Ask an Agnostic
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15-07-2012, 10:56 AM
RE: Ask an Agnostic
(15-07-2012 10:48 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  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!



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, 11:05 AM
RE: Ask an Agnostic
Hee hee

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
~Izel
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15-07-2012, 12:05 PM
RE: Ask an Agnostic
Hahaha, we seem to be on the same page, man! Just want to get some feedback. Tongue
(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.

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, 12:32 PM
RE: Ask an Agnostic
Ghost:

I will never read any of your posts again while commuting on the bus. I couldn't contain my laughter and received strange looks. I couldn't help it! It was a dark and stormy night...

Reprazent! Kidz in da HALL WAI!

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15-07-2012, 03:01 PM
RE: Ask an Agnostic
Hey, Cheapthrills.

Nooch to the booch.

Hey, Peaceful.

Snoogins.

Hey, Chas.

What are you talking about? You're looking into a box right now Cool

I assure you that I'm alive. Oh oh so alive.





Hey, Morondog.

Quote: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.

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, goes the argument.

Atheist is a confused as fuck word. But many people say, nope, it means (insert preference here) and go on to say, "You don't get it, maaaaaaaaaan, definitions are set in stone and like Highlander, there can be only one."

So by that rationale, you're stuck with God.

Thankfully that's all bullshit Cool

Hey, Azaraith.

Quote: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).

Good thing your view is wrong Cool

But for cereal, Theists are Theists because they BELIEVE in theos. Anyone can make the proposition.

The question of the supernatural is a valid question. It's unanswerable by most of the means of investigation we know of, but it's still a valid question. Kind of like, what's it really like to be dead? To me, that question is interesting as all hell. But in the end, we can guess all we like, but we have no real way of knowing.

Quote:IF (evidence for claim is sufficient)

THEN

(accept claim)

ELSE

(reject claim)

END IF

Which is why I "reject" (see caveat below) claims such as:
-There is no God
-Every phenomena has a material explanation
-Empirical evidence is necessarily better than faith

This is "essentially" what Agnosticism is all about (I might replace reject with reserve judgement). If something isn't demonstrated or isn't demonstrable, don't pretend like it's certain.

Where true Agnostics and some Atheists diverge is that some Atheists believe that God does not exist, at all, and they believe this despite a complete and total utter lack of evidence that supports that notion.

Quote: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...

A pregnant woman turns to me and says, "I'm having a boy." I ask, "How do you know?" She replies, "I just know, maaaaaaan."

I have no reason whatsoever to believe that she's having a boy. Neither do I have any reason the believe that she is not going to have a boy because that's entirely possible.

I am without belief in boy, I am also without disbelief in boy.

A doctor turns to me and says, "We just tested for lymphoma. The test was inconclusive."

I have no reason to believe that I have cancer. Neither do I have any reason to believe that I am cancer free.

I am without belief in the fact that I have lymphoma, I am also without disbelief in the fact that I have lymphoma.

One dude says, "God exists," and another says, "God doesn't exist." Neither have any evidence.

I have no reason to believe that God, in fact, exists. Neither do I have any reason to believe that God does not, in fact, exist.

I am without belief in God, I am also without disbelief in God.

I reserve my opinion in all three cases.

I reject nothing in all three cases.

It just hit me that perhaps some people are confusing "I don't know" with "I'm not sure".

I don't know means you don't know. It could be anything and fucked if you know.

I'm not sure means, I've made a decision, I believe it's one thing, I operate like it's one thing, but I can't be certain that I'm right. That's the position that many so-called Agnostic Atheists take. They say, "There is no God," and mean it, but qualify it with, "But I don't really know." No. They do know. They're just not 100% sure.

Quote: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?

As Huxley states, Agnosticism is not a credo, but a method. An Agnostic applies this method to all things with vigour. You can actually predict what I believe and don't believe on your own. Because you just have to ask two questions?

Has it been demonstrated?
Can it be demonstrated?

If it has been demonstrated (either positively or negatively) then I believe in the result. If it has not been demonstrated, for whatever reason, then I reserve my judgement.

For example:
-I reject the claim that I have a vagina because it's demonstrably false
-I accept the claim that gravity affects massive objects because it's demonstrably true.
-I reserve my judgement about whether or not there is life on Europa because while it is possible to travel to Europa and run experiments to determine whether or not there is life, it hasn't been demonstrated yet.

If it can be demonstrated and just hasn't yet, then I'll reserve my judgement until it is. If it cannot be demonstrated, then I believe, with confidence, that not only do I not know, but that I never will know.

For example:
-See Europa above. Undemonstrated but demonstrable. I reserve my judgement.
-I reserve my judgement about God because not only has it not been demonstrated, but it's indemonstrable.

Apply those criteria to anything.

Fairies. I don't know enough about the subject, but from where I stand, that's undemonstrated. So I don't know. Maybe they do, maybe they don't.

Alien abductions. Undemonstrated. I don't know. Some have been debunked. Those I reject.

Mind readers. It has been demonstrated that people can learn to read what's on other people's mind, not mystically, but by observing behaviour, posture, by asking probing questions, etc. That I believe. Clairvoyance? Undemonstrated. I reserve my judgement.

Seances. Well Scooby and those meddling kids demonstrated that several of them were bunk. But not all. So the ones that have been demonstrated to be crap, I believe are crap. The ones that are undemonstrated, I don't know.

