3 questions for atheists
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25-01-2014, 11:46 PM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(25-01-2014 11:27 PM)Taqiyya Mockingbird Wrote:  Oh, look, Chimpy is making shit up as he goes along again. How predictable.

This is what you posted:

Quote:That is not objective in the least. Show me an handful of your fucking well-being.
[1]

Clearly you thought that objective means tangible or concrete else you wouldn't ask for "an handful" (sic).

You are a moron.
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25-01-2014, 11:48 PM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(25-01-2014 11:45 PM)Taqiyya Mockingbird Wrote:  ...
^^^^ CHIMPYCHUMP SEZ:
...

You are delusional. All you have managed to do in this thread is show how little you know and understand. You are a cretin.
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26-01-2014, 12:07 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(25-01-2014 11:46 PM)Chippy Wrote:  
(25-01-2014 11:27 PM)Taqiyya Mockingbird Wrote:  Oh, look, Chimpy is making shit up as he goes along again. How predictable.

This is what you posted:

Quote:That is not objective in the least. Show me an handful of your fucking well-being.
[1]

Clearly you thought that objective means tangible or concrete else you wouldn't ask for "an handful" (sic).

You are a moron.


Oh, look -- you're STILL pissed off about the beating you got in THAT thread -- but what is much more relevant and timely is the trouncing you just got in the "Biggest question about atheism" thread that you are trying so hard to ignore. LOL.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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26-01-2014, 12:10 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(25-01-2014 11:48 PM)Chippy Wrote:  
(25-01-2014 11:45 PM)Taqiyya Mockingbird Wrote:  ...
^^^^ CHIMPYCHUMP SEZ:
...

You are delusional. All you have managed to do in this thread is show how little you know and understand. You are a cretin.

[Image: 45233636.jpg]

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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26-01-2014, 12:33 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(25-01-2014 11:48 PM)Chippy Wrote:  
(25-01-2014 11:45 PM)Taqiyya Mockingbird Wrote:  ...
^^^^ CHIMPYCHUMP SEZ:
...

You are delusional. All you have managed to do in this thread is show how little you know and understand. You are a cretin.

It's all he could demonstrate, shame he had no idea he was doing it.
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26-01-2014, 12:43 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
Okay, just ran across this gem from the "biggest question about atheism" thread. Post by Reltzik. Seems to be relevant and on point. Any comments from Chippy or BS? Or anyone else interested in discussing the OP?
Bueller?......Bueller?........

It's a bit long.

(15-01-2014 05:38 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  Okay, yeah. Time for the full-on definition conversation.

First, I want to make clear that I am not going to tell you what the right or wrong definition for theism, atheism, agnosticism, or a deity is. To be clear, I don't like to argue semantics. Semantics and language are not questions of absolute truth, but rather social convention. (Some social conventions, such as those laid out by L'Academie Francaise, are stronger than others, such as the total lack of any official body governing the English language.) Arguing over semantics as if they're absolute truth is like arguing about whether knitting is an appropriate pastime for a man. That's ultimately a cultural judgement. However, UNDERSTANDING semantics is important, because we use them to communicate, and if we don't understand what people mean when they use words then we can't communicate. So I'll start by laying out the underlying logic that seems to be behind the words in question, and then some frequent common usages, and also some suggestions about why using one definition is better than another.

Let's start with the definition for the word god. A god can be pretty much anything that has special authority and power over the world, or aspect of the world, that violates or supersedes the normal laws of nature, or who established some aspect of the natural world, or who at least is believed to meet these requirements. Call this supernatural power. For example, in the Hindu religion, Shiva is the god of destructive forces, and in some Native American belief systems (Pacific Northwest, if memory serves), Raven stole the sun and put it up in the sky for everyone to benefit. And, of course, the traditional Abrahamic God is supposed to have authority over everything. There's a bit of grey area here between natural beings and deities. Would aliens with weapons to lay waste to entire continents be counted as gods? In the abstract, probably not, not if their weapons used physics that we just couldn't understand. In practice, I'd be surprised if someone didn't worship them. A similar question might be raised about how someone from the Bronze Age, transposed forward in time to the modern era, might regard us and our technological wonders. For another grey area, many historical rulers have been worshiped as gods by their society, often regarded as possessing supernatural power even if they were only human. Particular faiths will usually establish further requirements for something to be considered a deity, but this is the best I can offer for a generic definition. Still, it's not that bad a definition.

