Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
12-12-2010, 09:55 AM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
I choose to not identify as an agnostic because that is too generic a term. Almost everyone is an agnostic. It says nothing about the positions one actually holds. On the other hand, most of the descriptive terms for atheism also fail to be adequately descriptive in that they are too specific. I am a secular humanist, but there's a kind of dogma attached to that descriptor that doesn't fit. I am also a sort of pantheist, except that I would never choose to describe nature in terms of "god" or a godhead.

What I am is someone who considers the concept of "god" to be meaningless. Therefore I do not believe in "god" or God or the need of something we should worship in our lives. That's certainly not agnosticism.

So if I'm not an agnostic, and I'm clearly not a theist, what does that leave?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-12-2010, 10:24 AM
 
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
@Stark Raving
After checking on several online dictionaries, it seems that almost all of them side with what you, and others are saying. I guess the definition has changed over time, and my old dictionary is now obsolete (On that word at least). I will from now on use those definitions of agnostic and atheist while on this forum so that there is no further confusion. However, I would like to point out that I understood the words perfectly fine; according to my published dictionary. I will use those definitions for this site as I said, but understanding words as they read in a dictionary, then having them change on you is quite a different thing. I could just as easily tell you that your dictionary is not allowing you to "understand the words", and that you should check my dictionary, and change your definition of the word to my point of view; however, your side has the majority, both in users and dictionaries, so i will do the most sensible thing and change mine.

Now for the love of god, (see what I did there?), can we get onto the topic this thread was meant for? It was spelled out clearly in an earlier post.
Quote this message in a reply
12-12-2010, 10:35 AM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
(12-12-2010 10:24 AM)Hopefullbliss Wrote:  Now for the love of god, (see what I did there?), can we get onto the topic this thread was meant for? It was spelled out clearly in an earlier post.

So to be clear, the question is; "Why are you atheist over agnostic?" correct?

The reason for quibbling over definitions was not to be "right" and make you "wrong". I really hope I didn't come accross that way, and if I did I apologise. The reason I wanted that clarity is because by the definition used by the majority here, there is no choice between agnosticism and atheism. One can be both simultainiously. I guess it's just a way for me, personally, to differentiate between what I believe and what I know. For that reason, I am both atheist and agnostic.

So to answer the origional question, I don't choose atheism over agnosticism. I instead choose to be both.

So many cats, so few good recipes.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-12-2010, 10:44 AM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
Hey, Hopefullbliss.

Quote:Also, I revel in wild conjectures, they free my mind to be open enough to see others perspectives, and allow my imagination to run free without a chain to hinder my thoughts.

That was truly beautiful.

As for your initial question, I identify myself as an Agnostic much the same way you do. I do not self-identify as an Atheist.

I agree 100% with how you describe things, but I have tried, at length, to open the door to that position on this website. The deadbolt is securely fastened. I think you saved yourself some energy in your last post. That being said, you're not crazy. There are those of us that understand your logic.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-12-2010, 12:28 PM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
Let's look at this description:

"My stance is that there could be a God. A God could have created the universe. This God could have created our world as we know it, using scientific means such as big bang or evolution; letting it run its course until we ultimately evolved. This does not necessarily mean he cares about us, more along the lines of, we are dots in a petri dish because he was bored one "day".

There would be no way of finding out if this God existed or not, because all that we would have to go on is what our senses, and technology, can find out. It is alto like a detective trying to solve a murder based upon a crime scene that the murderer had infinite time setting up to be confusing and unhelpful, fully devoid of clues."

This is from the first post on this thread. Now, granted, such a being COULD exist and it is impossible given present circumstances to prove that such a being does not exist. However, nobody "BELIEVES" that such a being exists. Nobody "WORSHIPS" such a being. Everybody is pretty-much atheistic toward such a being, even though we cannot "PROVE" that the being is non-existent. Why bother saying one is agnostic about it? You don't know that it doesn't exist, but you also have no reason to believe that it does, and you have no faith in it's existence. You also cannot prove that Santa does not exist. Are you agnostic about Santa? You can't prove there is no invisible pink unicorn that is intangible and eternal floating in my garage. Are you agnostic about it?

