Agnosticism?

Weristgott
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Agnosticism?

Well typically atheism and agnosticism have been viewed as figurative "sibling belief systems". But I'd be interested to see (seeing as I'm agnostic) some rational/logical/etc reasoning for Atheism rather than Agnosticism. Let's see what you guys can come up with.


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Since most people are tired

Since most people are tired of this question, I'll give my two cents.

Atheism and agnosticism are not mutually exclusive. They do not even describe the same thing. Atheism is a lack of belief in a god. Agnosticism is a lack of knowledge. Thus you can hold to both positions.

If you do not have a belief in a god then you are by default an atheist. Simple as that. It is a binary position. You either believe or you do not. Agnosticism simply says you lack knowledge, not belief. Thus, you sound like an agnostic atheist to me.

Another key thing is that technically we must all remain agnostic about the existence of things like gods, santa claus, gremlins, and invisible pink unicorns. We have no reason to believe any of these things exist, so the most reasonable position to hold is a lack of belief until evidence for such things is provided.


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Weristgott wrote:

Weristgott wrote:
Well typically atheism and agnosticism have been viewed as figurative "sibling belief systems". But I'd be interested to see (seeing as I'm agnostic) some rational/logical/etc reasoning for Atheism rather than Agnosticism. Let's see what you guys can come up with.

 

I'm agnostic too.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/am_i_agnostic_or_atheist

[MOD EDIT - fixed link] 

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I spent years with the

I spent years with the confusion of agnosticism vs atheism.

I think it's natural for people to jump into the agnostic column when they doubt their faiths.  There is a huge misconception out there about what agnostic and what atheist is, and the fact that they can co-exist.

It's an important message to get out there and make sure that the agnostics of the world actually realize that they can and often are both.


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I go back and forth between

I go back and forth between deism and straight up agnosticism, so normally I call myself an agnostic deist (not theist).  Most of the time I don't know and I really don't care (unless religion is in my face), but when I do think there might be a "higher power", I think of it in deistic terms.  theism makes no sense to me. I would never be arrogant enough to say "I know" or that "I can prove" b/c this is impossible. I consider myself a non-theist.  however, according to that one defintion on this website, I am considered an atheist too, just b/c I am not a theist. Is everyone who is not a theist an atheist? Am I, even with my deistic leanings?


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friendlyagnostic wrote: I

friendlyagnostic wrote:
I go back and forth between deism and straight up agnosticism, so normally I call myself an agnostic deist (not theist). Most of the time I don't know and I really don't care (unless religion is in my face), but when I do think there might be a "higher power", I think of it in deistic terms. theism makes no sense to me. I would never be arrogant enough to say "I know" or that "I can prove" b/c this is impossible. I consider myself a non-theist. however, according to that one defintion on this website, I am considered an atheist too, just b/c I am not a theist. Is everyone who is not a theist an atheist? Am I, even with my deistic leanings?

This might answer your question;

atheist, from a- + theist

a-=not

Thus, atheist=not a theist

So, if you are not a theist, you are, well, an atheist.

Shaun 

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ShaunPhilly

ShaunPhilly wrote:

friendlyagnostic wrote:
I go back and forth between deism and straight up agnosticism, so normally I call myself an agnostic deist (not theist). Most of the time I don't know and I really don't care (unless religion is in my face), but when I do think there might be a "higher power", I think of it in deistic terms. theism makes no sense to me. I would never be arrogant enough to say "I know" or that "I can prove" b/c this is impossible. I consider myself a non-theist. however, according to that one defintion on this website, I am considered an atheist too, just b/c I am not a theist. Is everyone who is not a theist an atheist? Am I, even with my deistic leanings?

This might answer your question;

atheist, from a- + theist

a-=not

Thus, atheist=not a theist

So, if you are not a theist, you are, well, an atheist.

Shaun 

 

wow, really? okay. I guess I just figured an atheist who "tended to believe in a higher power" was weird.


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ShaunPhilly

ShaunPhilly wrote:

friendlyagnostic wrote:
I go back and forth between deism and straight up agnosticism, so normally I call myself an agnostic deist (not theist). Most of the time I don't know and I really don't care (unless religion is in my face), but when I do think there might be a "higher power", I think of it in deistic terms. theism makes no sense to me. I would never be arrogant enough to say "I know" or that "I can prove" b/c this is impossible. I consider myself a non-theist. however, according to that one defintion on this website, I am considered an atheist too, just b/c I am not a theist. Is everyone who is not a theist an atheist? Am I, even with my deistic leanings?

This might answer your question;

atheist, from a- + theist

a-=not

Thus, atheist=not a theist

So, if you are not a theist, you are, well, an atheist.

Shaun 

I don't think that's entirely correct.

http://www.evilbible.com/Definition_of_Atheism_2.htm#1

this states what I've always undertsood to be the origin of the term atheism.

a- = without

theos = god

atheos means without god (godless) and atheos is the root of atheism and atheist.

so atheism is not not "without theism" it is a belief (-ism) without gods (atheos).

Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-My-Own-Grandpa!


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ParanoidAgnostic, Yes, I am

ParanoidAgnostic,

Yes, I am familiar with that etymology and that argument.  I tend not to use the word from that etymology because that usage has been used to describe people from religions not considered mainstream.  For example, the early Christians were called 'atheists' because they didn't have a belief in the right gods, thus they were godless, in the sense of not having the right gods.  

But I'm not godless or without gods, I simply am not convinced that said beings (whatever they are supposed to be) exist.  In some sense, this means that I am without gods, but if god(s) actually existed and I simply ignored them or believed in another (false) god, then that would make me without god or godless as well, and thus an 'atheist' in the sense you use.  This does not describe my position, which is one of a lack of belief in any gods, not lack of presence, worship, or reverence of the right one. 

With my use, if gods are shown to exist then my atheism is unjustified.  With yours, one could be an atheist even if they believed gods exist, which does not encapsulate what atheists actually are.  Atheism as lack of belief in gods is the only meaning that includes all people that call themselves atheists.

Shaun 

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ParanoidAgnostic

ParanoidAgnostic wrote:
ShaunPhilly wrote:

This might answer your question;

atheist, from a- + theist

a-=not

Thus, atheist=not a theist

So, if you are not a theist, you are, well, an atheist.

Shaun

I don't think that's entirely correct.

It is correct.

Quote:
 

http://www.evilbible.com/Definition_of_Atheism_2.htm#1

this states what I've always undertsood to be the origin of the term atheism.

a- = without

theos = god

atheos means without god (godless) and atheos is the root of atheism and atheist.

so atheism is not not "without theism" it is a belief (-ism) without gods (atheos).

This definition of atheism has no application to the modern use of the word. The one you are using here applies to 'atheists' in the sense of 'infidels'

A-theism is intended to denote a lack of theism. 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


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Agnosticism is a refutation

Agnosticism is a refutation of gnosticism.  It is not a middle ground. Strong agnosticism is beyond my comphrension.  Lets believe that we know something about nothing.  How the hell do you even come to this conclusion?  Deism has more merit than this.  


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Sapient wrote:

Sapient wrote:

 

I'm agnostic too.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/am_i_agnostic_or_atheist

[MOD EDIT - fixed link]

From the article you linked to: "'Agnostics' hold to the epistemological position that human beings can't actually know anything about something beyond nature, something theists call 'supernatural'. So they believe that there's no way for a human to know anything about a 'god'. But there are many theists who agree! Theists can be be agnostics!"

Interesting article, and interesting definition. I'm not sure I completely agree with this definition of "agnostic", but I think I get his point. Agnostic/theist would probably be as good a way as any to describe me.

So I have a question for you Brian:

If agnosticism is essentially a tacit admission that one doesn't "know", then the corollary of that is that one is prepared to accept either answer to the question (in this case, the existence/non-existence of "god&quotEye-wink, depending on the evidence (if any). The corollary of that is that is that one feels that either answer might be the correct one, because if one outright rejects one or other of the answers, then one has ceased to be "agnostic"; from that point onward it must be assumed one has arrived at a conclusion.

So my question is: if you are an "agnostic", why do you take such a seemingly hard line on this issue?

In asking this, rest asssured that I'm not trying to pick a fight with you. As one of the "new guys" around here, I'm genuinely interesed in your answer to this. Please bear in mind that I am what Dawkins would call a "category three" theist, ("God Delusion", pg. 50--but you probably already know where that is). I do not wish to be confused with a creationist, because that would be annoying. Wink

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this and for your anticipated answer.


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Welcome to the forums,

Welcome to the forums, HoldMyHand!  I see you've already been posting over on the Atheist vs Theist forum.  Good for you!

We'd like to get to know you a little better. When you get a minute, we'd love it if you'd hop over to the General Conversation, Introductions and Humor forum and introduce yourself.

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HoldMyHand

HoldMyHand wrote:

Agnosticism is a refutation of gnosticism. It is not a middle ground. Strong agnosticism is beyond my comphrension. Lets believe that we know something about nothing. How the hell do you even come to this conclusion? Deism has more merit than this.

 

Strong agnosticism is beyond you comphrension. I categorise the forms of agnositicism the following way:

agnositicm (in general): Not knowing wether a divine being exsist

 

weak agnosticism: Not knowing it, because you are simply aware that you don't have that knowledge.

strong agnosticism: Not knowing it, and knowing or believing that you can't have such a knowledge at all.

ignosticism: Not having this knowledge and not caring to get it.

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GermanMike

GermanMike wrote:

Strong agnosticism is beyond you comphrension. I categorise the forms of agnositicism the following way:nd not caring to get it.

Ok. What is beyond my comprehension? Agnosticism fails


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Susan wrote: Welcome to the

Susan wrote:
Welcome to the forums, HoldMyHand! I see you've already been posting over on the Atheist vs Theist forum. Good for you! 

 What would you like to know?  


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In you first post you wrote

In you first post you wrote than strong agnosticism is beyond your comprehension. For this reason I told you how I would categorise several ways of agnostisism. I'm sorry that I didn't point out how you could come to the conclusion of strong agnosticism.

For some thousand years theists tried to come up with a sound prove of God. If they would have found one I bet they wouldn't hesitate to use it whenever they encounter an atheist. Instead they come up with those bad proves from creation and conscience - which actually prove nothing. On the other hand did philosophers tried to disprove the existence of divine beings without being able to do so.

They doesn't actually mean that you can't disprove Christianity - if you would be able to disprove Jesus existence the whole rest of the religion would tumble down. 

But it shows on the other hand that an ultimate disprove of a divine being hasn't been done before. This could lead us to view those tries to prove or to disprove God as an empirical study in which every single try failed. That doesn't give us 100% certainty that it will also fail in the future but it makes it pretty sure, if we keep again the amount of time in mind for which it had been tried.

Those considerations should actually lead someone to become a strong agnostic. 

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Agnosticism doesn't actually

Agnosticism doesn't actually answer the question asked.  If it were then answering I don't know to any game show question should result in me getting cash. 