Next up, theism/theist. There's a lot more question about what this one means, and it's going to be the stickiest of the bunch. Defined most broadly, a theist is anyone who believes that some sort of deity/god exists. However, when that word is used by people to describe themselves, they typically mean something much more specific. The problem is figuring out what, but most of the differences revolve around the nature of the god(s) or one's relationship with him/her/it/them. Here are some common distinctions to be drawn.

To be a theist, it might be required to believe in a personal, intervening god or gods. (This is the traditional definition, though its common usage has expanded far beyond it.) Here personal means that it has a mind roughly like a person's, including memory, personality, decision-making ability, desires, separate identity, and emotions. "Intervening" means that the deity uses its supernatural power fairly frequently or all the time to change the world, even if it's in small ways. This can include everything from laying waste to offensive cities, to whispering answers into someone's mind in response to prayers. Some contrasts with this notion of theism are pantheism (which holds that the entire universe is God, keeping God from having a separate identity from anything else and thus from being personal) and Deism (which holds that God essentially created the universe, set it spinning, and has not intervened since). Similarly, Oprah's notion of "whatever inspires awe and wonder" doesn't fit the bill of being personal, and may be entirely passive.

One might require that the deity be the creator of the universe, as you do. This applies to the Abrahamic God, certainly. However, it would not apply to a single god in the Greek pantheon. In their mythology, time began with the heavens and earth already existing, in the form of the gods Uranus and Gaea. The Greek gods later changed and added to the universe, but did not create it.

It might be a requirement that a SPECIFIC god or pantheon must be believed, rather than any old notion of a god. For example, in ancient Greece, Jews might not have been regarded as theists, because they didn't believe in the Greek gods. (I'll get into atheism in a bit.)

A common restriction is that the theist must actually worship, obey, submit to, petition, or honor the god(s) in question, rather than just believe they exist. Certain deeds or rituals (such as salvation prayer or baptism) may be required.

Atheism/atheist. Atheism is defined as one of two contrary positions to theism. However, it is dependent on the definition of theism being used, so you could say that for every definition of theism, there are two definitions of atheism. Either one believes that the theistic position in question is false, or one does not believe (rejects) that the theistic position is true. The distinction is how one categorizes reserved judgement or uncertainty. If an atheist is someone who outright believes that (some particular) theism is false, then someone who is uncertain is not an atheist. If an atheist is someone who just does not believe it is true, then they can still be uncertain, so long as they haven't crossed the line into credence. I'll call these two definitions "strong" and "weak" atheism, respectively.

Agnosticism is then defined in terms of whichever definition of theism and atheism one is using. In regard to any theistic position, if one is talking about strong atheism, then agnosticism represents a middle ground between theism and atheism. If one is talking about weak atheism, then agnosticism becomes a qualifier (saying "I'm uncertain") to both atheism and theism. So we can have "agnostic atheists" and "agnostic theists". Both believe, but have a degree of uncertainty. As a qualifier, agnostic is usually contrasted with gnostic (which is not to be confused with Gnostic Christianity). Another curlicue is what degree of uncertainty is required to be agnostic. Does anything short of total, absolute certainty count as agnosticism? If not, what's the cutoff? 90% certainty? 50%? One can also declare not only that the answer is not known to them, but CAN'T be known at all. This latter position is called strong agnosticism, as opposed to the weak agnostic position of "I don't know (but maybe it's possible for me to find out)".

So that's the logic behind the words. Which versions are in common usage in our society? (I'm going to assume that "our" is something Anglophone, because, well, you're writing in English.)

In most of the English-speaking world, either the Abrahamic god is the default to be considered, or it at least has strong representation. The only definitions of atheism in common usage that refers to a specific god, in the Anglophone world, refers to that one. In particular, the definition of theism in question is that one not only believe that god exists, but commit oneself to Him and follow his rules and so on. Often, knowledge of God is assumed under this definition, even if the supposed atheist denies that knowledge. This definition is typically used by Christians as a pejorative synonymous with "ungodly". It's either applied to others, or to one's past self (describing the debauchery and unwholesome living of one's early years). Few people who identify as an atheist in the present use this definition, and hearing the religious use it typically provokes offense and harsh disagreement.

