Atheism VS. Agnosticism
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18-05-2012, 03:40 PM
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
Hey, Truly.

Quote: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.

That's not at all similar. You're suggesting replacing a word with another word that signifies something else already. Like replacing cat with bus, or ocean with penis: the Atlantic Penis! But no one is suggesting that. We're discussing definition.

Words can have multiple meanings. It's called polysemy. The word SET for example has 464 definitions (the most in the English language).

If someone tries to have a conversation about definitions of the word 'set' and only uses one of those definitions to do it, the conversation isn't going to go very far. That's what's happening here.

I get what your position is. It's hardly original. But you and others here are arguing that a clearly polysemous word 'Agnostic' has but a single meaning. That's just plain old silly.

...I seem to have lost interest. I'll stop now.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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18-05-2012, 04:23 PM
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
(17-05-2012 11:39 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  
(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.
Oh you Erxy - that almost made milk come out my nose... and I wasn't even drinking any!! Big Grin

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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18-05-2012, 05:27 PM (This post was last modified: 18-05-2012 05:36 PM by TrulyX.)
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
(18-05-2012 03:40 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Truly.

Quote: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.

That's not at all similar. You're suggesting replacing a word with another word that signifies something else already. Like replacing cat with bus, or ocean with penis: the Atlantic Penis! But no one is suggesting that. We're discussing definition.

Words can have multiple meanings. It's called polysemy. The word SET for example has 464 definitions (the most in the English language).

If someone tries to have a conversation about definitions of the word 'set' and only uses one of those definitions to do it, the conversation isn't going to go very far. That's what's happening here.

I get what your position is. It's hardly original. But you and others here are arguing that a clearly polysemous word 'Agnostic' has but a single meaning. That's just plain old silly.

...I seem to have lost interest. I'll stop now.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

No, I was explaining the slippery slope. If you start an argument that calls for the toying with definitions, logically, that can lead to the problem I described.

Quote:You're suggesting replacing a word with another word that signifies something else already...........We're discussing definition.

Those two things can logical turn into the same thing. A word is based on the definition. If I want to, I can change the definition of any word to describe something completely different, making the thing I'm describing, described by a different word. It's the same exact thing if you understand the logic behind it.

Hell, it's done all of the time. I do it, but it's innocent and I'm not dealing with fundamental or philosophical words, and I don't do it in a way similar to what you're trying to do.

Think slang. All the time, I'll say shit like: "this nigga (referring to a white person, not a black) stupid (referring to goofy behavior, not intelligence/knowledge) as hell (to intensify the claim of stupid, not referring after-life punishment)" you probably get the point, so I'll stop there.

Quote:Words can have multiple meanings. It's called polysemy. The word SET for example has 464 definitions (the most in the English language).

I've already indicated that I think that is a problem, and I also indicated that I think we shouldn't be making the problem bigger (there is another one of those words) by altering words that already specifically and unequivocally describe something.

I said you need to keep up your search for a new word if you want to describe what you are attempting to describe with the word 'agnosticism'.

It could range from being simple to more complex, but when you come up with a new idea, discover a new thing, found a new place, etc, in language, you have to provide a new word to describe it. It's only given that it's on a higher level of importance and significance, so it should be a compliment that I think you're raising an idea that deserves a new word to describe it. You can even use the same word similar to how new atheist movement, describe a specific movement of atheists. You can call yourself a _____-agnostic.

You can't just take a word like that and think you're the great god of word definitions and change it to your liking. Definitely don't use the word 'we' with the word 'agnostic' to indicate you speak for us. I'm agnostic and you can't just make a definition to exclude people who use the word by the actual definition.

Quote:But you and others here are arguing that a clearly polysemous word
'Agnostic' has but a single meaning. That's just plain old silly.

Clearly polysemous???? Are you serious!!!

How could you possibly come to the conclusion that the word means anything other than the claim that the existence of deities/supernatural are unknown/unknowable????

