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Author Topic:   An Exploration Into"Agnosticism"
Straggler
Member (Idle past 287 days)
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 31 of 179 (554328)
04-07-2010 1:23 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by hooah212002
04-06-2010 4:20 PM


Re: Are We All "Agnostics"?
Or do we need some better terminology here to define the position you are taking?

Yes. We can call it rational.

What is rational? Saying we don't know for certain but that this doesn't stop us being rationally very skeptical. Or something else?

When you say you are "agnostic" what exactly do you mean? Is it different from what I mean when I (and others) say I am an atheist who lacks certainty?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by hooah212002, posted 04-06-2010 4:20 PM hooah212002 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by hooah212002, posted 04-07-2010 3:23 PM Straggler has replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 287 days)
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 32 of 179 (554329)
04-07-2010 1:30 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by bluegenes
04-06-2010 10:57 PM


Re: PAP and TAP Agnosticism
I think that Dawkins is probably a "TAP" agnostic because he is considering the theoretical possibility that the complete nature of the universe could be explained by science in the future, and that the explanation would answer the creator god question. If the universe is demonstrated to be something that does not have a beginning as we understand it, or is self-creating, then all IPUs go out the window, including your suggestion.

I am inclined to agree.

It would seem to me that agnosticism would really be "TAP" by its nature, and I think that the self-described agnostics here might agree. Are they going to claim knowledge of permanent unknowability?

Indeed. That would be contradictory.

BTW, my first post on the thread was just a not very good joke due to slight inebriation.

Well I am glad that I am not alone in doing that.

An example of being agnostic about strong agnosticism is my point that we cannot actually claim to know that others cannot know that there's a god.

Hmmm. Now that is enough to make ones head spin. Which means I will probably attempt a fuller reply when I am next inebriated and on line.

I think it was Oni who said he quite liked the idea that despite some of the pseudo-intellectual postering that goes on here we are at root mostly just a bunch of drunks with laptops. Something like that anyway.


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Straggler
Member (Idle past 287 days)
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 33 of 179 (554330)
04-07-2010 1:39 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by AZPaul3
04-06-2010 8:41 PM


Re: Onto the Continuum.
If the Invisible Pink Unicorn has the option to reveal her sacred pinkness but has not chosen to do so then this is TAP solely on the outside possibility that she may at some time somewhere change her mind. There is still the vanishingly slim possibility that some kind of evidence can be had at anytime in the future. Thus the scale of belief (from 2 to 6 anyway) can be useful.

Well that is how I originally read it too. But are we really any less atheistic towards an IPU that chooses not to reveal itself than we are to an IPU that cannot? And yet this would seem to suggest that Dawkins thinks that it is OK to place oneself as a 6 on his scale with regard to the first but invalid to demonstrate our skepticism by doing exactly the same in placing ourselves on the scale with regard to the second.

This distinction in this context seems silly and I am inclined to agree with Bluegenes answer above.

If the poor dear is unable to reveal herself then this is PAP. No chance, none, nada, totally impossible that there will ever be any evidence, any conclusion is impossible to achieve and a scale of belief is meaningless.

Remember that what Richard was doing was justifying placing the concept of the Abrahamic god, indeed all gods, in the TAP category thus subject to scientific evidence of the type in your quote above.

But are we really any less atheistic towards an IPU that is unable to reveal itself than we are to one that suposedly chooses not to? Why is that 6 on scale skepticism rational regarding one but not the other?

If the concept of gods were PAP (which they are under a different definition of the word pap, but I stray) then no level of inquiry, even theological, is possible.

Which seems to be a sort of deistic "gods are unknowable" approach.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Straggler
Member (Idle past 287 days)
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 34 of 179 (554332)
04-07-2010 1:50 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee
04-07-2010 4:42 AM


Re: Unknowables
I think this discussion highlights the absurdity of "god". But I think it is precisely because god is undefined and unknowable that is why it is so successful. You cannot disprove something that is undefined. It is unbeatable in that sense.

Aha - Ignosticism!! A very valid position indeed if the concept of "god" in question remains utterly undefined.

ignostic (plural ignostics)

1. one who holds to ignosticism.
2. one who requires a definition of the term God or Gods as without sensible definition they find theism incoherent and thus non-cognitive.

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ignostic

From Message 453

You cannot disprove something that is undefined. It is unbeatable in that sense.

Indeed. And immunising oneself from being demonstrably wrong seems to be a rather innate human desire when it comes to protecting ones deeply held beliefs. Hence the gradual retreat of "god" into the ever more irrefutable and vague as knowledge progresses.


This message is a reply to:
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hooah212002
Member (Idle past 120 days)
Posts: 3193
Joined: 08-12-2009


Message 35 of 179 (554340)
04-07-2010 3:23 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by Straggler
04-07-2010 1:23 PM


Re: Are We All "Agnostics"?
When you say you are "agnostic" what exactly do you mean?

I mean I can't be certain one way or the other. There are forces that can't seem to yet be answered by nature, but the evidence for any god is non-existent. I've prayed before, and my prayers seemingly were answered. But looking back, it was because I answered them myself. I made the changes necessary to make the thing I wish for happen.

I accept science for all it offers. It trumps belief in all aspects. However, there are areas/things that happen, that cannot yet be explained naturally, lending credence to the possibility of divine intervention.

Is it different from what I mean when I (and others) say I am an atheist who lacks certainty?

Almost definitely yes. I have no problem being labeled as an atheist.


"Some people think God is an outsized, light-skinned male with a long white beard, sitting on a throne somewhere up there in the sky, busily tallying the fall of every sparrow. Others—for example Baruch Spinoza and Albert Einstein—considered God to be essentially the sum total of the physical laws which describe the universe. I do not know of any compelling evidence for anthropomorphic patriarchs controlling human destiny from some hidden celestial vantage point, but it would be madness to deny the existence of physical laws."-Carl Sagan

"Show me where Christ said "Love thy fellow man, except for the gay ones." Gay people, too, are made in my God's image. I would never worship a homophobic God." -Desmond Tutu


This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by Straggler, posted 04-07-2010 1:23 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 36 by New Cat's Eye, posted 04-07-2010 3:50 PM hooah212002 has replied
 Message 45 by Straggler, posted 04-08-2010 5:34 PM hooah212002 has replied

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 36 of 179 (554342)
04-07-2010 3:50 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by hooah212002
04-07-2010 3:23 PM


Re: Are We All "Agnostics"?
Is it different from what I mean when I (and others) say I am an atheist who lacks certainty?

Almost definitely yes. I have no problem being labeled as an atheist.

Did you mean to say that yes it is different?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by hooah212002, posted 04-07-2010 3:23 PM hooah212002 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 37 by hooah212002, posted 04-07-2010 3:55 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

  
hooah212002
Member (Idle past 120 days)
Posts: 3193
Joined: 08-12-2009


Message 37 of 179 (554343)
04-07-2010 3:55 PM
Reply to: Message 36 by New Cat's Eye
04-07-2010 3:50 PM


Re: Are We All "Agnostics"?
Did you mean to say that yes it is different?

Whoops. I guess I was rather ambiguous. I read too fast.

I would have to say that it is different, if only in label/name. If you claim to be atheist, but can't be sure that there is absolutely no god, then I suppose, technically, you're not an atheist. However, I hate getting into exact definitions of word discussions, so I'll leave it at that.


"Some people think God is an outsized, light-skinned male with a long white beard, sitting on a throne somewhere up there in the sky, busily tallying the fall of every sparrow. Others—for example Baruch Spinoza and Albert Einstein—considered God to be essentially the sum total of the physical laws which describe the universe. I do not know of any compelling evidence for anthropomorphic patriarchs controlling human destiny from some hidden celestial vantage point, but it would be madness to deny the existence of physical laws."-Carl Sagan

"Show me where Christ said "Love thy fellow man, except for the gay ones." Gay people, too, are made in my God's image. I would never worship a homophobic God." -Desmond Tutu


This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by New Cat's Eye, posted 04-07-2010 3:50 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 38 by New Cat's Eye, posted 04-07-2010 4:22 PM hooah212002 has replied
 Message 41 by DC85, posted 04-07-2010 8:27 PM hooah212002 has replied

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 38 of 179 (554347)
04-07-2010 4:22 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by hooah212002
04-07-2010 3:55 PM


Re: Are We All "Agnostics"?
I see. You're taking agnosticism to be more than atheism without certainty. As in, you don't know if you believe in god or not as opposed to lacking a belief in god but not being certain?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by hooah212002, posted 04-07-2010 3:55 PM hooah212002 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 39 by hooah212002, posted 04-07-2010 5:58 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

  
hooah212002
Member (Idle past 120 days)
Posts: 3193
Joined: 08-12-2009


Message 39 of 179 (554350)
04-07-2010 5:58 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by New Cat's Eye
04-07-2010 4:22 PM


Re: Are We All "Agnostics"?
As in, you don't know if you believe in god or not.

No. I am positive I do not believe in god. I said that I can't know for certain if there is one or not. To me, there is no god until it shows itself.


"Some people think God is an outsized, light-skinned male with a long white beard, sitting on a throne somewhere up there in the sky, busily tallying the fall of every sparrow. Others—for example Baruch Spinoza and Albert Einstein—considered God to be essentially the sum total of the physical laws which describe the universe. I do not know of any compelling evidence for anthropomorphic patriarchs controlling human destiny from some hidden celestial vantage point, but it would be madness to deny the existence of physical laws."-Carl Sagan

"Show me where Christ said "Love thy fellow man, except for the gay ones." Gay people, too, are made in my God's image. I would never worship a homophobic God." -Desmond Tutu


This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by New Cat's Eye, posted 04-07-2010 4:22 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 40 by New Cat's Eye, posted 04-07-2010 8:11 PM hooah212002 has seen this message but not replied

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 40 of 179 (554358)
04-07-2010 8:11 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by hooah212002
04-07-2010 5:58 PM


Just a technicality?
No. I am positive I do not believe in god. I said that I can't know for certain if there is one or not. To me, there is no god until it shows itself.

Oh, I see, that makes sense. So you were just acknowledging that technicality earlier, I thought you were saying something more. But wait, what is the difference then? (from Straggler's "what I mean when I (and others) say I am an atheist who lacks certainty") Just the technicality?


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DC85
Member (Idle past 500 days)
Posts: 876
From: Richmond, Virginia USA
Joined: 05-06-2003


Message 41 of 179 (554361)
04-07-2010 8:27 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by hooah212002
04-07-2010 3:55 PM


Re: Are We All "Agnostics"?
then I suppose, technically, you're not an atheist.
I disagree all atheist means is not theist which means an atheist has no belief in a god.

If you don't know then you obviously lack belief in a god.

Could we say Agnostic is a type of atheist?

Edited by DC85, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by hooah212002, posted 04-07-2010 3:55 PM hooah212002 has replied

Replies to this message:
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hooah212002
Member (Idle past 120 days)
Posts: 3193
Joined: 08-12-2009


Message 42 of 179 (554369)
04-07-2010 10:14 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by DC85
04-07-2010 8:27 PM


Re: Are We All "Agnostics"?
I shouldn't have gotten involved in this discussion because we always go on toooooo long on definitions of words. It sucks.

At any rate,

I disagree all atheist means is not theist which means an atheist has no belief in a god.

Agree. I guess the way I see atheism is somewhat blind/ignorant. I never think of it in perfect harmony/accordance with the actual definition.

{abe} I meant that my perception is blind/ignorant. Just wanted to clarify that.

If you don't know then you obviously lack belief in a god.

I agree as well.

Could we say Agnostic is a type of atheist?

We could, of course. But then why have the term at all? Like I said before, staunch atheism is as irresponsible a position as staunch theism in that it is not at all possible to know that there is or is not some form of a deity. But then, I guess you also have to look at how you define evidence, too.

Bill Clinton writes:

"It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is.

Edited by hooah212002, : clarity


"Some people think God is an outsized, light-skinned male with a long white beard, sitting on a throne somewhere up there in the sky, busily tallying the fall of every sparrow. Others—for example Baruch Spinoza and Albert Einstein—considered God to be essentially the sum total of the physical laws which describe the universe. I do not know of any compelling evidence for anthropomorphic patriarchs controlling human destiny from some hidden celestial vantage point, but it would be madness to deny the existence of physical laws."-Carl Sagan

"Show me where Christ said "Love thy fellow man, except for the gay ones." Gay people, too, are made in my God's image. I would never worship a homophobic God." -Desmond Tutu


This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by DC85, posted 04-07-2010 8:27 PM DC85 has not replied

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 723 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


(1)
Message 43 of 179 (554385)
04-07-2010 11:16 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by DC85
04-07-2010 8:27 PM


Re: Are We All "Agnostics"?
Hi DC85

Could we say Agnostic is a type of atheist?

You could, and you could also say that Agnostic is a type of theist. Curiously, what you can say doesn't necessarily reflect reality.

An agnostic says there is not enough evidence to form a conclusion, either for or against a proposition.

There is not enough evidence to support the existence of any god/s.

There is not enough evidence to support the absence of all god/s

Both are in the same position of being unsupported propositions.

The atheist, however, seems to have decided that one proposition is more likely than the other.

The theist, however, seems to have decided that one proposition is more likely than the other.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
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This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Hyroglyphx
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 44 of 179 (554508)
04-08-2010 4:59 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Straggler
04-06-2010 2:10 PM


Re: We Are All "Agnostics" But Some re More Agnostic Than Others
those who claim to be agnostic on this basis seem to have an inconsistent obsession with disproving or refuting some things but not others.

Science, by definition, deals with all aspects of nature. It is not equipped to deal with the supernatural, if there is such a thing. Things that can be refuted are only done so on the basis of physical law. This is why it is so funny when creationists use science to explain the supernatural. It's absurd and undermines the very premise of the inquiry.

When somebody says, "but then the FSM falls in to this category, so why aren't you agnostic about that?" My answer is one in the same. I can't disprove the existence or non-existence of the FSM either. And to be perfectly honest, I could care less about that, especially since it's an reductio ad ridiculum argument.


"Political correctness is tyranny with manners." -- Charlton Heston

This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by Straggler, posted 04-06-2010 2:10 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 47 by Straggler, posted 04-08-2010 5:50 PM Hyroglyphx has replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 287 days)
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 45 of 179 (554513)
04-08-2010 5:34 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by hooah212002
04-07-2010 3:23 PM


Re: Are We All "Agnostics"?
When you say you are "agnostic" what exactly do you mean?

I mean I can't be certain one way or the other.

OK. But we all agree that certainty is rationally impossible anyway. So that point is all but irrelevant to this discussion.

However, there are areas/things that happen, that cannot yet be explained naturally, lending credence to the possibility of divine intervention.

OK. So then the obvious question is what do you mean by "divine intervention"? Are you agnostic towards Christ as the son of God and as your saviour on Earth? Are you agnostic towards the Hindu god Vishnu? Are you agnostic towards an Immaterial Pink Unicorn that created the universe and which provides the morla framework for intelligent beings but which plays no other role in the universe? Are you agnostic towards a "god" (whatver you mean by that) who created the universe but who is now "off doing other things" Aas RAZD once phrased it)?

What are you agnostic towards? All unknowable irrefutable concepts? Just some? Which ones and on what basis?

Is it different from what I mean when I (and others) say I am an atheist who lacks certainty?

Almost definitely yes. I have no problem being labeled as an atheist.

If you basically do not believe but at the same time do not claim certainty then you are very much as much an atheist as all those here who call themselves such. Including myself.

But that is the point of this thread - What do those who call themselves "agnostics" really mean beyond simply citing the same uncertainty that we all rationally accept anyway.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by hooah212002, posted 04-07-2010 3:23 PM hooah212002 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 46 by hooah212002, posted 04-08-2010 5:43 PM Straggler has replied

  
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