Santa. Demonstrated false. I don't believe in Santa.

Flying Spaghetti Monster. Demonstrated to be the fictional creation of Bobby Henderson in 2005. I don't believe in the FSM.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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15-07-2012, 04:08 PM
RE: Ask an Agnostic
Hi Ghost: I think I get your meaning now. To a certain extent we are stuck with these words. They mean different things to different people. However, defining terms is a basic way of doing things in science. (not to sound all lecturing, I'm sure you're well aware of this, just trying to lay it out clearly). We *decide* what we want the word to mean, then we tell other people as best we can what our definition is, and then we try to use it *only* in that context. If there are potential conflicts we draw attention to that - if God can mean "Christian God" or "abstract thing which creates universe" obviously we have to differentiate the two meanings. Otherwise a sentence like "God loves you" is hardly very useful.

The reason I would emphasize replacing "deist God" by some word like singularity is that that removes any implied connection with Bar Mitzvahs, virgin births and the like. Singularity could be a purely non-intelligence-guided thing, whereas I would argue that using the word God, however qualified, is *guaranteed* to carry over some of the baggage. Atheist is a word we can redefine (clarify our intended meaning) relatively safely because there's not (at least I don't think there is) a huge weight of tradition and baggage associated with it.

I hate semantic arguments because they distract from the actual question. I love them because language is the most basic tool for understanding... without clear language any argument is a waste...

Apologies for the rambling nature of this post Tongue
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15-07-2012, 04:43 PM
RE: Ask an Agnostic
(14-07-2012 07:51 PM)Azaraith Wrote:  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).

Your opinion is flawed. We know full and well what the term means. I'd say that anybody who does not admit that they are an agnostic atheist and not a pure atheist is hypocritical, illogical, and nonsensical. If you do not have the .001% of doubt required, you are as foolish and deluded as any theist.

To claim you know that there is no God is as logical as saying there is a God.

And, to reiterate what Agnostic means:

Quote:agnostic [ægˈnɒstɪk]
n
2. a person who claims, with respect to any particular question, that the answer cannot be known with certainty.

Welcome to English.

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15-07-2012, 06:30 PM
RE: Ask an Agnostic
Umm, Ghost, I was referencing the creator of the thread, as far as I know, your definitions of Atheist and Theist are not outlandish and idiotic. His clearly was and pissed me off, I know you call yourself agnostic, but you clearly don't do it in the dickish way that this guy does (making an "ask an agnostic" thread, and then pissing all over the crowd you are supposedly providing the service for).
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15-07-2012, 07:46 PM
RE: Ask an Agnostic
Hey, Ketola.

Very well, however I see no dickishness in Peaceful.

Hey, Logica.

Welcome to definition 6.

Hey, Morondog.

Language belongs to the people. That's the way it works. It is subject to evolution, not our earthly desires for perfect communication (and NO ONE who studies or writes about communications believes in perfect communication).

But specialists are "slightly" different. Doctors, for example, use Latin to name everything. Myocardial infarction. Hysterectomy. Vasovagal syncope. Halitosis. Colonoscopy. It's what's refereed to as jargon. All specialists use jargon. Mechanics, IT guys, pilots, soldiers, chefs... But jargon is meaningless to the population at large. The population at large doesn't use jargon because it's too specialised... I'm tired. I could go on, but that's my basic point. Jargon is memetically engineered language. Language at large is subject to natural selection.

At any rate, yes, words carry many meanings because selection is concerned with what works in a given environment rather than what's "best" for everyone.

Personally, I agree. God should be replaced. I think God is a bad term because there's the monotheistic God, the deist God, the polytheistic Gods, Native American spirits... The only reason we say God is because we're being ethnocentric. It's shorthand.

I also believe that Atheism should be replaced.

But when has selection ever respected should?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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15-07-2012, 08:42 PM (This post was last modified: 15-07-2012 08:50 PM by Azaraith.)
RE: Ask an Agnostic
(15-07-2012 04:43 PM)Logica Humano Wrote:  
(14-07-2012 07:51 PM)Azaraith Wrote:  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).

Your opinion is flawed. We know full and well what the term means. I'd say that anybody who does not admit that they are an agnostic atheist and not a pure atheist is hypocritical, illogical, and nonsensical. If you do not have the .001% of doubt required, you are as foolish and deluded as any theist.

To claim you know that there is no God is as logical as saying there is a God.

And, to reiterate what Agnostic means:

Quote:agnostic [ægˈnɒstɪk]
n
2. a person who claims, with respect to any particular question, that the answer cannot be known with certainty.

Welcome to English.
Read my posts again, and you'll find you're the ignorant one. I *am* an agnostic atheist. Welcome to basic thinking skills. You also shouldn't be capitalizing agnostic, atheist or god, they aren't proper nouns (except in the case of god, if you're referring to the Judeo-Christian God). Your definition of agnostic also has shit-all to do with theism directly - it's regarding claims to knowledge, which IMO are modifiers of theist/atheist positions and not a position on the topic itself.

Neither I nor you are claiming absolute knowledge that there isn't a god, you and Ghost are just silly enough to claim that you can reasonably hold a position of "gee, I dunno if I believe in or don't believe in a god, you can't know the answer, so here I sit on my fence..."

You guys are also shitting on your own case / destroying your credibility through silly ad-hominems and immature jokes. I've not responded to them, but seriously - it makes you both look like you're fucking 13.

Better without God, and happier too.
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