Atheism VS. Agnosticism
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17-05-2012, 06:17 PM
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
Based of Ghost's description of Agnosticism and the thought process involved I pretty much do the same thing myself. By that definition I would be an agnostic.

Though I don't think there is as much "we" in atheism or agnosticism as Ghost claims. Atheists are a very diverse group. Allot of atheists here have practically nothing in common except we visit the same website and don't believe in any god. Perhaps sharing in a kind of general skepticism. We differ in allot of things like our policy towards theists, etc.

When Ghost was talking about agnostics and atheists as a coherent group that have their own entities and common goals I don't see it that way at all.

That's why I don't see atheism as an identity. To me atheism is a tiny splinter of my identity. It's not enough to define me. How can agnosticism be any different?

Surely not all agnostics think like Ghost. It's not a coherent group that share some common dogma!

“Forget Jesus, the stars died so you could be born.” - Lawrence M. Krauss
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17-05-2012, 06:20 PM
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
Dood. You can't agree with Ghost! The thread will die! Tongue

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17-05-2012, 06:59 PM
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
(17-05-2012 06:20 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Dood. You can't agree with Ghost! The thread will die! Tongue
Huh I didn't say I agree with him did I? Evil_monster

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17-05-2012, 09:57 PM
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
It occurs to me that the definition of agnosticism has not really a matter for debate in this thread, only the definition of atheism has. Self-identifying agnostics have been seeking to ensure that the accepted definition of atheism does not include their definition of agnostic. Hrrm.

My thinking on this is that self-identifying atheists get to define what atheism is, just as self-identifying agnostics get to define the meaning of their term, self-identifying feminists get to define feminism etc. Not everyone would take that view, but it seems the fairest way to me - at least for colloquial use and self-descriptive use.

So the questions seem to be:
1. Do we accept that self-identifying atheists are the right people to define that term, and do we accept that self-identifying agnostics are the right people to define their term?
2. If the self-identified definition of atheism happens to include the self-identified definition of agnosticism, does that mean that self-identifying agnostics get to force a definition that does not include them?
3. If someone who is looking for a term to self-identify with fits within both self-identified definitions, which will be most important to them?
4. What are the political and ideological implications of these self-identifications?

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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17-05-2012, 11:36 PM (This post was last modified: 17-05-2012 11:43 PM by Erxomai.)
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
(17-05-2012 11:45 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Erxomai.

Did I tell you that I was in the Canadian Army? We know exactly what we did. Adolph Hitler once said, "Give me German officers, American equipment and Canadian soldiers and I'll take over the world." We be bad ass. We don't need you to know that. Just remember, we already beat your ass in a war Cool

Oh, and let's get this right. Agnostics are Switzerland, thank you very much Cool
Everything I know about the Canadian Army comes from Iron Maiden. Big Grin






Oh, and while not technically "army" my vast knowledge of Canadian armed forces must also include this famous Mountie.
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17-05-2012, 11:39 PM
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
(17-05-2012 11:56 AM)Seasbury Wrote:  I think I can safely chime in that I'm agnostic with regard to this debate - but I find it fascinating Smile
I'm with you, Sean. I'm agnostic about the existence of this debate.

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
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18-05-2012, 06:46 AM
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
You may need a smilie here. I can't tell if you are putting us on.

If a feminist tells us that, for her, feminism is all about being a person of color then she is simply using the wrong word. Everyone is free to say what any of these terms mean to them but it is pretty easy to tell if they are using the right word or not.

Atheism and agnosticism are not mutually exclusive. You are free to be both or neither. But if you want to argue that your atheism is all about women's rights, you simply need a better dictionary. Most atheists are also agnostic. You can be an atheist who admits to some degree of agnosticism. That would also make you an agnostic who has no belief in gods. For that matter you can also be a theist who is agnostic to some degree, though the vast majority are gnostic. Atheism and theism are mutually exclusive as are gnosticism and agnosticism, but each belief classification can be combined with either knowledge classification.
(17-05-2012 09:57 PM)Hafnof Wrote:  It occurs to me that the definition of agnosticism has not really a matter for debate in this thread, only the definition of atheism has. Self-identifying agnostics have been seeking to ensure that the accepted definition of atheism does not include their definition of agnostic. Hrrm.

