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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29-08-2015, 05:21 AM
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
I put this in the "evidence of absence" thread, but it seems fitting for this one as well.



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29-08-2015, 09:10 AM
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
I'm just bored with the argument that the origin question is somehow qualitatively different from questions about the laws of physics as they exist in the present universe. I once heard a liberal Christian preacher say that although the world works by physical laws that are pretty well understood, the big bang MUST be seen as a miracle.

The big bang need NOT be seen as a miracle, and the fact that science keeps pushing the curtain back, and at every step the newly-exposed area turns out to be entirely naturalistic, shows us that what remains today behind the curtain could just as well be equally naturalistic.

Of course, one can continue to believe that a magic man in the sky made it all happen. But there is no need for this belief, and this belief is less rational and less in keeping with the evidence available than a purely naturalistic explanation, even though we have not found that explanation yet, and we might not find it before we cause the collapse of our own civilization.

And I disagree with the assessment in the video above that we don't even know the right question to ask. I think the question is simply: What physical laws and processes explain the existence of the universe? (Of course, the answers to that question are likely to be difficult in the extreme. Difficult to discover and difficult to understand.)

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24-09-2015, 12:25 AM
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
(20-06-2015 05:32 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  Strong hard defenders of Huxley classic Agnosticism to me are far more gutsy and strong willed than any Agnostic-Atheist. There has been some posters of that stance here like Ghost, and I forget another posters name. That position is taking the assertive stance it is impossible to know if there is or isn't a god.

Whoever gave you the impression that's Huxley agnosticism, is wrong.

Quote:"Agnosticism is of the essence of science, whether ancient or modern. It simply means that a man shall not say he knows or believes that which he has no scientific grounds for professing to know or believe."

"Consequently Agnosticism puts aside not only the greater part of popular theology, but also the greater part of anti-theology. On the whole, the "bosh" of heterodoxy is more offensive to me than that of orthodoxy, because heterodoxy professes to be guided by reason and science, and orthodoxy does not."

"That which Agnostics deny and repudiate, as immoral, is the contrary doctrine, that there are propositions which men ought to believe, without logically satisfactory evidence; and that reprobation ought to attach to the profession of disbelief in such inadequately supported propositions."

Huxley was a scientist, above all else. His agnosticism was a form of demarcation. No evidence = untestable/unfalsifiable = unobjective/unscientific. Results: inconclusive. No belief, either way. Karl Popper also self-described as agnostic...just agnostic.

Quote:"The extent of the region of the uncertain, the number of the problems the investigation of which ends in a verdict of not proven, will vary according to the knowledge and the intellectual habits of the individual Agnostic. I do not very much care to speak of anything as "unknowable." What I am sure about is that there are many topics about which I know nothing; and which, so far as I can see, are out of reach of my faculties. But whether these things are knowable by any one else is exactly one of those matters which is beyond my knowledge, though I may have a tolerably strong opinion as to the probabilities of the case. Relatively to myself, I am quite sure that the region of uncertainty–the nebulous country in which words play the part of realities –is far more extensive than I could wish."

His agnosticism wasn't some oxymoronic gnostic agnosticism. "Impossible to know" is a claim. A claim that should carry a burden of proof. How someone could possibly know that we will never know, I have no clue. However, I can know, for a fact, that the answer to a proposition is currently unknown, to me. I can know, for a fact, that I haven't been presented with evidence to persuade me to form a belief as to the truth of a proposition.

Until Huxley's agnosticism, there was no common usage label for no belief. The narrow definition of atheist was the common usage definition of atheist.
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24-09-2015, 09:06 AM
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
(24-09-2015 12:25 AM)3DJ Wrote:  
(20-06-2015 05:32 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  Strong hard defenders of Huxley classic Agnosticism to me are far more gutsy and strong willed than any Agnostic-Atheist. There has been some posters of that stance here like Ghost, and I forget another posters name. That position is taking the assertive stance it is impossible to know if there is or isn't a god.

Whoever gave you the impression that's Huxley agnosticism, is wrong.

Quote:"Agnosticism is of the essence of science, whether ancient or modern. It simply means that a man shall not say he knows or believes that which he has no scientific grounds for professing to know or believe."

[i]"Consequently Agnosticism puts aside not only the greater part of popular theology, but also the greater part of anti-theology. On the whole, the "bosh" of heterodoxy is more offensive to me than that of orthodoxy, because heterodoxy professes to be guided by reason and science, and orthodoxy does not."
[/i]
"That which Agnostics deny and repudiate, as immoral, is the contrary doctrine, that there are propositions which men ought to believe, without logically satisfactory evidence; and that reprobation ought to attach to the profession of disbelief in such inadequately supported propositions."

Huxley was a scientist, above all else. His agnosticism was a form of demarcation. No evidence = untestable/unfalsifiable = unobjective/unscientific. Results: inconclusive. No belief, either way. Karl Popper also self-described as agnostic...just agnostic.

Quote:"The extent of the region of the uncertain, the number of the problems the investigation of which ends in a verdict of not proven, will vary according to the knowledge and the intellectual habits of the individual Agnostic. I do not very much care to speak of anything as "unknowable." What I am sure about is that there are many topics about which I know nothing; and which, so far as I can see, are out of reach of my faculties. But whether these things are knowable by any one else is exactly one of those matters which is beyond my knowledge, though I may have a tolerably strong opinion as to the probabilities of the case. Relatively to myself, I am quite sure that the region of uncertainty–the nebulous country in which words play the part of realities –is far more extensive than I could wish."

His agnosticism wasn't some oxymoronic gnostic agnosticism. "Impossible to know" is a claim. A claim that should carry a burden of proof. How someone could possibly know that we will never know, I have no clue. However, I can know, for a fact, that the answer to a proposition is currently unknown, to me. I can know, for a fact, that I haven't been presented with evidence to persuade me to form a belief as to the truth of a proposition.

