Strength in weakness, weakness in strength.
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
18-05-2012, 08:59 PM (This post was last modified: 18-05-2012 09:03 PM by whateverist.)
Strength in weakness, weakness in strength.
A weak atheist is one who finds he has no belief in gods. A strong atheist is one who believes gods do not exist or that they could not possibly exist.

A weak agnostic admits he has not seen persuasive evidence to support a claim that gods either do or do not exist. A strong agnostic is convinced that it isn't possible to ever find such evidence.

"Strong" in each case seems to refer to how far one is willing to go in denying either the existence of gods in the case of the atheist or the possibility of ever obtaining conclusive evidence (in the case of the agnostic). The strong atheist doesn't qualify his statement that gods do not exist as being purely a matter of his own personal beliefs. He wishes to make the naked claim that gods have no objective existence regardless of whether anyone does or does not believe it. The strong atheist is making a positive claim regarding the falsity of all theist claims that gods exist. The strong atheist admits to no impediments to establishing once and for all that gods do not exist.

In actual practice, it seems, strong atheists spend much more time trying to place the honus on the theist to make his case, declaring victory in the absence of a successful theist defense. Personally, I think the honus for all positive claims lays squarely on the person making the claim. So theists will point out that if their beliefs are unsubstantiated so too are those of the atheist.

The "weak" atheist at least has the advantage of consistency over the "strong" atheist. The weak atheist holds one less belief regarding gods than does his 'strong' counterpart, for he isn't encumbered with the belief that gods do not exist. By being content with the declaration of non-belief in gods, the weak atheist avoids the bastardization of the standard of belief away from being that which one has reason to think true. Both the gnostic theist and the strong atheist are guilty of letting wishing co-opt belief beyond what evidence will support.

Similarly the "weak" agnostic avoids the pitfall of overstating his case as does the "strong" agnostic when he denies the possibility of any evidence ever coming to light which could substantiate theist claims. The milder "I haven't seen the evidence which could substantiate theism" has the advantage of being true and defensible. The stronger statement is one we might like to make, but intellectual honesty should prevent one from rushing to do it.

So which positions are really the 'stronger' ones? In both cases the allegedly "weaker" version is by far more internally consistent and less open to honest criticism.

[Image: rSJ3y4]
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like whateverist's post
18-05-2012, 10:27 PM (This post was last modified: 18-05-2012 10:34 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Strength in weakness, weakness in strength.
(18-05-2012 08:59 PM)whateverist Wrote:  A weak atheist is one who finds he has no belief in gods. A strong atheist is one who believes gods do not exist or that they could not possibly exist.

A weak agnostic admits he has not seen persuasive evidence to support a claim that gods either do or do not exist. A strong agnostic is convinced that it isn't possible to ever find such evidence.

"Strong" in each case seems to refer to how far one is willing to go in denying either the existence of gods in the case of the atheist or the possibility of ever obtaining conclusive evidence (in the case of the agnostic). The strong atheist doesn't qualify his statement that gods do not exist as being purely a matter of his own personal beliefs. He wishes to make the naked claim that gods have no objective existence regardless of whether anyone does or does not believe it. The strong atheist is making a positive claim regarding the falsity of all theist claims that gods exist. The strong atheist admits to no impediments to establishing once and for all that gods do not exist.

In actual practice, it seems, strong atheists spend much more time trying to place the honus on the theist to make his case, declaring victory in the absence of a successful theist defense. Personally, I think the honus for all positive claims lays squarely on the person making the claim. So theists will point out that if their beliefs are unsubstantiated so too are those of the atheist.

The "weak" atheist at least has the advantage of consistency over the "strong" atheist. The weak atheist holds one less belief regarding gods than does his 'strong' counterpart, for he isn't encumbered with the belief that gods do not exist. By being content with the declaration of non-belief in gods, the weak atheist avoids the bastardization of the standard of belief away from being that which one has reason to think true. Both the gnostic theist and the strong atheist are guilty of letting wishing co-opt belief beyond what evidence will support.

Similarly the "weak" agnostic avoids the pitfall of overstating his case as does the "strong" agnostic when he denies the possibility of any evidence ever coming to light which could substantiate theist claims. The milder "I haven't seen the evidence which could substantiate theism" has the advantage of being true and defensible. The stronger statement is one we might like to make, but intellectual honesty should prevent one from rushing to do it.

So which positions are really the 'stronger' ones? In both cases the allegedly "weaker" version is by far more internally consistent and less open to honest criticism.

