The hard problem

Hello friends,

I’m an agnostic and for many years I have been wondering about something, which I will mention shortly. I heard about this group from the Atheist Experience podcast, and thought this group would be a good place to discuss (before getting destroyed on-air).

To my understanding (and correct me if I’m wrong), the main difference between agnostics and atheists is that atheists don’t believe in god and anything supernatural (like the soul), while agnostics are somewhat reluctant in accepting that as a fact, claiming usually that there might be “something”, but we can’t possibly know what it is.

Being an atheist makes a lot more sense than being religious, but I can’t really accept atheism because I always found that it has a fundamental flaw: It doesn’t answer the hard problem of consciousness nor does it provide room for such an answer.

Science explains human emotions as chemical interactions. When dopamine is released, a human feels happy. But here is the problem: In a materialistic interpretation of the world, the release of a chemical would make nobody happy because there is noone to perceive it. Therefore, when we say person X feels happy, this implies that there is an entity, and that entity is capable of percieving emotions (also sensory information and thoughts)

Although conciousness can’t be proved scientifically, noone can really deny conciousness from a subjective viewpoint.

I have never really discussed about this so there might be a good chance that I am missing something. I would really like to hear which is the atheist position (or positions) on this subject.



That is a hot mess. Atheism has nothing to say about other supernatural claims (other than the existence of deities). Atheism and agnosticism are not exclusive. In my experience, most atheists are agnostic, I am.

that also sounds like grade A bullshit.


Wow, I have never heard such compelling arguments… since elementary school.

That doesn’t sound like an agnostic atheist, it sounds more like a wishy washy theist trying to decide which god or god’s they should worship.


You didn’t ask for arguments, you asked to be corrected:


That is not a correction either. Just non-constructive comments and toxic behavior. Conversations are obviously based on arguments, I guess people like you need to be reminded about it.

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Oh fuck. Everyone on the fucking planet is Agnostic. Everyone on this site knows for a fact you do not know a damn thing about God or Gods. The question is are you Atheist or Theist? What do you BELIEVE? No one gives a damn about what you think you Know. Agnosticism is not a category. Atheists are agnostic and so are theists. When someone comes up to you and says God is Real. Do you believe them or put the god thing in the same category as Santa, Peter Pan, and the Good fairy?

Atheism is a response to a single question: “Do you believe in a God.” If you say, ‘Yes.’ You are a theist. If you say, ‘No.’ you are an Atheist. Atheism is the "Null Hypothesis.’ (A is not connected to B until there is evidence demonstrating that connection.) God is not connected to reality until there is evidence connected to that assertion. It’s really simple. The time to believe a claim is when there is evidence for the claim. The evidence for the god claim is woefully inadequate to justify any level of belief.

You are WRONG – Most atheists don’t believe in souls; however, we do run across a few. Listen to the words you are using…

A = Without Theism = BELIEF in God Atheism is about Belief.
A = Without Gnosticism = Knowledge of God. Agnosticism is about knowledge.
*** Both are about the God claims and nothing more.***

The majority of Atheists are also skeptics. The same skepticism they apply to God claims they apply to other claims, like spirits, magic, voodoo, prophecy, etc. Just like God claim, they suspend belief until evidence is provided. It’s just that simple.

  1. There is no answer currently. All religion does is make unfounded assertions with nothing at all backing them up.
  2. You are completely wrong again. First atheism says nothing at all about the hard problem of consciousness. It does not even eliminate the possibility of a god. If the hard problem of consciousness was somehow related to a god thing, all atheism does is ask for evidence of that claim. Without evidence, there is no reason to believe the claim. It’s just that simple.

[quote=“InstantKarma, post:1, topic:3295”]
Therefore, when we say person X feels happy, this implies that there is an entity, and that entity is capable of perceiving emotions (also sensory information and thoughts)

No. It proves there is a brain capable of self-reflection and that is about it. There is no evidence for this entity thing you speak of. Demonstrate or define what it is you are referencing as ‘entity’ if it is not simple self-observation.

As confused as you are, you are probably in the right place.

Now you are just sounding stupid. Let’s break this idiotic comment down.
Science does not ‘Prove,’ anything. Science builds models and demonstrates. Hundreds of models of consciousness have been built and demonstrated. The entire field of psychology is based on these models. "Proof,’ is a mathematical construct best left to the field of mathematics. Nothing in the real world is proven.

YEP! At least you got something right.

Hang in there, and read the threads., Go to the home page and look at the little diagram on Atheism and Agnosticism… Hell, I’ll post one for you… Here is a good one.

100% God does not exist = Anti-theist or Strong Atheist.
100% Certain a god does exist = Gnostic Theist — Notice It is not possible to be 100% certain.
(Not even for the Gnostic. They only think/believe they are 100% certain. It is a belief and not
knowledge, not based on proven facts. )

Agnosticism is not a category - You are either Agnostic-Atheist or Agnostic-Theist.

