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The New Atheists: How Do You See Them?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Mar 2011 at 00:35
As an agnostic, I am a lot more tollerant than the atheists. However, I can't less than admire they have finally decided to contradict that big business in mind programming called religion.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Mar 2011 at 01:08
But my dear Penguin, you are confusing "religion" for Faith given the simple fact that most who dress themselves up for 'religion" are really letting others do the thinking on Faith for them. But then such is the fate of all subjects where inquiry must be intensely personal. Few people pick up a book on Quantum Mechanics and attempt to comprehend the model; instead, they let some "expert" perform the hard work for them and then exclaim it must be so. Richard Dawkins misses that point entirely and presuposes exercise in metaphysical thought is little more than delusion. Well we have had far many more delusions with respect to the Sciences, but few wish to discuss such--why we have an example readily at hand just revisit the Xingu thread.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Mar 2011 at 01:16
I only want to add:

Thanks God I am agnostic!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote King Kang of Mu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Mar 2011 at 02:23
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

What makes you think Chimpanzees aren't religious? (That religion isn't an intrinsic human nature)


I was actually amusing myself with the thought the other day of animals believing in a religion of sorts with a supreme being and all.


i don't know about religion but I do remember hearing about elephants having some funeral ritual of sort.   I just looked up actually and wiki has nice section on it.  i don't think it proves that they believe in after life necessarily.   It could be they just know a death is an end and that elephant will no longer be around.  I think I also read somewhere that when they circle around the dead elephant it's always from the oldest to the youngest in order, but something like that can also be explained in comparison to wolf packing order something like that.  .







http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant_intelligence#Elephant_society

Death ritual

Elephants are the only species on Earth other than Homo sapiens sapiens and Neanderthals[31] known to have or have had any recognizable ritual around death. They show a keen interest in the bones of their own kind (even unrelated elephants that have died long ago). They are often seen gently investigating the bones with their trunks and feet and remaining very quiet. Sometimes elephants that are completely unrelated to the deceased will still visit their graves.[9] When an elephant is hurt, other elephants (even if they are unrelated) will aid them.[19]

Elephant researcher Martin Meredith recalls an occurrence in his book about a typical elephant death ritual that was witnessed by Anthony Martin-Hall, a South African biologist who had studied elephants in Addo, South Africa, for over eight years. The entire family of a dead matriarch, including her young calf, were all gently touching her body with their trunks, trying to lift her. The elephant herd were all rumbling loudly. The calf was observed to be weeping and made sounds that sounded like a scream, but then the entire herd fell incredibly silent. They then began to throw leaves and dirt over the body and broke off tree branches to cover her. They spent the next two days quietly standing over her body. They sometimes had to leave to get water or food, but they would always return.[32]

Occurrences of elephants behaving this way around human beings are common throughout Africa. On many occasions, they have buried dead or sleeping humans or aided them when they were hurt.[19] Meredith also recalls an event told to him by George Adamson, a Kenyan Game Warden, regarding an oldTurkana woman who fell asleep under a tree after losing her way home. When she woke up, there was an elephant standing over her, gently touching her. She kept very still, because she was very frightened. As other elephants arrived, they began to scream loudly and buried her under branches. She was found the next morning by the local herdsmen, unharmed.[32]

George Adamson also recalls when he shot a bull elephant from a herd that kept breaking into the government gardens of Northern Kenya. George gave the elephant's meat to local Turkana tribesmen and then dragged the rest of the carcass half a mile away. That night, the other elephants found the body and took the shoulder blade and leg bone and returned the bones to the exact spot the elephant was killed.[33] Scientists often debate the extent that elephants feel emotion. A large variety of animals display what appears to be sorrow through body language, posture, movement and actions, but seeing elephants standing over a body, burying it, and refusing to leave and elephants' trunks hanging limp certainly seems like evidence that perhaps much deeper and complex emotions are involved.[33]




Edited by King Kang of Mu - 04 Mar 2011 at 03:08
Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Mar 2011 at 09:44
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

But my dear Penguin, you are confusing "religion" for Faith given the simple fact that most who dress themselves up for 'religion" are really letting others do the thinking on Faith for them. But then such is the fate of all subjects where inquiry must be intensely personal. Few people pick up a book on Quantum Mechanics and attempt to comprehend the model; instead, they let some "expert" perform the hard work for them and then exclaim it must be so. Richard Dawkins misses that point entirely and presuposes exercise in metaphysical thought is little more than delusion. Well we have had far many more delusions with respect to the Sciences, but few wish to discuss such--why we have an example readily at hand just revisit the Xingu thread.
Faith in other people is quite different than religious faith. Unless quite God is nothing but a susbtitute for a person to have faith in. This idea that "belief in a God" is the same with "belief in what scientist say" is only a simplistic analogy which has no base when properly analised. Even if you cannot deal with Quantum Mechanics there are a lot of people that do. Development in science is actually the result of reshaping our knowledge. The number of people is definitely not a criteria to take into account when we are dealing about reality. For instance, most people once believed that Earth was flat. That was not the case. Then a few came up with the idea that things were not so. Some of those who thought otherwise decided that the best thing to do was to get rid of those guys. We know of some but I wonder how many were there in fact. The naturalistic view of the world simply denies supernatural. Science does not have all the answers and probably never will, but answers are what science seeks. A divine being is not an answer it's in fact a huge problem. An unquestionable divine being, like the Christian God is definitely a very nasty problem.
Philosophy with all it's branches is not a substitute for reality. Philosophers are not prophets nor are they gods. And whatever one of this guy might develop it can always be brought down by reality. By now, IMHO, phylosophy faces too the chalenges of recent scientific discoveries especially our better grasp regarding complex systems.
I doubt that many accept the idea that conscience is nothing but an emergent property of a complex system. But that is what scientific research seems to show. I decide to rely on science when living because I think it better fits my needs.
What would you chose for protection, and airbag or a sticker with "In God we trust"?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Mar 2011 at 13:44
The key issue in there is 'answers are what scientists seek'. It needs expansion. 'Answers are what scientists seek, knowing they will never find them.' The religious believe they already know the answers (in certain areas): seeking new answers is therefore heretical, whether tolerated or not. For scientists seeking new answers is necessary, because the answere we have are never certain, and are best seen as temporary approximations.  
 
The trouble with the new atheists (and preachers of new religions like Carcharodon) is that they think they know the answers.
 
Effetively 'atheism' is merely a branch of theism. It shoudl never be confused with agnosticism. Another major problem with the new atheists is that they pretend the two shools are on the same side of the metaphysical/empirical divide: they aren't - they're on opposite sides of it.
 
Also they are very boring, like Jehovah's Witnesses.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Mar 2011 at 14:09
Cezar, apparently you did not grasp the meaning of the capitalization for Faith (and we've broached this topic in the past specially in reference to Pragmatism and William James) and understood that--contrary to the ravings of Dawkins--all knowledge is tentative. That you marshall the "flat earth" in your protestations as an example is little more than the putting forth of a 19th century myth. For the umpteenth time, no one of any repute held the earth "flat" for over 2000 years! Keep in mind tht this is a forum dedicated to History, not least of which is the history of ideas, and unless you do not wish to recognize the salient points then discussion is futile given the fact that no one places "faith" in people but in essence are exercising "trust".
 
As for "relying of science" are you denying the "scientific" observations of Darwin did not degenerate into Social Darwinism and the later nightmares of Eugenics? Then there are the delusions of the medical sciences that produced such disasters as lobotomies and "controlled" experiments on human beings, all rationalized as acts for the furtherance of knowledge. By the way, do you actually believe that science is the search for answers? Is not scientific analysis really a search for explanations that more often than not are later discarded? Your out-of-hand dismissal of Philosophy as useless in the face of "reality" is the adoption of a perspective that produced much of the horrors experienced by Humanity in the 20th century, for as of this date the physical sciences have yet to provide a comprehensive construct of the moral and the ethical. If you believe these latter are superfluous to mankind then you simply are representative of the grave danger that faces contemporary society with the resurrection of such a notion that has already revealed its worth as an agent for human misery.
 
As for that question drawn from the world of false analogies--airbag or sticker--you might think it cute but it is little more than an exercise in the ad absurdum. Placing aside the fact that the probabilty of injury from a malfunctioning airbag has created a new source of income for lawyers, the sole protection available and trustworthy in such situations is the personal exercise of defensive driving (but then we are back to my original premise--the responsibility of the individual to exercise due diligence).


Edited by drgonzaga - 04 Mar 2011 at 14:11
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2011 at 10:44
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Cezar, apparently you did not grasp the meaning of the capitalization for Faith (and we've broached this topic in the past specially in reference to Pragmatism and William James) and understood that--contrary to the ravings of Dawkins--all knowledge is tentative. That you marshall the "flat earth" in your protestations as an example is little more than the putting forth of a 19th century myth. For the umpteenth time, no one of any repute held the earth "flat" for over 2000 years! Keep in mind tht this is a forum dedicated to History, not least of which is the history of ideas, and unless you do not wish to recognize the salient points then discussion is futile given the fact that no one places "faith" in people but in essence are exercising "trust".
Capitalisation of Faith?! Why? What makes it special? Some "knowledge" may be tentative but not all "knowledge" is so, otherwise we would have no use for it. And the example with "flat earth" is about your digression regarding Quantum Mechanics. What I think you are trying to suggest is that "faith in science"<=>"Faith in God" => atehist <=> believer. Maybe I'm wrong.
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As for "relying of science" are you denying the "scientific" observations of Darwin did not degenerate into Social Darwinism and the later nightmares of Eugenics? Then there are the delusions of the medical sciences that produced such disasters as lobotomies and "controlled" experiments on human beings, all rationalized as acts for the furtherance of knowledge. By the way, do you actually believe that science is the search for answers? Is not scientific analysis really a search for explanations that more often than not are later discarded?
What one does with scientific results is not about science itself. According to you I should think that physics degenerated into nukes therefore I should not rely on physics? Are you just suggesting that science is imoral? So what? (I would rather say amoral)
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Your out-of-hand dismissal of Philosophy as useless in the face of "reality" is the adoption of a perspective that produced much of the horrors experienced by Humanity in the 20th century, for as of this date the physical sciences have yet to provide a comprehensive construct of the moral and the ethical. If you believe these latter are superfluous to mankind then you simply are representative of the grave danger that faces contemporary society with the resurrection of such a notion that has already revealed its worth as an agent for human misery.
I stated that philosophy is not a susbstitute for reality. Then I said that philosophy is facing the challenges of last developments in knowledge/understanding (complex systems). Why did you concluded that I dismiss it I don't know. Maybe it's my English.
Ethics and moral are not at all superfluos to mankind, but they're no more than emergent properties.
Quote  
As for that question drawn from the world of false analogies--airbag or sticker--you might think it cute but it is little more than an exercise in the ad absurdum. Placing aside the fact that the probabilty of injury from a malfunctioning airbag has created a new source of income for lawyers, the sole protection available and trustworthy in such situations is the personal exercise of defensive driving (but then we are back to my original premise--the responsibility of the individual to exercise due diligence).
Oh, c'mon, have you ever use reductionism for making a point? Blah, blah, blah and eventually how stupid I am since I didn't account for all implications of my question. The question was requiring for the start just a simple answer, you could have elaborate aftewards. 
 
The main point of the "new atheists" is that religion has nothing special, the humans are those that made it so. Most of them are also saying that religion has the potential of causing harm to people so we should get rid of it. Just like a person should give up smoking, if you like. They do insist on negative aspects of religion (mostly the three abrahamic ones) and try to demonstrate that the so called good attributes of religion are not, in fact, derived from it.
One of the thing they are accused of is that they are getting "emotional". Well, off course they are, in a dispute emotion is a tool of the trade. They are seeking people's attention and are using whatever means they consider being adequate. Be mindful that I'm not considering them being more ethical or moral or just plain "better" than their opponents. They just have an active stance in a dispute that's been going on for some time. I take their side because I mostly agree with their arguments.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2011 at 19:03
Originally posted by Cezar Cezar wrote:

 
The main point of the "new atheists" is that religion has nothing special, the humans are those that made it so. Most of them are also saying that religion has the potential of causing harm to people so we should get rid of it. Just like a person should give up smoking, if you like. They do insist on negative aspects of religion (mostly the three abrahamic ones) and try to demonstrate that the so called good attributes of religion are not, in fact, derived from it.
All that was always true with the 'old atheists'. Personally I assumed th topic referred to people like Hitchens and Dawkins.
 
The difference is one of style not belief: the new atheists are recognisable because of their refusal to listen to anything other than support of their religion, their closed minds, and often their rudeness.
Quote
One of the thing they are accused of is that they are getting "emotional". Well, off course they are, in a dispute emotion is a tool of the trade. They are seeking people's attention and are using whatever means they consider being adequate. Be mindful that I'm not considering them being more ethical or moral or just plain "better" than their opponents.
They're nothing like as ethical or moral as either their opponents or their predecessors. Remember that old tattered banner - the end does not justify the means.
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They just have an active stance in a dispute that's been going on for some time. I take their side because I mostly agree with their arguments.
It also bugs me that they have the cheek and the hypocrisy to claim to be agnostic. That really burns me up, since they show not the slightest sign of agnosticism.


Edited by gcle2003 - 07 Mar 2011 at 19:05
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2011 at 11:40
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Originally posted by Cezar Cezar wrote:

 
The main point of the "new atheists" is that religion has nothing special, the humans are those that made it so. Most of them are also saying that religion has the potential of causing harm to people so we should get rid of it. Just like a person should give up smoking, if you like. They do insist on negative aspects of religion (mostly the three abrahamic ones) and try to demonstrate that the so called good attributes of religion are not, in fact, derived from it.
All that was always true with the 'old atheists'. Personally I assumed th topic referred to people like Hitchens and Dawkins.
Actually arch said "..or anything about atheists."
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 The difference is one of style not belief: the new atheists are recognisable because of their refusal to listen to anything other than support of their religion, their closed minds, and often their rudeness.
Quote
they refuse to agree, they are listening (somehow).
Quote
One of the thing they are accused of is that they are getting "emotional". Well, off course they are, in a dispute emotion is a tool of the trade. They are seeking people's attention and are using whatever means they consider being adequate. Be mindful that I'm not considering them being more ethical or moral or just plain "better" than their opponents.
They're nothing like as ethical or moral as either their opponents or their predecessors. Remember that old tattered banner - the end does not justify the means.
Maybe they think otherwise. That doesn't necessarily make them better or worse. We could focus on this apect though, it might get interesting.
Quote
Quote
They just have an active stance in a dispute that's been going on for some time. I take their side because I mostly agree with their arguments.
It also bugs me that they have the cheek and the hypocrisy to claim to be agnostic. That really burns me up, since they show not the slightest sign of agnosticism.
Atheist=someone who doesn't hold a belief in a divinity
Agnostic=someone who believes that the truth value of something (not just God) is unknown or unknowable
We can discuss if the meaning of these two notions is different than what I've wrote, but these two definitions do concur with many others. Therefore the fact that they claim to be agnostic does not exclude them being atheists. They would rather think of themselves as agnostic atheists. (I've found something about it somewhere on the net but I can't find it anymore).
Wiki describes them: "Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity, and agnostic because they claim not to know with certainty whether any deity exists".
One relevant point though is that the stance they take regarding the existence of God is not an agnostic one, they use various reasonings to prove that God (the one in OT,NT and K mainly) does not exist. You should notice that they usually do not reject deism or pantheism, for such a God they do take an agnostic stance.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2011 at 01:49
Yes, please, don't confuse Atheists with Agnostics.

As an agnostic myself, Sometimes I wonder who are more dogmatic: those that believe God exist or those convinced God doesn't exist. Both try to convince us of a truth that can't be proven!


Edited by pinguin - 10 Mar 2011 at 01:49
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2011 at 20:57
Originally posted by Cezar Cezar wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Originally posted by Cezar Cezar wrote:

 
The main point of the "new atheists" is that religion has nothing special, the humans are those that made it so. Most of them are also saying that religion has the potential of causing harm to people so we should get rid of it. Just like a person should give up smoking, if you like. They do insist on negative aspects of religion (mostly the three abrahamic ones) and try to demonstrate that the so called good attributes of religion are not, in fact, derived from it.
All that was always true with the 'old atheists'. Personally I assumed th topic referred to people like Hitchens and Dawkins.
Actually arch said "..or anything about atheists."
But you specifically in your post referred to the "new atheists", and I was saying that your comments apllied just as much to old atheists.That I assumed the topic was about new atheists wasn't a criticism of your remarks for being off-topic, since you did limit it to new atheists.
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The difference is one of style not belief: the new atheists are recognisable because of their refusal to listen to anything other than support of their religion, their closed minds, and often their rudeness.
Quote they refuse to agree, they are listening (somehow).
Quote
One of the thing they are accused of is that they are getting "emotional". Well, off course they are, in a dispute emotion is a tool of the trade. They are seeking people's attention and are using whatever means they consider being adequate. Be mindful that I'm not considering them being more ethical or moral or just plain "better" than their opponents.
They're nothing like as ethical or moral as either their opponents or their predecessors. Remember that old tattered banner - the end does not justify the means.
Maybe they think otherwise. That doesn't necessarily make them better or worse. We could focus on this apect though, it might get interesting.
Quote
Quote
They just have an active stance in a dispute that's been going on for some time. I take their side because I mostly agree with their arguments.
It also bugs me that they have the cheek and the hypocrisy to claim to be agnostic. That really burns me up, since they show not the slightest sign of agnosticism.
Atheist=someone who doesn't hold a belief in a divinity
No. Atheism is from Greek 'atheos' a state of being without God. 'Atheists' believe in atheos. 
Quote  
Agnostic=someone who believes that the truth value of something (not just God) is unknown or unknowable
We can discuss if the meaning of these two notions is different than what I've wrote, but these two definitions do concur with many others. Therefore the fact that they claim to be agnostic does not exclude them being atheists. They would rather think of themselves as agnostic atheists. (I've found something about it somewhere on the net but I can't find it anymore).
Wiki describes them: "Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity, and agnostic because they claim not to know with certainty whether any deity exists".
That's the argument and the attitude that burns me up. It didn't mattare before because atheists were content to be atheist, but the 'new atheists' in their politicised drive to recruit members, try anything to get genuine agnostice to sign up to their propaganda. At best that is unethical.
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One relevant point though is that the stance they take regarding the existence of God is not an agnostic one, they use various reasonings to prove that God (the one in OT,NT and K mainly) does not exist. You should notice that they usually do not reject deism or pantheism, for such a God they do take an agnostic stance.
 That's because, again, they are trying to get all the kooks they can to join in on their 'side'. Which boils down pretty well to simply an anti-Christian (in effect) crusade. (excuse the pun)
It's also worth pointing out that agnosticism is essentially an indifferent attitude, since it considers the question of the existence of God as trivial, if not simply meaningless.


Edited by gcle2003 - 10 Mar 2011 at 21:00
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2011 at 14:08

Atheism XOR agnosticism VS atheism OR agnosticism

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Atheism is from Greek 'atheos' a state of being without God. 'Atheists' believe in atheos.

Ethimology is not enough to define something. Let's try something

Originally posted by archbuff archbuff wrote:

I should say beforehand that I am a Catholic Christian, but I should hope that my prejudices have not blinded me to notice the quality of the arguments coming from either side.

Originally posted by quran quran wrote:

All praise is due to Allah , Lord of the worlds

1. arch believes in God according to the Catholic doctrine.

2. arch does not believe in God according to Quran

3. arch believes in a God => he is theist

4. arch does not believe in a God => he is atheist

5. arch is an atheist theist or theist atheist

Originally posted by gcle 2003 gcle 2003 wrote:

It's also worth pointing out that agnosticism is essentially an indifferent attitude, since it considers the question of the existence of God as trivial, if not simply meaningless.

While it might be so this is definitely a pretty weird and narrow definition of agnosticism. To be conssitent with your own idea let's go back to ethimology:

A-without-gnosos-knowledge - therefore a state of being without knowledge

1. I'm an agnostic regarding the existence of God therefore I'm without knowledge of the existence God

2. I consider the question of the existence God as trivial <=> I know(believe?) the existence of God is trivial.

3. I know something about something I have no knowledge of.



Edited by Cezar - 16 Mar 2011 at 14:09
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2011 at 15:29
Originally posted by Cezar Cezar wrote:

Atheism XOR agnosticism VS atheism OR agnosticism

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Atheism is from Greek 'atheos' a state of being without God. 'Atheists' believe in atheos.