I gave up worrying about God shit decades ago. To claim to "know" anything at all is to enter into all sorta epistemological labyrinths. After decades of thought on the matter, I am still just a weak meist. I'll grant that there's some evidence I exist, and some days I find it more persuasive than others, borderline compelling occasionally, but never conclusive. I don't understand how some people can believe in some God when I can barely believe in me. Must be some sorta divine inspiration or enlightenment. Either that or what they consider axiomatic, I don't see as immediately evident and indisputable. Not at all. Tongue

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like GirlyMan's post
18-05-2012, 11:35 PM
RE: Strength in weakness, weakness in strength.
I think Bill maher put it best at this point: "my product is doubt, I. Do. Not. Know...and you cannot know either because you do not have any mental faculties that i dont, so to be absolutely certain is to be absolutely wrong."

I know its kinda weird to quote a comedian on a serious issue like Religion, but i have yet to find a quote more fitting to the question of "well how do you know?"

Shock And Awe Tactics-- The "application of massive or overwhelming force" to "disarm, incapacitate, or render the enemy impotent with as few casualties to ourselves and to noncombatants as possible"
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 5 users Like Likos02's post
19-05-2012, 06:55 AM
RE: Strength in weakness, weakness in strength.
Hey, Whatever.

Nice post. And a good question.

I see what you're driving at and it's a solid point. I do however disagree slightly about strong Agnostics, but take what I say with a grain of salt because as someone who would qualify as a strong Agnostic I'm clearly biased.

All the strong Agnostic is saying is that evidence will not be forthcoming as a property of the universe. There are some things that are indemonstrable. That's irrefutable. All of the data points to God being one of them. That's what's controversial. So in the case of the Atheists, the strong Atheist is saying something completely different than the weak one; that God doesn't exist. In terms of Agnostics, both of them are applying the exact same method. Both of them agree that the God question has as of yet not been demonstrated. The strong one just says not only is it undemonstrated, but it's indemonstrable. If it is shown that it is in fact demonstrable, then the strong Agnostic would necessarily change their position and there would only be one kind of Agnostic. For there to be only one kind of Atheist, it wouldn't be enough to show that the God question was demonstrable, it would have to be demonstrated that God didn't exist.

I'll end here. I don't actually like the strong/weak model for a number of reasons; not the least of which being that the orientational metaphor weak/strong frames certainty as the greater value. But you make an interesting point.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-05-2012, 08:55 AM
RE: Strength in weakness, weakness in strength.
(18-05-2012 08:59 PM)whateverist Wrote:  A weak atheist is one who finds he has no belief in gods. A strong atheist is one who believes gods do not exist or that they could not possibly exist.

A weak agnostic admits he has not seen persuasive evidence to support a claim that gods either do or do not exist. A strong agnostic is convinced that it isn't possible to ever find such evidence.

"Strong" in each case seems to refer to how far one is willing to go in denying either the existence of gods in the case of the atheist or the possibility of ever obtaining conclusive evidence (in the case of the agnostic). The strong atheist doesn't qualify his statement that gods do not exist as being purely a matter of his own personal beliefs. He wishes to make the naked claim that gods have no objective existence regardless of whether anyone does or does not believe it. The strong atheist is making a positive claim regarding the falsity of all theist claims that gods exist. The strong atheist admits to no impediments to establishing once and for all that gods do not exist.

In actual practice, it seems, strong atheists spend much more time trying to place the honus on the theist to make his case, declaring victory in the absence of a successful theist defense. Personally, I think the honus for all positive claims lays squarely on the person making the claim. So theists will point out that if their beliefs are unsubstantiated so too are those of the atheist.

The "weak" atheist at least has the advantage of consistency over the "strong" atheist. The weak atheist holds one less belief regarding gods than does his 'strong' counterpart, for he isn't encumbered with the belief that gods do not exist. By being content with the declaration of non-belief in gods, the weak atheist avoids the bastardization of the standard of belief away from being that which one has reason to think true. Both the gnostic theist and the strong atheist are guilty of letting wishing co-opt belief beyond what evidence will support.

Similarly the "weak" agnostic avoids the pitfall of overstating his case as does the "strong" agnostic when he denies the possibility of any evidence ever coming to light which could substantiate theist claims. The milder "I haven't seen the evidence which could substantiate theism" has the advantage of being true and defensible. The stronger statement is one we might like to make, but intellectual honesty should prevent one from rushing to do it.

So which positions are really the 'stronger' ones? In both cases the allegedly "weaker" version is by far more internally consistent and less open to honest criticism.
For Atheism: It all falls on the definition of belief and whether or not you take a stance of Agnosticism or not.