Sounds made up...
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GermanMike wrote:

GermanMike wrote:

They doesn't actually mean that you can't disprove Christianity - if you would be able to disprove Jesus existence the whole rest of the religion would tumble down.

Most historians agree that a person named Jesus ben Joseph, from Nazareth, did in fact exist, based on extra-biblical writings from the Roman historians Josephus and Tacitus, although some dispute their writings as well. Jesus' supposed divinity? Well, that's another ballgame altogether.

A good analogy here is King Arthur. Most historians agree that a Breton general named Arthur rallied his fellow Bretons against the invading Saxons at the battle of Baden Hill and defeated them so thoroughly that it took them another 100 years or so to conquer the country. Arthurian legend is generally held to have sprung from this figure.

Another analogy is the plays of Shakespeare. The actual authorship of these plays has been disputed for years. But the fact remains: they're still pretty good.

Many of the sayings in the bible attributed to Jesus can stand on their own merits: "Do unto others.....etc." "Love your neighbor", "Forgive your enemies", and, my personal favorite: "Judge not lest ye be judged" (the fundies hate it when I rub that one in their faces). All these statements make perfect sense, irrespective of one's religious beliefs (or lack thereof), and even irrespective of whether or not it was Jesus who actually said those things.

So my point here is simply that one can believe in a historical figure named Jesus without entertaining the notion of his supposed divinity, and one can also find some value in the teachings attributed to him even if he himself is not the "author".

But your overall point is certainly quite valid. 


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GermanMike wrote: In you

GermanMike wrote:

In you first post you wrote than strong agnosticism is beyond your comprehension. For this reason I told you how I would categorise several ways of agnostisism. I'm sorry that I didn't point out how you could come to the conclusion of strong agnosticism.

It is impossible to come to the point of strong agnosticism. You must tell me how you know something about something. Strong agnosticism fails.


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HoldMyHand wrote: It is

HoldMyHand wrote:

It is impossible to come to the point of strong agnosticism. You must tell me how you know something about something. Strong agnosticism fails.

I'm a student of engineering and not of science.

At best I will explain it an example from my studies:

My math professor once showed us a hyperbolic cosine (you may look it up on wikipedia) formed jar and asked us the question:

"How would you find out in which heights the water level of 100 ml water would come to rest?"

my answer was:

"I would fill 100ml water in and make a mark where the water level comes to rest"

His actual intend was that someone would tell him how to solve that problem using integral calculus.

 

So while scientists want to find truth, engineers care to apply this findings to build something usefull. I would bet that Richard Dawkins would be somewhat insulted if you asked him for the use of his findings especially if you would imply that his findings just have worth on the base of their usefullness.

The pure engineer wouldn't even start to work, without having figured out what use his works would have.

e.g. At the moment I'm still a student and my appartment is to small for a cat. But as soon as finished it I want one. There is just one problem: I also want to travel and I'm sometimes forgetfull, to solve that problem I'm playing with the idea to build a feeding machine.

That's what destincts the pure scientist from the pure engineer. The scientist wants to study problems the engineer wants to solve them.

In other words: The pure scientist would find delight in studying the behaviour of a hungry cat.

Of course: Because both use very similar means to do their work any good scientist is also somewhat engineer and every good engineer is also to a certain degree scientist.

A real difference is how both regard empirical data. Another example: How to make good stones, which are unbreakable, heat-insulating and not too heavy.

The stone-engineer would take materials out of which stones are usually made and mix them with different percentages and measure the outcome each time. Eventually he would add new ingrediences and measure the effect they have on the outcome (quite evolutionary). In the end he would maintain that recipe for stone which had the best outcome. (There are elaborate ways to do those trial (empirical) studies.

For the scientist such an outcome would be deeply dissatisfying. Even if those stones would have excellent characteristics the scientist would also want to know why they have them.

 

Comeing back to strong agnosticism

For thousands of years philosphers and theologians tried to prove or disprove God(s). I never heard of any sound prove or disprove. Just imagine that people would have tried for thousands of years to build an efficient electric motor with a quadrangular armature and no try would have succeeded.

I bet you would be willing to say and hold the believe that there are no efficient electric motors with quadrangular armatures.

And the very same way I'm willing to say after it was tried for thousands of years to prove or disprove God that there is no prove or disprove for the general idea.

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GermanMike wrote: e.g. At

GermanMike wrote:

e.g. At the moment I'm still a student and my appartment is to small for a cat. But as soon as finished it I want one. There is just one problem: I also want to travel and I'm sometimes forgetfull, to solve that problem I'm playing with the idea to build a feeding machine.

That's what destincts the pure scientist from the pure engineer. The scientist wants to study problems the engineer wants to solve them.

Why recreate the wheel?  There are a number of automated pet feeding devices already available for purchase online and in retail stores near you.  Some have portion controls, others have timers for multiple food dispensations, while giving you a choice of the number of days you want to set.  Plan on spending anywhere from $50 - $140.00, depending upon the options each one has.

Sorry - did I just do to you what your math professor did to your class?  Tongue out

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Agnoticism is for people who

Agnoticism is for people who are too scared to reject god completely. That, or they humour the possibility that god exists, much like how an adult humours the possibility that Santa exists, when he finds a present under the tree which he did not place. Atheists completely reject god, because deep down they know that if god did exist, he wouldnt be sentient, he wouldnt care, and he certainly wouldnt contact us.

I'm infallible. I don't know why you can't remember that.


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GermanMike wrote:

HoldMyHand wrote:

It is impossible to come to the point of strong agnosticism. You must tell me how you know something about something. Strong agnosticism fails.

I'm a student of engineering and not of science.

At best I will explain it an example from my studies:

My math professor once showed us a hyperbolic cosine (you may look it up on wikipedia) formed jar and asked us the question:

"How would you find out in which heights the water level of 100 ml water would come to rest?"

my answer was:

"I would fill 100ml water in and make a mark where the water level comes to rest"

His actual intend was that someone would tell him how to solve that problem using integral calculus.

 

So while scientists want to find truth, engineers care to apply this findings to build something usefull. I would bet that Richard Dawkins would be somewhat insulted if you asked him for the use of his findings especially if you would imply that his findings just have worth on the base of their usefullness.

The pure engineer wouldn't even start to work, without having figured out what use his works would have.

e.g. At the moment I'm still a student and my appartment is to small for a cat. But as soon as finished it I want one. There is just one problem: I also want to travel and I'm sometimes forgetfull, to solve that problem I'm playing with the idea to build a feeding machine.

That's what destincts the pure scientist from the pure engineer. The scientist wants to study problems the engineer wants to solve them.

In other words: The pure scientist would find delight in studying the behaviour of a hungry cat.

Of course: Because both use very similar means to do their work any good scientist is also somewhat engineer and every good engineer is also to a certain degree scientist.

A real difference is how both regard empirical data. Another example: How to make good stones, which are unbreakable, heat-insulating and not too heavy.

The stone-engineer would take materials out of which stones are usually made and mix them with different percentages and measure the outcome each time. Eventually he would add new ingrediences and measure the effect they have on the outcome (quite evolutionary). In the end he would maintain that recipe for stone which had the best outcome. (There are elaborate ways to do those trial (empirical) studies.

For the scientist such an outcome would be deeply dissatisfying. Even if those stones would have excellent characteristics the scientist would also want to know why they have them.

 

Comeing back to strong agnosticism

For thousands of years philosphers and theologians tried to prove or disprove God(s). I never heard of any sound prove or disprove. Just imagine that people would have tried for thousands of years to build an efficient electric motor with a quadrangular armature and no try would have succeeded.

I bet you would be willing to say and hold the believe that there are no efficient electric motors with quadrangular armatures.

And the very same way I'm willing to say after it was tried for thousands of years to prove or disprove God that there is no prove or disprove for the general idea.

 

First off all - I never saw feeding machines in Germany before. And than it doesn't sound to hard to me to build one and while others like to build a model railway-system I could have fun building a feeding machine.

My math professor never did anything to the lessons I gave. He said that my idea is quite practicall but not what he looked for.

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GermanMike

GermanMike wrote:

 

First off all - I never saw feeding machines in Germany before. And than it doesn't sound to hard to me to build one and while others like to build a model railway-system I could have fun building a feeding machine.

My math professor never did anything to the lessons I gave. He said that my idea is quite practicall but not what he looked for.

I'd say, go for it, then! If you're finished with school and have time and find it enjoyable, it'd be a great thing for both you and your kitty.

I was a bit of a nerd when I was young. While other friends were buying computers from (at the time) Radio Shack, I was building my own out of spare parts, circuit boards, chips, transistors, and wires from a local computer manufacturer my friend's dad worked for. For me, I enjoyed the experience though the end result was far from a commercial product.

OK - I'm off topic, but wanted to suggest an alternative in case you didn't know about them.

 

[MOD EDIT - fixed quotes] 

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AngelEngine

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Agnoticism is for people who are too scared to reject god completely. That, or they humour the possibility that god exists, much like how an adult humours the possibility that Santa exists, when he finds a present under the tree which he did not place. Atheists completely reject god, because deep down they know that if god did exist, he wouldnt be sentient, he wouldnt care, and he certainly wouldnt contact us.

No, agnosticism is for people who understand that the existence/non-existence of God is unprovable either way. Therefore any statement made on this subject is based on conjecture, not fact. Therefore, both theism and atheism are based on speculation, irrespective of whether one is a theist or atheist. In both cases, one has merely formed an opinion; one cannot claim to "know". Hence, the term "agnostic". On this subject, agnosticism is the only "rational" position. Once you claim to "know" either way, you've moved into the realm of fallacy.

Interestingly, one cannot prove or disprove the existence of multiple universes either, and yet many serious scientists believe that they exist, also without any hard evidence. Clearly there is a place for speculation, provided that one understands that it is, indeed, speculation.

If one is going to discuss the unknowable, one must always allow a sandgrain of doubt into the oyster of one's belief.

 


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SPS wrote: No, agnosticism

SPS wrote:

No, agnosticism is for people who understand that the existence/non-existence of God is unprovable either way. Therefore any statement made on this subject is based on conjecture, not fact. Therefore, both theism and atheism are based on speculation, irrespective of whether one is a theist or atheist. In both cases, one has merely formed an opinion; one cannot claim to "know". Hence, the term "agnostic". On this subject, agnosticism is the only "rational" position. Once you claim to "know" either way, you've moved into the realm of fallacy.

No, god doesnt exist. Agnoticism is for people who are scared of that hypothetical scenario, where every man on earth dies except you, the repopulation of the earth is on your shoulders, but your balls rot off for some apparent reason. One cannot claim to "know" a rectanuglar cube. Yet, is there a possibility for one to exist somewhere in this vast universe? Agnoticism is the stance of neutrality, to avoid conflict. In a nutshell, this is how Agnoticism works.

a). Something could exist.

b). Something could not.

