Ask an Agnostic
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15-07-2012, 06:23 AM
RE: Ask an Agnostic
This is where I think some of the problematic features diminish - when terms are defined. I wholeheartedly think it is quite easy to reject any of the mainstream Gods. If we are talking about some other, abstract thing that caused the universe to come together, I think that this is more plausible.
(14-07-2012 05:54 PM)morondog Wrote:  Disagree. It's not just as unknowable, as in 50/50.

We need a definition of God first. If God doesn't interact or our detection instruments are too weak then God effectively doesn't exist and the best answer we have is that he hasn't been discovered and it is best to live as if he wasn't there.

If God *does* interact, a la God of the Hebrews, then there should be some detectable pillars of fire and stuff. Dawkins goes into the ways in which a God who acted as the Christian God does is explicitly a scientific hypothesis from which deductions and predictions can be made in The God Delusion.

Of course if you weaken the God concept enough you eventually reach the non-disprovable position which is equivalent to God = non-interacting Easter Bunny which we call deism. Tongue
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15-07-2012, 06:32 AM
RE: Ask an Agnostic
Yes, I do think that there are not only textual inconsistencies in religious doctrines, but also philosophical inconsistencies (how can God be omni-benevolent with evil in this world, for instance).

You are free to your own opinion, and I am glad that you shared it. The reason that I claim agnosticism is because, where I do think that it is pretty clear that the religions of this world are bunk, there may exist some sort of abstract thing (perhaps even an event) that could qualify as a "God." I think that this is a fair, honest stance.
(14-07-2012 07:51 PM)Azaraith Wrote:  Define a god and in almost all cases, that god can be proven not to exist. Be it through inconsistencies in the characterization of that god (self-contradiction) or by inconsistencies with known facts about the universe. One can prove that the God of the Bible is false by showing the Bible itself to be inaccurate in that it both contradicts itself and contradicts natural laws (flat earth, etc).

Discount the Bible and you are no longer dealing with the Christian God, but the God that a particular person has invented in their own mind. To be honest, nearly all Christians already redefine God in their own terms and have different concepts of God - just look at Kingsy and how different he is from most Christians, or how there are hundreds/thousands of denominations of Christians. To prove that God false, you simply need to get them to commit to what defines their God - if they claim it is the Bible, your work is easy, but they'll probably shift the goalposts on you and modify the Bible's definition of God. They'll just say you're interpreting it wrong, it actually means this: (insert completely fabricated explanation that is impossible to get from just reading the text) or "it's a metaphor" (again, without any reason to believe this is the case from reading the text).

IMO, claiming to be an agnostic both makes you seem intellectually lazy and ignorant of what the terms mean. Regardless of who first coined the term, as is mentioned by ClydeLee, the prefix "a" means "without" and "theism" means "belief in a deity" (in a very simplistic way of defining things). Agnosticism is only a claim as to whether knowledge can be known for certain or not. Some famous non-theists go by the term of agnostic (such as Neil deGrasse Tyson) for the same reason as you, but I think it's simply because they've misunderstood the definition or they're too cowardly to identify as atheist and possibly deal with negative reactions from the public (which is also ignorant of the definitions).
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15-07-2012, 06:36 AM
RE: Ask an Agnostic
This is like the most intricate post I have ever seen. hahaha. I'm glad we are on the same page, Matt. I personally enjoy Dawkin's Atheism Scale. I'm glad you brought it into this discussion.
(14-07-2012 08:16 PM)Ghost Wrote:  



You rang?

Hey, Chas.

Actually the evidence for evolution is overwhelming. The evidence for the non-existence of God is non-existent. I can see how you'd confuse the two Cool

Also, while I am without belief in God, I am also without disbelief in God. Any charactarisation of me must contain the full vastness of my greatness Tongue

Hey, Peaceful.

We are soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo on the same page lol.

It is problematic. But at it's core, one must simply accept that there are simply a diversity of definitions of Atheism. Such is cultural diversity.

DEFINITION 1
-An Atheist is anyone who is not a Theist; ie, someone that does not explicitly believe in theos for whatever reason.
-An Atheist = a not-Theist

By this definition, you and I both are Atheists. This is the definition from whence came the notion, "Atheism makes no positive statements and is simply the lack of belief." This, of course, is true. I'll go out on a limb and assume that neither of us owns a Jaguar XJ12. This fact makes no positive statement. We could not own one for any number of reasons. Doesn't matter which of those reasons it is. You and I are both AJaguarists.

The problem with this definition is that most languages do not define things by what they are not, but rather by what they are.

DEFINITION 2
The Cartesian Graph

In this definition, there are two dichotomies: Atheist-Theist, Gnostic-Agnostic. Non-belief-belief. Knowledge-no knowledge. The first is your Y axis, the second your X.

In this definition one is either:
Gnositc Atheist
Gnostic Theist
Agnostic Atheist
Agnostic Theist

The problem with this definition is that the reference to Gnosticism is seen, by many scholars, as retarded.

The larger problem is that on any Cartesian graph, you may have the coordinates (0,0). This particular model does not account for the zero position. My belief is that you and I fall into the zero position.

DEFINITION 3
The Dawkins scale.

On the Dawkins scale #4 is a pure Agnostic. I don't know. This is a position that is impossible on the Cartesian graph and irrelevant to the not-Theist definition. But it's what Agnostics are.

Dawkins makes no mention of Gnosticism but instead refers to strong and weak. Some people have since co-opted the model and included the Gnosticism-Agnosticism dichotomy, falsely.





DEFINITION 4
Thomas Henry Huxley

Oddly enough, the man who coined the term Agnostic gets very little love. Some people might point out "Agnosticism existed before Huxley." Sure. And gravity existed before Newton. But don't revise history to suggest that people operated with the same understanding we enjoy today.

For Huxley, he encountered many Atheists who made the positive statement, "God does not exist." He felt that they were just as dogmatic as Theists. Note: he did not suggest that all Atheists make this statement.

Quote:Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method, the essence of which
lies in the rigorous application of a single principle...Positively the
principle may be expressed: In matters of the intellect, follow your
reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other
consideration. And negatively: In matters of the intellect do not
pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or
demonstrable.

So basically, if it's proven one way or the other, great. If it has not been proven or if it can't be proven, then stop pretending like you know.

The God question falls handily into the not proven category and more contentiously into the indemonstrable category.

The logic was that neither Theists nor the dogmatic Atheists he knew applied this method. They both pretended that something was certain when there was no evidence. Thus, by this definition of Agnosticism, Agnostics were separated from both Theists and Atheists.

DEFINITION 5
The missing one.

Some Atheists make the positive statement, "There is no God." I do not make that statement and never will, so I cannot reasonably be put in the same category as them.

Some people admit to categories of Atheism like anti-Theist or humanist. Others compare the attempt to categorise types of Atheism with herding cats.

There are some Atheists that believe that there is no place for God in this universe, that everything has a material explanation. They are Naturalists.

There SHOULD be a definition for these people; like Naturalist for example. But since when is should respected?

The reason that this definition is fought tooth and nail is because at it's heart, Atheism is a protest movement. It is a rejection of something. There are those that say that Atheism is the default position, but in order to call one's self an Atheist, one has to have knowledge of the thing they are rejecting. Otherwise, while they might technically be Atheists under definition 1, they would have no understanding of what they were.

One of the chief complaints leveled against Theism by Atheists is that Theism is dogmatic. It trusts in faith and revelation. It laughs in the face of evidence. But as Huxley points out, someone who believes that God does not exist, is in fact dogmatic. So by denying and attacking this definition, they protect themselves from that accusation. They throw up shields like, "Well I'm an Agnostic Atheist. There is no God, I mean, come on, you're retarded if you think otherwise, but I don't 'really' know." That's like saying, "I'm having a baby boy, but I don't 'really' know." No. You know. You've decided. Without evidence. Now man up and admit it.

It bothers me in particular when people in the same breath say there is no God and that Atheism makes no positive statements. Drives me fucking batty really.

This is the disingenuousness that you're alluding to. It is the have your cake and eat it too side of Atheism.





The difficulty is that there is such a morass of definition, that anyone using any of these definitions basically has an escape hatch. So what I try to do is say this. If Atheism is not-Theist, then I'm an Atheist. I don't self-identify as such but it's true by definition. If Atheism in any way claims that there is no God, I am not an Atheist. I don't believe in the Cartesian graph model or the use of the term Gnostic. I like the Dawkins scale just fine and I self-define as an Agnostic; Huxlian if you will. I vigorously apply a single principle to everything; I don't pretend anything is certain when it has not been demonstrated or if it's indemonstrable.

DEFINITION 6
Mine's right, yours is wrong, nanny nanny poo poo.

This is the definition where someone says that theirs is right and all others are wrong.

"I think this."
"Well fuck you, you stupid retarded dum dum poop face, you're wrong and stupid and dum and junk."

They would never go so far as to admit that these other definitions exist and are in use and that those are demonstrable facts. Ho ho noooooooooo. They just deny their existence.

At the end of the day, definition is ideological. Some people can see that, others cannot.

With these people, meh, chyagonnado?

So to sum up:
Definition 1: Atheist = not-Theist. No such thing as an Agnostic.
Definition 2: There are only Agnostic and Gnostic Atheists (but Gnostic Atheists are dumb so really, there's only Agnostic Atheists).
Definition 3: An Agnostic is simply a #4 (Yay! I get to be myself!)
Definition 4: Give me evidence or give me death. Agnostics are neither Theists nor Atheists and there's some dogmatic Atheists out there. (Yay! I get to be myself!)
Definition 5: Atheism makes no positive statement but Atheists do all the time so can we please find some way to differentiate the two? No? Oh and I'm an asshole for suggesting it? Very well. Carry on (ya fuckin pricks)
Definition 6:



Lastly, this was the runner up video for the summoning gag.





ON EDIT:

Hey, Azaraith.

Quote:IMO, claiming to be an agnostic both makes you seem intellectually lazy
and ignorant of what the terms mean. Regardless of who first coined the
term, as is mentioned by ClydeLee, the prefix "a" means "without" and
"theism" means "belief in a deity" (in a very simplistic way of defining
things). Agnosticism is only a claim as to whether knowledge can be
known for certain or not. Some famous non-theists go by the term of
agnostic (such as Neil deGrasse Tyson) for the same reason as you, but I
think it's simply because they've misunderstood the definition or
they're too cowardly to identify as atheist and possibly deal with
negative reactions from the public (which is also ignorant of the
definitions).

Thank you for calling me lazy, ignorant and cowardly. Oh, and that I misunderstand things <cough, definition 6, cough cough>. You may do the following at your leisure



.

ON SECOND EDIT:

The notion that the coining of a phrase is irrelevant because there was pre-existing language is ridiculous. Like just straight up ridiculous.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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15-07-2012, 07:12 AM
RE: Ask an Agnostic
(15-07-2012 06:23 AM)PeacefulSkeptic Wrote:  If we are talking about some other, abstract thing that caused the universe to come together, I think that this is more plausible.
More plausible and a weaker concept. And personally I wouldn't give that the name God anyway. God carries too many overtones of *God who gives a shit about me* and so on. Very far from abstract thing. Once you talk in terms of abstract things, you might as well call it a singularity or some other such word which basically means "thing we know fuck all about".
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15-07-2012, 07:23 AM
RE: Ask an Agnostic
Ohhhhhhhh!

Morondog, you fell into the trap! You're talking about the complexities of connotative meanings in a thread where people are arguing the strict absolute denotative meaning of things. Oh snap! You done got served, son!

THERE WILL BE NO TALK OF COMPLEXITIES HERE! ALL IS ABSOLUTE! ALL HAIL THE MACHINE!

Cool

The idea that definitions are fixed and not polysemous as well as evolving is demonstrably false and deserves no further argument.

Hey, Peaceful.

Man. We really are on the same page. Religions? Who cares. God? That's an interesting question.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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15-07-2012, 07:30 AM
RE: Ask an Agnostic
(15-07-2012 07:23 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Ohhhhhhhh!

Morondog, you fell into the trap! You're talking about the complexities of connotative meanings in a thread where people are arguing the strict absolute denotative meaning of things. Oh snap! You done got served, son!

THERE WILL BE NO TALK OF COMPLEXITIES HERE! ALL IS ABSOLUTE! ALL HAIL THE MACHINE!