If one is agnostic and a positive/strong atheist, I think you are overstating the problems that they have.

A belief, as I pointed out in the other thread, is just accepting something to be true.

If something has yet to be demonstrated, experimented, observed, tested, etc., from a practical standpoint, it is not only reasonable to not accept it to be true (e.g. negative atheism), it is also reasonable to accept that the opposite is true (e.g. positive atheism).

If someone takes the stance, in that situation, that they have knowledge of what is their belief claim, they run into problems, all day every day.

If someone in that situation, however, only takes a stance of accepting something to be true, the only pitfall of the standpoint, is the fact of the opportunity to one day be proven to be wrong (i.e. they are running the risk of showing lack of Wisdom).

As far as burden of proof goes: I think that it falls with the theist, not only because their claim would be in need of proving, but because, in this specific case, and in other cases where it is positive vs. negative claim (e.g. something exists vs something does not exists), the person holding the negative claim really has nothing at stake, other than Wisdom, and they the existence, or non-existence, of what they are denying usually doesn't have an impact on them.

That's why most atheist, positive and negative, will say that the burden of proof falls with the theist; not only because they have the positive claim, but it is also the quality of the positive claim that they are making and the surrounding circumstances.

Something that would be different, to show contrast: Evolution vs Creationism would be a perfect example. The Creationist would have stake in the other claim, because they also hold a positive claim that affects their negative claim. When they say Evolution is not the case (negative), they are also supplying an alternative theory as a claim (positive). That gives them stake in having to prove Evolution to be false, because it would affect their alternative claim. Obviously we know they didn't prove Evolution false, and now that it is seen as scientific fact, they just changed their creation hypothesis to a more deistic view, to allow Evolution. That still shows a good example, however, regardless of them moving the goal-post.

As far as Agnosticism goes, you will have to refer to Epistemology, because it's a philosophical standpoint that will raise a question of rather or not knowledge of anything can be obtained, which is Epistemology. GirlyMan already pointed that out.

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
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-05-2012, 09:29 AM
RE: Strength in weakness, weakness in strength.
(16-05-2012 12:03 AM)whateverist Wrote:  Are we really having this conversation?

Tongue


Know how I know there is no god? I'm a prophet. He told me so. So there!

In more rational terms, the problem I have with aggies is their pandering to the enemy. They say, I don't know, and theists go, See? God! I tole you so!

I got more, but I'm gonna go have a smoke. Besides, I thought this strong/weak shit went the way of he dinosaur.

[Image: klingon_zps7e68578a.jpg]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-05-2012, 09:58 AM
RE: Strength in weakness, weakness in strength.
(19-05-2012 08:55 AM)TrulyX Wrote:  
(18-05-2012 08:59 PM)whateverist Wrote:  A weak atheist is one who finds he has no belief in gods. A strong atheist is one who believes gods do not exist or that they could not possibly exist.

A weak agnostic admits he has not seen persuasive evidence to support a claim that gods either do or do not exist. A strong agnostic is convinced that it isn't possible to ever find such evidence.

"Strong" in each case seems to refer to how far one is willing to go in denying either the existence of gods in the case of the atheist or the possibility of ever obtaining conclusive evidence (in the case of the agnostic). The strong atheist doesn't qualify his statement that gods do not exist as being purely a matter of his own personal beliefs. He wishes to make the naked claim that gods have no objective existence regardless of whether anyone does or does not believe it. The strong atheist is making a positive claim regarding the falsity of all theist claims that gods exist. The strong atheist admits to no impediments to establishing once and for all that gods do not exist.

In actual practice, it seems, strong atheists spend much more time trying to place the honus on the theist to make his case, declaring victory in the absence of a successful theist defense. Personally, I think the honus for all positive claims lays squarely on the person making the claim. So theists will point out that if their beliefs are unsubstantiated so too are those of the atheist.

The "weak" atheist at least has the advantage of consistency over the "strong" atheist. The weak atheist holds one less belief regarding gods than does his 'strong' counterpart, for he isn't encumbered with the belief that gods do not exist. By being content with the declaration of non-belief in gods, the weak atheist avoids the bastardization of the standard of belief away from being that which one has reason to think true. Both the gnostic theist and the strong atheist are guilty of letting wishing co-opt belief beyond what evidence will support.

Similarly the "weak" agnostic avoids the pitfall of overstating his case as does the "strong" agnostic when he denies the possibility of any evidence ever coming to light which could substantiate theist claims. The milder "I haven't seen the evidence which could substantiate theism" has the advantage of being true and defensible. The stronger statement is one we might like to make, but intellectual honesty should prevent one from rushing to do it.

