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Author Topic:   An Exploration Into"Agnosticism"
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:
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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:
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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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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 52 of 179 (554533)
04-08-2010 6:47 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by Straggler
04-08-2010 6:06 PM


Re: Are We All "Agnostics"?
What else is there? I mean, there are atheists who themselves are certain..........

So it keeps being claimed by those who it suits to claim such a position of their opponents. But who are these atheists and where do they hang out? Because I have yet to see an EvC member who describes themselves as an atheist who is not an agnostic by your definition.

bobbins, Message 5:

quote:
For me no belief necessary - I am convinced there are no gods.
Belief to me suggests a possibility of doubt, change or vacillation. Beliefs are faith based. Not one scintilla of doubt. That is not faith based but a rational interpretation of the available evidence. Therefore I am convinced that there are no gods.

Semantics with reference to the definition of atheism are irrelevant, there are as many 'definitions' of atheism as people who say they are atheist. Just as believers in cults each have their own interpretation of that cult and it's meaning to them. We do not have to invent a new word for each person.



This message is a reply to:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 57 of 179 (554542)
04-08-2010 7:32 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by Straggler
04-08-2010 5:50 PM


Re: We Are All "Agnostics" But Some re More Agnostic Than Others
The point of the FSM, IPU and other such "absurd" entities is to demonstrate that the the argument that "you cannot refute god" is logically irrelevant.

The relevance is that it makes strong atheism irrational.

There are an infinite multitude of irrefutable entities. Yet nearly all are considered absurd.

How do you know nearly all of them are absurd? Without the details, how would you know if any particular one was absurd or not?

So irrefutability alone is not a criteria upon which rational agnosticism can be justified.

Irrefutability means that you cannot know if its false. You have to be agnostic.

Being strong atheist to any one would be irrational.

You need more information than irrefutability alone to rationalize strong atheism.

Enter the absurdity, say logically impossible.

If you elevate some irrefutable entities over others on the basis of genuine belief you are doing nothing other than citing belief as evidence upon which to justify belief. And that is a circular argument.

You could elevate them by their lack of absurdity, say their logical possibility, and not be atheistic and thus remain agnostic.

So with regard to your stated agnosticism. What exactly do you mean? - 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 moral framework for intelligent beings but which plays no other role in the universe? Are you agnostic towards a "god" (whatever you mean by that) who created the universe but who is now "off doing other things" As RAZD once phrased it)?

You have to have something to move from the rational default of agnosticism. You could disbelieve any one of those examples while being rationally agnostic to the remaining unexemplified ones.

When you say you are "agnostic" what do you mean exactly?

It means you don't know if the proposition is true or false.

What are you agnostic towards exactly?

In this case, the existence of god.

Message 48

But you are exactly who this thread is aimed at. Because you seem no more or no less atheistic towards any concept of god that I have ever heard of than I do and yet you describe yourself as an "agnostic" because you lack the exact same certainty that I advocate as rationally necessary.

So I am an atheist and you are an agnostic but we seem equally skeptical towards all conceivable gods. Tell me where I am wrong here?

Anyone that's been brought up has been absurd so it isn't believed. All conceivable gods are not lacking belief because there isn't enough detail to elevate from agnosticism.

Message 49

If there is objective evidence to suggest that the entire concept of supernatural, "unknowable" gods are a human invention but absolutely no objective evidence to suggest that gods actually exist - Is it then rational to conclude that gods are more likely to be the product of human invention than to actually exist?

Or not?

No. A determination of the likelyhood doesn't logically follow. Objective evidence cannot suggest that the entire concepts of supernatural are human invention.

Edited by Catholic Scientist, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 64 of 179 (554617)
04-09-2010 10:03 AM
Reply to: Message 58 by AZPaul3
04-08-2010 7:43 PM


The relevance is that it makes strong atheism irrational.

I must disagree. Please see my msg 54, second paragraph above. There can be sufficient evidence on an issue where strong atheism is not only rational but required.

Wouldn't that just mean they're not irrefutable?


This message is a reply to:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 76 of 179 (555008)
04-11-2010 2:54 PM
Reply to: Message 71 by Straggler
04-10-2010 7:31 PM


"Strong atheism" being what? The certainty that no gods exist?

Strong atheism = the positive belief that gods do not exists

as opposed to

Weak atheism = the lack of belief in gods

Neither being 100% certainty.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 71 by Straggler, posted 04-10-2010 7:31 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 82 of 179 (555169)
04-12-2010 2:45 PM
Reply to: Message 80 by Straggler
04-12-2010 1:52 PM


Re: The Irrationality of "Strong Atheism"
Ah. So is the belief that god as a concept is far more likely to be a human invention than to be a genuine aspect of reality an example of "strong atheism"?

Are you not strongly atheistic towards various unknowable and irrefutable concepts on the basis that they are almost certainly the product of human invention?

Is your "strong atheism" towards these concepts "irrational" too?

Yes, yes (I am), no.

Some things we know are probably human invention, others we do not. In general, we can't say that god is more or less likely to be human invention.

This is a better layout of your position:

Not "likelihood" RAZ. No-one is claiming that "there is a 82.364% probability that gods do not exist" - Or any other such imbecilic proclamation. Credit me with some intelligence please.

No - We are talking about "relative likelihood". My point is (and always has been) that there is good evidence (objective empirical evidence) favouring the conclusion that the concept of unknowable gods is a product of human invention. This conclusion is therefore more likley to be correct than the opposing and objectively unevidenced conclusion that gods actually exist.

I don't think there is good evidence that god is a human invention and I don't think we know that there is zero evidence for god. I don't think you can determine that relative likelihood.

All you've done is set it up as 'some vs. none' and claimed the some must be more likely. But you haven't really supported yourself beyond making the assertion.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 112 of 179 (555382)
04-13-2010 10:40 AM
Reply to: Message 85 by Straggler
04-12-2010 3:11 PM


Re: The Irrationality of "Strong Atheism"
OK. But that is an argument about sufficiency of evidence rather than agnosticism derived from inherent unknowability. Which is the issue of this thread.

If you are simply saying that we need to do more research into human culture and psychology before we conclude that gods are probably a human invention then that is a relatively reasonable position. But that doesn't seem to be what is being said here.

I don't have anything to suggest whether there could be sufficient evidence or not, but we can stick to god concepts for which there couldn't.

I specifically avoided the rabbit hole of "subjective evidence" by not saying "zero evidence" (or the equivalent). I said "objectively unevidenced". Are you going to claim that there is objective evidence in favour of the existence of gods? That would be quite a claim on your part.

No, I'm claiming that the claim that there is zero objective evidence for god is itself unevidenced. How do you know that there isn't objective evidence for god out there? Because you haven't seen it?

Although, for "inherantly unknowable" gods, there would have to be some amount of knowability for there to be objective evidence.

Why? What is the barrier to doing so? "Unknowability"? Irefutability? Can we not invent concepts that are intrinsically as unknowable and irrefutable as the concept of god and yet still dismiss these as almost certainly invented?

No, you can't. If we know its an invented concept then it isn't irrefutable.

Thus demonstrating that unknowability and irrefutability become irrelevant if sufficient evidence towards a contrary conclusion is available.

Its not totally irrelevant... If a concept is irrefutable then you cannot rationally believe that it has been refuted (regardless of how much lack of certainty you want to have)

If (hypothetically if you prefer) there is objective empirical evidence favouring the concept of god as a human invention but none favouring the actual existence of gods would considering human invention as more likely be rationaly justified? Is this not exactly your position with regard to the IPU and other such entities? The evidence in favour of human invention makes any irrefutability and unknowability almost utterly irrelevant to your conclusion regarding the existence of these entities.

But if we have sufficient evidence to show that its invented, then it isn't irrefutable, is it?

No I haven't. I can point you towards numerous posts (none replied to by RAZD I might add) where I have previously made that argument. We can go that route in one of those threads if you want.

But this thread is about exploring agnosticism and, in particular, what seems to be the "but gods are inherently unknowable" primary justification for this position.

If its irrefutable, then how can you rationally consider it refuted?


This message is a reply to:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 119 of 179 (555631)
04-14-2010 4:04 PM
Reply to: Message 116 by Straggler
04-14-2010 2:14 PM


Re: We Are All "Agnostics" But Some re More Agnostic Than Others
Simply defining or asserting a concept to be inherently “unknowable” has absolutely no bearing on whether we need be agnostic about that concept.

Heh: "whether or not we can know something has no bearing on whether or not we can know something"...

Instead we need to weigh up the evidence in favour of the concept actually existing and the evidence that the concept in question is nothing more than a product of human invention.

Which requires the concept to be fairly well defined...

The is arument fails for god because on one end you mistake a part for the whole by saying that all the gods so far have been shown to be imagination so its more likely that all of them are, and on the other end you take the absence of evidence as evidence of absence by saying that since we haven't seen any evidence for gods then there must not be any at all.

But what cannot be disputed is that when discussing the existence of god it is the relative merits of the evidence available that need to be examined. It is clear that any assertions of “unknowability” are just a pointless and irrelevant side issue designed to obfuscate and immunise cherished beliefs from rational analysis.

One point to unknowability is that it makes disbelief irrational because if you could rationally disbelieve then it would be knowable.

In Message 117, you missed mwr's point (as I understood it).

You glossed over it, and charge him with the same thing you do everyone else, and re-ask all the same questions you always do. That is a piss poor "exploration".

It seems entirely reasonable that a Chinese tourist visiting London might be agnostic with respect to parliament.

We could show them evidence that parliament exists.

He's talking about:

quote:
Parliament (the institution, not the building) is a social-cultural construct.

