The Difference Between Atheist And Agnostic
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24-11-2017, 11:23 AM (This post was last modified: 24-11-2017 11:41 AM by M. Linoge.)
RE: The Difference Between Atheist And Agnostic
(23-11-2017 08:44 AM)Aerika Wrote:  On my end, I understood the callers' reluctance to agree. It makes him appear to be conceding to the overall notion of what makes an atheist when he didn't identify that way. It's like arguing with a Christian and when they reach a point where they realize the weakness in their arguments they go 'we'll have to agree to disagree'. Logically, you should agree with them. But inside you're like 'but you're WRONG!!!' lol.

Changing one's mind is a lengthy process. I hope the young man will broaden his horizons and realize most of us are more like Seth than his weird neighbours.

Quote:Moving the atheism goalposts to me is where you leave the simplicity of atheism behind and start attaching things to it. Atheist being a lack of belief in god/s. If you then start saying that as long as you live your life in absence of gods, regardless of whether or not you have said one way or the other, you are an atheist.There's a grey area there.

I doubt the grey exists. If it does, this strange state of ‘no opinion whatsoever’ seems suspiciously limited to the singular topic of deities.
It’s possible people like that exists, but when was the last time a human being proclaimed after thorough research on a subject s/he had formed no opinion at all? (Besides the anonymous self-proclaimed pure agnostics on the web.)

Quote:You may be an agnostic theist, where you believe god/s can't be proven but believe they do. An agnostic atheist would believe that god/s can't be proven but believe they don't (my perspective), or a pure agnostic who doesn't believe god/s can be proven and doesn't hold a definite belief as to whether they do or not.

Suffice to say this deviates from my definition of the words.
It's interesting you have defined pure agnostic the same way as the self-proclaimed pure agnostics I've talked to. Apparently the religious feel less hostility towards people putting themselves under this umbrella.
Perhaps you can help me understand why.

When a theist asks and a pure agnostic answers:
1). Are you an atheist?
2). No. I am agnostic.

The meaning translates to:
1). Are you saying you don’t believe in my god?
2). No. I’m saying I believe your beliefs are based on lies.

To a pure agnostic – whom believes god(s) are unknowable – there is no reason to believe the Abrahamic god exists. Jesus was not his son, Muhammad was not his prophet, all holy scriptures and personal experiences regarding religion are false.
Why? Because if they were true, god is knowable.

Under these definitions it would be absurd for a Christian who believes a person must accept Jesus as his/her savior to be saved and must be religious to be moral, to be more tolerant of agnostics.
Furthermore; why is agnostic better on the topic of proper education? Since the pure agnostics have no opinion on gods are they going to support a school system teaching children creationism instead of science?
The list goes on.

Please understand, I’m not criticizing the concept pure agnosticism now. I’m confused as to why the religious feel more comfortable with some people whom do not support their faith nor accept their "evidence", compared to others who shares that irreligious sentiment but uses a different word.
Pragmatically speaking, it’s a distinction without a discernible difference.

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24-11-2017, 01:01 PM
RE: The Difference Between Atheist And Agnostic
Much disagreement is arising out of a dispute on the definition of terms. When you define terms at the start of a conversation, the listener or reader tends to forget those nuances when you use the terms later. I hope the following clarifies it rather than makes it worse.

I'm insulted on occasion by people who say that referring to myself as 'agnostic' is just cowardly fence riding. (Stephen Colbert to Bart Ehrman: "Isn't an agnostic just an atheist with no balls?".) I reject the assertion that I'm a coward. I'm attempting to accurately describe what I do and do not believe.

The word 'atheist' has alternative definitions which causes confusion. Here's how I, and many people, define the terms:
  • Theist: believes there is a god. (not necessarily Yahweh)
  • Atheist: believes there is no god (any god, not just Yahweh) (Some of you will pronounce me ignorant for advancing that definition, but I think it's commonly what is inferred by the word.)
  • Agnostic: has no significant belief regarding the existence of a god.