So which positions are really the 'stronger' ones? In both cases the allegedly "weaker" version is by far more internally consistent and less open to honest criticism.
For Atheism: It all falls on the definition of belief and whether or not you take a stance of Agnosticism or not.

If one is agnostic and a positive/strong atheist, I think you are overstating the problems that they have.

A belief, as I pointed out in the other thread, is just accepting something to be true.

If something has yet to be demonstrated, experimented, observed, tested, etc., from a practical standpoint, it is not only reasonable to not accept it to be true (e.g. negative atheism), it is also reasonable to accept that the opposite is true (e.g. positive atheism).

If someone takes the stance, in that situation, that they have knowledge of what is their belief claim, they run into problems, all day every day.

If someone in that situation, however, only takes a stance of accepting something to be true, the only pitfall of the standpoint, is the fact of the opportunity to one day be proven to be wrong (i.e. they are running the risk of showing lack of Wisdom).

As far as burden of proof goes: I think that it falls with the theist, not only because their claim would be in need of proving, but because, in this specific case, and in other cases where it is positive vs. negative claim (e.g. something exists vs something does not exists), the person holding the negative claim really has nothing at stake, other than Wisdom, and they the existence, or non-existence, of what they are denying usually doesn't have an impact on them.

That's why most atheist, positive and negative, will say that the burden of proof falls with the theist; not only because they have the positive claim, but it is also the quality of the positive claim that they are making and the surrounding circumstances.

Something that would be different, to show contrast: Evolution vs Creationism would be a perfect example. The Creationist would have stake in the other claim, because they also hold a positive claim that affects their negative claim. When they say Evolution is not the case (negative), they are also supplying an alternative theory as a claim (positive). That gives them stake in having to prove Evolution to be false, because it would affect their alternative claim. Obviously we know they didn't prove Evolution false, and now that it is seen as scientific fact, they just changed their creation hypothesis to a more deistic view, to allow Evolution. That still shows a good example, however, regardless of them moving the goal-post.

As far as Agnosticism goes, you will have to refer to Epistemology, because it's a philosophical standpoint that will raise a question of rather or not knowledge of anything can be obtained, which is Epistemology. GirlyMan already pointed that out.
So you seem to feel that epistemological concerns have no place outside the realm of philosophy. But knowing how you know what you think you know is what gives one clarity. As a practical matter, there isn't any choice you might make as strong agnostic which I couldn't make just as readily as a weak agnostic. With the exception being that I wouldn't argue with a theist to tell them they are deluded or stupid or just plain wrong. Bearing in mind my own shaky epistemological position I find no impulse to go on the attack. Now you might find that to be a disadvantage but to me it is a big win. Haranguing theist is not what I want to do with my precious moments above ground and it is not something I find enjoyable.

[Image: rSJ3y4]
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-05-2012, 10:00 AM
RE: Strength in weakness, weakness in strength.
(19-05-2012 09:29 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  
(16-05-2012 12:03 AM)whateverist Wrote:  Are we really having this conversation?
Tongue


Know how I know there is no god? I'm a prophet. He told me so. So there!

In more rational terms, the problem I have with aggies is their pandering to the enemy. They say, I don't know, and theists go, See? God! I tole you so!

I got more, but I'm gonna go have a smoke. Besides, I thought this strong/weak shit went the way of he dinosaur.
From my point of view strong atheists are kind of like dinosaurs. Big, brutal and not too bright.

[Image: rSJ3y4]
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-05-2012, 10:06 AM
RE: Strength in weakness, weakness in strength.
I actually like the term "gnostic atheist" betterz. Makes it look like I know stuff. But prophet only means "naive philosopher," and we all know what So-Crates had to say about that. Wink

I'm certain enough there is no god, because my Gwynnies does a better job, and she's real. Heart

[Image: klingon_zps7e68578a.jpg]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-05-2012, 10:11 AM
RE: Strength in weakness, weakness in strength.
(19-05-2012 10:06 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  I actually like the term "gnostic atheist" betterz. Makes it look like I know stuff. But prophet only means "naive philosopher," and we all know what So-Crates had to say about that. Wink

I'm certain enough there is no god, because my Gwynnies does a better job, and she's real. Heart
Well then you're no dinosaur, cuz dinosaurs had no sense of humor.

But you're still a gnost-it-all!

[Image: rSJ3y4]
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes whateverist's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: