will again step away, allowing the final word ritual to take place, and keep an eye out for other opportunities later.
You seem like a nice chap and I did give you lots of room to continue last time even while others pointed out I shouldn't, but to be fair.
"fully receptive environment" is that what you give me when I suggest you may not have experienced what you think you did? You want me and others to be fully receptive while you are not fully receptive to us. I was indeed listening and going along with your logic to see where it lead, but I don't remember it leading anywhere, did you give up.
I've enjoyed our conversations and wish to continue.
Please reread the relevant portion of my last post to see that I never demanded a fully receptive environment, just one tolerant enough not to demand I lie by saying I don't know something I do. I realize how that sounds to you but will never be able to illustrate how that can be or why I would make such a claim unless we can set that aside. For those only following this exchange my request may seem presumptuous, but it is merely a preemptive strike at that which has terminated previous engagements.
I never lost interest. Although I can frequently pop in for a quick comment, my opportunity for meatier exchanges are unpredictable.
Okay, but here lies the rub, I would never accuse you of knowingly lying, however you seem to insist that I understand that what you say is not only true to you, but real and factual. I've explained many times how and when I thought events in my life were true, but turned out not to be. I do understand that events in your life seem true to you, but may not line up with reality or truth. Are you at all receptive to the premise that you may not have experienced what you thought you did? If so, I'll be receptive to the premise that you did experience what you think you did.
Excellent! We begin with a challenge to overcome an obstacle that has foiled us before.
Why is this a rub? Are you hoping to persuade me and need to know there is a chance before it merits discussion? I hold virtually no such assertion about you, or any atheist. I do not expect to persuade you to agree with me, but rather hoped the dialogue between us would help us each understand a little more how the the other can hold to such an illogical view. I expect you would be curious how I could see your view as illogical.
What would any story be without conflict? Nobody would read the book, or watch the movie. Isn't it more intriguing for two diametrically opposed views to explore and discover why they are so, unearthing small similarities, seeing if some agreement can be found and determining if not, where exactly they part ways?
Why concede to any degree before we begin? I am willing to discuss this with you without the encouragement that I might win you over. It is enough for me that we explore why we see the world so differently.
I'm rather confused. You say to have a discussion you would like the person to not demand that you are lying and that the events you describe are real and factual, but you won't give that same respect back to the person in an open discussion? You won't entertain the notion that you may feel you are truthful but you may be confused by reality as I had admitted I had been?
In other words you want me to start with faith in you, but you will not do the same.
BTW, I do understand why this is the case.
We agree you are confused. I never said most of what you espouse. I don't care if you think I'm a liar, delusional, or whatever...I just am not willing to say I don't know something I do, simply because I can't provide you the proof you want. Our discussion would shed light eventually on why this all is, but it seems the demand to say I'm quite possibly wrong is a prerequisite for initiating the conversation. Why is that? Been up over 24 hours, so will be afk for a bit.
Turns out I wasn't confused at all. You want a conversation where your assertions are absolute and mine are absolutely wrong.
Fascinating. What a whole lot of to do about nothing. We've gone round and round without really getting started because you are obsessed with having me say I'm wrong before even making a case, which by the way will take time and patience to explain. Such a start does not bode well for the intended process.
Let's step back and see if we can isolate the problem. Please provide the quote from me that supports your charge that I "want a conversation where" my "assertions are absolute and" yours "are absolutely wrong."
For example here.
Now forgive me if I'm wrong, but what I read out that this is you want me to have faith that you have knowledge of something that no evidence can produce, yet you don't want to continue or listen if I claim to have any explanations for said knowledge. You see I'm willing to go down that path with you in that you could have said knowledge, but you have to understand I will be critical. The conversations stop the moment I become critical and attempt to find explanations.
It does appear to me you are reading into it things that aren't there and I accept my contribution to the misunderstanding. I also understand you viewing previous exchanges as having ended when you are critical. From my perspective, I appreciate and enjoy what little time I manage to carve out to spend here, so when it seems clear a critical point was missed and the conversation has proceeded to where going back to recapture it would be impractical, I accept that the opportunity has been lost and step away. Better to try another approach, another time.
It was my hope that by establishing a dialogue primarily with one person, and taking it slow, something interesting would unfold. As with a meeting, planning session, or any collaboration, it is common for someone to take point in order to keep things on track. Perhaps verbiage presented in the hope of establishing a format of sorts, and my wanting to direct it since I have a syllabus I would be interested in your perspective on, has instead been perceived as an intent to stifle you. Far from it, as your views are precisely what I was seeking to draw out, but incrementally, so we could examine them bit by bit and compare them to mine.
Coincidentally, folks are locked in a materialistic mindset not so much that they want to be, but are instead compelled to be due to the fact it is the materialistic world that tends to affect them.
Putting something out there (assuming this is the knowledge you know but get cried "foul" accusing unsubstantiated claims and assuming this is not of the materialistic world) for those who might be interested in biting the hook shows you're trying to present a truth that only you are aware, a truth that can't be validated in any way.