Until Huxley's agnosticism, there was no common usage label for no belief. The narrow definition of atheist was the common usage definition of atheist.

It's actually right in Huxley's writings. He called the problem "Insoluble." If you are saying the position of if there is a God is insoluble, it isn't merely saying, I don't know. It's saying it is unknowable.

"When I reached intellectual maturity and began to ask myself whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist or an idealist; Christian or a freethinker; I found that the more I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until, at last, I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with any of these denominations, except the last. The one thing in which most of these good people were agreed was the one thing in which I differed from them. They were quite sure they had attained a certain "gnosis"–had, more or less successfully, solved the problem of existence; while I was quite sure I had not, and had a pretty strong conviction that the problem was insoluble."

His view of scientific approaches to deem it unjustifiable would confirm that type of positioning. He may of not coined Agnosticism to be that way. It wasn't coining it as unknowable but his statements in his writings show him holding that view sometimes. He may merely see himself as agnostic=equaling I don't know but also holding the position I don't think I can know separately. It may not be fair to call that Huxley Agnosticism but various people then and to this day come around believing it is unknowable and his wording indicated that belief at times. It is a label I made up to use on this board because there have been very aggressive Agnostics on this position over the years here.

And Bertrand Russell at times talked of there being some agnostics of that position, Of the role that it is unknowable. There is a range of what Agnostic means.

I think Robert Green Ingersoll of people of the time period most well defined and positioned this idea of Agnosticism as purely unknowing the best. His positions were the most skeptically consistent of simply not claiming to know something in either way.

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24-09-2015, 11:47 AM (This post was last modified: 24-09-2015 12:20 PM by 3DJ.)
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
(24-09-2015 09:06 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  I think Robert Green Ingersoll of people of the time period most well defined and positioned this idea of Agnosticism as purely unknowing the best. His positions were the most skeptically consistent of simply not claiming to know something in either way.

Yes, I like Ingersoll.

You cut your Huxley quote one sentence too soon, though. He ends by stating he can't even hold fast to his own opinion.

"They were quite sure they had attained a certain "gnosis,"–had, more or less successfully, solved the problem of existence; while I was quite sure I had not, and had a pretty strong conviction that the problem was insoluble. And, with Hume and Kant on my side, I could not think myself presumptuous in holding fast by that opinion."

Huxley was very much in line with Hume. He also gives an analogy, in that same article, that sates he may one day find a solution or it might not be attainable "by me", speaking personally.

On the contrary, I had, and have, the firmest conviction that I never left the "verace via"–the straight road; and that this road led nowhere else but into the dark depths of a wild and tangled forest. And though I have found leopards and lions in the path; though I have made abundant acquaintance with the hungry wolf, that "with privy paw devours apace and nothing said," as another great poet says of the ravening beast; and though no friendly spectre has even yet offered his guidance, I was, and am, minded to go straight on, until I either come out on the other side of the wood, or find there is no other side to it, at least, none attainable by me.

My Huxley quote, about the "unknowable", also came a decade later. When others started stating that he was claiming the question was impossible to know, he clarified that he was referring to himself.

I think the gnostic agnostic types should more appropriately be called Spencer agnostics, rather than Huxley agnostics. Spencer preached the "unknowable" like a religion.
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24-09-2015, 05:55 PM
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
Fucking aggies. Making a mountain out of a molehill. Tongue

(24-09-2015 11:47 AM)3DJ Wrote:  My Huxley quote, about the "unknowable", also came a decade later. When others started stating that he was claiming the question was impossible to know, he clarified that he was referring to himself.

I think the gnostic agnostic types should more appropriately be called Spencer agnostics, rather than Huxley agnostics. Spencer preached the "unknowable" like a religion.

If it is his agnostic position, I'm still confused as to what the point is here. Of course, I'm confused as fuck lately. Undecided

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24-09-2015, 10:54 PM
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
(24-09-2015 05:55 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  If it is his agnostic position, I'm still confused as to what the point is here. Of course, I'm confused as fuck lately. Undecided

The point was that it wasn't Huxley's position, that something was eternally "unknowable" or impossible to know. He was the no belief type, that wasn't compatible with theism or atheism (narrow definition). He wasn't the gnostic agnostic type. That would be someone more like Spencer.
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09-10-2015, 06:53 PM
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
I simply have no belief in any deity. If any of them turn out to be real I will be surprised.
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09-10-2015, 07:11 PM (This post was last modified: 09-10-2015 07:25 PM by GenesisNemesis.)
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
The problem I have with agnostics is they tend to argue that "we can't know that a god doesn't exist", even though an atheist is simply someone who lacks belief in gods. If you do not believe in any gods, you are an atheist.
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10-10-2015, 09:42 AM
RE: Are Agnostics gutless Atheists?
(09-10-2015 07:11 PM)GenesisNemesis Wrote:  The problem I have with agnostics is they tend to argue that "we can't know that a god doesn't exist", even though an atheist is simply someone who lacks belief in gods. If you do not believe in any gods, you are an atheist.

Broadly, there is "I don't know", as in a complete lack of certainty (I don't know where my keys are...no clue...not compatible with having a belief), and narrowly there is "I don't know", as in a lack of complete certainty. Broadly, there is a-theist, as in "not a theist", and narrowly there is athe(os)-ist, as in "someone who believes no gods exist".

From my experience, people using just the "agnostic" label tend to use the broad definition of "agnostic" and a narrow definition of "atheist". People who label themselves "atheist", first, tend to use the narrow definition of "agnostic", and a broad definition of "atheist".

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