Your brain or spirit belief has nothing to do with Atheism and everything in the world to do with not being able to be skeptical or rational.


You aren’t wrong. These days(edit: perhaps always been that way) it seems that criticism is often taken that way.

I didn’t say I am an agnostic atheist, I said I am an agnostic. But it doesn’t really matter, it is not about me, but about atheists’ views on the hard problem.

The existence of the hard problem is controversial. I’m not convinced there is even such a thing. The hard problem is only speculation based on the assumptions of what the answer will be to the easy problem. That answer (which is also not known) might not even set up a hard problem of consciousness. What you said makes no sense to me in that light:

You’re telling us atheism doesn’t leave room for an answer to a problem that might not even exist and that is the fundamental flaw with atheism? It seems like a very desperate grasp at straws, imo.


Oh what! You gonna start crying? Do you need a safe space? Perhaps we can get the mods to build you a little room and line it with white rubber walls. Your skin is going to need to be just a little thicker to hang around this place. Why don’t you read some of the threads before your next attempt? Get a feel for the place before jumping in and whining about the way people respond to posts? I get it your new. Welcome to the forum… but get in here and have some fun.


Yes, you mislabled yourself Agnostic and so sounded like an idiot right off the bat and got treated that way. Again, why not do a bit of reading first. Look at the diagram on the home page. Find out what the words you are using mean.


There is also nothing to accept? What do you think you would accept. Atheism is not a belief system? There is no dogma. WTF are you talking about ‘not accepting?’ Not accepting what? Nothing you are posting is making any sense. Do you understand this? There are fundametal flaws in nearly every assertion you have made. You do not understand Agnosticism. You do not understand Atheism. You do not understand consciousness nor the human mind. I doubt you actually have an understanding of what the Hard Problem of Consciousness is and regardless of that, it certainly has no connection to a belief or disbelief in a God thing or the creation of an ‘entity’ which is utterly absurd.

Well you made some sense at the beginning but now you are just attacking every sentence I write. Not sure if it makes sense to continue discussing… Anyway, I said I am not accepting atheism, that is, gnostic atheism. Because I assume gnostic atheism is based on a materialistic world view. And conciusness, as a phenomenon, can not be explained with current physics. Therefore, I don’t believe in god, so I am an agnostic atheist according to the chart, but I find there is something metaphysical about consciousness that we might or might not explain some day.

You don’t know that. That is an guess/opinion, at best.

eta: on a side note; explaining things isn’t the purpose of physics, the purpose of physics is to predict the state of a system at time B, using the state at time A, (and to test such predictions). Whether or not something has been “explained” is an opinion.
“Hypotheses non fingo” —Newton

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So your pulling one little subset out of the atheist category and rejecting Atheism based on it? You sound like a moron. That is like rejecting university education because you didn’t like thrid grade math. Your not making any sense at all. ]

Atheism is not based on anything at all. I have already told you this. Atheism, is the lack of belief in god or gods. You can believe in spirits and be an atheist. You can believe in ghosts and be an atheist. You can believe in reincarnation and be an atheist. You can believe in mind created entities and be an atheist. You can believe in crystial magic and be an atheist. You can believe in pyramid power an be an atheist. You can be a whiny bitch and be an atheist. YOU CAN NOT BE AN ATHEIST AND BELIEVE IN GOD OR GOD’S.

You can NOT accept atheism. Would you fucking listen. THERE IS NOTHING TO ACCEPT. Atheism is not a world view. It is not a belief system. There are no rules, not dogma, and NO ASSERTIONS made by being an atheist. Atheism is simply “Not believing in Gods.” You know, the way you were when your were born and no one had yet told you about magical flying sky daddies that went about creating universes and watching you when you did bad things. There is nothing her for you to accept.


There you go. Now isn’t that simple. Stop being so butt hurt and learn something.

What in the hell are you calling metaphysical and what evidence do you have for anything at all that is metaphysical. Demonstrate that anything at all ‘metaphysical’ exists. And if it exists, how in the hell would you know it? Metaphysical reality is an oxymoron.


Oxymoron is “Demonstrate that anything at all ‘metaphysical’ exists”. Of course something metaphysical can’t be demonstrated. Meta means after,beyond. beyond physics.

I guess the word accept irritates you. I didn’t mean atheism is a belief system. I just meant I don’t buy it, it is not something that makes sense to me. And again, I didn’t reject atheism, I reject the gnostic atheism. Not because of consciousness, but because you can never be certain 100% that something does not exist, we can go only as far as to say, we don’t believe in the existence of something.

Don’t buy what? You just called yourslelf an agnostic atheist and now you are saying you ‘don’t buy it.’ What in the fuck are you talking about?

I have clearly defined atheism for you. I have clearly defined agnosticism for you. You came to an atheist site to tell everyone that you believe in metaphysics? So the fuck what? Now you are going to assert “I Don’t Buy It?”?

What in the hell is the “IT” you are not buying?