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Agnostics/atheists do you require evidence for other things in life, too?

We require evidence to believe in god. Do we also require evidence to believe in other things in life? Better put, do some of us believe in things for which there is no evidence?

What am I talking about? All kinds of things: Astrology, Myers-Briggs, Organic produce, juice cleanses, the list goes on.

If someone pointed out that there was no evidence behind your belief, would you be willing to change it?

By jwd452447
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69 comments

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7

Long time advocate of Skepticism and Critical Thinking.

MattHardy Level 7 Aug 12, 2018
7

Oh HELL yes. When someone starts going on about juicing, organic food, non-GMO, reiki, crystals, etc. I wonder where their double blind study is. Himalayan salt lamps are supposed to cure everything now. Show me the evidence.

Sorcha Level 6 Aug 12, 2018

I've eaten raw for a few months and dropped 15 pounds quickly doing so. Convinced it can help anyone feel better, though I'd stop short of calling it a cure. But certain diets can have a profound effect on health.

6

Yes, if evidence contradicts any of my beliefs I will follow the evidence.

Minta79 Level 7 Aug 12, 2018
6

Yes. Yes, I do.

I require proof for most things and I stick with facts.

I am able to change my mind, as well.

I'm curious and interested in gaining knowledge, not in being correct or proving myself or my personal beliefs.

6

Provide credible, verifiable proof of anything that I reject, and I'll reconsider my position.

KKGator Level 9 Aug 12, 2018
5

I totally use the Scientific method towards every thing I want to know.
So, Yes,if empirical evidence that shows me something that I though was wrong, I would gladly change my mind.

5

scientific method demands it

weeman Level 7 Aug 12, 2018
4

I hold no beliefs other than the mundane navigational things we all use to make it through daily life without cognitive overload. I am an evidentialist when it comes to anything else.

3

oh god yes. I'm the biggest sceptic out there.

3

Yep!

CeliaAnne Level 6 Aug 12, 2018
3

Yes evidence-based is best. Show your work, show me your numbers, give me some lovely and tasty numbers and data to crunch. smile002.gif

3

While I may find a lot of things interesting, it doesn't mean I believe their claims. I need the data before I believe.

Anne209 Level 6 Aug 12, 2018
2

If someone presents me with a statement, I may base my belief or non-belief on it on many things instead of proof - though proof is always preferable, I may not have the knowledge to correctly interpret that proof one way or the other, or proof may not be available. For example the trustworthiness and expertise, I am not a physicist and am educated in that subject only to A-level; therefore if a physicist tells me something that seems plausible, I'll defer to her greater knowledge of the subject and decide that what she says is probably true (if it doesn't seem plausible, I'll check her academic reputation and see if any other physicists corroborate what she says). Likewise, if my friend says he saw a herd of deer on his way to work, I don't question it because I know deer exist and that he traveled to work through an area where deer live, even though I didn't see the deer myself and he can't prove that he did, either (this is also why I believe the USA exists - I've never seen it, but enough people say they live there to make it seem more probable than not that it actually does exist, however unlikely it seems to the rest of the world). Meanwhile, if someone tells me something that doesn't seem plausible - perhaps my friend arrives at work the next day and says he saw a dinosaur on his way in, I'm rather less likely to believe it because it's implausible due to my knowledge that there haven't been any dinosaurs around here for quite some time. Subjects such as astrology fall into that last category - what proponents claim is so implausible, I don't need evidence either way.

Jnei Level 8 Nov 7, 2018

You are right the post covers a broad area.There is no short answer .Science is always updating and correcting as technology advances.We take from it what we can understand and sometimes refuse information if we already have formed our opinion.

2

Yes, yes and yes. So that's settled then. Thanks for the conversation.

Dietl Level 7 Aug 13, 2018
2

I need evidence for everything. Provide evidence on the other side of a thought of mine and I'm willing to change if it makes sense. Even had a major roaring argument with my brother who accused me of not trusting him. I told him that I verify everything and he should know that about me.

lerlo Level 8 Aug 13, 2018
2

Yep. I try to research things before deciding if it's bunk or true. If I have accepted or rejected something without thinking to research it, and then am shown evidence contrary to my viewpoint, I will research that evidence and change my beliefs accordingly.

Julie808 Level 7 Aug 13, 2018
2

Go vegetarian! Don't believe the stigma surrounding it!

2

Yup. Psuedoscience is a total pet peeve of mine, can't stand it.

2

Well, of course! Unless Gwyneth Paltrow is vouching for the product, in which case I'm convinced of the rigorous testing it's undergone. ?

[vox.com]

2

Always

2

Yup. I’m a natural born skeptic.

BlueWave Level 8 Aug 12, 2018
1

You are mixing "apples and oranges." Niels Bohr expressed it well in suggesting that there are two kinds of truth: there are the trivial truths, the opposite of which are clearly false, and there are the Great Truths, the opposite of which are also true. Belief in God and similar beliefs are examples of Great Truths, since they cannot be proven true or false, at least as far as we humans are concerned; the other beliefs you mention can be proven true or false so would be classified as trivial truths. As to people requiring evidence before believing in God, such a belief is not an inherent phenomenon in human experience. One comes into this world having no thought of such a thing, subsequently being introduced--and in many instances "brainwashed" into thinking there is even a question about the existence of such aa being. So, as we inherit the situation, we are taught that we must choose, while, in fact, it should be the obligation of those who profess such belief to present reasoned, evidence based argument in support of their belief. Unfortunately for those individuals, however, there is not credible evidence they can present save one: personal experience. The problem with that is that ehy are the only ones who had said experience. One of the principal stumbling blocks we in the Western world encounter is that we become immersed in cause/effect reasoning. It becomes impossible for most even to entertain the possibility that there might not have been a first cause. I find interesting reading the explanations coming from various cultures through which they have attempted to identify that first cause, or as Aristotle called it, the "primum mobilum."

1

Yes, I don't believe in things other than religion for which there is no evidence. This includes Santa Claus, Unicorns, space aliens, astrology, vaccination/autism, Leprechauns, etc.

That said, I sometimes to things that assume unproven assumptions if I determine that the odds of them being effective are worth the cost. For example, I take a multi-vitamin with 50-odd ingredients even though it may just give me expensive urine, under the assumption that the chance of it helping is worth the small price.

ldheinz Level 7 Aug 14, 2018
1

I personally indulge in only one very controversial habit, as far as I know; I take supplements, which time and again have been "proven" to be non-beneficial, accordingly.

But, here's the thing; I only take them if/when I have experienced a definite, notable change in the condition for which I take them. OK, perhaps there is a placebo effect, call it what you will, but every supplement I take has alleviated a malady of one kind or another. And you can show me all the "evidence" you can find to disprove their worth, but as long as they continue to help me feel better, I'll use them.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that the evidence of the supplements working for me, i.e., relief or enhancement of a physical sensation, will override words on a paper, no matter how they're arranged.

Condor5 Level 8 Aug 14, 2018
1

This reminds me of my war on the word and label Apistevist, as waged for the past 5 years or so. In a nutshell, it is a label that communicates a person's lack of (aversion to?) all things faith in life. Having come across this term in my since abandoned search for any label other than atheist, I liked it at its face. But I wrote a blog entry cautioning that while I see no problem with this concept as related to religious faith, that is as far as it goes.

There is no way to truly eliminate all faith in life. But one can use semantics to create the illusion that such a life is possible. Which pretty much sums up the comment area on that post, and all 4 proceeding posts making various clarifications of my stance.

My argument is simple.

I purchased 2 cans of Redbull a couple days ago. I drank one can yesterday, the other can today. In a nutshell, when I cracked the first can, I am taking on faith that what was in it won't have me go tits up, or otherwise cause me to have a shitty day. The same goes for when I take some tap water to drink, open anything new to consume, and many other areas of life.

The pushback tends to be that I am misusing the word and that the concept of evidence IS applicable in all cases. To go back to the Redbull example, past consumption of the product (years ago, in my case) is the evidence. Past safe consumption of tap water is evidence. On from there.

Yes, but no.

Having purchased 2 cans of Redbull, I can be sure that both likely came from the same batch (likely the same case, in fact). Therefore having drunk one, it's not unreasonable to use that drink as evidence of the purity of the one I drank today. However, such does not hold up when comparing the batch from a year ago, to the batch encountered this year.

Personally, I don't get the pushback on this. Well, aside from it being the manifestation of an intolerance to ANYTHING remotely related to religion and theism in any way. It reminds me of the reaction to saying that some Atheists behave religiously. I didn't say Atheism was a religion, I said that . . . many of you look, sound and act quite similarly for a seemingly independently thinking cohort.

Either way, the energy people devote to semantically defending this phenomenon is mind-boggling. When the reality is simply, it is what it is.
There is a reason why all one can be is a faux-apistevist. It is because if go through life with absolutely NO FAITH whatsoever, and if you followed the philosophy of apistevism right through to it's conclusion in EVERY instance, the logical conclusion is the nuthouse. Imagine not being able to do anything because you aren't Jesus or a walking biohazard lab.

We don't put a second thought into these decisions for a reason. We don't have to. Such is a privilege of living in this era of safety in all things consumer culture.

Mb_Man Level 7 Aug 13, 2018

I make a distinction between trust and religious faith. I trust that the sun will come up tomorrow, but I do not have faith that it will.

@Heraclitus and yet, the sun does not "come up," as you say. The big ball we're on, IF one believes the scientific explanation, merely spins around again to expose your position to the the sun once more.

@Condor5
Oh gosh, really? smile001.gif

@Heraclitus yeah, really.

@Condor5
Well, I am glad you straightened me out that the sun does not literally come up in the morning. But, that aside, I do not believe in science.

@Heraclitus we all have our quirks. Somebody told me that the moon is really just a satellite. Geesh, who'd believe that?

@Condor5
The moon is a natural satellite of the planet earth, as opposed to the artificial satellites that humans launch into outer space. This is not a question of faith but a matter of definition.

@Heraclitus aaah, but satellites don't have "dark sides." Some people do, but not satellites.

@Condor5
.Perhaps I should explain that I am old school. By that I mean that I follow the Dual Magisterium or Non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA) which is the view that was advocated by Stephen Jay Gould that science and religion each represent different areas of inquiry, fact vs. values. Consequently, I do not believe in gravity. I do not believe in relativity. I do not believe in electromagnetism. I do not believe in thermodynamics. I do not believe in evolution. I accept the validity of scientific theories as supported by evidence and the scientific method, but do not view science from the standpoint of belief or faith. When I was young, no one was ever asked if they believed in science. No one was ever asked if they believed in evolution, let alone asked if they either believed in evolution or if they believed in God. I know things have changed, but I happen to think it was a huge mistake when we began to treat religion like a science and science like a religion. It has caused mass confusion and considerably lowered the quality of conversation. The absurd questions I hear and read now about scientific issues I never hear years ago. When I talk, even to scientists, about the philosophy of science as delineated by Karl Popper, many of them have no idea what I am talking about, even though this was the first thing I was taught when I took science courses. I fear it will take many years for us to recover from our defunct educational system, assuming that we do

@Heraclitus so eloquent.

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