So no, you couldn't show him that. What you can show him is practically the same as showing them a whole bunch of churches as evidence that god exists.

The Chinese tourist could make your same argument against the existence of Parliament. But I doubt you would accept that that means that I must rationally disbelieving that it exists.


This message is a reply to:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 154 of 179 (556006)
04-16-2010 5:16 PM
Reply to: Message 153 by Straggler
04-16-2010 3:59 PM


Re: Unknowables Irrefutables and Undetectables
If your "relevant observation" is that you and CS are on the same wavelength then I can only continue to advise that you exercise discretion.

Or what?

And is that some kind of ad hominen squared or something? Be weary because this other guy understood your point

Catholic Scientist has stated that it is rationally unjustifiable to treat with scepticism the idea that I was placed here by the magically unknowable Easter bunny to annoy you in an omphalistic universe created 2 months ago with the intention that you would find that claim ridiculous.

Not quite. Treat with skepicism? Sure, that can be justified. Positively disbelieved from objective evidence is where I see the problem.

He also says that the idea that ethereal telepathic flying pilchards are responsible for aeroplanes flying is no more or less likely to be correct than the empirical laws of aerodynamics.

Wrong again. The point was that the objective evidence cannot yield a likilhood of itself being correct.

I don't like that you'd rather try to make me look wrong than understand what I'm saying.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 157 of 179 (556112)
04-17-2010 11:31 AM
Reply to: Message 155 by Straggler
04-16-2010 5:44 PM


link to a paper
Let’s put this nonsense to the test. I am going to drop a pen from shoulder height and see what it does.

According to you my pen is no more or less likely to simply fall to the floor than it is to do a loop the loop before flying out of the window towards Mars powered by ethereal pilchards because we are unable to refute the possibility that the entire universe was omphamistically created 1 nano-second ago for the sole purpose of making me look like an empirically gullible fool.

So CS how much do you want to bet against the likelihood of my pen just falling to the ground?

At first glance, its seems to me that you are just failing inductive logic. Giving that all we've seen is black ravens does not mean that there isn't a white one out there. The observation of only black ravens does not yield a probability of the existence of a white one.

I googled the phrase "inductive probability" (that I came across in the wiki page on inductive logic), and found this paper:

The Concept of Inductive Probability

quote:
Abstract.
The word ‘probability’ in ordinary language has two different senses, here called inductive and physical probability. This paper examines the concept of inductive probability. Attempts to express this concept in other words are shown to be either incorrect or else trivial. In particular, inductive probability is not the same as degree of belief. It is argued that inductive probabilities exist; subjectivist arguments to the contrary are rebutted. Finally, it is argued that inductive probability is an important concept and that it is a mistake to try to replace it with the concept of degree of belief, as is usual today.

At the beginning there's a good distinction of the two:

quote:
It has often been noted that the word ‘probability’ is used in two different senses in ordinary language.1 In one sense, probability is relative
to the available evidence and does not depend on unknown facts about the world; probability in this sense has something to do with inductive
inference and so I will call it inductive probability.2 In the other sense, probability is a fact about the world and not relative to the available
evidence; I will call this physical probability. As an illustration of the difference between these two concepts, suppose
you have been told that a coin is either two-headed or two-tailed but you have no information about which it is. The coin is about to be
tossed. What is the probability that it will land heads? There are two natural answers to this question:

(i) 1/2.
(ii) Either 0 or 1 but I do not know which.

Answer (i) is natural if the question is taken to be about inductive probability, while (ii) is the natural answer if the question is taken to be about physical probability.

Continuing with this example, suppose you now observe that the coin has a head on one side. Given the information you now have, the inductive probability of it landing heads on the next toss is 1. Thus the inductive probability has changed with the new evidence. You also now know that the physical probability of the coin landing heads is 1, but this probability has not changed, it was 1 before as well, only yourknowledge about it has changed. This further illustrates how inductive probability is relative to evidence and physical probability is not.


So I think you're arguing about inductive probability and I'm arguing about physical porbability.

I haven't read through the paper fully yet, and I have to go do some stuff in real life now. But I did want to offer it in case your just sitting around getting drunk today with nothing to read

The abstract says "that inductive probability is an important concept and that it is a mistake to try to replace it with the concept of degree of belief".

Skipping to the conculsion, that is expounded:

quote:
The concept of inductive probability is the evidence-relative sense that the word ‘probability’ has in ordinary language. I have tried to clarify this concept by giving examples of its use and by distinguishing it from other concepts with which it is often confused. Thus I showed that inductive probability is not the same as degree of belief. It is also not the same as rational degree of belief, justified degree of belief, degree of confirmation, or logical probability, on at least some common ways of understanding these terms.We can, however, say that inductive probability is the concept of probability in ordinary language that is logical in Carnap’s sense (that is, its elementary sentences are logically determinate).

This message is a reply to:
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