As I said before, nearly everyone is agnostic about God when you get right down to it (especially if you shift the goal posts enough.) If you don't believe in God, you're an atheist. Otherwise, I can call myself anything. I'm a red-headed Samoan midget from Norway. It's true because the blood in the veins on my head is red, I call my house in Ohio "Norway," and I invented a description of my body type that I like to call "Samoan midget." It's ridiculous. It lacks any quality of descriptiveness, but if a person who has no faith in God can call himself or herself an agnostic and think it has any descriptive value, then I can describe myself a a Norwegian Samoan midget with a red-head.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-12-2010, 01:53 PM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
I personally find that we can not be intellectually honest without being agnostic to some extent. If you postulate a deity who uses it omnipotence to cover it´s tracks so that it seams as if it is was never there (tfsm), then it it becomes impossible to argue that it does not exist. It seams not to exist because it´s made it so. It´s basically a celestial tea pot with a cloaking devise.

When we are discussing such a deity, i feel we must be agnostics. This however does not mean that we must be agnostic about all concepts of a deity.

Luckily for those of us who argue against the existence of a deity, all religions make larger claims for their gods. As soon as they deviate from the deity I described in the beginning of my post, they give us something to work with, something we can test. And we have.

I only need one example. All religions I know of have a creation story. We know that all creation stories are lies, because we know how it really happened. I´m sure we could fill this thread with scriptural fallacies, but there probably already exists a thread for that.

The point is that even if we can not irrefutably disprove the existence of a deity, we can (and have) disproved all the religions that exist today.
We are left with this: Atheists might be wrong, but every religious person on the planet has been proven wrong.

I want to rip off your superstitions and make passionate sense to you
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-12-2010, 02:04 PM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
Gamutman,

That was a really good post. I think you explained your position really well. Thanks for that!

Norseman,

For the most part I agree with you, but I did want to touch on something. I really can't agree that we've proven all religion to be wrong. I don't think any religions out there are right, but I still can't prove that. It may be a little picky, but I think it's important to be careful using the word "proof".

So many cats, so few good recipes.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-12-2010, 02:31 PM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
I agree, that was an excellent post, Gamutman. Very well done.

Here's the problem I have with this debate: the basis for belief in god is based on these age old texts that claim to be the word of god. I've said this previously and I'll say it here again: once you move away from those texts you get into the realm of "just making shit up". As Gamutman points out, you can come up with any possibility that can't be disproved and claim agnosticism for it. You can claim that god is actually James Tiberius Kirk, looks exactly like William Shatner and showed himself to Gene Rodenberry one day and commanded he make a TV show called Star Trek to honor Him. If the argument really is that anything we can't completely disprove is equally plausible - and that certainly seems to be the claim - then I say that god is James T Kirk. Prove me wrong.

No offense meant to anyone, but I find this entire line or reasoning really inane. The idea that anything we can come up with can be a plausible explanation of god, and his potential existence is as myriad and vast as our collective imaginations, is, to me, utterly and totally ridiculous. Without some basis for the belief, without something to to point to, it's just not real. Even the major religions base their faith on something tangible; all 3 monotheistic religions claim to have the word of god himself written down as the foundation of their faith. Beyond that, beyond those texts, you simply have nothing but shit that was just made up.

For most of my adult life I identified myself as an agnostic. A large part of my belief was because belief in god is so ingrained in our society, and the idea of a benevolent, loving deity is so comforting, that I didn't want to admit that it was just completely untrue. And, I backed that up with the old "well, we can't really know for certain that there is no god so there could be one.". And, of course, we can't really know for sure and anything IS possible, right? Maybe, but I don't think so.

I started to fully identify myself as an atheist vs. an agnostic a fairly short time ago and I have not wavered on that view since. The more I see the arguments for agnosticism, the more convinced I am that, while it took me a bit of time to get to where I am right now, I am ultimately correct in my atheistic view of god.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-12-2010, 03:00 PM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
(12-12-2010 02:04 PM)Stark Raving Wrote:  Norseman,

For the most part I agree with you, but I did want to touch on something. I really can't agree that we've proven all religion to be wrong. I don't think any religions out there are right, but I still can't prove that. It may be a little picky, but I think it's important to be careful using the word "proof".

OK. I´ll challenge that view.
Religions make claims to have answers. They claim that they´re texts are factual. When they claim that the earth is fixed in one place, or created in six days we can disprove that by proving how it really works and how it really happened. When we have proven that their claim are incorrect, we have proven them wrong. Since the religious all claim their texts are be divinely inspired, one such flaw (and remember, there are many more than one) proves that can not be the case. Thus, logically, all religions who make such claims have been proven wrong.

I want to rip off your superstitions and make passionate sense to you
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-12-2010, 03:01 PM
 
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
(12-12-2010 09:23 AM)Hopefullbliss Wrote:  On a couple of points I find that I differ from you however. You said, "Until we have definite evidence affirming them, I reject all of them." I find that until I have definite evidence showing me a theory is wrong, I like to keep an open mind to it. That doesn't mean I walk around believing I am in any one or several crazy dream lands, it just means that I keep all possibilities, however fantastic, open until someone proves them impossible.

I'd like to think I also have an open mind, in that if evidence supporting a premise or conjecture I have rejecting is found, I will rethink my stance. I look at my atheism not as a doctrine or ideology, but a conclusion reached based upon the evidence.

You will keep possibilities open until "someone" proves them to be impossible. Now place yourself into the role of the someone who has to prove it impossible. Say you are a leading particle physicist and I announce to the world that I have resolved the inconsistencies between quantum mechanics and general relativity. I do it through the existence of a wonder particle, one so wondrous that I do not need any mathematics to back it up. This particle exists because I believe to exist, and nothing more (see where I am going with this lol). This wonder particle cannot be experimentally verified, so it can never be proven, but it can never technically be disproven either.

Say as the leading particle physicist in the world, it is your job to deal with my lunacy. What do you do? Do you keep an "open mind" about this conjecture, and never reject it? Or do you dismiss my paper as bullshit until I provide evidence proving my wonder particle, and move on to more plausible research? It all boils down to the burden of proof. Do you want the burden of proof for every conjecture of a lunatic to rest on you?

(12-12-2010 09:23 AM)Hopefullbliss Wrote:  Also, I revel in wild conjectures, they free my mind to be open enough to see others perspectives, and allow my imagination to run free without a chain to hinder my thoughts.

What is the chain? The need for evidence? I don't think atheism precludes the possibility of keeping an open and free mind, or to consider the wild. I do it all the time. I just remember that these things are not true until they are proven. I am confident that the universe is an orderly place (in that it may be explained away naturally and scientifically, not a thermodynamic order). I don't think this is something I have to take on faith. All the evidence so far has validated this confidence.

(12-12-2010 09:23 AM)Hopefullbliss Wrote:  I ask you, why does a god need a purpose? We as human beings are limited not only by our senses but by our brain capacity. You mentioned the cause and effect, this implies beginnings and endings, something human beings feel very comfortable with because the thought of infinity is not capable of being grasped by our brains. I would say to you, why would god need to be created by something? Why could there not be a universe and a god, and there always was a universe and god, and there always will be a universe and a god.

A God does not need a philosophical purpose, you are right there. But since you are inserting God into the "equation" if you will (at least for the sake of discussion, not saying you are a theist), I mean that God has no purpose in that equation. It would simply "cancel out" to continue to algebra analogy. It is similar to Ptolemy's model of the solar system vs Copernicus's model. You could use the earth as a reference point for the center of the solar system, and model equations of motion around that. However, it has no purpose since using the sun as the center simplifies the math greatly. Perhaps I shouldn't say purpose, but that God is the least likely and useful possiblity, and thus it should be discarded.

I say the universe has a beginning because this is the model supported by modern physics and the evidence, not just the human imagination. I would actually find it more psychologically satisfying that the universe did not have a beginning, since a lack of a beginning gets rid of the need for a cause or purpose. It just is. The same can be said for a finite universe, but it just stranger to me, personally.

There are also theories of physics in which the universe is cyclical, or just one of may universes, but these theories are not regarded as true since they have not yet been validated with evidence. But note that in none of these theories, finite or infinite in their description of the universe, is a God necessary. God, especially a deistic God, just seems to be an extra element added in their.

(12-12-2010 09:23 AM)Hopefullbliss Wrote:  This takes out the human interpretation of beginning and end, and goes to the realm of infinity. Is it not possible that there are no such things as beginnings and endings with "god", but that "god" is, and always was, and always will be. There is no reason for god to need a reason or a cause to create. I kicked a pebble the other day, just because I wanted to. Could it be possible that God always was, is, and always will be there, and that "he" created the universe and us, just because? Beginnings and endings, paradoxes, time and space are always something that our human minds will have trouble with. This does not mean that something outside our understanding doesn't exist, something that is infinite. Something with no beginning or end, with no causes, no love or goody-two-shoes feelings, just there.

I think your introduction of the pebble example served to highlight the lack of a cause-effect relationship between two events. Strictly speaking however, there was an electrochemical reaction caused by the observance of that pebble that made you kick that pebble. But, that is trivial.

I think basically what this boils down to is a "could be." You're right. It "could be." Could we all be wrong? Could everything be a lie? Could the sum total of human progress both tangibly and intellectually be based on the foundation of folly? Sure. But I'm not going to believe it us until those who claim it is can cough up some evidence beyond just "it could be." I don't need evidence to back up my position because my position is the default. Theists are making the claim, not I. Moon landing skeptics are making the claim, I am not. They need the evidence.
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: