Poll: What best describes those agnostic about God
This poll is closed.
Gutless Atheists 8.33% 2 8.33%
Dreamers 0% 0 0%
Off track and annoying 4.17% 1 4.17%
Deeper Thinkers 8.33% 2 8.33%
Other? 75.00% 18 75.00%
Uneducated 4.17% 1 4.17%
Total 24 votes 100%
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Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
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10-08-2015, 09:14 AM (This post was last modified: 10-08-2015 10:23 AM by Matt Finney.)
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
(10-08-2015 07:55 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  Really? It's gutless to come to a conclusion based on evidence and an argument that is irrefutable? How does that follow? If I can prove that the God of Christianity, Islam and Judaism does not exist, then why shouldn't I accept my conclusion?

The gnostic atheist doesn't claim that the Christian or Islamic gods don't exist, he claims that it is impossible for any god to exist. He even claims to know that a deistic "prime mover" doesn't exist. I agree that the Christian god can't exist because the definition contradicts itself, but that doesn't mean that it's impossible for any type of god to exist. The agnostic simply admits that he does not know. For all I know, it might be impossible for any type of god to exist, I just don't know whether it's possible or not.

(10-08-2015 07:55 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  Actually, skepticism would tell you that there is no way to be certain that your beliefs match reality.

No. Skepticism is what scientists use to discover truths. Skepticism holds that all claims, whether positive or negative, should be supported by evidence before they are accepted.
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10-08-2015, 09:24 AM
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
(10-08-2015 08:11 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  Many do. I've had many an agnostic atheist tell me that it's impossible to know that there is no god. If we can't know there isn't one then that means that it is possible that there is one.

No, that doesn't follow. It is possible that we simply don't know whether or not it is possible for a god to exist.

(10-08-2015 08:11 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  But there is no evidence for one and mountains of incontrovertible evidence against so on what basis is it possible? It is either possible or impossible. If you don't claim that it is possible then aren't you claiming that it is impossible? Or do you just refrain from taking a position one way or the other?

I refrain from taking a position until there is evidence that proves it to be either possible or impossible. I agree that there is absolutely no evidence for any god's existence, and I also agree that there is a huge amount of evidence that all of the current proposed gods are simply made up, but that doesn't lead me to the conclusion that it is impossible for any type of god to exist. With questions concerning why and how the universe came into existence, or if it is the case that existence is eternal and something has always existed, I see no reason to rule out the possibility of something supernatural. Let's face it, a universe popping into existence from nothing seems at least at face value, pretty supernatural. But I don't draw any conclusions yet. I just admit that the existence of the universe is just something I don't really understand and I live with that.

If we claimed that everything that we haven't yet discovered doesn't exist, we'd look like fools every time we discovered something new.
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10-08-2015, 09:29 AM
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
I haven't read this whole thread yet, but my answer would be "No".
Simply because most atheists, myself included, are agnostics.

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10-08-2015, 09:31 AM
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
(10-08-2015 09:14 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(10-08-2015 07:55 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  Really? It's gutless to come to a conclusion based on evidence and an argument that is irrefutable? How does that follow? If I can prove that the God of Christianity, Islam and Judaism does not exist, then why shouldn't I accept my conclusion?

The gnostic atheist doesn't claim that the Christian or Islamic gods don't exist, he claims that it is impossible for any god to exist. He even claims to know that a deistic "prime mover" doesn't exist. I agree that the Christian god can't exist because the definition contradicts itself, but that doesn't mean that it's impossible for any type of god to exist. The agnostic simply admits that he does not know. For all I know, it might be impossible for any type god to exist, I just don't know whether it's possible or not.

(10-08-2015 07:55 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  Actually, skepticism would tell you that there is no way to be certain that your beliefs match reality.

No. Skepticism is what scientists use to discover truths. Skepticism holds that all claims, whether positive or negative, should be supported by evidence before they are accepted.

OK. Then I'm a strong atheist in regards to the Christian/Muslim/Jewish god and any other god that is claimed to enjoy metaphysical primacy over its objects of consciousness. I have no Opinion about any arbitrary claims of other gods that are not claimed to enjoy metaphysical primacy since there is no evidence to support any.