My thinking on this is that self-identifying atheists get to define what atheism is, just as self-identifying agnostics get to define the meaning of their term, self-identifying feminists get to define feminism etc.

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18-05-2012, 08:33 AM
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
Hey, Truly.

Quote:Any respectable, intelligent human being...
Anyone who identifies as an agnostic over atheist, outside of the philosophy, needs to get their shit together...
The naive atheists who call themselves agnostics, need to stop
purposefully making excuses to warm the bench, purely because they are
scared to get hit...
...so get the with the damned times...
If you still say that it isn't reasonable to believe that god doesn't exist, there is nothing I can do more to help you...





Hey, everyone.

Remember what I was saying before about power? Ta-dah.

Hey, BD.

Quote:In this sense, an agnostic that asserts themselves and uses their
personal views on religion and/or god to dictate government policies
would be just as bad as an atheist that did or an evangelical.

I agree. But how exactly might an Agnostic do that? All of our beliefs have been demonstrated, so they're not really personal. The only personal belief was the choice to trust implicitly in empiricism.

Quote:I want a government that is secular and leaves religious views (or lack
thereof) out of their governing policies. Individuals choose their views
on religion, not the government in a secular society.

I agree here too. But remember, I believe that there is a case for believer vs believer. I don't want NG Atheists in office for the very reason you just outlined.

Hey, Deep.

Quote:When Ghost was talking about agnostics and atheists as a coherent group
that have their own entities and common goals I don't see it that way at
all.

Yeah... wait, what did I say?

Quote:That's why I don't see atheism as an identity. To me atheism is a tiny
splinter of my identity. It's not enough to define me. How can
agnosticism be any different?

Well it certainly isn't the core of my being, but it's an important part of the construct that is my world view. It's a part of me. A part that is being denied.

Sup, Erxomai?

Word.

My old regiment fought at Passchendaele and received battle honours for it. It's on the regimental colours.

Hey, Hafnof.

Quote:My thinking on this is that self-identifying atheists get to define what
atheism is, just as self-identifying agnostics get to define the
meaning of their term, self-identifying feminists get to define feminism
etc.

FINAFUCKINGLY!

It took 10 bloody pages, but finally someone gets it. Thank you, Hafnof.
  • I accept the quadratic model of Atheism.
  • I accept that Atheism can mean, simply lacking a belief.
  • I accept the Dawkins scale.
  • I accept all of the different ways that Atheists define themselves.
Why do I accept it? Because it's true. Atheists define themselves in those ways.

What's not being accepted is how Agnostics define themselves.

Why?

Because the people that are fighting the Agnostic self-definition believe there is only one way to look at this. Their way. And that's just whack. Because that shit is all about ideology, hegemony, power, domination and patriarchy.
  • I accept that in the quadratic model, I am most definitely an Agnostic Atheist.
  • I accept that I am an Atheist if one defines it as lacking a belief or as not-Theist.
  • On the Dawkins scale, I am a comfortable 4.
But accepting all of those things, I then move on to say, "Now this is how I view things."

Firstly, I have a critique of those definitions. I think the quadratic model forgets that there is such a coordinate as (0,0). I think that defining people as Atheists because they're not something is fine, but it says nothing about what people's actual world view is and that is the only interesting part of the question. I think that many Atheists believe that God does not exist and that that fact is conveniently overlooked. And I like the Dawkins scale because it allows room for me.

