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Author Topic:   An Exploration Into"Agnosticism"
RAZD
Member (Idle past 637 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 6 of 179 (553643)
04-04-2010 1:03 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by AZPaul3
04-04-2010 11:21 AM


Onto the Continuum of Relative Tentativity
Hi AZPaul3,

Agnosticism, to me, is the inability to know if there is a correct answer, not out of ignorance (unaware of existing evidence), but out of a lack of sufficient evidence to have confidence in any answer.

We know in science that all conclusions are tentative pending additional evidence. This, falsely imo, leads some to posit that the only position proper for science is agnosticism. Many then exacerbate the error by extending this to mean the only proper position in philosophy is to be agnostic in all things whether the subject be gods, unicorns or aliens.

Or out of a lack of ability to obtain the evidence necessary. Thus one needs to wait to make a rational decision based on evidence.

I would also add that agnosticism would embody skepticism of both sides of the answers and an open mind to consider either possibilities.

And where we get into a spectrum of the ability to have confidence in any answer is the degree to which the existing evidence represents a measurable portion of the possibilities. Where the proportion is small, then confidence is small, and where the proportion is large the confidence is large.

Some argue that the Germ Theory must be subject to an agnostic view. Within a straight-jacket definition of agnosticism and the philosophy of science this may be true. But on the continuum of the confidence scale there is a point, subjective to a degree and different to each subject being considered, where the evidence becomes so strong that reasonable people, unfettered by superstition and obstinacy, can no longer deny the reality of the conclusions. At this point agnosticism, imo, whithers away. It is not replaced by faith in the subject or conclusion but by the acknowledgment of the reality we have seen.

Agnosticism fades with knowledge based on sufficient evidence to reduce tentativity to a minimum.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by AZPaul3, posted 04-04-2010 11:21 AM AZPaul3 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by AZPaul3, posted 04-04-2010 1:43 PM RAZD has replied

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 637 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
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by DC85, posted 04-07-2010 8:27 PM DC85 has taken no action

Replies to this message:
 Message 49 by Straggler, posted 04-08-2010 6:16 PM RAZD has replied

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 637 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


(1)
Message 59 of 179 (554556)
04-08-2010 10:33 PM
Reply to: Message 49 by Straggler
04-08-2010 6:16 PM


Re: Or Not? Or more circular self referential preassumptions
Hi Straggler, do you really want to do this again?

Talking hypothetically for one moment.......

If you beg the question in your premises, is it more likely that your conclusion is valid ... or not?

http://theautonomist.com/.../permanent/fallacies.php#begging

quote:
Begging the question fallacy - Advancing an argument on the basis of statements which are assumed but need themselves to be proved, or assuming the conclusion or part of the conclusion in the premises of an argument. (Sometimes called circular reasoning.)

If you have something new to say, then perhaps I might be interested, otherwise I find it pointless to discuss further.

Enjoy.

ps -- for newcomers, I recommend reading Pseudoskepticism and logic, which also goes a fair ways in explaining the differences between atheists (like Straggler) and agnostics. You will also find this same question from Straggler asked and answered.

Edited by RAZD, : ...


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 49 by Straggler, posted 04-08-2010 6:16 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by Straggler, posted 04-10-2010 6:13 PM RAZD has replied

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 637 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


(1)
Message 60 of 179 (554557)
04-08-2010 10:45 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by AZPaul3
04-04-2010 1:43 PM


Re: Onto the Continuum of Relative Tentativity
Hi AZPaul,

I would prefer

“ … to which the existing evidence negates a measurable portion of the possibilities.”

I considered several different wordings before choosing what I said:

quote:
And where we get into a spectrum of the ability to have confidence in any answer is the degree to which the existing evidence represents a measurable portion of the possibilities.

If there is substantial subjective but unverified evidence of something and no contrary evidence, that to me says it is worth considering the possiblity that it could be true, and focusing on negative evidence doesn't admit this possibility. One can still be skeptical of it, but open-minded enough to consider the possibility.

This is where I think the agnostic differentiates from the atheist, as the agnostic says that the negative premise has not been proven (either), that it is not supported by evidence.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by AZPaul3, posted 04-04-2010 1:43 PM AZPaul3 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 61 by AZPaul3, posted 04-08-2010 11:51 PM RAZD has replied
 Message 67 by Straggler, posted 04-10-2010 6:28 PM RAZD has seen this message

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 637 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


(1)
Message 62 of 179 (554566)
04-09-2010 12:11 AM
Reply to: Message 61 by AZPaul3
04-08-2010 11:51 PM


Re: Onto the Continuum of Relative Tentativity
Thanks AZPaul,

Still, I can appreciate your point and your wording.

I have a major issue with "subjective" evidence (no surprise there), but I'll leave that discussion to you and Straggler ... again ... maybe.

