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      12-24-2014, 03:46 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post

I believe both are entirely possible alternatives. Simple enough.
That fact that you made this comment worries me because no where did I discuss what's possible or impossible. I'm discussing belief, which deals with what you accept as true. Not what you accept as possible.

I don't believe ghosts or an afterlife are an impossibility. I simply don't accept that they are true. Again, you're confusing "I don't believe" for "I'm certain it cannot exist".

This is why I made the gumball and courtroom analogy. If I don't believe someone's guilty, it doesn't mean I KNOW they're innocent.

Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
If you believe either of two things are very possible (say 50%, for the sake of argument), you surely don't "disbelieve both"
If you don't have sufficient justification to believe either claim, then I don't understand why you wouldn't disbelieve both.

You say "either of the two things'. Those two things should be "belief or disbelief" but you're still attempting to address multiple claims. If I ask you if you believe the defendant is guilty and you say "he might be guilty or he might be innocent, I DON'T KNOW". This tells me three important things:
  1. You're addressing innocence for some reason when I didn't ask you to
  2. If you don't know then you most likely don't actively believe. What you're really saying is "I don't actively believe either claim, so I don't ultimately know if he did it or not".
  3. This answers my question that you don't believe he's Guilty. You also don't necessarily believe he's innocent.

If you accepted the claim, "A God Exists" and also accept the claim "No Gods Exists" those are immediately conflicting beliefs. Just as being convinced the number of gumballs is both odd and even simultaneously. That's not the same as not being sufficiently convinced to believe you know that there's either an odd or even number of gumballs in the machine.

Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
It sure feels like cognitive dissonance to me. I can't make up my mind about it. I have come to terms with that, and even, as my posts make clear, embrace it.
Cognitive Dissonance has nothing to do with believing contradictory things are both possible. That's not even a contradiction. It's "having beliefs or taking actions that conflict with existing beliefs". Not "having a hard time making up your mind".

If anything, I think you're simply experiencing a confusion in how belief works (which is understandable since it's not a popular subject). You're having a crisis of epistemology not of psychology.

Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Both strong atheists and religious fundamentalists have one thing in common, as far as I'm concerned. They both are absolutely certain about a proposition for which there clearly is inadequate evidence. They claim their opponents are wrong, many even ridicule them. And, they do so in the face of some suspicious facts. I call that faith.
I agree. The difference is, that has no impact on my ability to believe or disbelieve a claim. My belief or disbelief of a claim is purely based on whether there is sufficient justification to accept it as true. If not, I don't believe.

You seem to be basing your belief or disbelief on what groups you do or do not want to be associated with. You look at the worst of both groups and decide you don't want to be associated with either and therefore, can choose to neither belief nor disbelieve (which isn't logically possible). You then hold up famous people who you do want to be associated with. You seem to address belief from the position of how you will be perceived as opposed to whether the claim has sufficiently convinced you that it's true.

For a minute, leave all that behind. Simply address the claim (and ONLY THIS CLAIM) at face value. Do you accept it's true that a God exists?
  • I'm not asking if you think a God is possible.
  • I'm not asking if you think a God is impossible.
  • I'm not asking if you think it's more likely that we live in a universe with no gods

I'm asking you if you actively believe that any God is true. If you don't, that doesn't mean you think there is absolutely no possibility of one. If simply means you haven't been convinced by any of the existing claims for one. You can always change your mind if you are introduced to more data. Absolutes are for the closed minded.

Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
It would be fair to say I disbelieve in a personal God, one who cares especially about humans. Both the universe and the hypothetical God are just too big for that. But maybe, if they're of equal size... Still unlikely.
Is there any definition of God you do accept as true? If not, going through ones you don't is a bit of a pointless exercise.

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