Secondly, I have my own beliefs that stem from Thomas Henry Huxley's work. My belief is that demonstration is the core of all belief. I can only claim certainty if something has been demonstrated.
  • Gravity? Check.
  • Solar orbit? Check.
  • Round earth? Check.
  • Me leaping tall building in a single bound? Negatory.
  • I can travel back in time if I hit 88 mph? Negatory.
  • Humanity is 6 000 years old? Negatory.
  • Basing a society on factual beliefs instead of faith-based beliefs is necessarily better? Negatory.
  • There's life on Europa? Won't know til we check.
  • Teapot in orbit of Venus? Won't know til we check.
  • My friend is having a girl or a boy? Won't know til we check.
  • Schrödinger's cat is alive/dead? Won't know til we check.
  • God exists/doesn't exist? Indemonstrable. Will never know.
I can still have beliefs mind you. I believe that I'll succeed. I believe that people like me. I believe I'll live a long life. There's no reason to believe these things, I simply have faith. But, as per Huxley's work, I do not pretend that things are certain if they have not been demonstrated or if they are indemonstrable. So when it comes to "what do I know" I stick to what is known.

When I look at Theists, clearly, they do not adhere to this method. When I look at people who believe that God does not exist, despite their protestations, I believe they do not adhere to this method. I think they are both dogmatic, willing to pretend that that which has not been demonstrated is certain, and I identify with neither.

And certainty does not have to mean credulousness. Those that do not question and doubt are... well special... in an Olympic kinda way. I'm certain that gravity exists. But I'm not stupid enough to think that I might be proven otherwise.

That's what I believe.

When Atheists say, "Hey, man, you're just like us," I have to respond, "Ehhhhhhhh, not so much," because there's a bunch of people at your party that I don't wanna hang out with and that I don't wanna be compared to. Sorry they're ruining things for you, I know you put a lot of effort into putting your party together and I think you're a great person, but I'm just gonna stay home tonight and watch reruns of Babylon 5 Cool

And now we get to the conflict the OP suggested. That there is a conflict between Agnostics and Atheists. And there is. Clearly. This thread is a monument to it.

I have the ability to say, "Based on how you define things, sure, I'm an Atheist. But based on how I define things, I most certainly am not."

Hafnof, you're the first person in this thread (other than yours truly) to suggest that people have the right to define themselves. Bravo. Straight up. Real talk.

There are other not so enlightened people on this board who are acting as agents of ideology and don't even realise it. In a patriarchal way, they are telling me that I cannot believe the thing that I believe and that I cannot define myself the way I define myself because THEY have decided the single truth of things that all must bow down to. It is a power grab and nothing more and a common reaction to the deconstruction of ideology.

Here's a great video about a family that is attempting to deconstruct gender ideology and of the dominant ideology's attempt to reassert itself through its agents:





As long as the attempt at domination continues, the attempt to tell me that I cannot define myself the way I see fit, I will resist. I have no choice because I refuse to give up my belief that demonstration is the core of all belief. But if you can bring yourself to the place where you can say, "I believe that Atheist and Agnostic mean X but I accept that Agnostics have a different view," then we can talk because only at that point will you be treating me like an equal.

Quote:It is bad when one thing becomes two. One should not look for anything
else in the Way of the Samurai. It is the same for anything that is
called a Way. If one understands things in this manner, he should be
able to hear about all ways and be more and more in accord with his own.
-The Hagakure

Quote:So the questions seem to be:

1. Do we accept that self-identifying atheists are the right people to
define that term, and do we accept that self-identifying agnostics are
the right people to define their term?

2. If the self-identified definition of atheism happens to include the
self-identified definition of agnosticism, does that mean that
self-identifying agnostics get to force a definition that does not include them?

3. If someone who is looking for a term to self-identify with fits
within both self-identified definitions, which will be most important to
them?

4. What are the political and ideological implications of these self-identifications?

1. Yes. We also accept that the critique of the Atheist view is that it does not leave room for certain people and tells us nothing of what the person does in fact believe and that the critique of the Agnostic view is that Agnostics employ terminology that one group believes has a fixed meaning.
2. No. It means that there is a plurality of definitions that do not, nor are they required to, line up. The fact that there are more than one is simply a fact. To deny it is to deny observation. The trick is getting people with conflicting views to get along. That means refusing to make naked comparisons of ideological positions and instead engaging in discourse.
3. They one they feel best describes them, or a new identity that emerges from their experience. If they can't figure out which of the two existing ones they identify with, that's just cognitive dissonance. If they just plain don't know who they are then they are either in Marcia's Identity Moratorium or Identity Diffusion stage.
4. Complex. Complexity being like fucking Kryptonite to politics lol.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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18-05-2012, 08:47 AM
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
(18-05-2012 08:33 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Sup, Erxomai?

Word.

My old regiment fought at Passchendaele and received battle honours for it. It's on the regimental colours.
Fuckin' A, Dude! If you haven't seen this movie, it has a lot of cheesy love crap, but the battle scenes are pretty horrendous and I even got a little misty-eyed in one scene. I'm no longer an agnostic about the Canadian Forces.




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18-05-2012, 03:01 PM (This post was last modified: 18-05-2012 04:30 PM by TrulyX.)
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
I think I have to post again to reiterate my point using language that will not require anyone to tap into their system 2 thinking.

I myself identify as an agnostic. I myself, also, identify as an atheist. I personally don't care what anyone identifies themselves as. If you want to be called an agnostic, it's a choice that you have to make yourself personally and doesn't include me or my beliefs. I will understand, but I don't have to respect and will exercise my ability to criticize, your personal views and reasons behind identifying as agnostic. You also can do as you choose in exercising your rights to reason and form opinions and preferences based on your ability, or inability, to think rationally and logically.

I myself tend to think the idea of identifying publicly as an agnostic, not as oppose to atheist, but while not accepting that you are also an atheist, if you are in fact one, is a completely absurd and blatant misuse of terminology.

I also tend to think that identifying publicly as agnostic, is completely void of any practicality. You can disagree if you want, but that's how I see it. You are basically taking a more broad term, that indicates, more or less, the same thing deductively, when used in a practical sense and when applied to the what practical people care about (i.e. your belief in god). I'm not going to get into how deductive logic works because people don't tend to care.

An analogy to help describe my point:

I personally identify as being Black (racially/ethnically/culturally). I can more accurately describe myself as being mixed, but that is beside the point. Why would I feel the need to identify as Black? Because, it does the best at accurately describing what it is I'm trying to describe in a practical way to others, and it is suited specifically to what they are looking for in that type of description of myself.

Now Imagine if because Blacks are stereotyped as gang members, drug dealers, loud, bad language using, killers, etc, that I'm going to now identify as being human. When I apply for a job I check other and for race I write human. When I go on tv, I identify as human. When I go on a dating website, I identify as human. When someone wants to know specifics about me or tries to label me at all, I say, I'm just human, on the grounds that I don't want to be associated with Blacks, even though, that's what I am.

To address the whole 'let agnostics define agnosticism' deal. Both agnostic and atheist, as words, describe two separately and distinct things. One is just more broad and the other specific. One describes a lack of belief in god, the other describes lack of knowledge of the existence of god. One answers the broad question regarding the question 'Does god exist', while the other describes the lack of acceptance of the claim 'god exists' as a truth. They are clearly defined. Anyone who identifies as an agnostic when they don't accept the existence of god as a truth (i.e. they are atheist) would be just like a Black saying that they are a Human while continually being questioned on their culture, ethnicity, and/or race.

If you were then to allow those people to define terms, the analogy would turn into this: not only am I going to identify as Human, I'm going to use the word Human to describe a person who doesn't take part in stereotypical or culturally traditions of other people, or however else they'd arbitrarily like to define it, even though they edit: (i.e. all other people) are Humans too by the actual definition.

What if I decided to call my computer a chalk board, or the sun a moon, or if I described my hand to the exactly likeness that I describe god, so I can make the claim that god touches me inappropriately.

Western logic, science, empiricism, forms of realism, etc. in general operate on the idea that everything is that thing and nothing else. When you go trying to allow people to change words irresponsibly, that is intellectual blasphemy. Our language (English) is already messed up enough without letting people define terms based on personal preference. Equivocation is already a big enough problem. How would science work, if we based everything on people defining terms to their likeness. Gravity describes a specific phenomena regardless of understanding. Newton didn't define gravity different than Einstein, he only had a different understanding of it. When General Relativity replaced Newton's Gravitational view, the definition of gravity could remain continuous because science never defined gravity based on views but on the phenomena alone.

Since we are into posting YouTube:




The Paradox Of Fools And Wise Men:
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell
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