I've NEVER heard the word used differently by anyone of importance, in any dictionary, on any online source, or by any other credible source for useful knowledge.

We've screwed language up, I've screw language up all the time and love doing it, but where and when it is important and significant, we have to keep terms as specific and unequivocal as possible.

Also, don't ignore my other arguments. I'll post this again, given that it seems people might be too lazy to go to the link. I'll quote the specific part I wanted:

"I ought to call myself an agnostic; but, for all practical purposes, I am an atheist. I do not think the existence of the Christian God any more probable than the existence of the Gods of Olympus or Valhalla. To take another illustration: nobody can prove that there is not between the Earth and Mars a china teapot revolving in an elliptical orbit, but nobody thinks this sufficiently likely to be taken into account in practice. I think the Christian God just as unlikely."

That's Russell describing something similar to what I've been trying to explain, in a lot fewer sentences.

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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18-05-2012, 06:26 PM
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
Hey, Truly.

The etymology of Agnostic is clear. It was coined in 1869 by Thomas Henry Huxley. So according to your rationale, you're what's wrong. You're the one giving the word a meaning that he did not. So I don't have to get my own word.

Quote:It's the same exact thing if you understand the logic behind it.

Yeah, but it's meaningless if you know anything about communication studies. So enjoy your logic, I'm gonna stick to credible peer-reviewed journals.

Fortunately your anecdotal experience with the word does not constitute a fact. So yeah, I'm very serious about polysemy.

Honestly, I'm just tired of this. No knock on you personally, brother. I've exhausted my rational arguments and no one has engaged with them. All I keep getting is an irrelevant argument that I've already agreed to. So I'm just gonna go back to what I said earlier. Huxley was right.

"Agnosticism is not a creed but a method, the essence of which lies in
the vigorous application of a single principle... Positively the
principle may be expressed as in matters of intellect, do not pretend
conclusions are certain that are not demonstrated or demonstrable."
-Thomas Henry Huxley

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And just cause you don't like it, don't mean it ain't no good"
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Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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18-05-2012, 06:52 PM (This post was last modified: 18-05-2012 07:00 PM by TrulyX.)
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
(18-05-2012 06:26 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Truly.

The etymology of Agnostic is clear. It was coined in 1869 by Thomas Henry Huxley. So according to your rationale, you're what's wrong. You're the one giving the word a meaning that he did not. So I don't have to get my own word.

Quote:It's the same exact thing if you understand the logic behind it.

Yeah, but it's meaningless if you know anything about communication studies. So enjoy your logic, I'm gonna stick to credible peer-reviewed journals.

Fortunately your anecdotal experience with the word does not constitute a fact. So yeah, I'm very serious about polysemy.

Honestly, I'm just tired of this. No knock on you personally, brother. I've exhausted my rational arguments and no one has engaged with them. All I keep getting is an irrelevant argument that I've already agreed to. So I'm just gonna go back to what I said earlier. Huxley was right.

"Agnosticism is not a creed but a method, the essence of which lies in
the vigorous application of a single principle... Positively the
principle may be expressed as in matters of intellect, do not pretend
conclusions are certain that are not demonstrated or demonstrable."
-Thomas Henry Huxley

Good job at deflecting.

Now what's your definition different from the one I described, and how do you figure you can use the word to describe something different from what is shown in the definition?

The etymology of the word: 'a' = without 'gnostic' = knowledge (spiritual knowledge specifically).

Quote: All I keep getting is an irrelevant argument that I've already agreed
to. So I'm just gonna go back to what I said earlier. Huxley was right.

What would that argument be specifically, and how is it irrelevant?


You can't make claims and then just back out when you actually have to defend yourself on your point of view.

edit: I should probably also add that logic is not irrelevant or meaningless just because you are incapable of following it.

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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18-05-2012, 06:59 PM
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
You're joking, right? Tell me you're fucking joking! 7 pages in this thread. That's how long I've been responding. Now you're here and I have to bow down to your greatness and justify myself to you? Get bent.

