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Are Atheists able to know something without empirical evidence?

  1. Ericdierker profile image79
    Ericdierkerposted 3 years ago

    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

    1. Slarty O'Brian profile image88
      Slarty O'Brianposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      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.

  2. Zelkiiro profile image85
    Zelkiiroposted 3 years ago

    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.

    1. Ericdierker profile image79
      Ericdierkerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      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.

      1. psycheskinner profile image81
        psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        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.

        1. wilderness profile image94
          wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          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.

          1. Ericdierker profile image79
            Ericdierkerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            That is my point --- atheist believe that anything they cannot directly experience is not real.

            1. bBerean profile image60
              bBereanposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              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?

              1. bBerean profile image60
                bBereanposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                Wilderness,

                     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.

                1. wilderness profile image94
                  wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to 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.

                2. profile image0
                  Rad Manposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  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?

                  1. bBerean profile image60
                    bBereanposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    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.

            2. wilderness profile image94
              wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              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.

              1. Ericdierker profile image79
                Ericdierkerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                I experienced love and God ---- do you call me a liar?

                1. wilderness profile image94
                  wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  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!

                2. EncephaloiDead profile image61
                  EncephaloiDeadposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  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.

                3. profile image0
                  Rad Manposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  If you say you feel the love of God you probably feel you do, but that doesn't mean you do.

              2. Ericdierker profile image79
                Ericdierkerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                The other witness exclaimed it and testified to it and so do I, are we liars wilderness?

                1. wilderness profile image94
                  wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  Whups - I got lost.  What is "it"?  A personal experience no one else can share?  An experience that is similar to that of others?  An experience that anyone can have and will agree with you if honest?

        2. Ericdierker profile image79
          Ericdierkerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          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.

    2. Ericdierker profile image79
      Ericdierkerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      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.

      1. wilderness profile image94
        wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        But feelings are not knowledge.  They can provide only belief, never knowledge.

        1. Ericdierker profile image79
          Ericdierkerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          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.

          1. wilderness profile image94
            wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            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.

          2. profile image0
            Rad Manposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            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.

        2. Ericdierker profile image79
          Ericdierkerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Love is knowledge and I love you and know you.

          1. wilderness profile image94
            wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Love is an emotion.  Not knowledge of anything.

            If you're going to change the definition of random words it's going to make communication quite difficult.

  3. grand old lady profile image91
    grand old ladyposted 3 years ago

    Even believing only in facts takes faith. Facts change. http://www.businessinsider.com/changed- … 1481237582

    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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