Most people who identify themselves as atheists or agnostics are defining this in terms of belief/disbelief of the Abrahamic god, certain broad categories of god, or any god. Creators and/or personal interventionalists, are most common restrictions to be placed on what would count as a god. For people who identify themselves as atheists or agnostics, obedience, worship, etc are nonissues. Only belief and degree of certainty are required for these definitions.

The other big distinction is between the strong definition of atheism, versus the weak definition of atheism. People who identify as agnostics (just agnostic, not as a qualifier to theism/atheism) typically ascribe the strong definition to the word atheism and assume absolute certainty as their threshold, whereas most atheists would allow the weak definition and a lower threshold for agnosticism. This leads to laughable debates between agnostics and atheists, where agnostics argue that atheists are just as rigidly and unreasonably dogmatic as theists, while atheists argue that the agnostics are actually atheists. The problem is that they're too caught up on which word is used, and not enough on what the people mean by that word.

Also of note is ignosticism, which basicly says "I don't have a clear enough notion of what you mean by God in order to answer whether I believe in it". It's typically observed either in cultures so isolated that they have no notion of a god at all, or in cosmopolitan cultures where someone has been exposed to so many notions of gods that simply hearing the word conveys no meaning until the ignostic can identify which particular notion of a god the speaker is referring to. Ignostics tend to be obsessed with definitions. (You've probably guessed that I'm ignostic.)

The definitions most commonly in use on this forum are "any sort of god" or "personal god", "intervening god" or "Christian God", with a sprinkling of ignostic-"please define first". Most people here define atheism in the weak manner, meaning that it has overlap with agnosticism.

In addition to being an ignostic, I am an atheist in respect to pretty much every notion of god that I have so far encountered. I am a strong atheist and a weak agnostic in regard to the personal, intervening notion of a god, including the Abrahamic god. (EDIT: Correction, not actually agnostic, but I do regard the matter as knowable.) For the other forms of god, I am a weak atheist and a somewhat-strong agnostic, at least until we get into the grey area of super-advanced alien species and the like. (Actually, I'm agnostic towards those too.)

Your own definition of yourself suggests that you are a theist in the creator-god sense, and in particular are either a deist or believe that the creator intervenes in creation. (You haven't said anything about whether that creator god is personal, though). You come across as weakly agnostic, if we use agnosticism as a qualifier rather than a separate position.

I won't argue with your definitions. But I will ask you to be aware that others are using different definitions. Which, if you've read up to this point, you are.

So why pick one definition over another, if none of them are absolutely true? One is clear communication, which is usually best facilitated by picking the most common definitions in use. However, sometimes we need a different definition to convey some fine distinctions that the common usage definitions do not. Another goal is an aid to analysis. Sometimes the first step to answering a question is framing it appropriately. A third goal is group identification. I'm more likely to identify as an atheist than any other single word, simply as a way of saying "I'm with those people". (Personally, I think this is what's behind the atheist/agnostic debate, more than any other disagreement.) Finally, it can be a useful strategic choice in rhetoric, culture wars, and debates -- witness how some Christians use that first definition to cast outsiders as hedonistic, perverted addicts, for example.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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26-01-2014, 12:44 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(26-01-2014 12:07 AM)Taqiyya Mockingbird Wrote:  Oh, look -- you're STILL pissed off about the beating you got in THAT thread -- but what is much more relevant and timely is the trouncing you just got in the "Biggest question about atheism" thread that you are trying so hard to ignore. LOL.

These "beatings" are all in your imagination. No one else can see them besides you.

My opinion has been sought in this thread by numerous people. No one cares what you think about anything. You have no credibility. You are an ignorant moron.

If your perceptions are accurate then why is it that no one agrees with them?
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26-01-2014, 01:20 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(25-01-2014 11:01 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  
(25-01-2014 01:38 AM)Brownshirt Wrote:  The only fact there is that you believe it was given to me in the same way, obviously I don't.