Ethimology is not enough to define something. Let's try something

Originally posted by archbuff archbuff wrote:

I should say beforehand that I am a Catholic Christian, but I should hope that my prejudices have not blinded me to notice the quality of the arguments coming from either side.

Originally posted by quran quran wrote:

All praise is due to Allah , Lord of the worlds

1. arch believes in God according to the Catholic doctrine.

2. arch does not believe in God according to Quran

3. arch believes in a God => he is theist

4. arch does not believe in a God => he is atheist

Proposition 4 is false (in my view). Itleads to misleading classification and confusion of properties. You're assuming (p->q) -> (~p -> ~q) which is fundamentally wrong.
 
The best you can do for proposition 4 is arch is not theist -> arch does not believe in God.
(p->q) -> (~q -> ~p)
 
Cat implies animal but not cat does not imply not animal
 
Also  of course you have changed the meaning of God between propositions, which invalidates the argument even more.
Quote
 
5. arch is an atheist theist or theist atheist

Originally posted by gcle 2003 gcle 2003 wrote:

It's also worth pointing out that agnosticism is essentially an indifferent attitude, since it considers the question of the existence of God as trivial, if not simply meaningless.

While it might be so this is definitely a pretty weird and narrow definition of agnosticism. To be conssitent with your own idea let's go back to ethimology:

A-without-gnosos-knowledge - therefore a state of being without knowledge

OK
Quote
1. I'm an agnostic regarding the existence of God therefore I'm without knowledge of the existence God

2. I consider the question of the existence God as trivial <=> I know(believe?) the existence of God is trivial.

Believe , not know. ThatI believe something doesn't mean I know it. At least that's certainly my position.
Quote
3. I know something about something I have no knowledge of.
I believe something about which I have no (at least insufficient) knowledge. That's true. I can't see any way that the existence or otherwise makes any serious difference to anything.[1] There may be such a way but I dont believe one exists. Rather as, classically, I don't believe there's a pink unicorn orbiting Jupiter.
 
[1] As opposed to belief in the existence of God, which does have considerable effect irrespctive of whether it is true or false
.
For an argument about the meaninglessness of metaphysical statements see Carnap et al.


Edited by gcle2003 - 16 Mar 2011 at 15:37
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2011 at 22:35
It has been written:
 
The main point of the "new atheists" is that religion has nothing special, the humans are those that made it so. Most of them are also saying that religion has the potential of causing harm to people so we should get rid of it. Just like a person should give up smoking, if you like. They do insist on negative aspects of religion (mostly the three abrahamic ones) and try to demonstrate that the so called good attributes of religion are not, in fact, derived from it.
One of the thing they are accused of is that they are getting "emotional". Well, off course they are, in a dispute emotion is a tool of the trade. They are seeking people's attention and are using whatever means they consider being adequate. Be mindful that I'm not considering them being more ethical or moral or just plain "better" than their opponents. They just have an active stance in a dispute that's been going on for some time. I take their side because I mostly agree with their arguments.
 
Wishing to avoid the circuitious argument and the argumentative that is the trait of the New Atheists, one can not help but muse upon the fallacies of Comte in forging the jargon word altruism as a substitute for good old caritas (agape), so one has to wonder upon whom the disciples of scientisms are depending upon for their militancy. The fact that the "physical sciences" on their own do not recognize either the ethical or the moral, and that such (whether emergent or not) are imposed upon them and when not acts that can only be described as criminal take place, underscores the principle that science itself is not all knowing and must perforce have limits. Comte's scientism received an anwer from the pen of Mary Shelley but it is an old story as Gcle hinted by raising the ghost of Carnap and the appeal to verifiability.
 
Of course, you would not be at ease with this declaration from him back in 1937:
 
In logic there are no morals. Everyone is at liberty to build up his own logic, i.e. his own language, as he wishes. All that is required of him is that, if he wishes to discuss it, he must state his methods clearly, and give syntactical rules instead of philosophical arguments...
 
 


Edited by drgonzaga - 16 Mar 2011 at 22:36
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2011 at 08:17
@ gcle
Obviously, there is more than simple statements and simplistic logic when dealing with atheism and agnosticism. I was expecting you to find flaws in my set of statements and that was the idea, after all.
The relevant issue is that knowledge and belief are not the same. Atheism is about belief while agnosticism is about knowledge. Going back to my previous post, defining an atheist as a person who has no belief in any deity, is less wrong than just calling an atheist a person who has no god. I think it is less wrong to accept that agnosticism and atheism are not exclusive. You stated "That I believe something doesn't mean I know it" and I agree with you. Agnosticism is acually covering a much wider area than just theism vs atheism so I find it rather not right to think of it as a third option between theism and atheism. Imagine what would be if we throw gnosticism into the mix.
These being said I think that since many people do not like to be called atheists (I was once calling myself an agnostic) It would be better if we go on after we all agree how to use these denominations just to avoid confusions (in this topic only, so that we can elaborate about atheists, new atehsits, old atheists, future atheists and so on). Because atheism is directly related with the belief in a deity, I suggest these three categories:
1. Atheist - I have no belief in any deity and I'm concerned about it.
2. Agnostic - I have no belief in any deity and I'm not concerned about it.
3. Theist -  I believe in at least a deity.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2011 at 09:24
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Wishing to avoid the circuitious argument and the argumentative that is the trait of the New Atheists...
could you please elaborate?
Quote ...one can not help but muse upon the fallacies of Comte in forging the jargon word altruism as a substitute for good old caritas (agape), so one has to wonder upon whom the disciples of scientisms are depending upon for their militancy.
humans?
Quote The fact that the "physical sciences" on their own do not recognize either the ethical or the moral...
So what?
Quote and that such (whether emergent or not) are imposed upon them...
 Imposed ?!?!
Quote ...and when not acts that can only be described as criminal take place
what criminal acts?
Quote underscores the principle that science itself is not all knowing and must perforce have limits
 these limits are dynamic, I fail to see how this is relevant to what we discuss, no atheist ever stated to know everything
Quote  Comte's scientism received an anwer from the pen of Mary Shelley but it is an old story as Gcle hinted by raising the ghost of Carnap and the appeal to verifiability.
Eventually are you suggeting that the "new atheists" are wrong by relying on science only to support their ideas*?
Quote   
Of course, you would not be at ease with this declaration from him back in 1937: 
In logic there are no morals. Everyone is at liberty to build up his own logic, i.e. his own language, as he wishes. All that is required of him is that, if he wishes to discuss it, he must state his methods clearly, and give syntactical rules instead of philosophical arguments...
What makes you think that this quote is troublesome to me.
 
*Have you ever stated a simple sentence in your life?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2011 at 12:05
Originally posted by Cezar Cezar wrote:

@ gcle
Obviously, there is more than simple statements and simplistic logic when dealing with atheism and agnosticism. I was expecting you to find flaws in my set of statements and that was the idea, after all.
The relevant issue is that knowledge and belief are not the same.
But some people believe and have done for centuries - cf Kant and Hegel for instance - that they have (that people in general have) certain inherent knowledge which is irrefutable (although what jknowledge varies from one philosopher to another. Locke is the earliest denier of that that I can think of offhand.
Quote
 Atheism is about belief while agnosticism is about knowledge. Going back to my previous post, defining an atheist as a person who has no belief in any deity, is less wrong than just calling an atheist a person who has no god.
That's just a matter of how you define belief and knowledge. Equal expressions that capture the truth are 'an atheist who believes there is no god or gods' and 'an atheist is someone who thinks he knows there is no god or gods.' You cannot then use the same word to describe rthe eantirely different creature who does not believe or think he knows whether or not there is a god.
Quote
I think it is less wrong to accept that agnosticism and atheism are not exclusive. You stated "That I believe something doesn't mean I know it" and I agree with you. Agnosticism is acually covering a much wider area than just theism vs atheism so I find it rather not right to think of it as a third option between theism and atheism. Imagine what would be if we throw gnosticism into the mix.
These being said I think that since many people do not like to be called atheists (I was once calling myself an agnostic) It would be better if we go on after we all agree how to use these denominations just to avoid confusions (in this topic only, so that we can elaborate about atheists, new atehsits, old atheists, future atheists and so on). Because atheism is directly related with the belief in a deity, I suggest these three categories:
1. Atheist - I have no belief in any deity and I'm concerned about it.
2. Agnostic - I have no belief in any deity and I'm not concerned about it.
3. Theist -  I believe in at least a deity.
 
I still prefer the table.........(theos)................................(atheos)
....................................there are gods.....................there are no gods
believes.............................theist...................................atheist
 
does not believe.............agnostic.................................agnostic.
 
I don't see how you can claim that Dawkins and Hitchens and Co don't believe there is no God.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2011 at 12:32
In some way the discussion about belief or not belief in a god or in gods has come out wrong. The fundamental question ought to be if there is any reason at all to belief in such a thing since there is really nothing that suggest the existence of such beings more than some peoples statements that they exists.
But there are a lot of statements and stories about other things too and noone really discusses if we believe, or ought to believe, in them or not.

Edited by Carcharodon - 17 Mar 2011 at 12:33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2011 at 14:13
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Originally posted by Cezar Cezar wrote:

@ gcle
Obviously, there is more than simple statements and simplistic logic when dealing with atheism and agnosticism. I was expecting you to find flaws in my set of statements and that was the idea, after all.
The relevant issue is that knowledge and belief are not the same.
But some people believe and have done for centuries - cf Kant and Hegel for instance - that they have (that people in general have) certain inherent knowledge which is irrefutable (although what jknowledge varies from one philosopher to another. Locke is the earliest denier of that that I can think of offhand.
Wonderful! And how is this related to what I've wrote?
Quote
Quote
 Atheism is about belief while agnosticism is about knowledge. Going back to my previous post, defining an atheist as a person who has no belief in any deity, is less wrong than just calling an atheist a person who has no god.
That's just a matter of how you define belief and knowledge. Equal expressions that capture the truth are 'an atheist who believes there is no god or gods' and 'an atheist is someone who thinks he knows there is no god or gods.' You cannot then use the same word to describe rthe eantirely different creature who does not believe or think he knows whether or not there is a god.
Unless there's some major shift in logic then 'I don't believe' is not equal with 'I believe'. I don't believe merely describes the absence of belief.
Quote   
Quote
I think it is less wrong to accept that agnosticism and atheism are not exclusive. You stated "That I believe something doesn't mean I know it" and I agree with you. Agnosticism is acually covering a much wider area than just theism vs atheism so I find it rather not right to think of it as a third option between theism and atheism. Imagine what would be if we throw gnosticism into the mix.
These being said I think that since many people do not like to be called atheists (I was once calling myself an agnostic) It would be better if we go on after we all agree how to use these denominations just to avoid confusions (in this topic only, so that we can elaborate about atheists, new atehsits, old atheists, future atheists and so on). Because atheism is directly related with the belief in a deity, I suggest these three categories:
1. Atheist - I have no belief in any deity and I'm concerned about it.
2. Agnostic - I have no belief in any deity and I'm not concerned about it.
3. Theist -  I believe in at least a deity.
 I still prefer the table.........(theos)................................(atheos)
....................................there are gods.....................there are no gods
believes.............................theist...................................atheist
 does not believe.............agnostic.................................agnostic.
As I've mentioned before, does not believe gives no information about knowing or not knowing.
Quote
I don't see how you can claim that Dawkins and Hitchens and Co don't believe there is no God.
I never stated that. And I guess that you wished to state that they believe there is no God ("don't believe there is no God" is a double negation).
What the "new atheists" state is that they don't believe in God and that there is no reason to believe in God. Or that they believe there is no God and that this belief is the result of evidence or lack off for the existence of God. "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" is a sound principle but it cannot be used rigidly. Also you need to observe that they focus mainly on the God(s) of Christianity and Islam.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2011 at 15:10
Originally posted by Cezar Cezar wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Originally posted by Cezar Cezar wrote:

@ gcle
Obviously, there is more than simple statements and simplistic logic when dealing with atheism and agnosticism. I was expecting you to find flaws in my set of statements and that was the idea, after all.
The relevant issue is that knowledge and belief are not the same.
But some people believe and have done for centuries - cf Kant and Hegel for instance - that they have (that people in general have) certain inherent knowledge which is irrefutable (although what jknowledge varies from one philosopher to another. Locke is the earliest denier of that that I can think of offhand.
Wonderful! And how is this related to what I've wrote?
 
You're sayng that knowledge and belief are not the same. I'm pointing out that for many people they are the same. And the people who equate belief and knowledge include the new atheists - no matter what they say it reeks from every inflection and attitude.
So it's relevant to the issue.
Quote
 Atheism is about belief while agnosticism is about knowledge. Going back to my previous post, defining an atheist as a person who has no belief in any deity, is less wrong than just calling an atheist a person who has no god.
That's just a matter of how you define belief and knowledge. Equal expressions that capture the truth are 'an atheist who believes there is no god or gods' and 'an atheist is someone who thinks he knows there is no god or gods.' You cannot then use the same word to describe rthe eantirely different creature who does not believe or think he knows whether or not there is a god.[/quote]
Quote
Unless there's some major shift in logic then 'I don't believe' is not equal with 'I believe'. I don't believe merely describes the absence of belief. 
I think it is less wrong to accept that agnosticism and atheism are not exclusive. You stated "That I believe something doesn't mean I know it" and I agree with you.
But we are not tyoical.
Quote
Agnosticism is acually covering a much wider area than just theism vs atheism so I find it rather not right to think of it as a third option between theism and atheism. Imagine what would be if we throw gnosticism into the mix.
Don't see any problem. The Gnostics were theists. And they equated knowing and believing - that is they 'knew' that what they 'believed' was 'true'.
Quote
Quote I don't see how you can claim that Dawkins and Hitchens and Co don't believe there is no God.
I never stated that. And I guess that you wished to state that they believe there is no God ("don't believe there is no God" is a double negation).
No it isn't. It's two single negations. I can have as many negations in a sentence as I like without a double negation being present. A double negation is 'I do not not believe.'
(Not(p) and Not(q)) is different from (Not(p) and q) which is different from (p and not(q)) whch is different from (p and q). A double negation woudl be Not(Not(p)) which is the same as p.
Quote  
What the "new atheists" state is that they don't believe in God and that there is no reason to believe in God. Or that they believe there is no God and that this belief is the result of evidence or lack off for the existence of God.
Those last two statements say different things: in fact they contradict one another. Which makes them pretty useless for classification. 
Quote
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" is a sound principle but it cannot be used rigidly. Also you need to observe that they focus mainly on the God(s) of Christianity and Islam.
That's one of the reasons I object to them and doubt their sincerity.


Edited by gcle2003 - 17 Mar 2011 at 15:25
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2011 at 15:13
The New Atheists are nothing more than expounders of scientism through the medium of agiprop. Besides, if one does not catch the undercurrent behind Gcle's expanation--belief expressed as a negative--then all becomes little more than a ride on a merry-go-round. Any true pragmatist would grasp the futility of attempting that brass ring. 

Edited by drgonzaga - 17 Mar 2011 at 15:14
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2011 at 16:06
Well, since the original question is how do I see these new atheists, my answer is that in light of their militancy in denouncing religious belief, I see them as true believers. No different than the Born Again Christians, or Muslims, or Hindues, or any other creed that has a militant faction which spends its time trying to make converts to their point of view. Thus, I view the 'old atheists' as 'lay atheists', secure in their beliefs, but not particularly militant about them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2011 at 21:09
Well, Lirelou, and "old" atheist would not waste their time trying to convince others with respect to their p.o.v., they'd say I don't believe and then move on to more fruitful fields of inquiry. As for the zeal for converts...hey it's just Babbitt searching for the security found in groupies.