It was not without some reluctance that I have replied here, as I don't want to be dragged down that rabbit hole again (particularly when a lot of what I see here has been discussed already).

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member (Idle past 637 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


(1)
Message 68 of 179 (554888)
04-10-2010 6:47 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by Straggler
04-10-2010 6:13 PM


rehashing the old hash does not make new hash.
This has been covered before Straggler

Are you saying that it is impossible to conclude that the concept of god is a human invention can be based on empirical evidence?

You are assuming that such evidence is complete and unequivocal.

The entire premise of the world-view you are advocating is based on the presumption that gods are "unknowable". But how can you know this?

Curiously, all I gave you was one (1) example to show you that your evidence is necessarily incomplete, as this invalidates your conclusion/s.

What you are exhibiting, however, is to my mind the essential difference between an atheist (no matter how tentative they pretend to be) and an agnostic, is that the agnostic remains open-minded, while the atheist has decided (based on incomplete information, opinion, bias and worldview).

What I find curious, is that there is no reason to decide something that is not resolved, and may not be able to be resolved: what is wrong with being an agnostic?

Why do you consider it more important to conclude that god/s do not exist than to conclude that the answer cannot be known from the evidence available?

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by Straggler, posted 04-10-2010 6:13 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by Straggler, posted 04-10-2010 7:19 PM RAZD has replied

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 637 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 75 of 179 (554915)
04-10-2010 8:54 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by Straggler
04-10-2010 7:19 PM


Why decide? what is wrong with being an agnostic?
Still avoiding the issue of why you need to decide?

You've titled the thread "An Exploration Into"Agnosticism" so this issue does not involve me or my beliefs, rather it seems to focus on yours, and why you are not an agnostic.

I'll continue if you want to explore why you feel so compelled to decide, rather than be agnostic, otherwise this will just be one more rehashed hashed hash.

Likelihood. Not certainty.

But, as has been demonstrated on other threads, your "likelihood" is a product of your human invention. You make up the data set involved, based on opinion and bias in your worldview. Confirmation Bias, Cognitive Dissonance and idée fixes, are not the tools of an open-mind or an honest skeptic, and continued belief in the face of contradictory evidence is delusion.

Why do you feel so compelled to decide ... what is wrong with being an agnostic?

Nothing where that is not a rational and empirically objectively evidenced conclusion.

So you are not agnostic on god/s, because you actually have empirical objective evidence that shows no gods can exist? This would be the evidence that you failed to produce on the Pseudoskepticism and logic thread?

Or is it because you are making stuff up? (again)

Why do you feel so compelled to decide ... what is wrong with being an agnostic?

Certainly by this time, you should be able to admit\recognize that being agnostic is the de facto logical default position, that one needs evidence to logically move from the agnostic position, and that the more logical conclusion in the absence of convincing evidence is agnostic.

Why do you feel so compelled to decide ... what is wrong with being an agnostic?

If you go around trying to pretend that atheism is really agnosticism, then why not cut to the chase and say you are agnostic?

Message 1: But when someone actually says that they are an "agnostic" what do they mean? What do they mean beyond the lack of absolute certainty that atheists and even many theists would be happy to accept?

Being tentative about a conclusion, particularly one based in any part on opinion and bias, is not the same as saying that the evidence is not complete enough to form a valid evidence based conclusion. If you base your decision on evidence then what is it? If this purported evidence is nothing more than opinion and bias, then are you being honest?

Why do you feel so compelled to decide ... what is wrong with being an agnostic?

Also - Are there different types of agnosticism? PAP (permanently agnostic in principle) and TAP (temporarily agnostic in practise) as defined by Dawkins are the obvious examples. What is meant by each and are the distinctions valid?

Being a "pap" as defined, means being just as dogmatic an agnostic as a dogmatic theist or dogmatic atheist.

If an agnostic is someone who looks at the available evidence with an open-minded skepticism and concludes that the available evidence is not complete enough to form a valid evidence based conclusion, then one is a "tap" by the above definition.

Do they mean that the thing in question is so unknowable as to make any probability estimate impossible? If so how do they know that this unknowable entity is unknowable in this way? That seems contradictory - No?

And yet it is easy for a logical mind to conceive of many instances where knowledge, especially knowledge complete enough for making a logical conclusion, is not possible at this time.

Curiously, I can state that it is not possible to know at this time what the weather will be like in Washington DC on 01April2020 - will it be cloudy and rainy or dry and sunny? - and so I am agnostic on that issue. As we come closer to that date our ability to predict that weather increases, but we still need to come pretty close to the date to have significant confidence in the prediction, while on 01April2020 the issue become moot.

Interestingly, I am not driven to decide one way or the other at this time.

This too is part of the agnostic position, as I see it: that a decision based on inadequate information is not necessary to make at this time.

Why do you feel so compelled to decide ... what is wrong with being an agnostic?


question
|
is there sufficient valid
information available to decide
| |
yes no
| |
decide based is a
on empirical decision
valid evidence necessary?
(A) / \
yes no
/ \
decide why
based on decide
inadequate at this
evidence time?
=guess =wait
(B) (C)

(A) is a position based on empirical evidence that is validated and confirmed.
(B) is a position based on worldview evaluation of available evidence.
(C) is agnostic

The essential problem for the (B)'s - theistic and atheistic - is the question of why the decision is necessary: if it is a life and death decision, then we are evolved to make such a decision and we live or die by the consequences, but if it is purely a fabrication of habit (due to past evolution, being forced to make life or death decisions), then it is an artificial reason.

So Straggler, why are you so obsessed with the question? Why do you feel so compelled to decide ... what is wrong with being an agnostic?

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : in any part


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by Straggler, posted 04-10-2010 7:19 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 79 by Straggler, posted 04-12-2010 1:36 PM RAZD has replied

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 637 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


(1)
Message 135 of 179 (555686)
04-14-2010 10:54 PM
Reply to: Message 79 by Straggler
04-12-2010 1:36 PM


Re: Why Decide? What is wrong with being an agnostic?
Hi Straggler,

I notice that this thread is going on ad nauseum ... with you just repeating the same stale arguments from previous threads, nothing new, no surprises. Amusingly, I see several other people have the same kinds of problems with your imaginary evidence that I had.

But I also notice that you have still failed to answer the question of why you feel a need to decide.

You have not answered this question:

Message 75: Why do you feel so compelled to decide ... what is wrong with being an agnostic?


question
|
is there sufficient valid
information available to decide
| |
yes no
| |
decide based is a
on empirical decision
valid evidence necessary?
(A) / \
yes no
/ \
decide why
based on decide
inadequate at this
evidence time?
=guess =wait
(B) (C)

(A) is a position based on empirical evidence that is validated and confirmed.
(B) is a position based on worldview evaluation of available evidence.
(C) is agnostic

The essential problem for the (B)'s - theistic and atheistic - is the question of why the decision is necessary: if it is a life and death decision, then we are evolved to make such a decision and we live or die by the consequences, but if it is purely a fabrication of habit (due to past evolution, being forced to make life or death decisions), then it is an artificial reason.

So Straggler, why are you so obsessed with the question? Why do you feel so compelled to decide ... what is wrong with being an agnostic?

What is wrong with saying that there isn't enough information to make a decision at this time?

I'd say that if you really want to understand agnosticism, then you need to pursue this question of why you feel such a need to make a decision when the evidence is not conclusive.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 79 by Straggler, posted 04-12-2010 1:36 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 136 by bluegenes, posted 04-15-2010 12:40 AM RAZD has replied
 Message 139 by Straggler, posted 04-15-2010 9:08 AM RAZD has replied

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 637 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


(1)
Message 137 of 179 (555732)
04-15-2010 7:13 AM
Reply to: Message 136 by bluegenes
04-15-2010 12:40 AM


Re: Why Decide? What is wrong with being an agnostic?
So why have you decided?

Do you have evidence, or do you need to make a decision?

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 136 by bluegenes, posted 04-15-2010 12:40 AM bluegenes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 141 by Straggler, posted 04-15-2010 9:18 AM RAZD has seen this message
 Message 142 by bluegenes, posted 04-15-2010 9:34 AM RAZD has seen this message

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 637 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


(1)
Message 143 of 179 (555866)
04-15-2010 7:51 PM
Reply to: Message 139 by Straggler
04-15-2010 9:08 AM


Re: Why Decide? What is wrong with being an agnostic?
Hi Straggler (and Bluegenes):

Nothing where there is an absence of sufficient evidence in any direction.

... I am simply saying that there is sufficient evidence favouring human invention to warrant considering this conclusion as superior.

A so you feel you have evidence in the "A" category:


question
|
is there sufficient valid
information available to decide
| |
yes no
| |
decide based is a
on empirical decision
valid evidence necessary?
(A) / \
yes no
/ \
decide why
based on decide
inadequate at this
evidence time?
=guess =wait
(B) (C)

... and yet we both know that your "evidence favouring human invention" has already been shown to be inadequate in demonstrating that no gods can exist. Surely you remember this:

RAZD's Concept Scale
  1. Zero Confidence Concepts
    1. No evidence, subjective or objective,
    2. No logical conclusions possible, but opinion possible

  2. Low Confidence Concepts
    1. Unconfirmed or subjective supporting evidence, opinion also involved, but no known contradictory evidence, nothing shows the concept per se to be invalid
    2. Conclusions regarding possibilities for further investigation, and opinions can be based on this level of evidence,

  3. High Confidence Concepts
    1. Validated and confirmed objective supporting evidence, and no known contradictory evidence
    2. Conclusions regarding probable reality can be made, repeated attempts to falsify such concepts can lead to high confidence in their being true.

So do you have anything new, something to move you up to level III category conclusions? Or are you just plodding along with your old level II pseudoskepticist opinion/s based decision/s? Perhaps we should add a category to the previous diagram:


question
|
is there sufficient valid
information available to decide
| |
yes no
| |
decide based is a
on empirical decision
valid evidence necessary?
(A) / \
yes no ... but ...
/ | |
decide why make a
based on decide decision
inadequate at this anyway
evidence time? based on
=guess =wait opinion
(B) (C) (D)

Where "D" people make up their minds for no apparent reason other than it is based on their opinion of reality.

This would include people that use incomplete evidence , Confirmation Bias, Cognitive Dissonance and idée fixes, as part of their world·view. Yes, this would include a lot of theists as well as atheists.

Of course it is difficult to argue that this last category is a rational decision based on logical conclusions and sufficient empirical evidence.

So why do you feel your opinion about the "evidence favouring human invention" is enough to make it sufficient for anything other than a decision based on opinion?

I have not. Nor has Bluegenes. Nor have you. Despite all being aware of this belief and this god concept

Both you and Bluegenes are making the fundamental error of assuming that one has to accept these claims as true, before you can decide that they are false. In fact the claim can be part true and part false, and further information is necessary before one can rationally decide. The agnostic position is that neither the truth - nor the falsity - of this claim has been established by sufficient evidence, and therefore one does not need to make this decision at this time.

Yet both you and Bluegenes have made a rush to judgment (D) based on inadequate information and personal opinion/s.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 139 by Straggler, posted 04-15-2010 9:08 AM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 144 by bluegenes, posted 04-16-2010 1:34 PM RAZD has seen this message
 Message 146 by Straggler, posted 04-16-2010 2:26 PM RAZD has replied

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 637 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 156 of 179 (556037)
04-16-2010 7:43 PM
Reply to: Message 146 by Straggler
04-16-2010 2:26 PM


Re: Fundamentalist Agnosticism = more bullocks from Straggler
Hi Straggler, still trying to wordsmith your position into something that you can call logic?

Because it is an objectively evidenced conclusion. But if your only issue is with the quantity and/or quality of evidence favouring the concept of god as a product of human invention then that is fair enough.

Curiously, we both know that your evidence is still inconclusive on the issue of whether or not gods exist, because it is incapable of proving that no gods can exist. You have admitted this. Nor can you show that human invention is incapable of coming near to modeling reality (something I'd be very surprised to see) even with little information to work from. Even if you could actually demonstrate (rather than just assert over and over again) that all concepts of god are in fact made up, this would not demonstrate that none of them could be true. Nor would such a demonstration show or even imply that god/s could not exist. As nwr has been at pains to try to show you, it is the wrong kind of evidence for the question. It's like saying that concept (X) is true because mushrooms grow in the dark of a new moon in the woods at night while it is raining. The fact that mushrooms do in fact grow in those conditions has nothing to do with the validity (or invalidity) of concept (X).

You have now badgered a bunch of other people with this poor excuse for evidence, and amusingly, nobody is buying it, except the confirmation bias pseudoskeptic atheists.

All you are doing is using confirmation bias to say that the evidence supports your worldview position, and that this should be sufficient for anyone else. It isn't, because not everyone has your worldview (opinions and biases), and it isn't because it just is not conclusive.

The rest of your argument is more made up muddled balderdash that typically has also already been addressed in other threads and run into the ground. Amusingly, nobody has demonstrated that my replies on agnosticism involve anything more than agnostic views, and any claims otherwise are wishful thinking. Frankly, it appalls me that you guys seem incapable of comprehending agnosticism, and yet claim to be logical.

How can you claim not to have made a decision? You are a deist are you not?

And I freely admit that this is based on my opinion and biases due to my worldview. I don't pretend to have made a decision based on conclusive evidence of the level III category necessary to qualify as an (A) decision. I've pointed out that the logical position is agnostic, and you have been incapable over several threads of demonstrating otherwise.

People who try to pretend their opinion and bias are sufficient grounds for making an (A) decision are pseudoskeptics (as has been demonstrated to be the case for both you and Bluegenes - see Pseudoskepticism and logic if you have forgotten - so it doesn't surprise me that you are repeating the same weary arguments from that thread). Yawn.

And fascinatingly, you still have not addressed the question of why you think an answer is necessary.

An agnostic fundamentalist is one ...

LOL. Nice joke. Now can you answer the question?

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 146 by Straggler, posted 04-16-2010 2:26 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 160 by Straggler, posted 04-18-2010 2:08 PM RAZD has replied

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 637 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 161 of 179 (556294)
04-18-2010 8:27 PM
Reply to: Message 160 by Straggler
04-18-2010 2:08 PM


Re: Fundamentalist Agnosticism Vs Genuine Agnosticism
Hi Straggler, still making stuff up I see.

You are still conflating the (very reasonable) position of genuine agnosticism which says "I don't know based on the evidence available to me" with your agnostic fundamentalist position of "you can never claim to know because you cannot disprove the unknowable".

And yet what I keep pointing out to you is that your evidence -- the best evidence you can muster -- is not sufficient to form a reasoned opinion based on the evidence available. Look at it this way:

If there are no god/s
Then all human concepts of god/s are made up.

And compare this to what you are saying:

Some evidence indicates that some concepts of gods are made up,
Therefore there are no god/s.

There is a sever logical fault in that structure, and a logically false structure means logical false conclusion/s. I've pointed this out many times before, yet you keep making this basic logical error, again and again.

Because people sometimes make some things up is not evidence that all human concepts are not true.

Dude in that sense our evidence in favour of the second law of thermodynamics is inconclusive because we are incapable of proving that it will apply in any case not yet tested.

Another logically false argument. Amusingly thermodynamics does not rely on the assumption that everything people make up is false as evidence.

I could go on.

And it will be just as pointless as the last time.

Your position on the absolute and utter intrinsic "unknowability" of gods ...

Is another conflation that you have manufactured in your head. You fail to understand the argument/s for what they are - simple examples of why you are wrong.

Now can you answer the question?

What question?

Why you feel you need to make a decision.


question
|
is there sufficient valid
information available to decide
| |
yes no
| |
decide based is a
on empirical decision
valid evidence necessary?
(A) / \
yes no ... but ...
/ | |
decide why make a
based on decide decision
inadequate at this anyway
evidence time? based on
=guess =wait opinion
(B) (C) (D)

If you have (A) category III evidence, then let's see it.

If your reason is (B) that it is a life-and-death decision, then tell us why.

If all you have is (D) -- which is all you ever have had before -- then you are just being a pseudoskeptic, or a hypocrite.

Without convincing evidence for (A), without being rushed into (B) and without premature decision (D), the logical place is (C).

This also has been demonstrated before on Pseudoskepticism and logic and If it can be, how can the "Absence of Evidence" be "Evidence of Absence?". (see Message 308 for an amusing example)

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 160 by Straggler, posted 04-18-2010 2:08 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 162 by Straggler, posted 04-19-2010 3:16 PM RAZD has replied

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 637 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 163 of 179 (556429)
04-19-2010 8:32 PM
Reply to: Message 162 by Straggler
04-19-2010 3:16 PM


Perpetual Amusement Of The Third Kind = Stragger's arguments ...
Hi Straggler, still full of yourself I see.

I still think it is the height of hypocrisy for someone who emblazons the fact that they are a deist across everything they write to be suggesting that others are unjustified in stating any conclusion at all.

That would be so IF I claimed that my faith was derived logically AND that I held it as an evidence based conclusion. I don't, you do. Unfortunately, for you, your claim and reality don't match: your evidence fails to provide a basis for a logical conclusion regarding the existence of god/s.

You are apparently a faith based deist who is so uncertain about the existence of deities that he is primarily an agnostic. You are a faith based agnostic (with an opinion). Which I do find kinda funny. Those terms are usually considered somewhat incongruent. But hey ho. Each to their own.

Yes, your inability to wait for sufficient evidence before rushing to judgment is quite amusing, and in the wrong hands can be dangerous. One need only look at Schrubbia and his rush to judgment invasion of Iraq to see how dangerous making decisions on inadequate evidence could be.

Amusingly, there is no life-or-death situation I am aware of that would force you (or anyone with a logical bent) to make a decision on the existence of god/s.

Anyway to answer your question – Because we can. Why wouldn’t we draw a conclusion if we are in a position to do so?

Like Schrubbia did? Curiously I don't find the willingness of some people to make snap decisions to be a criteria for emulation.

You can draw a conclusion anytime, but to make one based on evidence you need to wait for the evidence. Schrubbia did not. You have not.

Interestingly, you have still failed to demonstrate that you are in a position to make an informed decision.

Why do we study philosophy? Why do we go to art galleries? Why send a rocket to the moon? To only ever consider questions that are of life and death relevance would be rather intellectually limiting would it not? Is not asking this sort of question regardless of it’s relevance to survival partly what makes us human? Are you seriously suggesting that the only questions you ever seek to answer are ones on which your survival depends? If so – Poor you.

I wonder if you will ever get around to making a logical argument, rather than one based on straw men, begging the question and, as here, incredulity.

And nor do I. RAZ do we have to disprove every single conceivable perpetual motion machine individually? Or can we discard all such concepts as unlikely based on the (necessarily incomplete) evidence favouring the principle we have found to be wholly reliable? Do you truly not see the comparison here?

Yes, I see you are still fond of the All A is B, B, therefore A logical fallacy, coupled with poor analogy.

Simply put, the law of thermodynamics means that perpetual motion is impossible in the long run. It may be possible to have isolated pockets where there is an appearance of perpetual motion, but at the end of time everything runs down. One or the other must be false.

Your evidence - that some people make some things up sometimes - fails to meet that standard of evidence by a universe wide margin.

Do you truly not see the failure of your purported evidence to be anything more than evidence of your personal opinion and bias?

It's hysterical that you think your position is logically derived, while it is actually built on logical fallacy after logical fallacy, and fallacies you appear perpetually blind to understanding.

And what I keep pointing out to you is that the evidential criteria you are demanding are inconsistent and incoherent.

Perhaps you have trouble understanding it -- all you need is evidence that shows god/s do not, or can not, exist.

Do you agree that no amount of evidence favouring human invention can ever in practise actually disprove the existence of any concept envisaged to be empirically irrefutable?

And if you know this, then why do you keep bringing up this failed evidence? Because it is the best you have? That's a pretty sorry excuse for a supposedly logical conclusion.

I agree that this means your evidence - that some people make some things up some of the time - is useless in proving your case. Amusingly, it is not my problem to disprove whatever word jumble you think up next.

Certainly I agree, as I have been arguing for many threads now, that it is inadequate for making a decision on the existence of god/s. Fascinatingly, I agree that any decision based on this evidence is not one based empirical evidence of level III category, that it is not evidence that leads to an (A) decision.


question
|
is there sufficient valid
information available to decide
| |
yes no
| |
decide based is a
on empirical decision
valid evidence necessary?
(A) / \
yes no ... but ...
/ | |
decide why make a
based on decide decision
inadequate at this anyway
evidence time? based on
=guess =wait opinion
(B) (C) (D)

Then on what basis can you consider some concepts to be immune from scepticism based on such evidence whilst simultaneously considering other equally irrefutable concepts to be the products of human invention?

But they are not immune to skepticism, especially skepticism tempered with an open mind. Skepticism does not mean you must make a decisions against whatever you are skeptical of, rather it means you hold off on accepting it until it is demonstrated to be at least possibly true.

Certainly when the evidence is poor and insubstantial for any counter claim, such as the evidence that some people make some things up some of the time, then one also needs to be skeptical of the counter claim as well. Failure to do so is just not being honestly skeptical.

So once again we come down to why you feel that a decision is necessary?

What is your reason for your rush to judgment?

Your evidence fails to meet the criteria for an (A) decision, you have abandoned (C), and that leaves you with (B) or (D).

Given that you have not provided any reason for having to make a decision, the evidence points towards your decision being based on opinions and biases in your personal worldview. But then this is old news. Sadly no new arguments seem to be in the offing.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : [


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 162 by Straggler, posted 04-19-2010 3:16 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 164 by Straggler, posted 04-20-2010 12:58 PM RAZD has seen this message
 Message 165 by Straggler, posted 04-22-2010 2:41 PM RAZD has seen this message

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 637 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 166 of 179 (571480)
07-31-2010 9:43 PM


Indeed, Why Not Agnostic?
I am reviving this thread to discuss agnosticism, rather than continue on the Identifying false religions. thread, where discussion there has veered off of the topic (although I admit to being accessory to the crime)

The question is: what is so wrong with the agnostic position?

Looking at the basic decision making process we see:

                 question                                                        
|
is there sufficient valid
information available to decide
| |
yes no
| |
decide based is a
on empirical decision
objective valid necessary?
evidence / \
(A) yes no ... but ...
/ | |
decide why make a
based on decide decision
inadequate at this anyway ... while ... claiming
evidence time? based on to have
=guess =wait opinion evidence
(B) (C) (D) (E)

When we have sufficient objective empirical evidence on a question to make an informed conclusion based on logic, we can end up at (A).

When we do not have sufficient objective empirical evidence on a question, the logical position is (C) - we don't know, and we'll need to wait for new information or investigate to see if we can determine new information.

If one is forced to make a decision on inadequate information, (B), then all they have to rely on is the information that is available, their worldview, life experiences and biases. It is a personal subjective "best guess" based on available information and opinion.

Next, if one is not forced to make a decision, but makes one anyway, in spite of the evidence being insufficient, then the decision is neither logical nor evidence based, it is not rational.

Finally, if one claims to have evidence, but cannot demonstrate the evidence necessary to end up and (A), then they are making an irrational claim, because it is neither logical nor properly informed by objective empirical evidence.

rational -adj
1. using reason or logic in thinking out a problem
2. in accordance with the principles of logic or reason; reasonable
Collins English Dictionary - 10th Edition ©2009

To focus the discussion further we can use these broad descriptions of possible positions in the spectrum of beliefs:

  1. Absolute Theist: knows god/s exist. (logically invalid position)
  2. Strong Theist: the existence of god/s is more likely than not. (logically invalid position)
  3. Weak Theist: the existence of god/s is possible, maybe likely, but not sure. (logically valid position)
  4. Agnostic: god/s may exist or they may not, there is insufficient evidence to know one way or the other. (logically valid position)
  5. Weak Atheist: the non-existence of gods is possible, maybe likely, but not sure. (logically valid position)
  6. Strong Atheist: the non-existence of god/s is more likely than not. (logically invalid position)
  7. Absolute Atheist: knows that god/s do not exist. (logically invalid position)

Where the validity of the logic on it's own (with no supporting evidence) was tested as follows:

Compare:

• any X with no contradictory evidence is possibly true
• X(a) has no contradictory evidence
∴ X(a) can be true

to:

• any X with no contradictory evidence is absolutely true
• X(a) has no contradictory evidence
∴ X(a) is absolutely true

OR:

• any X with no contradictory evidence is more likely true than false
• X(a) has no contradictory evidence
∴ X(a) is more likely true than false

If the logical form is true for any X then it is true for Y, now let Y = notX:

• any Y with no contradictory evidence is possibly true
• Y(a) has no contradictory evidence
∴ Y(a) can be true
== notX(a) can be true ...

... and by the form of the argument, X(a) still can be true true ... which is valid, and a true conclusion is reached.

(3), (4) and (5) fit this pattern. Possibility is a valid conclusion from a lack of contradictory evidence.

versus:

• any Y with no contradictory evidence is absolutely true
• Y(a) has no contradictory evidence
∴ Y(a) is absolutely true
== notX(a) is absolutely true ...

... and by the form of the argument, X(a) is still absolutely true ... which is a contradiction ... unless you have objective empirical evidence that directly contradicts one or the other being true: without such evidence there is a contradiction in the form of the argument and the argument is invalid, falsified, void.

As the second premise is the same as above, we see that the first premise is falsified. (1) and (7) fit this pattern and are logically FALSE arguments.

OR:

• any Y with no contradictory evidence is more likely true than false
• Y(a) has no contradictory evidence
∴ Y(a) is more likely true than false
== notX(a) is more likely true than false ...

... and by the form of the argument, X(a) is still more likely true than false ... which is a contradiction ... unless you have objective empirical evidence that directly contradicts one or the other being true: without such evidence there is a contradiction in the form of the argument and the argument is invalid, falsified, void.

As the second premise is the same as above, we see that the first premise is falsified as well. (2) and (6) fit this pattern and are logically FALSE arguments.

Thus holding (1), (2), (6) or (7) positions without having sufficient evidence to reach an informed (A) conclusion is irrational, if not delusional (especially in the case of (1) or (7), claiming absolute knowledge). It is assuming something is true where that is not known, or it is pretending to know something is true where that is not known.

For the sake of completeness, when we talk about evidence we need to distinguish evidence that is suggestive from evidence that is compelling. Evidence that is suggestive (a subjective position) can lead to level II concepts, while evidence that is compelling is required to reach level III concepts.

RAZD's Concept Scale
  1. Zero to Low Confidence Concepts
    1. No evidence, subjective or objective,
    2. No logical conclusions possible, but opinion possible
    3. Hypothetical discussion possible

  2. Low to Medium Confidence Concepts
    1. Unconfirmed or subjective supporting evidence (with opinion and personal biases also involved),
    2. No known contradictory evidence,
    3. Nothing shows the concept per se to be invalid
    4. Conclusions regarding possibilities for further investigation, and opinions can be based on this level of evidence,

  3. Medium to High Confidence Concepts
    1. Validated and confirmed objective supporting evidence, and
    2. No known contradictory evidence
    3. Nothing shows the concept per se to be invalid
    4. Conclusions regarding probable reality can be made, repeated attempts to falsify such concepts can lead to high confidence in their being true.

I've expanded this part a bit from before, adding in onfre's hypothetical concept discussion where I think it fits, and making it more of a spectrum than hard and fast categories.

The concept of gravitons would fit in level II, in my opinion, while the existence of gravity is in level III.

That should about cover it.

Enjoy.

NOTICE: I am not going to answer all the posts I am getting, as there are just too many that are just repeating old arguments that have already been addressed. I have already answered these, and I have answered them to the point that it is silly to keep repeating my position in the hopes that it is understood and not misrepresented. If you see "RAZD acknowledges this reply" it is because this means you. This is my blanket response to those posts. Likewise if I only answer part of your post/s it is because this applies to the rest. Additionally I may answer your post in reply to someone else, and I just don't need to repeat points already made. NOR am I inclined to answer any posts that are off-topic, or that display an inability to grasp what has been posted.
Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : spacing, colors

Edited by RAZD, : clrty

Edited by RAZD, : added notice at end

Edited by RAZD, : fixed scale format


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

Replies to this message:
 Message 167 by bluegenes, posted 08-01-2010 9:01 AM RAZD has replied
 Message 168 by Straggler, posted 08-01-2010 8:16 PM RAZD has seen this message

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 637 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 169 of 179 (571677)
08-01-2010 10:51 PM
Reply to: Message 167 by bluegenes
08-01-2010 9:01 AM


Desperate for attention bluegenes?
Getting desperate to be noticed bluegenes?

"All supernatural beings are figments of the human imagination".

This is a high level of confidence theory.

No, it is an amusing assertion of your belief, based on wishful thinking, confirmation bias and several logical fallacies.

It is falsified by the demonstration of the existence of just one supernatural being beyond all reasonable doubt.

Nor, interestingly, is it in any way validated by the absence of evidence. The absence of evidence is only evidence of an absence of evidence that is perceived as such. There could be evidence right in front of you, but because you do not perceive it as evidence you do not see it.

It is not falsified by unsupported assertions like "a supernatural being can exist".

Nor, curiously, is it in any way validated by unsupported claims such as "no supernatural beings can exist" ... it can only be validated by comprehensive objective empirical valid evidence that demonstrates once and for all that no god/s can exist.

If anyone does not agree that this is a strong theory, ...

Calling it a "strong theory" doesn't make it so. What you have is wishful thinking and confirmation bias coupled to the logical fallacy of Affirming the Consequent.

... I'd be happy to participate in a one on one debate on the subject, ...

You get your wish.

... and support the theory with plenty of evidence.

Which you certainly need to do, having just just made a positive (and rather extraordinary) claim that absolutely no god/s can exist.

Of course my participation will only involve showing the errors and poor logic in your argument/s, and I bear absolutely no burden to substantiate my personal position/s in this proposed debate: the sole focus would be on your attempt/s to show objective empirical evidence that shows - once and for all - that no god/s can possibly exist, because

"All supernatural beings are figments of the human imagination".

... ie, that there are absolutely no actual supernatural beings, because all the concepts are made up, imaginary fictions.

Interestingly, it now appears that you have given up on equivocating on being an "category (6) atheist that is really an agnostic" (which was a contradiction in terms demonstrated previously), and moved on to being a (7):

Categories of Belief
  1. Absolute Theist: knows god/s exist. (logically invalid position)
  2. Strong Theist: the existence of god/s is more likely than not. (logically invalid position)
  3. Weak Theist: the existence of god/s is possible, maybe likely, but not sure. (logically valid position)
  4. Agnostic: god/s may exist or they may not, there is insufficient evidence to know one way or the other. (logically valid position)
  5. Weak Atheist: the non-existence of gods is possible, maybe likely, but not sure. (logically valid position)
  6. Strong Atheist: the non-existence of god/s is more likely than not. (logically invalid position)
  7. Absolute Atheist: knows that god/s do not exist. (logically invalid position)

Moving from irrational, in my humble opinion, to delusional ... unless you can show objective empirical evidence that shows that no god/s can possibly exist.

This is what you have claimed:

"All supernatural beings are figments of the human imagination".

... ie, that there are absolutely no actual supernatural beings, because all the concepts are made up, imaginary fictions.

I'll regard attempts at dismissing the theory without accepting the debate proposition as empty rhetoric and cowardice.

As I would regard your absolute failure to address the (on topic) issue of why agnosticism is not the most logically consistent position, as is amply demonstrated in Indeed, Why Not Agnostic? (Message 166), if I were inclined to employ the logical fallacy of implied consequences.

Enjoy.

Note that bluegenes was off-topic and this reply is off-topic, so no further replies should be made here.

NOTICE: I am not going to answer all the posts I am getting, as there are just too many that are just repeating old arguments that have already been addressed. I have already answered these, and I have answered them to the point that it is silly to keep repeating my position in the hopes that it is understood and not misrepresented. If you see "RAZD acknowledges this reply" it is because this means you. This is my blanket response to those posts. Likewise if I only answer part of your post/s it is because this applies to the rest. Additionally I may answer your post in reply to someone else, and I just don't need to repeat points already made. NOR am I inclined to answer any post that is off-topic.
Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : off topic


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 167 by bluegenes, posted 08-01-2010 9:01 AM bluegenes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 170 by bluegenes, posted 08-02-2010 8:17 AM RAZD has replied
 Message 171 by Straggler, posted 08-02-2010 8:43 AM RAZD has seen this message

  
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