Yes, that is quite obvious. The funny thing is that you couldn't decipher a lot of different ways of saying the same thing from a lot of different people, yet when Chippy shows up and takes your side in this stupid name calling bullshit, even though his argument agrees with what we've been saying all along, all of the sudden you get it. Consider

I can't change how you see it. I didn't see parallels between his position and yours. Perhaps you read his answer and thought he repeated what you had previously said, I didn't read it that way. If you can provide a link to where you, or anyone else, had previously stated what Chippy stated let me know and I'll give you my take on it.

I give no value to this name calling bullshit, in fact I think I'm done. Tourette's is a waste of time. If you guys really want discussion with anyone who doesn't share your views, I'd get rid of him. His attitude is not conducive to this at all.
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26-01-2014, 01:39 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(26-01-2014 01:20 AM)Brownshirt Wrote:  I didn't see parallels between his position and yours.
Really? Well I'm not gonna go back through this whole melee of a viper's pit of a thread to look for specific examples. But I find it weird that you don't (or is it won't) counter his position of atheism at all. Isn't that what this whole thing was about? Don't you find it illogical and unreasonable?

(26-01-2014 01:20 AM)Brownshirt Wrote:  I give no value to this name calling bullshit, in fact I think I'm done. Tourette's is a waste of time. If you guys really want discussion with anyone who doesn't share your views, I'd get rid of him. His attitude is not conducive to this at all.

We agree. However, this forum is for all to participate regardless of their views, as long as certain lines are not crossed. Simply being annoying and inept are not seen as lines. Being intentionally malicious and harmful to well meaning members can be, but I'm not in it to win it. I'm here for some shits and giggles, so take that as you will.

This is the interwebz, I canz only speaks for myself.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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26-01-2014, 01:51 AM
RE: 3 questions for atheists
(26-01-2014 12:43 AM)evenheathen Wrote:  Okay, just ran across this gem from the "biggest question about atheism" thread. Post by Reltzik. Seems to be relevant and on point. Any comments from Chippy or BS? Or anyone else interested in discussing the OP?
Bueller?......Bueller?........

It's a bit long.

(15-01-2014 05:38 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  Okay, yeah. Time for the full-on definition conversation.

First, I want to make clear that I am not going to tell you what the right or wrong definition for theism, atheism, agnosticism, or a deity is. To be clear, I don't like to argue semantics. Semantics and language are not questions of absolute truth, but rather social convention. (Some social conventions, such as those laid out by L'Academie Francaise, are stronger than others, such as the total lack of any official body governing the English language.) Arguing over semantics as if they're absolute truth is like arguing about whether knitting is an appropriate pastime for a man. That's ultimately a cultural judgement. However, UNDERSTANDING semantics is important, because we use them to communicate, and if we don't understand what people mean when they use words then we can't communicate. So I'll start by laying out the underlying logic that seems to be behind the words in question, and then some frequent common usages, and also some suggestions about why using one definition is better than another.

Let's start with the definition for the word god. A god can be pretty much anything that has special authority and power over the world, or aspect of the world, that violates or supersedes the normal laws of nature, or who established some aspect of the natural world, or who at least is believed to meet these requirements. Call this supernatural power. For example, in the Hindu religion, Shiva is the god of destructive forces, and in some Native American belief systems (Pacific Northwest, if memory serves), Raven stole the sun and put it up in the sky for everyone to benefit. And, of course, the traditional Abrahamic God is supposed to have authority over everything. There's a bit of grey area here between natural beings and deities. Would aliens with weapons to lay waste to entire continents be counted as gods? In the abstract, probably not, not if their weapons used physics that we just couldn't understand. In practice, I'd be surprised if someone didn't worship them. A similar question might be raised about how someone from the Bronze Age, transposed forward in time to the modern era, might regard us and our technological wonders. For another grey area, many historical rulers have been worshiped as gods by their society, often regarded as possessing supernatural power even if they were only human. Particular faiths will usually establish further requirements for something to be considered a deity, but this is the best I can offer for a generic definition. Still, it's not that bad a definition.

Next up, theism/theist. There's a lot more question about what this one means, and it's going to be the stickiest of the bunch. Defined most broadly, a theist is anyone who believes that some sort of deity/god exists. However, when that word is used by people to describe themselves, they typically mean something much more specific. The problem is figuring out what, but most of the differences revolve around the nature of the god(s) or one's relationship with him/her/it/them. Here are some common distinctions to be drawn.

To be a theist, it might be required to believe in a personal, intervening god or gods. (This is the traditional definition, though its common usage has expanded far beyond it.) Here personal means that it has a mind roughly like a person's, including memory, personality, decision-making ability, desires, separate identity, and emotions. "Intervening" means that the deity uses its supernatural power fairly frequently or all the time to change the world, even if it's in small ways. This can include everything from laying waste to offensive cities, to whispering answers into someone's mind in response to prayers. Some contrasts with this notion of theism are pantheism (which holds that the entire universe is God, keeping God from having a separate identity from anything else and thus from being personal) and Deism (which holds that God essentially created the universe, set it spinning, and has not intervened since). Similarly, Oprah's notion of "whatever inspires awe and wonder" doesn't fit the bill of being personal, and may be entirely passive.

One might require that the deity be the creator of the universe, as you do. This applies to the Abrahamic God, certainly. However, it would not apply to a single god in the Greek pantheon. In their mythology, time began with the heavens and earth already existing, in the form of the gods Uranus and Gaea. The Greek gods later changed and added to the universe, but did not create it.

It might be a requirement that a SPECIFIC god or pantheon must be believed, rather than any old notion of a god. For example, in ancient Greece, Jews might not have been regarded as theists, because they didn't believe in the Greek gods. (I'll get into atheism in a bit.)

A common restriction is that the theist must actually worship, obey, submit to, petition, or honor the god(s) in question, rather than just believe they exist. Certain deeds or rituals (such as salvation prayer or baptism) may be required.

Atheism/atheist. Atheism is defined as one of two contrary positions to theism. However, it is dependent on the definition of theism being used, so you could say that for every definition of theism, there are two definitions of atheism. Either one believes that the theistic position in question is false, or one does not believe (rejects) that the theistic position is true. The distinction is how one categorizes reserved judgement or uncertainty. If an atheist is someone who outright believes that (some particular) theism is false, then someone who is uncertain is not an atheist. If an atheist is someone who just does not believe it is true, then they can still be uncertain, so long as they haven't crossed the line into credence. I'll call these two definitions "strong" and "weak" atheism, respectively.

Agnosticism is then defined in terms of whichever definition of theism and atheism one is using. In regard to any theistic position, if one is talking about strong atheism, then agnosticism represents a middle ground between theism and atheism. If one is talking about weak atheism, then agnosticism becomes a qualifier (saying "I'm uncertain") to both atheism and theism. So we can have "agnostic atheists" and "agnostic theists". Both believe, but have a degree of uncertainty. As a qualifier, agnostic is usually contrasted with gnostic (which is not to be confused with Gnostic Christianity). Another curlicue is what degree of uncertainty is required to be agnostic. Does anything short of total, absolute certainty count as agnosticism? If not, what's the cutoff? 90% certainty? 50%? One can also declare not only that the answer is not known to them, but CAN'T be known at all. This latter position is called strong agnosticism, as opposed to the weak agnostic position of "I don't know (but maybe it's possible for me to find out)".

So that's the logic behind the words. Which versions are in common usage in our society? (I'm going to assume that "our" is something Anglophone, because, well, you're writing in English.)

In most of the English-speaking world, either the Abrahamic god is the default to be considered, or it at least has strong representation. The only definitions of atheism in common usage that refers to a specific god, in the Anglophone world, refers to that one. In particular, the definition of theism in question is that one not only believe that god exists, but commit oneself to Him and follow his rules and so on. Often, knowledge of God is assumed under this definition, even if the supposed atheist denies that knowledge. This definition is typically used by Christians as a pejorative synonymous with "ungodly". It's either applied to others, or to one's past self (describing the debauchery and unwholesome living of one's early years). Few people who identify as an atheist in the present use this definition, and hearing the religious use it typically provokes offense and harsh disagreement.

Most people who identify themselves as atheists or agnostics are defining this in terms of belief/disbelief of the Abrahamic god, certain broad categories of god, or any god. Creators and/or personal interventionalists, are most common restrictions to be placed on what would count as a god. For people who identify themselves as atheists or agnostics, obedience, worship, etc are nonissues. Only belief and degree of certainty are required for these definitions.

The other big distinction is between the strong definition of atheism, versus the weak definition of atheism. People who identify as agnostics (just agnostic, not as a qualifier to theism/atheism) typically ascribe the strong definition to the word atheism and assume absolute certainty as their threshold, whereas most atheists would allow the weak definition and a lower threshold for agnosticism. This leads to laughable debates between agnostics and atheists, where agnostics argue that atheists are just as rigidly and unreasonably dogmatic as theists, while atheists argue that the agnostics are actually atheists. The problem is that they're too caught up on which word is used, and not enough on what the people mean by that word.

Also of note is ignosticism, which basicly says "I don't have a clear enough notion of what you mean by God in order to answer whether I believe in it". It's typically observed either in cultures so isolated that they have no notion of a god at all, or in cosmopolitan cultures where someone has been exposed to so many notions of gods that simply hearing the word conveys no meaning until the ignostic can identify which particular notion of a god the speaker is referring to. Ignostics tend to be obsessed with definitions. (You've probably guessed that I'm ignostic.)

The definitions most commonly in use on this forum are "any sort of god" or "personal god", "intervening god" or "Christian God", with a sprinkling of ignostic-"please define first". Most people here define atheism in the weak manner, meaning that it has overlap with agnosticism.

In addition to being an ignostic, I am an atheist in respect to pretty much every notion of god that I have so far encountered. I am a strong atheist and a weak agnostic in regard to the personal, intervening notion of a god, including the Abrahamic god. (EDIT: Correction, not actually agnostic, but I do regard the matter as knowable.) For the other forms of god, I am a weak atheist and a somewhat-strong agnostic, at least until we get into the grey area of super-advanced alien species and the like. (Actually, I'm agnostic towards those too.)

Your own definition of yourself suggests that you are a theist in the creator-god sense, and in particular are either a deist or believe that the creator intervenes in creation. (You haven't said anything about whether that creator god is personal, though). You come across as weakly agnostic, if we use agnosticism as a qualifier rather than a separate position.

I won't argue with your definitions. But I will ask you to be aware that others are using different definitions. Which, if you've read up to this point, you are.

So why pick one definition over another, if none of them are absolutely true? One is clear communication, which is usually best facilitated by picking the most common definitions in use. However, sometimes we need a different definition to convey some fine distinctions that the common usage definitions do not. Another goal is an aid to analysis. Sometimes the first step to answering a question is framing it appropriately. A third goal is group identification. I'm more likely to identify as an atheist than any other single word, simply as a way of saying "I'm with those people". (Personally, I think this is what's behind the atheist/agnostic debate, more than any other disagreement.) Finally, it can be a useful strategic choice in rhetoric, culture wars, and debates -- witness how some Christians use that first definition to cast outsiders as hedonistic, perverted addicts, for example.

"Understanding semantics is important". This is where my view of simplifying agnosticism to be a claiming of "not knowing" is incongruous with the position that the question cannot be answered, and is therefore, unknowable.

I don't see agnosticism as simply saying "I'm uncertain", the approproiate rationale needs to applied to show why the person does not know. Anyone who claims certainty is a nutjob.

I'm surprised by the statement:"So we can have "agnostic atheists" and "agnostic theists". Both believe, but have a degree of uncertainty".

I've always considered atheists have allocated themselves the ability to assess reality as it is, not as humanity perceives it to be (which to me is a belief, prejudice, opinion...). The word belief has a bad connotation for the atheist, so they often want nothing to do with it.

I don't believe that an agnostic would allocate a 1% to a deity. If there is a 'god' equation to calculate the probability, or improbability, I would love to know the formula and variables.

If it gives you any insight into my position, I would recommend Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. That said I'm not a theist either though, I apply his rationale when naturalists present their perspective. As Chippy has said it may be premature of me, but I feel comfortable holding this given the unlikely nature of us having any method to address this question during my lifetime.
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