Edited by drgonzaga - 17 Mar 2011 at 21:12
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Mar 2011 at 11:27
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

Well, since the original question is how do I see these new atheists, my answer is that in light of their militancy in denouncing religious belief, I see them as true believers. No different than the Born Again Christians, or Muslims, or Hindues, or any other creed that has a militant faction which spends its time trying to make converts to their point of view. Thus, I view the 'old atheists' as 'lay atheists', secure in their beliefs, but not particularly militant about them.
 
Perhaps the new atheists just want to see a sort of development of our minds, away from trying to explain the world in supernatural terms towards instead trying to explain it in scientific terms. Their militant attitude can just be a product of frustration about how slow such a transformation goes and how much place the old supernatural worldview still occupies and how much influence it is allowed to have in todays world.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Mar 2011 at 15:02
Carch, in re:  "Perhaps the new atheists just want to see a sort of development of our minds, away from trying to explain the world in supernatural terms towards instead trying to explain it in scientific terms. Their militant attitude can just be a product of frustration about how slow such a transformation goes and how much place the old supernatural worldview still occupies and how much influence it is allowed to have in todays world."

Carch, perhaps that is the true motivation of many, but it is not so of all.  There are new atheists who brandish their belief as ipso facto proof of possessing an intelligence superior to religious believers, when it is painfully obvious that such is not always the case. But even recognizing those new atheists of obviously higher intellect, the irony remains: By attempting to bring others around to their view, they are proselytizing, i.e., trying to convert others to their world view beliefs. Thus, they are no different than those nineteenth century western missionaries who set out to convert the Chinese and Koreans to Christianity. Except that, to date, those missionaries have a far more positive legacy in the institutions they left behind. Quare as regards the new atheists.

Remember: There is no more proof that a God exists, than there is that a God doesn't exist. As opposed to the Agnostics, New Atheists proclaim 'his' non-existence as an article of faith. How amny times have you heard: "Well, so and so is not a true Atheist?" I've heard it said. 


Edited by lirelou - 18 Mar 2011 at 15:03
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Mar 2011 at 15:16
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


Carch, perhaps that is the true motivation of many, but it is not so of all.  There are new atheists who brandish their belief as ipso facto proof of possessing an intelligence superior to religious believers, when it is painfully obvious that such is not always the case. But even recognizing those new atheists of obviously higher intellect, the irony remains: By attempting to bring others around to their view, they are proselytizing, i.e., trying to convert others to their world view beliefs. Thus, they are no different than those nineteenth century western missionaries who set out to convert the Chinese and Koreans to Christianity. Except that, to date, those missionaries have a far more positive legacy in the institutions they left behind. Quare as regards the new atheists.
 
Well, prozelyting is a common phenomena both among religious and non religious people. What is political campaigns other than a form of prolelytizing? Many people feel an urge to convince other people that they are right about one or another subject.
 
That do not in itself make their claims less valuable. For a scientist it is perhaps hard to understand why people do not accept the, in his view rather obvious evidence that supports his claims or view of the world. Also it can perhaps be frustrating that many of them who loudly refutes his claims are not scientists themselves or have no deep knowledge of scientific matters.

Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

Remember: There is no more proof that a God exists, than there is that a God doesn't exist. As opposed to the Agnostics, New Atheists proclaim 'his' non-existence as an article of faith. How amny times have you heard: "Well, so and so is not a true Atheist?" I've heard it said. 
 
About the belief of the existence of God: It is based not in scientific observations, but in opinions and interpretations, speculations and a view of the world originally posed by members of non scientific societies, who had not access to todays scientific knowledge. It can probably be hard for some scientists to accept or support such a world view.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Mar 2011 at 16:06
Carch, in re your: "About the belief of the existence of God: It is based not in scientific observations, but in opinions and interpretations, speculations and a view of the world originally posed by members of non scientific societies, who had not access to todays scientific knowledge. It can probably be hard for some scientists to accept or support such a world view."

All that is true, except for the last sentence which, while not stating so outright, suggests that all scientists are, whether they proclaim so or not, atheists. I would submit that there are no small numbers of scientists who are not atheists. And indeed, sosme who are not even agnostic. If you are going to counter that arguing that such cannot be so, by definition of what a scientist is, then you are engaging in 'counting the number of angels on the head of a pin' and further discussion is fruitless.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Mar 2011 at 16:29
@lirelou That pretty well restates my position, probably more clearly.

Edited by gcle2003 - 18 Mar 2011 at 16:30
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Mar 2011 at 12:19
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


All that is true, except for the last sentence which, while not stating so outright, suggests that all scientists are, whether they proclaim so or not, atheists. I would submit that there are no small numbers of scientists who are not atheists. And indeed, sosme who are not even agnostic. If you are going to counter that arguing that such cannot be so, by definition of what a scientist is, then you are engaging in 'counting the number of angels on the head of a pin' and further discussion is fruitless.  
 
There are ofcourse also some scientists that are not atheists, butmost of them at least try to separate religion from their work as scientists. And the percentage of atheists can probably also vary depending on what kind of science they study. It is said for example that the number of atheists, or at least agnostics, among evolutionary biologists are very high.
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