ON EDIT: Ah. I saw your little addition. Go fuck yourself.
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18-05-2012, 07:11 PM
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
(18-05-2012 06:59 PM)Ghost Wrote:  You're joking, right? Tell me you're fucking joking! 7 pages in this thread. That's how long I've been responding. Now you're here and I have to bow down to your greatness and justify myself to you? Get bent.

ON EDIT: Ah. I saw your little addition. Go fuck yourself.
You replied to me disagreeing or commenting with things that I said, then when I replied back, you didn't, and still don't want to, reply with anything legitimate.

And when I replied to other things you said, I raised arguments; you didn't do anything to refute any arguments I made against what you were claiming.

It's not demanding to ask someone who raises a point of view to defend it.

If you make a claim, you can't just expect people to randomly accept it.

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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18-05-2012, 08:18 PM
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
Ghost, I think I'll add in specifically what I have a problem with, because I feel I'm being rude to you when I don't necessarily disagree with you as much it might seem, given the way I'm coming off.

The thing is that Huxley might have been the first to use the term widely, and he might have had an ideology similar to yours, but that doesn't make the ideology existent within the term itself.

The word 'a' and 'gnostic' have meanings and the word 'agnostic' has a meaning independent of the ideology held by the person who uses the term. The etymology of the term goes back way before Huxley. The idea of agnosticism also goes back way before Huxley. Huxley didn't start using the term to describe his ideology specifically, he used the term because he thought it was better fitting with his general ideology than other terms, such as atheism, and that is where you and him are in agreement. But, you can't say that the ideology you share is inherently part of the word 'agnostic' because the person who coined the term had that ideology.

You identify with the term in general, not because your ideology is self-evident within the term, but because you feel the term best describes you as oppose to other terms. To me, if you want your ideology to be self-evident within the term, that is in need of a separate word, or you need to add on to the existing one with a hyphen or something.

I can see exactly where you are coming from and why you choose to identify as agnostic, I just find it lacking in practically.

Huxley was alive prior to the advances in science that I pointed out earlier in argument, so there is a chance, if he were alive today, he wouldn't hold such a philosophical view on the existence of god. It was common back then for people to have those types of views, but you have to keep in mind that today their knowledge would be vastly expanded, and in practicality, they probably wouldn't identify as agnostics. I pointed out an example of Bertrand Russell; I assume guys like Hume, Kant, and Huxley would have have been like Russell.

So, you have your view, and I respect why you have your view, even though I don't respect the view itself. I respect the view of agnosticism, I am one, and I respect the ideas that guys like Huxley had; I share the same views toward science and empiricism.

I only see problems in the lack of practicality of people who identify as agnostics and some of the reasons for why people today feel the need to. Again, Russell's Teapot sums that up better than I ever could, but I've laid out my own views clearly and precisely as well.

So, nothing against you, I'm sorry if I came off demanding. I was trying to be respectful and just hold a civilized discussion; if it came of as any other way, I, again, apologize.

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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18-05-2012, 09:09 PM
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
This thread has too much history to suit me. I've just started a new one, hoping to make a fresh start:

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...n-strength

There certainly is ambiguity in both terms, agnosticism as well as atheism. I'd like to think about how the "strong" and "weak" versions differ.

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18-05-2012, 09:37 PM
RE: Atheism VS. Agnosticism
(18-05-2012 04:23 PM)kim Wrote:  
(17-05-2012 11:39 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  I'm with you, Sean. I'm agnostic about the existence of this debate.
Oh you Erxy - that almost made milk come out my nose... and I wasn't even drinking any!! Big Grin

Hm...Kim you have my curiosity piqued now. You're not drinking milk, yet, you being a woman have milk that almost came out your nose. You must be quite the contortionist.



Sexy. Big Grin



I declare Kim Sexy and Ghost the winner 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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