By these commonly, though not universally, accepted definitions, both agnostics and atheist lack belief in god. However, both theists and atheists have beliefs regarding the matter of god's existence, while agnostics do not. I think that calling myself an 'atheist' is, therefore, misleading. Thomas Paine, for example, was a deist, not an atheist. In The Age of Reason he emphatically rejects the god of the Abrahamic faiths, but embraces the Deistic God. I'm not a deist, but I also am not an atheist. I have no belief regarding it.

Some who wear the atheist label seem hell-bent on dragging me into their camp. Well, yes, I'm atheistic with respect to Yahweh, Thor and Zeus. But I'm agnostic with respect to the Deist's god. I'm not even sure whether or not the proposition is falsifiable, so I have no way to assess it at this time.

The difference between knowledge and belief is merely one of a degree of certainty, not a difference in kind. I'm never 100% certain of anything. But when the percentage gets high enough, I'm likely to start saying "I know" rather than "I believe". The labels "agnostic-theist" and "agnostic-atheist" don't really make much sense to me. The proposition that an intelligent entity (whom we'll call a god) was somehow involved in the creation of the universe is one that, for me, is exactly at 50% certainty. Hence, I'm an agnostic and not generally an atheist.
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24-11-2017, 01:08 PM
RE: The Difference Between Atheist And Agnostic
(24-11-2017 01:01 PM)srobertanv Wrote:  ...
Some who wear the atheist label seem hell-bent on dragging me into their camp.
...

Welcome to TTA.

They might be doing that because they disagree with your definitions.

They might be using something like this...

[Image: main-qimg-c088ee8c02024475d46a5682fa4da3d1]

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24-11-2017, 01:22 PM
RE: The Difference Between Atheist And Agnostic
@srobertanv

By your definition atheist is merely theist in reverse, being content to believe where no belif is necessary.

I'm atheist and I am absent belief in god. There is no iota of evidence for existence of something called god so my lack of belief can't be called belief with straight face.

As for intelligent entity being involved in the creation of universe... To say such notion is laughable is charitable. Maybe look into some literature like Krauss "Universe from Nothing"?

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24-11-2017, 01:29 PM
RE: The Difference Between Atheist And Agnostic
(24-11-2017 01:08 PM)DLJ Wrote:  
(24-11-2017 01:01 PM)srobertanv Wrote:  ...
Some who wear the atheist label seem hell-bent on dragging me into their camp.
...

They might be using something like this...

[Image: main-qimg-c088ee8c02024475d46a5682fa4da3d1]

Yes, I've seen that chart before. But it's built around a distinction between knowing and believing as being two different kinds of thought processes. Rather than thinking of them as being different only in the degree of certainty. I'm 99.99% certain the earth is not flat, so I say that I "know it". While I'm only 75% certain that trihalomethanes in the drinking water supply cause cancer, so I "believe" it.
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24-11-2017, 01:32 PM
RE: The Difference Between Atheist And Agnostic
And what are the percentages involved in the atheistic belief, oh wise one?

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24-11-2017, 02:12 PM
RE: The Difference Between Atheist And Agnostic
(24-11-2017 01:29 PM)srobertanv Wrote:  
(24-11-2017 01:08 PM)DLJ Wrote:  They might be using something like this...

[Image: main-qimg-c088ee8c02024475d46a5682fa4da3d1]

Yes, I've seen that chart before. But it's built around a distinction between knowing and believing as being two different kinds of thought processes. Rather than thinking of them as being different only in the degree of certainty. I'm 99.99% certain the earth is not flat, so I say that I "know it". While I'm only 75% certain that trihalomethanes in the drinking water supply cause cancer, so I "believe" it.

I take your point but disagree.

Here's an alternative way of looking at the difference between 'belief' and 'knowledge' using an Information model...

Think of Hardware, an Operating System, Software Programs, Application Programs and then data (that is input).

As an example, we can say that desires (hunger, thirst, disgust, lust etc.) are in the OS, beliefs are in the software, deism is the app and a particular brand of theism (e.g. catholicism etc.) is the data entry.

So beliefs are much 'deeper' than data.

Data forms Information and Information forms Knowledge...

[Image: bostock-learning-industrypresentationae2...1413531700]

This implies that one needs no certainty about beliefs, they just are.

Yes

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24-11-2017, 02:19 PM
RE: The Difference Between Atheist And Agnostic
(24-11-2017 01:29 PM)srobertanv Wrote:  Yes, I've seen that chart before. But it's built around a distinction between knowing and believing as being two different kinds of thought processes. Rather than thinking of them as being different only in the degree of certainty.

I don't see it as treating them as different processes but as another way of looking at it. What is does is separate the belief/disbelief itself from the strength of that position. Many go just with a "gut" feeling when it come to belief and I see it as helping people try to quantify that.

Quote: I'm 99.99% certain the earth is not flat, so I say that I "know it". While I'm only 75% certain that trihalomethanes in the drinking water supply cause cancer, so I "believe" it.

I've never bought into the idea that once you "know" something you no longer "believe" it and the belief only applies when there is still doubt (if that's what you are saying). If you know that the earth is not flat then you must also believe that; it would make no sense to say that "I know the earth is spherical and I do not believe that the earth is spherical".

Quote:The proposition that an intelligent entity (whom we'll call a god) was somehow involved in the creation of the universe is one that, for me, is exactly at 50% certainty.

I find it hard to accept that any claim for which you've looked at the arguments and proposed evidence really stands at exactly 50%. Claims are compared against background knowledge if nothing else and that would tend to move the estimate up or down at least a few points. If we reserve 'agnostic' for only people who really do claim to be at the midpoint with no leanings either direction then I suspect it will apply to an incredibly small group.

As I said before, the definitions you use are certainly common and by your definitions I'm an atheist and as long as the definitions are agreed upon in a given discussion that's fine. If we agree on my definitions then you are an agnostic atheist and I just think that usage tells me more up front so it is what I prefer. Using the label "agnostic atheist" also tends to stop theists early in the discussion allowing for the labels to be clarified right up front. Just saying "atheist" often starts down the wrong path as they assume I am asserting that nothing that could be called "god" could possibly exist under any possible circumstances and that's not a claim I'm interested in defending.

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24-11-2017, 02:38 PM (This post was last modified: 24-11-2017 04:10 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: The Difference Between Atheist And Agnostic
Quote:However, both theists and atheists have beliefs regarding the matter of god's existence, while agnostics do not.
Quote:The proposition that an intelligent entity (whom we'll call a god) was somehow involved in the creation of the universe is one that, for me, is exactly at 50% certainty

A contradiction. You BELIEVE in a 50 % (positive) probability.

a -
an -
"deficient, lacking, without"

a-symmetry : lacking symmetry
an-encephaly : no brain
a-theist : LACKING a/any belief in the gods (NOT a *belief* there are no god)

There is no coherent definition of the word "god". To ELEVATE an incoherent concept, for which the is absolutely NO evidence, and which cannot be defined for oneself and claim it has a 50% probability is ridiculous.
How did you compute this probability ? (OMG, NOT this shit again).
You *DO* believe it is just as likely that the gods (none of which can be defined or demonstrated) as not. That is irrational.

Agnostics are not "neutral". They believe the concept of deities is important and valid enough, that they must take a formal position with respect to it.
Atheists dismiss the idea, and take no position with respect to it, as it has no meaning.

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24-11-2017, 03:02 PM
RE: The Difference Between Atheist And Agnostic
(24-11-2017 01:01 PM)srobertanv Wrote:  I'm agnostic with respect to the Deist's god. I'm not even sure whether or not the proposition is falsifiable, so I have no way to assess it at this time.

The way I look at the deistic God is that there's no reason to impute consciousness to it, since all we see is indifference in the observable universe. Without consciousness, it can't be a being or a God.
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