If Agnoticism truly is the most rational stance, agnoticism would be ideal for every hypothetical situation you ever head into.  Yet, in the end, you are only claiming ignorance. Even worse, Agnoticism is claiming that you cannot take a firm stance in the subject at hand. You end up not being able to side with either claim, since you humour the possibility of both. I mean, atleast the christians have chosen their path. 

Quote:
 

Interestingly, one cannot prove or disprove the existence of multiple universes either, and yet many serious scientists believe that they exist, also without any hard evidence. Clearly there is a place for speculation, provided that one understands that it is, indeed, speculation.

Speculation and agnoticism are completely different. To speculate, is to hold a stance, but ponder if there are other possible outcomes. Yet, agnoticism is claiming ignorance to both outcomes at the same time. In the case of multiple universes, we already know that this universe exists, but can also ponder at the same time, about other universes working in parallel to this one.

I'm infallible. I don't know why you can't remember that.


SPS
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AngelEngine wrote: SPS

AngelEngine wrote:
SPS wrote:

No, agnosticism is for people who understand that the existence/non-existence of God is unprovable either way. Therefore any statement made on this subject is based on conjecture, not fact. Therefore, both theism and atheism are based on speculation, irrespective of whether one is a theist or atheist. In both cases, one has merely formed an opinion; one cannot claim to "know". Hence, the term "agnostic". On this subject, agnosticism is the only "rational" position. Once you claim to "know" either way, you've moved into the realm of fallacy.

No, god doesnt exist.

A statement of opinion, not fact. Of course, you're entitled to your opinion, but you aren't entitled to claim it as fact unless you have proof, and in this case you don't.

One cannot claim to "know" a rectanuglar cube. Yet, is there a possibility for one to exist somewhere in this vast universe?

Who knows? Is there a possibility for God to exist in this vast universe? Again, who knows? I certainly don't claim to, and neither should you.


If Agnoticism truly is the most rational stance, agnoticism would be ideal for every hypothetical situation you ever head into. Yet, in the end, you are only claiming ignorance.

Which is the only stance one can take when one has no evidence one way or the other.

Even worse, Agnoticism is claiming that you cannot take a firm stance in the subject at hand.

One cannot take a firm stance either way. God's existence or non-existence are both unprovable.

You end up not being able to side with either claim, since you humour the possibility of both. I mean, at least the christians have chosen their path.

Yes, and we all know how insufferable they can be. When you claim (as you do) to know the unknowable, you become a mirror image of the fundamentalists, who also claim to "know" that their beliefs about god and the universe are the correct ones.

Quote:

Interestingly, one cannot prove or disprove the existence of multiple universes either, and yet many serious scientists believe that they exist, also without any hard evidence. Clearly there is a place for speculation, provided that one understands that it is, indeed, speculation.

Speculation and agnoticism are completely different. To speculate, is to hold a stance, but ponder if there are other possible outcomes. Yet, agnoticism is claiming ignorance to both outcomes at the same time.

You're bantering sematics here. This is not how most agnostics define their position. Most agnostics do indeed hold a stance one way or the other, but, as you yourself put it, ponder other possible outcomes.

In the case of multiple universes, we already know that this universe exists, but can also ponder at the same time, about other universes working in parallel to this one.

That doesn't change the fact that it's still speculation, no more. The fact that our universe exists in no way proves the existence of others. So it's the same in both cases. One can ponder the existence of God in much the same manner as one can ponder the existence of a multi-verse or the existence of life on other planets. None of these speculations is unreasonable.


AngelEngine
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SPS wrote: A statement of

SPS wrote:

A statement of opinion, not fact. Of course, you're entitled to your opinion, but you aren't entitled to claim it as fact unless you have proof, and in this case you don't.

I have no proof, for better or for worse. That is why i know god does not exist. The fact that no discernable proof, whatsoever exists, is proof enough. Again, i also do not believe in a rectangular cube. 99% of humanity would agree with me. Yet, with your logic, we should not discount the possibility.  Then, we can never be certain about anything, now can we? This would mean we must also teach in school, the existance of a flying teacup with wings orbiting the earth!

 

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Who knows? Is there a possibility for God to exist in this vast universe? Again, who knows? I certainly don't claim to, and neither should you.

I know. 

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Which is the only stance one can take when one has no evidence one way or the other.

That is exaclty my point. Agnoticism isnt a stance. youre being mediocre, which is the worst place to be. 

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One cannot take a firm stance either way. God's existence or non-existence are both unprovable.

The pope would beg to differ. And so would Richard Dawkins.  

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Yes, and we all know how insufferable they can be. When you claim (as you do) to know the unknowable, you become a mirror image of the fundamentalists, who also claim to "know" that their beliefs about god and the universe are the correct ones.

Atheists actually claim to not acknowledge anything to be true, without actual evidence to support it. This is why, if you ask an atheist whether a unicorn or a gremlin exists, he will answer no, to every single thing imaginable, that has no evidence to back it up. However, Christians, and religion in general, will say the same. They will deny everything, every absurd little thing, that has no evidence to support it, with the exception of one; god. This makes religion worse than Atheism, purely because Religion regards what they believe as absolute, while dismissing everything else as pure nonsense. Atheism rejects all, and does not bother cherry picking.

Quote:

You're bantering sematics here. This is not how most agnostics define their position. Most agnostics do indeed hold a stance one way or the other, but, as you yourself put it, ponder other possible outcomes.

If they hold a stance one way or the other, they no longer become agnostics. An athiest could still ponder what it would be like for a god to exist. However, this does not change him into an agnostic, or a religious person. Agnotisism is just that; the stance in which you take neither side. 

Quote:

That doesn't change the fact that it's still speculation, no more. The fact that our universe exists in no way proves the existence of others. So it's the same in both cases. One can ponder the existence of God in much the same manner as one can ponder the existence of a multi-verse or the existence of life on other planets. None of these speculations is unreasonable.

Exactly. Nothing is wrong with pondering, or idle speculation. However, agnoticism is saying that we speculate both sides of the argument. Where is your definitive stance on the subject at hand?  

I'm infallible. I don't know why you can't remember that.


Visual_Paradox
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Quote: No, agnosticism is

Quote:
No, agnosticism is for people who understand that the existence/non-existence of God is unprovable either way. Therefore any statement made on this subject is based on conjecture, not fact. Therefore, both theism and atheism are based on speculation, irrespective of whether one is a theist or atheist.


Your conclusion is a nonsequitur. Atheism, theism, gnosticism, and agnosticism are not exclusive terms. The position of the agnostic theist is based on speculation. The position of the agnostic atheist is not based on speculation (the position is essentially that speculation isn't good enough to warrant belief.) Your conclusion rests on a mischaracterization of agnosticism.

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No, god doesnt exist. Agnoticism is for people who are scared of that hypothetical scenario, where every man on earth dies except you, the repopulation of the earth is on your shoulders, but your balls rot off for some apparent reason. One cannot claim to "know" a rectanuglar cube. Yet, is there a possibility for one to exist somewhere in this vast universe? Agnoticism is the stance of neutrality, to avoid conflict.


Agnosticism is not for people scared of that hypothetical scenario. Brian Sapient is an agnostic atheist and he doesn't seem to be scared of the hypothetical scenario that god doesn't exist. I'm not an agnostic (if there isn't a god then agnosticism is a valid position but if there is one it could show evidence of itself at anytime and this would invalidate the agnostic position) but my position is fairly close to it (quasi-agnostic atheist) and I'm not afraid of that hypothetical scenario. Your conclusion rests on a mischaracterization of agnosticism.

You characterize all possible god concepts as involving contradictions. It seems to me that you consider only the omnimax gods as being relevant to the matter. Could you please explain how the deistic god is contradictory? Further, can you offer a proof the universe was not created by a conscious being?

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I have no proof, for better or for worse. That is why i know god does not exist. The fact that no discernable proof, whatsoever exists, is proof enough.


Argumentum ad ignorantium. Why should one expect evidence of a god if one did exist? It's quite simple to suppose that the universe was created in a manner that it's operation is self-sufficient and outside interference is unneeded (the position of Deists).

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Again, i also do not believe in a rectangular cube. 99% of humanity would agree with me. Yet, with your logic, we should not discount the possibility. Then, we can never be certain about anything, now can we? This would mean we must also teach in school, the existance of a flying teacup with wings orbiting the earth!


I fail to see how your conclusion could even conceivably be construed as following from your premises. Your conclusion is a nonsequitur.

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That is exaclty my point. Agnoticism isnt a stance. youre being mediocre, which is the worst place to be.


Agnosticism is a stance regarding epistemological questions.

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The pope would beg to differ. And so would Richard Dawkins.


Dawkins would not beg to differ that the existence or nonexistence of god couldn't be proven. Have you read the first (or is it the second?) chapter of "The God Delusion"? The Pope probably would beg to differ, but he's nuts.

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Atheists actually claim to not acknowledge anything to be true, without actual evidence to support it.


This is broadening the scope of atheism. Atheism is merely the lack of theism. Atheists can have very stupid reasons for believing things just as theists can.

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They [the religious] will deny everything, every absurd little thing [from gremlines to unicorns], that has no evidence to support it, with the exception of one; god.


The existence or nonexistence of unicorns and gremlins and all those other fairy tale characters makes no significant difference to how one understands the world. If you remove gremlins from the picture the universe doesn't become inexplicable to people. God, however, is different in that respect because many do see the removal of God from the picture as making the universe as inexplicable. You are using a false analogy fallacy.

Quote:
This makes religion worse than Atheism, purely because Religion regards what they believe as absolute, while dismissing everything else as pure nonsense. Atheism rejects all, and does not bother cherry picking.


You are equating atheism with irreligion but that isn't necessarily true. Buddhism, Taoism, Jainism, and so on are atheistic religions. You are also broadening the scope of atheism again.

Quote:
Agnotisism is just that; the stance in which you take neither side.


Please learn what agnosticism actually is. You are attacking a strawperson.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_atheism 

Stultior stulto fuisti, qui tabellis crederes!


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Visual_Paradox

Visual_Paradox wrote:

Quote:
No, agnosticism is for people who understand that the existence/non-existence of God is unprovable either way. Therefore any statement made on this subject is based on conjecture, not fact. Therefore, both theism and atheism are based on speculation, irrespective of whether one is a theist or atheist.


Your conclusion is a nonsequitur. Atheism, theism, gnosticism, and agnosticism are not exclusive terms. The position of the agnostic theist is based on speculation. The position of the agnostic atheist is not based on speculation (the position is essentially that speculation isn't good enough to warrant belief.) Your conclusion rests on a mischaracterization of agnosticism.

Visual Paradox: Just to be fair, the first quote was by me, not AngelEngine. All the rest are his.

I actually agree with most of what you say in the previous post, and a very well written one it was, I must add. I particularly liked your answer to the unicorn argument. Without griinding this into a fine powder, I think some of the disagreement simply comes about on how one chooses to define the word "agnostic".

That said, I merely believe that since we, as human beings, can never really "know" the answer to the god question, we are all "speculating" in one way or another. Yes, I realize there is little evidence to support the notion of god, particularly the forms of god that man has dreamt up over the years (Zeus, Thor, Jehovah, etc.) But that could also mean that if god does exist, humans have simply done a poor job of understanding the concept. Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence.  As you yourself pointed out, Deism, even if it is not correct, is at least not contradictory.

I have little patience with either religious fundies or hard core atheists, because both claim to "know" something about the nature of this universe that they can't possibly know. In this sense they are mirror images of each other (an assertion which gets me into hot water with both camps, I would add).


Visual_Paradox
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Quote: Visual Paradox: Just

Quote:
Visual Paradox: Just to be fair, the first quote was by me, not AngelEngine. All the rest are his.


True. I've picked up the bad habit of not entering "=name" in quote tags.

Quote:
I actually agree with most of what you say in the previous post, and a very well written one it was, I must add. I particularly liked your answer to the unicorn argument. But I think much of the disagreement comes about on how one chooses to define the word "agnostic".


Yes, there are many ways people define agnosticism. Some people define it as pertaining to belief rather than knowledge. This definition makes agnosticism completely pointless. One either believes (theism) or one does not (atheism), there is no middle-ground. You can't sort-of believe just as a woman cannot be sort-of pregnant. Properly understood, it pertains to knowledge or the lack thereof. Knowledge is what one might call a justified true belief. Gnosticism and Agnosticism, then, pertain to the matter of whether certain beliefs can be justified (on nonpragmatic grounds of course). The only thing that really irks me about the position of agnosticism is whether or not the position is to be understood as saying "one cannot have knowledge of the existence or nonexistence of a conscious creator of the universe" for the foreseeable future or permenantly.

Disregarding that, I think the term agnostic is rather unnecessary. The term more frequently confuses people about other people's positions rather than clarifying them. When it does clarify, it doesn't do so in any significant or meaningful way. I think "positive/negative atheism" and "theism" work just fine by themselves and the term "agnosticism" can drop dead.

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SPS wrote: That said, I

SPS wrote:

That said, I merely believe that since we, as human beings, can never really "know" the answer to the god question, we are all "speculating" in one way or another.

You are just not being brave. With our current knowledge it takes a "leap of faith" to believe and to speculate. There is no evidence to support a personal intervening god.

Quote:
Yes, I realize there is little evidence to support the notion of god, particularly the forms of god that man has dreamt up over the years (Zeus, Thor, Jehovah, etc.) But that could also mean that if god does exist, humans have simply done a poor job of understanding the concept.

Based on the evidence, how do you understand god?

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Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence.

Don't become a scientist with that point of view.

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As you yourself pointed out, Deism, even if it is not correct, is at least not contradictory.

IMO, deism holds weight. This weight does not support a personal, intelligent, nor moral god.

Quote:
I have little patience with either religious fundies or hard core atheists, because both claim to "know" something about the nature of this universe that they can't possibly know. In this sense they are mirror images of each other (an assertion which gets me into hot water with both camps, I would add).

I agree, but this new age, "militant" atheism is dying out...I hope since rational is taking over. If you want to believe in god, that is fine. Keep it out of my life and the public arena. Your god belongs in your house and your church, and that is all. Do not influence education or politics based on your god!


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Visual_Paradox wrote:

Visual_Paradox wrote:
Some people define it as pertaining to belief rather than knowledge. This definition makes agnosticism completely pointless. One either believes (theism) or one does not (atheism), there is no middle-ground.

According to this site deism = theism. Deists paved the way for atheists, but RRS believes deists are theist. *Puke* at this thought.

 

 

 


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Visual_Paradox

Visual_Paradox wrote:

Agnosticism is not for people scared of that hypothetical scenario. Brian Sapient is an agnostic atheist and he doesn't seem to be scared of the hypothetical scenario that god doesn't exist. I'm not an agnostic (if there isn't a god then agnosticism is a valid position but if there is one it could show evidence of itself at anytime and this would invalidate the agnostic position) but my position is fairly close to it (quasi-agnostic atheist) and I'm not afraid of that hypothetical scenario. Your conclusion rests on a mischaracterization of agnosticism.

My characterization of Agnoticism is the lack of knowledge, or rather the position claiming the lack of knowledge of god. Wiki states that agnosticism is usually defined as "an absence of knowledge (or any claim of knowledge)". Yes, i am completely mischaracterizing Agnoticism indeed.

Quote:
 

You characterize all possible god concepts as involving contradictions. It seems to me that you consider only the omnimax gods as being relevant to the matter. Could you please explain how the deistic god is contradictory? Further, can you offer a proof the universe was not created by a conscious being?

Again, i believe i answered this already. The fact that god cannot be proven, does not mean that god exists. Nor is the fact that the evidence for god creating this universe being non-existant. I do not cherry pick with things that have no evidence, and therefore "could" exist. I reject everything that has no shred of evidence to back it up. 

 

Quote:


Argumentum ad ignorantium. Why should one expect evidence of a god if one did exist? It's quite simple to suppose that the universe was created in a manner that it's operation is self-sufficient and outside interference is unneeded (the position of Deists).

Argument from ignorance. Just because a premise has not been disproved, does not mean it is true.  Its quite simple to suppose that the universe was created by a supreme god, and that we as humans were also created by god. Very easy. 


Quote:


I fail to see how your conclusion could even conceivably be construed as following from your premises. Your conclusion is a nonsequitur.

My remarck is a generalization on things that "could" exist, as opposed to "do" exist. If we cherry pick things that could possibly exist, as opposed to what dont, then there is no limit to what we could prove as a possibility. Both the rectangular cube and the flying teacup are things that could exist, but dont. Yet, both of them, by agnotist logic, should not be discounted as being real. 

Quote:


Dawkins would not beg to differ that the existence or nonexistence of god couldn't be proven. Have you read the first (or is it the second?) chapter of "The God Delusion"? The Pope probably would beg to differ, but he's nuts.

Meh, bad example. 


Quote:


This is broadening the scope of atheism. Atheism is merely the lack of theism. Atheists can have very stupid reasons for believing things just as theists can.

If we were talking about specifics, neither of us would be able to argue for, or against. There are always contradictions, even in atheism. I mean, look at the atheistic China. 

Quote:

The existence or nonexistence of unicorns and gremlins and all those other fairy tale characters makes no significant difference to how one understands the world. If you remove gremlins from the picture the universe doesn't become inexplicable to people. God, however, is different in that respect because many do see the removal of God from the picture as making the universe as inexplicable. You are using a false analogy fallacy.

Point of view. If a christian removes Vishnu from the pictuer of the universe, nothing changes. The same as if you remove Zues or chao hsi-hin, nothing changes. Yet, they are obviously important to someone else. No fallacy there, since both Vishnu and God are both important to someone. It would be arrogant to think that hinduism is lower than Christianity.

Though i do agree, that unicorns are not on the same level as god. However, the possibility that a religion could rely on unicorns as part of their religion, shows us that every single object that has never been proven to exist, is important to someone.

 

Quote:


You are equating atheism with irreligion but that isn't necessarily true. Buddhism, Taoism, Jainism, and so on are atheistic religions. You are also broadening the scope of atheism again.

Completely agree. However, for the sake of the argument, lets talk about the general atheist. 

Quote:


Please learn what agnosticism actually is. You are attacking a strawperson.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_atheism

 As opposed to:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnosticism

I'm infallible. I don't know why you can't remember that.


Visual_Paradox
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HoldMyHand wrote: According

HoldMyHand wrote:
According to this site deism = theism. Deists paved the way for atheists, but RRS believes deists are theist. *Puke* at this thought.


I don't recall the RRS saying Deism was equivalent to Theism.

AngelEngine wrote:
Visual_Paradox wrote:
AngelEngine wrote:
No, god doesnt exist. Agnoticism is for people who are scared of that hypothetical scenario, where every man on earth dies except you, the repopulation of the earth is on your shoulders, but your balls rot off for some apparent reason. One cannot claim to "know" a rectanuglar cube. Yet, is there a possibility for one to exist somewhere in this vast universe? Agnoticism is the stance of neutrality, to avoid conflict.


Agnosticism is not for people scared of that hypothetical scenario. Brian Sapient is an agnostic atheist and he doesn't seem to be scared of the hypothetical scenario that god doesn't exist. I'm not an agnostic (if there isn't a god then agnosticism is a valid position but if there is one it could show evidence of itself at anytime and this would invalidate the agnostic position) but my position is fairly close to it (quasi-agnostic atheist) and I'm not afraid of that hypothetical scenario. Your conclusion rests on a mischaracterization of agnosticism.


My characterization of Agnoticism is the lack of knowledge, or rather the position claiming the lack of knowledge of god. Wiki states that agnosticism is usually defined as "an absence of knowledge (or any claim of knowledge)". Yes, i am completely mischaracterizing Agnoticism indeed.


Your characterization of Agnosticism was not "the position claiming the lack of knowledge of god['s existence or nonexistence]" but, rather, "the position claiming the lack of knowledge of god['s existence or nonexistence] because one is afraid God might not exist." Your characterization went well beyond the definition of the term and how people use it.

Quote:
Again, i believe i answered this already. The fact that god cannot be proven, does not mean that god exists. Nor is the fact that the evidence for god creating this universe being non-existant. I do not cherry pick with things that have no evidence, and therefore "could" exist. I reject everything that has no shred of evidence to back it up.


I never argued here that a god does or does not exist. My point was that you truly have no foundation on which to conclude the universe was not created by a conscious entity. Furthermore, you dodged my question, "You characterize all possible god concepts as involving contradictions... Could you please explain how the deistic god is contradictory?"

AngelEngine wrote:
Visual_Paradox wrote:
Argumentum ad ignorantium. Why should one expect evidence of a god if one did exist? It's quite simple to suppose that the universe was created in a manner that it's operation is self-sufficient and outside interference is unneeded (the position of Deists).


Argument from ignorance. Just because a premise has not been disproved, does not mean it is true. Its quite simple to suppose that the universe was created by a supreme god, and that we as humans were also created by god. Very easy.


I didn't make an argument from ignorance. If you think I argued in favor of a god's existence then you're mistaken. (As I said, I'm an atheist.) My point was that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence if one would expect there to be no evidence. Do you agree or disagree? Further, you didn't answer my earlier question: "Why should one expect evidence of a god if one [such as the deistic god] did exist?"

AngelEngine wrote:
My remarck is a generalization on things that "could" exist, as opposed to "do" exist. If we cherry pick things that could possibly exist, as opposed to what dont, then there is no limit to what we could prove as a possibility. Both the rectangular cube and the flying teacup are things that could exist, but dont. Yet, both of them, by agnotist logic, should not be discounted as being real.


You don't know what agnostic logic is. Agnostics generally do not hold that contradictory objects (i.e. impossible objects) could exist. Please tell me how Brian Sapient (a self-avowed agnostic atheist) thinks impossible objects could be possible. You are broadening the scope of agnosticism for the purposes of creating strawperson arguments.

Furthermore, agnostics do not pretend that the flying teacup is something they're agnostic about. The notion of the universe coming into existence through the act of a conscious entity isn't remotely close to being analogous to a flying teacup or impossible objects. I know your remark was a generalization. My remark was that the generalization doesn't include the concept of a creator deity. Gremlines, unicorns, flying saucers, invisible dragons, and so forth are quite clearly not presented as creators of things and that without their existence those things might be inexplicable. The same cannot be said of a creator deity as far as most people are concerned so the generalization does not hold. "set{God} is analogous to set{gremlin, unicorn, invisible drag}" is an argument from false analogy.

AngelEngine wrote:
Visual_Paradox wrote:
AngelEngine wrote:
Atheists actually claim to not acknowledge anything to be true, without actual evidence to support it.
This is broadening the scope of atheism. Atheism is merely the lack of theism. Atheists can have very stupid reasons for believing things just as theists can.
If we were talking about specifics, neither of us would be able to argue for, or against. There are always contradictions, even in atheism. I mean, look at the atheistic China.


You presented something ("[the] claim to not acknowledge anything to be true, without actual evidence to support it&quotEye-wink as being a part of atheism. You argue it is a part of atheism but it may be contradicted in some cases. I'm arguing that it's not a part of atheism at all. You present atheism as if it were a philosophy that contained certain assertions. I'm saying that presenting atheism in such a way is wrong because it broadens the scope of atheism and atheism should not be understood in such a way.

AngelEngine wrote:
Visual_Paradox wrote:
AngelEngine wrote:
This makes religion worse than Atheism, purely because Religion regards what they believe as absolute, while dismissing everything else as pure nonsense. Atheism rejects all, and does not bother cherry picking.
You are equating atheism with irreligion but that isn't necessarily true. Buddhism, Taoism, Jainism, and so on are atheistic religions. You are also broadening the scope of atheism again.
Completely agree. However, for the sake of the argument, lets talk about the general atheist.


If you had said "this makes religion worse than the position of the irreligious atheist" I would've agreed but that isn't what you argued. One should not blur the line between discussing constituents of a set with the set as a whole.

AngelEngine wrote:
Visual_Paradox wrote:
AngelEngine wrote:
Agnotisism is just that; the stance in which you take neither side.
Please learn what agnosticism actually is. You are attacking a strawperson.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_atheism


As opposed to:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnosticism

?


No, not opposed to. I started with the "agnostic atheism" page because that was the most relevant chunk of information to this discussion, and it provided a link to the regular agnosticism page.

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AngelEngine
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Visual_Paradox wrote: Your

Visual_Paradox wrote:

Your characterization of Agnosticism was not "the position claiming the lack of knowledge of god['s existence or nonexistence]" but, rather, "the position claiming the lack of knowledge of god['s existence or nonexistence] because one is afraid God might not exist." Your characterization went well beyond the definition of the term and how people use it.

Actually, it was more along the lines of because one is afraid god might exist. Although the motive behind someone choosing to acknowledge that god might exist is many, all in all, it comes down to that. All this speak about hellfire, death, and general horribleness makes you think "shit, im so screwed if im wrong". And out of that fear, agnoticism was created. Why else would you accept such medieval nonsense? We might as well speculate whether unicorns exist.

 

Quote:

 I never argued here that a god does or does not exist. My point was that you truly have no foundation on which to conclude the universe was not created by a conscious entity. Furthermore, you dodged my question, "You characterize all possible god concepts as involving contradictions... Could you please explain how the deistic god is contradictory?"

Yes, and my response to your "no evidence that the universe was not created by a conscious entity" was that i reject everything that has not evidence for or against, whatsoever, and do not cherry pick these possibilities, stating that some could, but others cannot.

Also, i dunno where i wrote the deistic god is contrary. Can you please remind me where?

 

Quote:

 I didn't make an argument from ignorance. If you think I argued in favor of a god's existence then you're mistaken. (As I said, I'm an atheist.) My point was that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence if one would expect there to be no evidence. Do you agree or disagree? Further, you didn't answer my earlier question: "Why should one expect evidence of a god if one [such as the deistic god] did exist?"

Your "Why should one expect evidence of a god if one did exist?" Works both ways. By stating that, you are also stating the opposite, in which theists go under the premise of "someone who expects evidence for a god will receive it." That was what my argument from ignorance statement was about.

Anyways, i totaly agree. However, again, this works vice versa, where a theist can look under a rock and find evidence for gods existance.

Sorry, i thought that question was rhetorical. Anyways, here is my answer:

If god does exist, then he is not perfect.  If he is perfect, he didnt create the universe. If god exists, he does not have consciousness. If he does, he would not have emotions, and therefore no need to create a universe. 

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You don't know what agnostic logic is. Agnostics generally do not hold that contradictory objects (i.e. impossible objects) could exist. Please tell me how Brian Sapient (a self-avowed agnostic atheist) thinks impossible objects could be possible. You are broadening the scope of agnosticism for the purposes of creating strawperson arguments.

Agnostic logic is based on the fact that "god is incapable of proof, therefore there is no proof of god, and no way of knowing for sure". However, god is capable of proof, if he truly is all powerful. An agnostic atheist, takes the premise that the currently defined god from christianity and the other religions, for some reason or another, could not provide any proof for their existance, and therefore it is impossible to know whether they exist or not. But, they also choose not to believe god exists, unless shown otherwise. Yet, it is obvious that god in general, could easily provide evidence for its existance. Therefore, Agnoticism in general is pretty unreliable, and atheist agnostics are just atheists who, quite frankly, are afraid of the possibility of god existing, and trying to cover all bases just to be sure. And, that is what agnoticism is mainly about.

 Atheistic agnostics only acknowledge god, because of gods definition: All powerful. I mean, even if we didnt believe in a unicorn or a flying teacup, whos gonna punish us? Certainly not the unicorn, or the teacup. 

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Furthermore, agnostics do not pretend that the flying teacup is something they're agnostic about. The notion of the universe coming into existence through the act of a conscious entity isn't remotely close to being analogous to a flying teacup or impossible objects. I know your remark was a generalization. My remark was that the generalization doesn't include the concept of a creator deity. Gremlines, unicorns, flying saucers, invisible dragons, and so forth are quite clearly not presented as creators of things and that without their existence those things might be inexplicable. The same cannot be said of a creator deity as far as most people are concerned so the generalization does not hold. "set{God} is analogous to set{gremlin, unicorn, invisible drag}" is an argument from false analogy.

The notion of a universe coming to existance by a conscios entity, is quite frankly, possible. However, whether that entity is god, or simply a higher being(this is where we need to define the word "god), changes the whole thing entirely. I am not against the theory that a higher life form or intelligent being couldve created hte universe. However, i am against the theory that god created the universe.

My point was exaclty that. The reason agnostics do not acknowledge the existance of unicorns, but acknowledge the possible existance of god, is because they are partly afraid.

 I do not understand why the same thing cannot be said of other creators and deities, that other people believe in.

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You presented something ("[the] claim to not acknowledge anything to be true, without actual evidence to support it"Eye-wink as being a part of atheism. You argue it is a part of atheism but it may be contradicted in some cases. I'm arguing that it's not a part of atheism at all. You present atheism as if it were a philosophy that contained certain assertions. I'm saying that presenting atheism in such a way is wrong because it broadens the scope of atheism and atheism should not be understood in such a way.

I know there are beliefs that do not believe in deities. However, i am not discussing the merits of those atheistic beliefs. I am, for the sake of argument, using a generalized version. This is because, most people couple atheism with no religion, instead of acknowledging atheistm to be apart of some religions that simply do not hold a diety in place. And im debating from that point of view.

 

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If you had said "this makes religion worse than the position of the irreligious atheist" I would've agreed but that isn't what you argued. One should not blur the line between discussing constituents of a set with the set as a whole.
Sorry, bad wording. I wrote above, what the position i am inclined to be taking, is.

 

Quote:
No, not opposed to. I started with the "agnostic atheism" page because that was the most relevant chunk of information to this discussion, and it provided a link to the regular agnosticism page.
As opposed to normal agnoticism, where agnostic atheism stems from?

I'm infallible. I don't know why you can't remember that.


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Quote: Actually, it was

Quote:
Actually, it was more along the lines of because one is afraid god might exist. Although the motive behind someone choosing to acknowledge that god might exist is many, all in all, it comes down to that. All this speak about hellfire, death, and general horribleness makes you think "shit, im so screwed if im wrong". And out of that fear, agnoticism was created. Why else would you accept such medieval nonsense? We might as well speculate whether unicorns exist.


The reasoning I provided still holds, regardless of whether the statement was "is afraid god might exist" or "is afraid god might not exist." Thus spake Visual_Paradox, someone who would be called agnostic by most people, "Yahweh, Allah, Zarathustra, Invisible Pink Unicorn, and all the other hell-fire gods do not exist and have sex with sheep." Many agnostics consider those kinds of gods to be mere fictions and it's generally the deistic god concepts that remain as possibilities in their mind--the deistic gods are generally those thought to not have places like heaven or hell. Agnosticism has relatively nothing to do with hell and fear and cowardice, as you keep ranting on about. The matter is the limits of human knowledge on certain subjects.

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Yes, and my response to your "no evidence that the universe was not created by a conscious entity" was that i reject everything that has not evidence for or against, whatsoever, and do not cherry pick these possibilities, stating that some could, but others cannot.

Also, i dunno where i wrote the deistic god is contrary. Can you please remind me where?


There's no evidence of gravitons. Therefore gravitons don't exist. Therefore, string theory is false. Therefore, string theory experiments shouldn't be done with the new particle accelerator. There's no evidence of microbial life on Europa. Therefore, there is no microbial life on Europa. Therefore, we should never send probes to Europa to try finding microbial life on Europa. That form of reasoning is illogical.

The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, unless one expects there to be evidence already. With personal gods one would expect evidence to be in our possession, so the absence of evidence does constitute evidence for absence. However, with the deistic god concept one would not expect evidence to be in our possession, so the absence of evidence for a deistic god is not evidence of absence of the deistic god.

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Your "Why should one expect evidence of a god if one did exist?" Works both ways. By stating that, you are also stating the opposite, in which theists go under the premise of "someone who expects evidence for a god will receive it." That was what my argument from ignorance statement was about.


I never argued anything about "will receive" or "will not receive." I didn't even put forward an argument in the text you quoted (you acknowledge this later in your post). I don't understand the thought process involved here though. You seem to have taken a question, converted it to an argument, reversed the argument, added parts (will/won't receive) to the reversion, then said the reverse of that contorted reversion was argued in my question and therefore my question was an argument from ignorance. I'm getting a headache just trying to figure out the thought process involved. AngelEngine works in mysterious ways Eye-wink

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Sorry, i thought that question was rhetorical. Anyways, here is my answer:

If god does exist, then he is not perfect. If he is perfect, he didnt create the universe. If god exists, he does not have consciousness. If he does, he would not have emotions, and therefore no need to create a universe.


If (premise) god is conscious, (conclusion) he has no emotions. The conclusion does not follow from the premise.

Quote:
Agnostic logic is based on the fact that "god is incapable of proof, therefore there is no proof of god, and no way of knowing for sure". However, god is capable of proof, if he truly is all powerful. An agnostic atheist, takes the premise that the currently defined god from christianity and the other religions, for some reason or another, could not provide any proof for their existance, and therefore it is impossible to know whether they exist or not. But, they also choose not to believe god exists, unless shown otherwise. Yet, it is obvious that god in general, could easily provide evidence for its existance. Therefore, Agnoticism in general is pretty unreliable, and atheist agnostics are just atheists who, quite frankly, are afraid of the possibility of god existing, and trying to cover all bases just to be sure. And, that is what agnoticism is mainly about.

 Atheistic agnostics only acknowledge god, because of gods definition: All powerful. I mean, even if we didnt believe in a unicorn or a flying teacup, whos gonna punish us? Certainly not the unicorn, or the teacup.


You can strip the god concept of the notion of omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, and even the ability to make changes within the dimensions of space and time. Those qualities are completely irrelevant. The question is, "Was the universe created by a conscious entity?", not "Was the universe created by a conscious entity that is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, possessed emotions, and so on?".

Quite frankly, I could give a crap less about Christianity's concept of God, or Islam's, or of any religion that has gods like them. The only god concept I think has any plausibility to it is the Deistic god. The Deistic god is the only one that doesn't help push sheep through the fence. And I most certainly don't say the Deistic god has plausibility because it will burn me forever, the Deistic god doesn't care what I think.

Of course, I don't actually think gods exist and are screwing sheep but my point should be clear. The hellfire crap just does not scare me. Nor does it scare many agnostics. What the agnostics are concerned with is the limit of their knowledge (currently or permenantly) and the personal integrity of admitting that limit. That is what agnosticism is about.

Your "they're so afraid" argument is nothing more than an argumentum ad hominem attack on a strawperson.

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The notion of a universe coming to existance by a conscios entity, is quite frankly, possible. However, whether that entity is god, or simply a higher being(this is where we need to define the word "god), changes the whole thing entirely. I am not against the theory that a higher life form or intelligent being couldve created hte universe. However, i am against the theory that god created the universe.


The word "god" encompasses more concepts than only omnimax ones. I think you're just tapdancing around my arguments, to be frank.

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I know there are beliefs that do not believe in deities. However, i am not discussing the merits of those atheistic beliefs. I am, for the sake of argument, using a generalized version. This is because, most people couple atheism with no religion, instead of acknowledging atheistm to be apart of some religions that simply do not hold a diety in place. And im debating from that point of view.


Please stop generalizing atheism. If you generalize atheism as being irreligious, the religious will perpetuate that same generalization and the religious atheists will then be arguing that they're not atheists but "nontheists" even though there is no difference between a-theism and non-theism and then the English language gets twisted and contorted. Generalizations (stereotypes) have far-reaching implications.

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As opposed to normal agnoticism, where agnostic atheism stems from?


I said "not opposed to." Your question doesn't even relate to my position and the question itself doesn't make much sense.

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Visual_Paradox

Visual_Paradox wrote:
HoldMyHand wrote:
According to this site deism = theism. Deists paved the way for atheists, but RRS believes deists are theist. *Puke* at this thought.


I don't recall the RRS saying Deism was equivalent to Theism.

 Please!   This is too funny.....*sigh*


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Are you trying to argue that

Are you trying to argue that I do recall RRS doing that? Do you think you know my mind better than I do? Please provide evidence that the RRS has equivocated deism and theism.

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Visual_Paradox wrote:

Visual_Paradox wrote:
Are you trying to argue that I do recall RRS doing that? Do you think you know my mind better than I do? Please provide evidence that the RRS has equivocated deism and theism.

I am operating under a false pretense. Yes, this site equated deism with theism. Ask deviant.

RRS has the historical documentation, along with threatening me for visiting their website again in the name of the flying spaghetti monster.

Please sue me.

 

 

 


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Brian, Sue ME!!!!!!!!!! 

Brian,

Sue ME!!!!!!!!!! 


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Visual_Paradox wrote: The

Visual_Paradox wrote:


The reasoning I provided still holds, regardless of whether the statement was "is afraid god might exist" or "is afraid god might not exist." Thus spake Visual_Paradox, someone who would be called agnostic by most people, "Yahweh, Allah, Zarathustra, Invisible Pink Unicorn, and all the other hell-fire gods do not exist and have sex with sheep." Many agnostics consider those kinds of gods to be mere fictions and it's generally the deistic god concepts that remain as possibilities in their mind--the deistic gods are generally those thought to not have places like heaven or hell. Agnosticism has relatively nothing to do with hell and fear and cowardice, as you keep ranting on about. The matter is the limits of human knowledge on certain subjects.

Well, if god is really stupid enough to meddle in the creation of the universe, what makes you think hes smart enough to stay out of ours? This is why if god really does exist, and he is perfect, he did not create the universe, nor did he meddle in its existance. 

 

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There's no evidence of gravitons. Therefore gravitons don't exist. Therefore, string theory is false. Therefore, string theory experiments shouldn't be done with the new particle accelerator. There's no evidence of microbial life on Europa. Therefore, there is no microbial life on Europa. Therefore, we should never send probes to Europa to try finding microbial life on Europa. That form of reasoning is illogical.

You are badgering between the lines of Reasonable logical arguments, and complete shittery. The fact that the string theory was based on something that is completely testable, i.e. the particle accelerator, shows us that there exists a method where we can confirm our theories.

There may not be life on europa. However, the probe sent to europa, was to confirm whether or not life did infact exist. If a person who believes in god, could prove god exists, im sure hed be all over it. Yet, no one has come forth.

Now, if the probe sent to europa, came back with NO evidence of life, we would reject that hypothesis and accept the Null. Science works! 

Quote:


The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, unless one expects there to be evidence already. With personal gods one would expect evidence to be in our possession, so the absence of evidence does constitute evidence for absence. However, with the deistic god concept one would not expect evidence to be in our possession, so the absence of evidence for a deistic god is not evidence of absence of the deistic god.

The fact that evidence can later, or eventually be examined, is evidence to temporarily believe in something. The europa thing, is an example of proving whether or not your hypothesis was correct. However, if there was a test to see god exists, im sure someone wouldve done it years ago. And, thus far, no one has stepped up, providing proper proof, or even an outline of tests to prove his existance. 

And again, a god who is all powerful and perfect, would not create the universe. Therefore, if god was stupid enough to create the universe, he would be stupid enough to meddle in it.  

Quote:


I never argued anything about "will receive" or "will not receive." I didn't even put forward an argument in the text you quoted (you acknowledge this later in your post). I don't understand the thought process involved here though. You seem to have taken a question, converted it to an argument, reversed the argument, added parts (will/won't receive) to the reversion, then said the reverse of that contorted reversion was argued in my question and therefore my question was an argument from ignorance. I'm getting a headache just trying to figure out the thought process involved. AngelEngine works in mysterious ways Eye-wink

Interesting, huh?


Quote:


If (premise) god is conscious, (conclusion) he has no emotions. The conclusion does not follow from the premise.

A conscious being can have no emotions. It is possible for someone to have consciousness, but at the same time, reject all emotions. Havent you seen Star Trek?

 

Quote:



You can strip the god concept of the notion of omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, and even the ability to make changes within the dimensions of space and time. Those qualities are completely irrelevant. The question is, "Was the universe created by a conscious entity?", not "Was the universe created by a conscious entity that is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, possessed emotions, and so on?".

Well, if the universe really was created by a conscious entity... Well, it could just be aliens with highly advanced technogoly. However, could we really call them god? Does a snail call us god?

Quote:
 

Quite frankly, I could give a crap less about Christianity's concept of God, or Islam's, or of any religion that has gods like them. The only god concept I think has any plausibility to it is the Deistic god. The Deistic god is the only one that doesn't help push sheep through the fence. And I most certainly don't say the Deistic god has plausibility because it will burn me forever, the Deistic god doesn't care what I think.

If this deistic god happens to have the power to create the universe, well, hes got quite alot of power then. However, if this god had motive enough to create the universe, what makes you think he doesnt meddle with it? This deistic god, obviously has:

A). The ability to change energy into matter, and vice versa. This would mean he can create anything he wanted, or atleast the basic molecules.

B). Lives outside space time, which means he can be anywhere and everywhere at once.

C). For some unknown reason, had motive enough to spend a ton of energy creating our universe.

Now, A would mean hes capable of proof, B would mean hes capable of coming here, and C would mean hes capable of meddling with our affairs. 

Quote:
 

Of course, I don't actually think gods exist and are screwing sheep but my point should be clear. The hellfire crap just does not scare me. Nor does it scare many agnostics. What the agnostics are concerned with is the limit of their knowledge (currently or permenantly) and the personal integrity of admitting that limit. That is what agnosticism is about.

It doesnt scare me either. Thats why i am an atheist. However, you are not an agnostic atheist, are you not? Then, how could you possibly understand the reason behind agnostic atheists?

Ive heard many times from christians, that they "know" that Jesus exists, and that they cannot explain it, but if I became a christian, i would understand. Of course, i rejected them, but that brings up an interesting note. Much like how Christians "know" god exists, atheists "know" God does not. Yet, Agnostics acknowledge that both of these are based on faith, and that either has the chance to be wrong. And, if theyre wrong about atheism, nothing happens. However, if theyre wrong about christianity, something does happen. And screwed they are. 

Quote:
 

Your "they're so afraid" argument is nothing more than an argumentum ad hominem attack on a strawperson.

This goes lower than your simple psyche, and shows just how much grasp religion has. I know, it sounds like ad hominem, but in reality, its just fear. The same thing that compells you not to step infront of a moving train, compells you not to acknowledge the fact that god might exist, and you will burn for it. Its just the human psyche.

Quote:


The word "god" encompasses more concepts than only omnimax ones. I think you're just tapdancing around my arguments, to be frank.
Thats why i said we should define the word "god" for future references.

Quote:

Please stop generalizing atheism. If you generalize atheism as being irreligious, the religious will perpetuate that same generalization and the religious atheists will then be arguing that they're not atheists but "nontheists" even though there is no difference between a-theism and non-theism and then the English language gets twisted and contorted. Generalizations (stereotypes) have far-reaching implications.

The religious theists already generalize us according to what ive already stated. Do you know how many creationists ive told, that the BIG BANG theory is not a part of Evolution? That abiogenesis is not apart of evolution? Yet, they just dont listen, and keep on coming. This is why an evolutionist should be prepared to counter these arguments, even if theyre not on his feild. 

This is how a creationist wins an argument, by generalizing and casting doubt on the generalization. However, can we win by simply addressing the specifics instead of the generalization? What will outsiders think of this? Most people with half a brain would think "hmm, big bang, evolution, theyre all the same science, right?" 

Quote:


I said "not opposed to." Your question doesn't even relate to my position and the question itself doesn't make much sense.

Yes, and i said, "as opposed to". Looks like we have a conflict of interest here. 

I'm infallible. I don't know why you can't remember that.


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Quote: Well, if god is

Quote:
Well, if god is really stupid enough to meddle in the creation of the universe, what makes you think hes smart enough to stay out of ours? This is why if god really does exist, and he is perfect, he did not create the universe, nor did he meddle in its existance.


If a god meddles in the creation of the universe, the god is stupid? Your conclusion is a nonsequitur.

Quote:
You are badgering between the lines of Reasonable logical arguments, and complete shittery. The fact that the string theory was based on something that is completely testable, i.e. the particle accelerator, shows us that there exists a method where we can confirm our theories.

There may not be life on europa. However, the probe sent to europa, was to confirm whether or not life did infact exist. If a person who believes in god, could prove god exists, im sure hed be all over it. Yet, no one has come forth.

Now, if the probe sent to europa, came back with NO evidence of life, we would reject that hypothesis and accept the Null. Science works!


You seem to have completely missed my point. The acceptance of the null position occurs only after one has sought evidence and at that point would expect to have evidence of the apparently validity of the hypothesis. If something is not expected to present evidence, the "absence of evidence is evidence of evidence" reasoning does not hold.

Quote:
The fact that evidence can later, or eventually be examined, is evidence to temporarily believe in something. The europa thing, is an example of proving whether or not your hypothesis was correct. However, if there was a test to see god exists, im sure someone wouldve done it years ago. And, thus far, no one has stepped up, providing proper proof, or even an outline of tests to prove his existance. 

And again, a god who is all powerful and perfect, would not create the universe. Therefore, if god was stupid enough to create the universe, he would be stupid enough to meddle in it.


The fact that evidence can later or eventually be examined is evidence to temporarily believe in something? No. Evidence could later or eventually be examined that I'm standing outside your window with an "Introduction to Logic" book. Is that evidence you should temporarily believe I could be at your window?

You argued that if (premise) god was stupid enough to create the universe, (conclusion) he would be stupid enough to meddle in it. Your conclusion does not follow from the premise, and is thus a nonsequitur.

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
If god does exist, then he is not perfect. If he is perfect, he didnt create the universe. If god exists, he does not have consciousness. If he does, he would not have emotions, and therefore no need to create a universe.
If (premise) god is conscious, (conclusion) he has no emotions. The conclusion does not follow from the premise.
A conscious being can have no emotions. It is possible for someone to have consciousness, but at the same time, reject all emotions. Havent you seen Star Trek?


You argued "[god] has no emotions" if your premise is true, not that "[god] could have no emotions." Obviously, "could have no emotions" and "does not have emotions" are different. Quit tapdancing.

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Well, if the universe really was created by a conscious entity... Well, it could just be aliens with highly advanced technogoly. However, could we really call them god? Does a snail call us god?


Highly advanced extraterrestrials in another universe or plane of existence sounds similar enough to the god concept proposed by theists/deists so it can be called a god in the context of this discussion.

Quote:
If this deistic god happens to have the power to create the universe, well, hes got quite alot of power then. However, if this god had motive enough to create the universe, what makes you think he doesnt meddle with it?


Any number of possible explanations could be offered. God could be running an experiment--such as how things would develop moral systems, intellectual systems, cultures, and so on--where the results of the experiment depend upon the subjects of the experiment not having knowledge of the existence of the experimenter.

Quote:
This deistic god, obviously has:

A). The ability to change energy into matter, and vice versa. This would mean he can create anything he wanted, or atleast the basic molecules.

B). Lives outside space time, which means he can be anywhere and everywhere at once.

C). For some unknown reason, had motive enough to spend a ton of energy creating our universe.

Now, A would mean hes capable of proof, B would mean hes capable of coming here, and C would mean hes capable of meddling with our affairs.


"Capable" does not equal "shall."

Quote:
It doesnt scare me either. Thats why i am an atheist. However, you are not an agnostic atheist, are you not? Then, how could you possibly understand the reason behind agnostic atheists?


If (premise) you are an agnostic atheist, (conclusion) you cannot understand the reasoning behind agnostic atheism. Your conclusion is a nonsequitur. You may as well argue, "you develop websites, so how could you possibly understand the reasoning behind the design of a website?" You, my friend, are an atheist so could you possibly understand the reason behind atheism? The very form of the reasoning presented in these questions (your's especially) is silly.

Quote:
Ive heard many times from christians, that they "know" that Jesus exists, and that they cannot explain it, but if I became a christian, i would understand. Of course, i rejected them, but that brings up an interesting note. Much like how Christians "know" god exists, atheists "know" God does not. Yet, Agnostics acknowledge that both of these are based on faith, and that either has the chance to be wrong. And, if theyre wrong about atheism, nothing happens. However, if theyre wrong about christianity, something does happen. And screwed they are.


You seem obsessed with Christianity. It almost seems as if you're psychologically projecting your own fears onto agnosticism just as the cheating boyfriend psychologically projects cheating to his girlfriend(s). Is there something that you don't understand here? I, as an agnostic, don't give a crap about Christianity, Islam, or any other hell-fire gods. They are nonsense. You keep beating that strawperson, it'll yell out in pain if you keep striking it.

Quote:
This goes lower than your simple psyche, and shows just how much grasp religion has. I know, it sounds like ad hominem, but in reality, its just fear. The same thing that compells you not to step infront of a moving train, compells you not to acknowledge the fact that god might exist, and you will burn for it. Its just the human psyche.


"Ouch!" said the scarecrow.

Quote:
The religious theists already generalize us according to what ive already stated. Do you know how many creationists ive told, that the BIG BANG theory is not a part of Evolution? That abiogenesis is not apart of evolution? Yet, they just dont listen, and keep on coming. This is why an evolutionist should be prepared to counter these arguments, even if theyre not on his feild. 

This is how a creationist wins an argument, by generalizing and casting doubt on the generalization. However, can we win by simply addressing the specifics instead of the generalization? What will outsiders think of this? Most people with half a brain would think "hmm, big bang, evolution, theyre all the same science, right?"


Red herring.

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Visual_Paradox wrote: Yes,

Visual_Paradox wrote:


Yes, there are many ways people define agnosticism. Some people define it as pertaining to belief rather than knowledge. This definition makes agnosticism completely pointless. One either believes (theism) or one does not (atheism), there is no middle-ground. You can't sort-of believe just as a woman cannot be sort-of pregnant. Properly understood, it pertains to knowledge or the lack thereof. Knowledge is what one might call a justified true belief.

Agreed. So from a belief perspective, I fall into the theist camp. I do believe in a higher power of some kind, for various and sundry reasons that I won't elaborate on here, except to say that a Deistic god makes sense to me, in much the same way as the theories of evolution and the big bang make sense to me. I've never seen them as mutually exclusive.

But from the knowledge perspective, I cannot claim to "know" the nature of this higher power, nor can I even "know" for certain that he/she/it even exists. So in this respect I am what Dawkins would call a "category three theist" (pf. 50-something, "The God Delusion".)

Of all the silly "disciplines" that man has dreamed up out of nothing, "theology" has to be right up at the top of the list. Theology is defined as "the study of god". But if god is unknowable (as most religions maintain) how can man study him/her/it? One of the things I always found paradoxical, even as a child, was that the nuns would tell me that god was unknowable, and then proceed to tell me everything they knew about god! The inevitable questions from an unusually inquisitive child (me) were not well received.

As I've stated elsewhere, four years at a catholic college did more to finally beat the catholicism out of me than anything Brian Sapient or Richard Dawkins could have said. But after I got done shedding the mantles and trappings of catholicism (and all organized religion, for that matter), I was still left with a belief in a higher power. It is not a belief that I insist others follow, and I agree that religion should be kept out of politics and public education.

But I remain as mystified by those who say they "know" there is no god as I do by those who say they "know" god's will.

Oh, and by the way, Visual_Paradox, I must say that you have shown admirable restraint in your recent back and forth with another poster to this thread. I just let it go because I knew I wouldn't be as patient as you have. Wink


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Agnosticism is dead. I do

Agnosticism is dead. I do not know how to reconcile agnosticism with empirics.

Side note: There is no evidence to support a personal faith.

Side note: Atheism believes in a closed universe, in which matter and energy has always existed.

As much as the RRS wants to associated deism with theism, they cannot. I do not understand their threat against deism. It has been progressive. A personal faith in god does not equate to deism. This is absurd.

Atheism cannot disprove deism. Agnosticism goes unsupported as well.

 


Visual_Paradox
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SPS wrote:Agreed. So from

SPS wrote:
Agreed. So from a belief perspective, I fall into the theist camp. I do believe in a higher power of some kind, for various and sundry reasons that I won't elaborate on here, except to say that a Deistic god makes sense to me, in much the same way as the theories of evolution and the big bang make sense to me. I've never seen them as mutually exclusive. 

But from the knowledge perspective, I cannot claim to "know" the nature of this higher power, nor can I even "know" for certain that he/she/it even exists. So in this respect I am what Dawkins would call a "category three theist" (pf. 50-something, "The God Delusion".)


Yes, you would seem to be a category three theist according to Dawkins ("The God Delusion" p. 50-51).

I don't consider Dawkin's categorization scheme valid though.There are three major problems with the categorization scheme: (1) the issue is not whether god exists but whether the universe was created by something we might call a god; (2) it assumes human judgments consist of assigning probabilities on the matter and seems to assume that nobody avoids assigning probabilities; and (3) he seems to confuse the definitions of theism and atheism.

The first problem may not seem like a problem until we consider some possible positions that people might have. How would one categorize "A supreme being called god does exist but the first (only?) universe came about through naturalistic means and god was produced by the forces of nature." (The Babylonians who wrote the Enuma Elish might fit into this category. I'm not quite sure of the specifics of that theology but it seems rather close.) Where on Dawkins' spectrum would that position be placed? Strong theist. Is it appropriate, though, to call such a person a strong theist when the person thinks this universe, the first universe, was created through naturalistic means? Another position that leads to confusion is, "A supreme being called god created this universe but the god died in the process." I would call that a theistic or deistic position, not an atheistic one, but it is a strong-atheist position in Dawkin's categorization scheme.

The second problem is that of assigning probabilities. I don't assign probabilities to the existence or nonexistence of god. What inductive or deductive reasoning could be provided to say "There is a 27% probability that God created this universe," for example? I might view both explanations as possibilities but that doesn't mean that I think both possibilities are of a 50% probability, I have no way of knowing if the probabilities for them are 50%. It seems as though I would be kicked off Dawkins' spectrum. That seems utterly bizarre, to say the least.

The third problem stems from confusing theism and atheism. Earlier I spoke of how theism (I'll include Deism, Pantheism, etc. under this umbrella term) and atheism are all-encompassing terms. If you don't fit in one category, you automatically fall into the other. You cannot "sort of" believe just as a woman cannot be "sort of" pregnant. Look at Dawkins' fourth category: "Exactly 50 per cent. Completely impartial agnostic. 'God's existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.'" This group would qualify as either theistic (I have faith there is a god despite that position's equiprobability) or atheistic (equiprobability does not justify believing the universe was created by a god so I don't have that belief.) Dawkins seems to ignore theism and atheism in this category and makes agnosticism a position of "sort of" believing, which doesn't make sense. (I would also question whether it is completely impartial to assign probabilities, but that's beside the point.)

SPS wrote:
Of all the silly "disciplines" that man has dreamed up out of nothing, "theology" has to be right up at the top of the list. Theology is defined as "the study of god". But if god is unknowable (as most religions maintain) how can man study him/her/it? One of the things I always found paradoxical, even as a child, was that the nuns would tell me that god was unknowable, and then proceed to tell me everything they knew about god! The inevitable questions from an unusually inquisitive child (me) were not well received.


I agree that theology seems like a silly discipline.

 (Edit) That didn't come out right. I think the study of theology is kind of interesting in the sense that you can try to learn the mindset of the people involved in creating, molding, or perpetuating these theologies. Knowledge of the theologies people had in those cultures is in itself fascinating. When I said "theology seems like a silly discipline" I meant studying it for the reason of trying to build your worldview around it, or to inform the credulous of what they missed and need to also believe, trying to find hidden parts of your own faith, etc. seems like a silly discipline. (End Edit)

I also find the "God is unknowable" claim paradoxical. One you say that, you've destroyed any foundation there might've been for your claims that "God is Good," or "God is Omnibenevolent," or "God will reward the faithful," or "God will punish the unfaithful." How do you know the unknowable? You don't. If you admit you know nothing of Yahweh, you must also admit you know nothing of whether Yahweh will keep his promise of rewarding the faithful and punishing the unfaithful. Once you admit that, Pascal's Wager crumbles to the floor. The premises that Pascal's Wager is based upon were practically the only pragmatic reasons people had for belief. Most of them will admit there is no evidential, inductive, or deductive reasons for believing in a god because faith would be unnecessary if there were any of those things. So, now they have essentially said there is no evidential, inductive, deductive, or pragmatic reasons for believing. That, obviously, raises the question: why believe in your theology at all? Knowing the superb ability for theologians to tapdance around arguments, there response would probably be, "There are pragmatic reasons for believing there are pragmatic reasons to believe in the theology." I would respond, "There's pragmatic, inductive, and evidential reasons to think your position is nuts." Then, of due course, the transcendental argument will be made, and yada yada yada. I'm sure you know the routine.

Quote:
As I've stated elsewhere, four years at a catholic college did more to finally beat the catholicism out of me than anything Brian Sapient or Richard Dawkins could have said. But after I got done shedding the mantles and trappings of catholicism (and all organized religion, for that matter), I was still left with a belief in a higher power. It is not a belief that I insist others follow, and I agree that religion should be kept out of politics and public education.


I think my biggest influences were Baron d'Holbach, Robert G. Ingersoll, and Woolsey Teller.

SPS wrote:
But I remain as mystified by those who say they "know" there is no god as I do by those who say they "know" god's will.


I agree completely.

SPS wrote:
Oh, and by the way, Visual_Paradox, I must say that you have shown admirable restraint in your recent back and forth with another poster to this thread. I just let it go because I knew I wouldn't be as patient as you have. Eye-wink


Thank you Smiling

HoldMyHand wrote:
Agnosticism is dead. I do not know how to reconcile agnosticism with empirics.


There is no empirical evidence of the universe being created by a god. There is no need to reconcile agnosticism with empirics if there isn't any empirics to reconcile with. Furthermore, not by any stretching of the imagination is agnosticism dead.

HoldMyHand wrote:
Side note: There is no evidence to support a personal faith.


I would say Deism is a personal faith. There is no proof the universe was created by a god. Deists are either misunderstanding some arguments (thinking they're conclusive when they're not) or they do understand the situation but are making an assumption on the matter, which could be called a personal faith in the truth of a certain proposition.

HoldMyHand wrote:
Side note: Atheism believes in a closed universe, in which matter and energy has always existed.


The constituents of the "atheism" category may or may not believe that, but the category itself says nothing on the subject.

HoldMyHand wrote:
As much as the RRS wants to associated deism with theism, they cannot. I do not understand their threat against deism. It has been progressive. A personal faith in god does not equate to deism. This is absurd.


In my mind, theism is merely the position of having a belief that the universe was created by a conscious entity or that the universe itself is a conscious entity that causes things within the universe to begin existing. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Bahai, Pantheism, Polytheism, Deism, etc. are all subcategories of theism.

HoldMyHand wrote:
Atheism cannot disprove deism. Agnosticism goes unsupported as well.


Atheism also cannot disprove the existence of invisible fire-breathing dragons in your basement. So what? Atheists are generally people who say "I haven't been provided with a reason that is good enough to justify believing the universe was created by a conscious entity." Those who propose that the universe was created by a conscious entity have a burden of supporting that proposition.

Think of a court trial. In a court trial there are prosecutors who say "this entity (John Doe) existed at this time and caused some event (murder) through some means (strangulation)." The prosecutor has a burden of supporting that proposition to a degree that would justify the jury's acceptance of that proposition. The deists or theists are the prosecutors in the theology trial. They say "this entity (God) existed at this time (time=0) and caused some event (creation of universe) through some means (speaking or some unknown means)." The atheists who haven't accepted the proposition (or the counter-proposition) are the jury. The jury has no obligation to disprove the prosecutor. If the prosecutor doesn't make a strong enough case for his or her position, the jury is justified in continuing to not accept it.

The strong-atheists, or positive-atheists, would also be considered prosecutors. They are saying "this entity (vacuum or components of multiverse or whatever the case may be) existed at this time (time=0) and caused some event (universe to begin existing) through some means (fluctuations in vacuum, collision of 11-dimensional membranes, whatever the case may be)." The prosecutor has a burden of supporting that proposition to a degree that would justify the jury's acceptance of that proposition. The atheists who haven't accepted the proposition (or the counter-proposition) are the jury. The jury has no obligation to disprove the prosecutor. If the prosecutor doesn't make a strong enough case for his or her position, the jury is justified in continuing to not accept it.

I am an agnostic atheist. I am a jury member of this theological trial. The theists (Christians, Islamists, Judaists, Deists, Pantheists, etc.) have yet to make their case strong enough to justify my acceptance of it, and the strong-atheists have also not made their case strong enough to justify my acceptance of it. I'm not obligated to disprove Deism, nor am I obligated to disprove Pantheism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, nor am I obligated to disprove vacuum fluctuations, 11-dimensional membrane collisions, and so on.

That's how the burden of proof works.

Stultior stulto fuisti, qui tabellis crederes!


SPS
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Visual_Paradox

Visual_Paradox wrote:


Atheism also cannot disprove the existence of invisible fire-breathing dragons in your basement. So what?

I was a little suprised to see you use this argument, as you write elsewhere:

"Furthermore, agnostics do not pretend that the flying teacup is something they're agnostic about. The notion of the universe coming into existence through the act of a conscious entity isn't remotely close to being analogous to a flying teacup or impossible objects. I know your remark was a generalization. My remark was that the generalization doesn't include the concept of a creator deity. Gremlines, unicorns, flying saucers, invisible dragons, and so forth are quite clearly not presented as creators of things and that without their existence those things might be inexplicable. The same cannot be said of a creator deity as far as most people are concerned so the generalization does not hold. "set{God} is analogous to set{gremlin, unicorn, invisible drag}" is an argument from false analogy."

This is one of the best answers to that tiresome flying spaghetti monster arguement I have ever read. So why the "fire-breathing" dragon scenario here? Am I perhaps missing your point here? This is not an attack, merely a request for clarification. Smile

Visual_Paradox wrote:
Think of a court trial. (snip for brevity) The deists or theists are the prosecutors in the theology trial. (snip for brevity) The strong-atheists, or positive-atheists, would also be considered prosecutors. (snip for brevity)The atheists who haven't accepted the proposition (or the counter-proposition) are the jury.

I am an agnostic atheist. I am a jury member of this theological trial. The theists (Christians, Islamists, Judaists, Deists, Pantheists, etc.) have yet to make their case strong enough to justify my acceptance of it, and the strong-atheists have also not made their case strong enough to justify my acceptance of it. I'm not obligated to disprove Deism, nor am I obligated to disprove Pantheism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, nor am I obligated to disprove vacuum fluctuations, 11-dimensional membrane collisions, and so on.

That's how the burden of proof works.

A very good analogy, and one I think I could expand on. To combine your analogy with Dawkins hierarchy of theism/atheism, I think the jury box is large enough to hold category 3's, 4's and 5's. The category 1's and 7's would be the lead prosecutors, with 2's and 6's being second chairs.

The only problem with this trial is that it would always result in hung jury! Wink Excellent post, btw. Be well.


Visual_Paradox
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That does appear to be

That does appear to be contradictory, but it's not Smiling

My earlier argument was that set{God} isn't analogous to set{gremlins, unicorns, invisible dragons} because the constituents of the second set are easily shown to be products of human imagination and there's no apparent allusion to their existence in nature but that isn't true with the constituent(s) of the first set. Think about the matter from the perspective of an extraterrestrial and let's say that humans never existed. They would never bother with the notions of the second set but they probably would bother with the notion(s) of the first set. In the sense that nature does appear to allude to members of one set but not the other, they are not analogous.

My later argument was that set{God} is analogous to set{gremlins, unicorns, invisible dragons} with regard to the burden of proof/support. Regardless of the set or the member of the set being spoken of, the claim "member X of set Y exists" automatically places a burden of proof/support on the claimant and the doubters or jury members aren't obligated (by intellectual honesty) to accept the proposition until a convincing case has been made.

In short, the sets are analogous in some ways but not others. If an analogy is being drawn where the sets are not, in fact, analogous then the argument is an argument from false analogy. 

Stultior stulto fuisti, qui tabellis crederes!


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They are not the same

Being an agnostic and being an atheist are not the same thing.

I could probably more correctly argue that those who believe in God and those who don't are basically two sides of the same coin. Both have a particular opinion about a point which cannot logically be argued. For some reason it bothers atheists to point out that atheism is a religion because it presupposes an answer to a metaphysical question which it claims is correct.

An agnostic presumably does not have the opinion. Or could conceivably go either way.

"Above all else... We shall go on..."
"...And continue!"
The lessons of history teach us - if they teach us anything - that nobody learns the lessons that history teaches us.


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Atheism is not a

Atheism is not a religion.  It doesn't have a set of morals, way of life, etc.  An atheistic religion would be Buddhism.  It has a set of morals, restrictions and whatnot.  Not all atheists live the same lifestyle of have the same morals.  It is not a religious group. 

 And when it comes down to it, you either believe or you don't, so to say that agnosticism is more rational is incorrect.  You're either theist or atheist.  All that's between that is doubting theist and an atheist who wants to have faith but doesn't due to lack of proof.  Agnosticism includes those two.