I recognize that if there was a first cause, it was something that exists and is therefore subject to all of the same laws that everything else that exists.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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11-08-2015, 10:16 PM
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
I personally think that "agnostic" is a defensible position, inasmuch as one may think that one doesn't know everything. I was an agnostic for a brief time after I realized that a god did not exist. Personally, I went past the agnostic stage fairly quickly, from continuing education on the internet and in books. No need to cast stones, though (even if it's in the buy-bull, the quote has value). Smile
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12-08-2015, 05:52 PM
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
(11-08-2015 10:16 PM)Fireball Wrote:  I personally think that "agnostic" is a defensible position, inasmuch as one may think that one doesn't know everything. I was an agnostic for a brief time after I realized that a god did not exist. Personally, I went past the agnostic stage fairly quickly, from continuing education on the internet and in books. No need to cast stones, though (even if it's in the buy-bull, the quote has value). Smile

Usually theists will say to me that unless I've been to every corner of the universe and have omniscient powers then I can't say I'me certain their God doesn't exist. This is evidence of a person who is stuck on the perceptual level of consciousness. I try my best to explain that the conceptual faculty and an objective method of knowledge means that I need not go looking everywhere for evidence of God before dismissing the idea just as I don't need to look everywhere before I declare that square circles don't exist. But since they have no objective theory of concepts and their worldview is premised on subjectivism, this goes completely in one ear and out the other side of their noggins. On their view there could be such a thing if their God wishes it.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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12-08-2015, 08:04 PM
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
Noooo... lol
I don't believe there is any evidence of a deity, but I remain open minded to what may be. I no longer need to ponder it though. That is the beauty of atheism, in my eyes.

Be true to yourself. Heart
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13-08-2015, 06:58 AM
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
(10-08-2015 06:50 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Gnostic atheists are gutless because like the religious, they can't live without a conclusion.

Imma gnostic atheist 'cause I have faith. The label is also wonderfully absurd, so there it is. Big Grin

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13-08-2015, 08:07 AM
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
The more times this topic comes up the more I move towards a rejection of the notions of gnosticism and agnosticism. I find it harder and harder to see "knowledge" as a meaningfully distinct category to belief. I think belief is perhaps the only meaningful category to be found in this space.

Belief is something I can make truth claims about. I can say that I believe x. I can say that I can lack the belief x. I can say I believe a converse of x. These are all meaningful statements that convey information about how I will act in the future. I can also state degrees of belief or degrees of confidence in a belief.

But can I say any of the same things about knowledge? Can I say that I "know" x and have my claim mean anything more or anything different than the claim that I "believe" x? Is there a meaningful distinction to be drawn in practice in the real world between those statements?

So I tend to reject the traditional four quadrant chart describing the cross product of theism and gnosticism. On the question of a specific God claim I could be drawn into a three way split between belief in the truth of the claim, belief in the falsehood of the claim, and the lack of any belief about the truth value of the claim. We could describe these positions as theist, atheist and agnostic but I feel those labels are a poor fit for multiple reasons.

Matching theist to having a belief in one or more God claims is not too troublesome, but to my mind the sheer number of a available God claims acts to make any distinction between agnostic and atheist moot as a single individual is likely to be a mix of the two positions depending on the claim being tested.

So if the two non theist positions are themselves the same category in practice then to me the most appropriate label is the clearest one. "Atheist" clearly identifies an alternative to the active belief in god claims, whereas "agnostic" says something fuzzy about knowledge. I choose "atheist".

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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13-08-2015, 08:19 AM
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
(13-08-2015 08:07 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  The more times this topic comes up the more I move towards a rejection of the notions of gnosticism and agnosticism. I find it harder and harder to see "knowledge" as a meaningfully distinct category to belief. I think belief is perhaps the only meaningful category to be found in this space.

Belief is something I can make truth claims about. I can say that I believe x. I can say that I can lack the belief x. I can say I believe a converse of x. These are all meaningful statements that convey information about how I will act in the future. I can also state degrees of belief or degrees of confidence in a belief.

But can I say any of the same things about knowledge? Can I say that I "know" x and have my claim mean anything more or anything different than the claim that I "believe" x? Is there a meaningful distinction to be drawn in practice in the real world between those statements?

So I tend to reject the traditional four quadrant chart describing the cross product of theism and gnosticism. On the question of a specific God claim I could be drawn into a three way split between belief in the truth of the claim, belief in the falsehood of the claim, and the lack of any belief about the truth value of the claim. We could describe these positions as theist, atheist and agnostic but I feel those labels are a poor fit for multiple reasons.

Matching theist to having a belief in one or more God claims is not too troublesome, but to my mind the sheer number of a available God claims acts to make any distinction between agnostic and atheist moot as a single individual is likely to be a mix of the two positions depending on the claim being tested.

So if the two non theist positions are themselves the same category in practice then to me the most appropriate label is the clearest one. "Atheist" clearly identifies an alternative to the active belief in god claims, whereas "agnostic" says something fuzzy about knowledge. I choose "atheist".

I'd say knowledge and belief are not synonymous, but that knowledge is a subset of belief.

Knowledge is belief derived from and backed up by strong evidence.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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