To go on and accuse others disagree because they don't understand is specious, at best, considering that what you present has no explanation that can be derived from a materialistic world, so it stands to reason others are not given any opportunity to understand what you alone hold and can't be held responsible for understanding. If they all lack the understanding, then the truth being presented was more likely not well explained, or not convincing, or riddled with flaws and fallacies.
Obviously, if you don't address those responses from others, the conversations will stall and it is up to you to do something about it. It is a truth you are attempting to put out there, so it's entirely up to you to present it so others will understand. If you don't care to do that, then why bother putting it out there in the first place?
Please begin by rereading this portion: http://hubpages.com/forum/post/2517955
I was not looking to impart some truth, I was interested in a slow, methodical dialogue, exploring the differences and the possibility of some consensus along the way. It was my hope this could be done sans the usual drama. Instead the drama has begun before really getting started. Pity, as I thought it might be interesting. I have no agenda here beyond that.
You indicate responsibilities you believe I have if I want to prove a point, but I am not setting out with that goal. I do believe, if allowed to flow in a productive way, that points would be established and realizations made, but a productive exchange was to be the mark of success for this venture, not convincing anyone of anything.
Are you being completely honest with your self on that? You seem to want to control the conversation in such away that you need to be agreed with, and the moment someone disagrees you end the conversation. Yet you claim you are not looking to impart some truth?
In my previous post I explain that I am hoping to direct this dialogue, and why. I am not seeking to control it, which I would define as silencing the opposition. Disregard any previous conversations we have had, as this is a different approach. I am not looking to win anything here, I am seeking to explore and understand. Do I have a perspective which I intend to present along the way? Absolutely, as I wish to compare it to yours and see what parts can be reconciled, if any. Take the competition aspect out of it as I have nothing to prove here. Just looking for an interesting conversation.
You think directing the conversation is not controlling the conversation?
Yes, I do. I have primarily been in leadership roles since graduating more years ago than I care to admit, so I know all too well productivity needs to be directed. As I mentioned, I have specific things I would like you to weigh in on, point by point, as I believe this process will help us understand each other better.
Normally in the forums, someone moves out ahead of the conversation, anticipating the oppositions arguments and looking to block them in advance. I can pop in and out of any of these threads if I want that banter. I was hoping for more, but that requires direction.
I am by nature, very detail oriented, slow and methodical in my approaches. I have worked in engineering and tool and die making, if that provides a context. That is not what I currently do, but it should lend itself to a better understanding of my preferred approach. I am tediously patient, which is why I have no issue stepping away from unproductive conversations and trying again later.
How nice would it be to establish a format where we could get beneath the superficial redundancies normally on display? We can continue the way we always have, as it too is entertaining, but not very productive when the dust settles. The same circular arguments have been parading the drain the entire time I have been here. Interested in a fresh approach?
I was with you last time was I not? Why not try through emails instead where we won't be distracted by others.
Secondarily, I thought this might produce some interesting reading for folks.
Primarily I am seeking to have productive dialogue with you, so if you feel perhaps it would be more candid to utilize email instead, I am open to it.
I think you just gave me a valid argument for you not wanting to be here.
Not so - I have very little doubt that there are planets around other suns. They have been seen by somebody (circumstantial) but not by me.
What you are trying to do is claim that something experienced by NO one, or by only one claimant, is also truthful. And that we cannot do.
I experienced love and God ---- do you call me a liar?
Liar? No. Mistaken in the statement? Probably.
Why is this SO hard to pick up on? A subjective experience canNOT be relied upon to produce truth. It really is that simple!
I know something for sure, if I were to suddenly experience God, He would have to be standing before me and filling my senses with unequivocal proof that He was in fact God.
The problem with the proof, though, is that all we have for references of God are scriptures and since there are so many different sets of scriptures and their version of God, I couldn't in honesty pick any give one as a reference but would have to apply them all equally and see if any fit the description of one. Even then, such proof could easily be manipulated and unacceptable.
All I'm left with is the actual proof God would give to me personally, but the standard of proof would have to be that He reveal Himself to everyone. Seems a fairly easy and simple thing for God to do.
Wouldn't that be overwhelming proof? At least then, none of us would ever have to answer that question and you would never have to ask it.
If you say you feel the love of God you probably feel you do, but that doesn't mean you do.
The other witness exclaimed it and testified to it and so do I, are we liars wilderness?
Psycho shows the inability to discuss the matter ---- knowing something does not require school. Except to atheists.
Only trying to keep it on point here not an attack on believers. We are talking only about atheists and not about religion.
If equating all things not empirical all athiests must resort to easter bunnies and santa claus the issue is becoming clear.
You cannot differentiate. Because you cannot feel.
But feelings are not knowledge. They can provide only belief, never knowledge.
this is false. I know my wife and I step aside and let my intellect die. I know her needs desires and likes without you precious empirical data. I know this do to knowing her aside from facts and evidence. I love her and know her.
You know this from long experience observing her desires and likes. Enough experience you can accurately predict the future or be very nearly positive about the "now". Empirical data produced over years of observation, whether intentional or not.
So you must have just meet your wife if you have only feeling for her without knowledge. I can only imagine you have not talked to her. Strange.
Love is knowledge and I love you and know you.
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So atheists also have to have a degree of faith in thei facts and admit that just because it's labeled a fact doesn't mean it's true.
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