Cool

The idea that definitions are fixed and not polysemous as well as evolving is demonstrably false and deserves no further argument.


Too many long words Tongue I'll have to go get my dictionary and figure out connotative/denotative and polysemous. The problem is once you try to nail a word definition (e.g. atheist) absolutely, using other words, you end up chasing your semantic tail. There's a point where you just have to trust that the other person gets it. But I think my point stands. If God is just some weak abstract thing, lets define a new word for that weak abstract thing, instead of using the old word which has other meanings which confuse the issue.
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15-07-2012, 07:44 AM
RE: Ask an Agnostic
(15-07-2012 06:32 AM)PeacefulSkeptic Wrote:  The reason that I claim agnosticism is because, where I do think that it is pretty clear that the religions of this world are bunk, there may exist some sort of abstract thing (perhaps even an event) that could qualify as a "God." I think that this is a fair, honest stance.

Quote:42

The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three;
Three produced All things. All things leave behind them the Obscurity
(out of which they have come), and go forward to embrace the
Brightness (into which they have emerged), while they are harmonised
by the Breath of Vacancy.

I mean, duh. First thing that happened, was Space; for Time to fall into. There ain't no god there. There cannot be but more work, if there is any kind of worker; ain't no understanding no maker until there's some understanding of what is made. And what is made, other than a biological shell calling itself John Cantor taking this space to fall into the well of my Gwynnies? Heart

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15-07-2012, 08:34 AM (This post was last modified: 15-07-2012 09:28 AM by Azaraith.)
RE: Ask an Agnostic
(15-07-2012 05:57 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Azaraith.

Incorrect.

Like I said before, only certain people view it as binary. I am not one of those people. I'll use yes AND no, or neither, but never one on it's own.

Neutrality is neutrality.
Fair enough, you simply regard the question as unanswerable and don't take a position either way. In my view though, the idea of there even being a supernatural or spiritual dimension to ask questions about is a theist claim, which can be rejected as having no evidence (rendering the claim that we can't answer spiritual questions with science somewhat moot). To me, it's a simple heuristic:

IF (evidence for claim is sufficient)
THEN
(accept claim)
ELSE
(reject claim)
END IF

Also, this phrase makes absolutely no sense to me: "while I am without belief in God, I am also without disbelief in God." To me, that's like saying "while I do not have a red ball, I also don't claim not to have a red ball." The second part of the sentence contradicts the first...

Just curious, do you take the same position with regard to fairies, alien abductions, mind readers, seances, etc? Not believing that fairies exist, but also not having disbelief in fairies?

Better without God, and happier too.
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15-07-2012, 09:50 AM
RE: Ask an Agnostic
(15-07-2012 08:34 AM)Azaraith Wrote:  
(15-07-2012 05:57 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Azaraith.

Incorrect.

Like I said before, only certain people view it as binary. I am not one of those people. I'll use yes AND no, or neither, but never one on it's own.

Neutrality is neutrality.
Fair enough, you simply regard the question as unanswerable and don't take a position either way. In my view though, the idea of there even being a supernatural or spiritual dimension to ask questions about is a theist claim, which can be rejected as having no evidence (rendering the claim that we can't answer spiritual questions with science somewhat moot). To me, it's a simple heuristic:

IF (evidence for claim is sufficient)
THEN
(accept claim)
ELSE
(reject claim)
END IF

Also, this phrase makes absolutely no sense to me: "while I am without belief in God, I am also without disbelief in God." To me, that's like saying "while I do not have a red ball, I also don't claim not to have a red ball." The second part of the sentence contradicts the first...

Just curious, do you take the same position with regard to fairies, alien abductions, mind readers, seances, etc? Not believing that fairies exist, but also not having disbelief in fairies?
No, grasshopper, Ghost both exists and doesn't exist simultaneously. His wave function only collapses into existence when he's observed. By never taking an actual position, he's unobservable and uncollapsed. He will never cease to exist since he is non-existent; or existent or both.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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15-07-2012, 10:48 AM
RE: Ask an Agnostic
Final Fantasy, Ghostbusters, Lightning Wangs, Johnny waxing poetic, and now a non sequitur post to yank Chas' chain all in a thread with a heated argument about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin: this place is AWESOME!

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
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