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Atheism or Agnosticism... Which is more rational?





ocalhoun
Purely using logic and reason, which is better to assume, that 'there is no God', or that 'we don't know if there is a God or not'?

On one hand, Occam's razor tells us that we don't need any such concept, but on the other hand, sometimes the simplest answer isn't the correct one, so don't we need to leave the possibility open?
Ankhanu
They're different topics, really. I'm not sure that one is more rational than the other:
Theism/Atheism refers to belief
Gnosticism/Agnosticism refers to certainty (adjective, not noun use)
The two aren't mutually exclusive. Belief may or may not be backed by certainty.

For example, I am atheist, I do not believe there are supernatural forces, however, I am agnostic in this fact. While I don't believe in the supernatural, I do not know with 100% certainty that this is the case, though I'm pretty darn sure based on everything reality has been able to put forth up to now.

Many theists and some atheists are gnostic in their belief, they KNOW that there is or isn't a supernatural force/god in the picture.

Obviously I don't think that gnosticism is entirely rational. Agnosticism is a fairly rational stance however.
Likewise, I don't think theism is particularly rational (though I'm open to hearing how it is, and how the certainty can be understood by others), but atheism seems like the rational conclusion to the question of the existence of god(s) to me given what we currently know of the universe.

Both atheism and agnosticism are rational stand points, but are rational for different reasons and different approaches
Bikerman
ocalhoun wrote:
Purely using logic and reason, which is better to assume, that 'there is no God', or that 'we don't know if there is a God or not'?

On one hand, Occam's razor tells us that we don't need any such concept, but on the other hand, sometimes the simplest answer isn't the correct one, so don't we need to leave the possibility open?

You know better than this. This is a false dichotomy since the two are not in opposition.
Atheists don't believe in God(s). Agnostics say that it is not possible to prove whether God(s) exist.
You can be an agnostic atheist or an agnostic theist.
c'tair
Agnostic atheist here.

While I can't be 100% sure that a higher deity exists, I've got a decently long list of which deities don't exist. Jeebus is the first one probably.
Bikerman
I think Chris Hitchens sums it up quite well
.
Christopher Hitchens from 'God is not great' wrote:

There still remain four irreducible ob]ections to religious faith:
  • that it wholly misrepresents the origins of man and the cosmos,
  • that because of this original error it manages to combine the maximum of servility with the maximum of solipsism
  • that it is both the result and the cause of dangerous sexual repression
  • and that it is ultimately grounded on wish-thinking
...
And here is the point, about myself and my co-thinkers. Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, openmmdedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake. We do not hold our convictions dogmatically: the disagreement between Professor Stephen Jay Gould and Professor Richard Dawkins, concerning "punctuated evolution" and the unfilled gaps in post-Darwinian theory, is quite wide as well as quite deep, but we shall resolve it by evidence and reasoning and not by mutual excommunication....
We are not immune to the lure of wonder and mystery and awe: we have music and art and literature, and find that the serious ethical dilemmas are better handled by Shakespeare and Tolstoy and Schiller and Dostoyevsky and George Eliot than in the mythical morality tales of the holy books. Literature, not scripture, sustains the mind and—since there is no other metaphor—also the soul. We do not believe in heaven or hell, yet no statistic will ever find that without these blandishments and threats we commit more crimes of greed or violence than the faithful. (In fact, if a proper statistical inquiry could ever be made, I am sure the evidence would be the other way.) We are reconciled to living only once, except through our children, for whom we are perfectly happy to notice that we must make way, and room. We speculate that it is at least possible that, once people accepted the fact of their short and struggling lives, they might behave better toward each other and not worse. We believe with certainty that an ethical life can be lived without religion. And we know for a fact that the corollary holds true—that religion has caused innumerable people not just to conduct themselves no better than others, but to award themselves permission to behave in ways that would make a brothel-keeper or an ethnic cleanser raise an eyebrow.

Speaking personally I find that a clear and succint summary of my own atheism (agnostic), though it should be said that Hitchens is no agnostic.
watersoul
ocalhoun wrote:
Purely using logic and reason, which is better to assume, that 'there is no God', or that 'we don't know if there is a God or not'?


I would struggle to say one is "better" than the other, my tent is pitched somewhere in the agnostic-atheist camp but proof either way will not make much difference to me as I've advanced my life so far without any awareness of gods helping me.
Any proof that there are no gods won't matter as there would be no change in my life.
Any proof that there are gods, again, no matter because I've done fine for long enough without depending on one for assistance.
mshafiq
It is really hard for me to answer - which one is better.
This is because I am not from any of these two camps.

However if I am forced to answer, my answer is
Agnosticism

Because I observed many things which may lead to the fact that a super power / GOD exist (excluding religious aspects).
Next time I might discuss some of those experiences who may lead to believe in GOD.
Bikerman
It requires two answers because there are two different concepts in play (otherwise the question is like asking which is more rational - fridges or cars?)

Atheism is more rational than strong atheism. ie the lack of belief in Gods is more rational than the assertion that Gods do not exist.
Agnosticism is more rational than strong agnosticism. ie the notion that the existence of Gods cannot currently be proven is more rational than the notion that the existence of Gods can never be proven.

In fact in both cases the first is a rational position and the second is a faith position (non-rational).
gandalfthegrey
While evolution has the weight of scientific evidence behind it, science has yet to prove the abiogenesis theory http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis.

Could we have evolved from DNA that arrived here from a comet?
Could we have been created or evolved further by alien beings?
Could we be living in the matrix?


An estimation of the likelihood we are living in the matrix:
http://www.simulation-argument.com/matrix.html

An alternate theory of DNA arriving from outer space:
http://JournalofCosmology.com/Contents1.html

It makes me consider if our origins could have been from a creator or creators, therefore I think agnosticism is most logical.
Bikerman
None of that is an argument for agnosticism. If the original DNA DID originate in outer space, how does that argue for a creator? It simply means that DNA 'evolved' somewhere else.

The notion that a creator (be it a divinity or an alien super-race) could have planted DNA on earth and known in advance that we would evolve - well that is hard to imagine. Re-run evolution and the results would almost certainly be different each time. 'Random' factors such as comet/meteor impacts have played a large role in shaping the current life on the planet. One can persuasively argue, for example, that, without the impact that finished-off the dinosaurs, mankind would never have evolved.

The central point remains - the only way we know to get complex life is by evolution. That applies whether the life is on earth or somewhere else. The alternative is to propose that a complex life-form simply 'happened'. That, to me, is not at all logical/rational.
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
None of that is an argument for agnosticism. If the original DNA DID originate in outer space, how does that argue for a creator? It simply means that DNA 'evolved' somewhere else.

I do agree entirely with this. If we evolved from an alien source, where did the aliens come from? It only delays and complicates the question; it doesn't answer it.
Quote:

The notion that a creator (be it a divinity or an alien super-race) could have planted DNA on earth and known in advance that we would evolve - well that is hard to imagine. Re-run evolution and the results would almost certainly be different each time.

They surely couldn't know that we would evolve... But they could have known that something would evolve, possibly even something intelligent.
The idea of aliens running around planting 'seeds' on fertile, but empty planets doesn't seem too far-fetched. They could be doing so out of some religious/moral conviction that life is better than no life, or they might be doing so with the intention of coming back later to 'harvest' the results.
(Heck, if I had a spaceship that could go anywhere, and eternal life, I'd probably do the same thing... planting the seeds of life on barren planets, then watching it evolve would be a good hobby.)
Quote:

The central point remains - the only way we know to get complex life is by evolution. That applies whether the life is on earth or somewhere else. The alternative is to propose that a complex life-form simply 'happened'. That, to me, is not at all logical/rational.

...As opposed to the theory that a simple life form simply 'happened'...
Bikerman
Well, life didn't 'happen' suddenly according to most hypotheses. The first problem is in defining what life actually is. It is easy with big things but gets a whole lot more complicated with small ones.
We regard a bacterium as alive (rightly I think), but a virus as not alive (again I agree with that).
One hypothesis, for example, has clay acting as a physical 'mould' for certain proteins to accumulate. A particular combination of proteins is not, itself, life, but IS able to replicate (precursors to RNA). Thence the replication produces true RNA (still not life as we currently define it - most viruses are RNA) and eventually, by the normal process of evolution (ie faulty replication) you get DNA.

That is a childishly simplified version of the clay hypothesis which is just one of many, but it illustrates the general problem of delineating life and non-life.
mshafiq
Bikerman wrote:
It requires two answers because there are two different concepts in play (otherwise the question is like asking which is more rational - fridges or cars?)

Atheism is more rational than strong atheism. ie the lack of belief in Gods is more rational than the assertion that Gods do not exist.
Agnosticism is more rational than strong agnosticism. ie the notion that the existence of Gods cannot currently be proven is more rational than the notion that the existence of Gods can never be proven.

In fact in both cases the first is a rational position and the second is a faith position (non-rational).


That is a wonderfull explanation.
Thanks
D'Artagnan
yeah, two different things.

There's some pleople who are able to rationalize religions, Still i find both atheism and deism are based of assumptions.
catscratches
Since atheism is the lack of a belief, I fail to see how it could make any assumptions whatsoever.
Bikerman
D'Artagnan wrote:
yeah, two different things.

There's some pleople who are able to rationalize religions,
Who? You can rationalise religion as a phenomenon, certainly. That is one of the things I asked in another thread, and I believe the answer is yes. We can look at the evolutionary imperatives behind religion as a phenomenon and look at the way the religious 'meme' survives and spreads. I don't know anyone who can rationalize the subject of the various religions, because they all rely on a fundamental irrationality - with the possible exception of some forms of Buddhism. Christianity, for example, relies on many irrational 'facts' - the central tenet is that a man who was also God was crucified and rose from the dead. That is not a rational proposition.
Quote:
Still i find both atheism and deism are based of assumptions.
You can 'find' what you wish to see, but it would be wrong. Atheism means lack of belief in God(s). The only assumption (implicit) in that, is the assumption that there is such a thing as 'belief in God(s)' - otherwise the word 'atheist' would simply be a tautology meaning 'everyone'. Since that implicit assumption is correct, I don't see what other assumptions you think atheism makes.
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:

Quote:
Still i find both atheism and deism are based of assumptions.
You can 'find' what you wish to see, but it would be wrong. Atheism means lack of belief in God(s). The only assumption (implicit) in that, is the assumption that there is such a thing as 'belief in God(s)' - otherwise the word 'atheist' would simply be a tautology meaning 'everyone'. Since that implicit assumption is correct, I don't see what other assumptions you think atheism makes.

Perhaps he meant the 'strong atheism' you mentioned earlier.
Bikerman
Perhaps he did. I can only read what is there, not what is meant.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
The only assumption (implicit) in that, is the assumption that there is such a thing as 'belief in God(s)' - otherwise the word 'atheist' would simply be a tautology meaning 'everyone'. Since that implicit assumption is correct, I don't see what other assumptions you think atheism makes.



Bikerman wrote:
I don't know anyone who can rationalize the subject of the various religions, because they all rely on a fundamental irrationality - with the possible exception of some forms of Buddhism.
That is not an assumption?

Other assumptions:
1. The assumption that since there is no proof, there is no God. In any other scientific studies usually proof starts with the opposite of the theory, yet in the case of God science cannot prove there is no God.
2. If theists cannot provide evidence, then their arguments are irrational
3. The assumption that theists are not truth seekers, are self-deluded, hypocrites and liars
4. The assumption that theists need to be educated by atheists to save them from themselves.
5. The assumption that all knowledge must be empirically based.
Ankhanu
deanhills wrote:
Other assumptions:
1. The assumption that since there is no proof, there is no God. In any other scientific studies usually proof starts with the opposite of the theory, yet in the case of God science cannot prove there is no God.

The way the question is posed is "Is there a god?", not "Is there no god?" Questions are always posed in the positive.
deanhills wrote:
2. If theists cannot provide evidence, then their arguments are irrational

If theists cannot provide evidence, their arguments are baseless.
deanhills wrote:
3. The assumption that theists are not truth seekers, are self-deluded, hypocrites and liars

No, that's not the assumption. The assumption (backed by an inability to produce conclusive evidence) is that they are making unsupported claims, which can certainly be seen as dishonest.
deanhills wrote:
4. The assumption that theists need to be educated by atheists to save them from themselves.

Silly. They're quite capable of "saving" themselves, if, indeed, saving is needed. This is, by no means, an universal position amongst atheists. Don't confuse atheists and atheism, one has many forms, the other is a singular statement.
deanhills wrote:
5. The assumption that all knowledge must be empirically based.

This isn't assumed. What you're referring to is existence, not knowledge. If something "exists", but does not manifest, how can it be said to be functionally different from not existing?
Knowledge is a more abstract concept than existence, and need not necessarily be empirical.
Bikerman
deanhills wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
The only assumption (implicit) in that, is the assumption that there is such a thing as 'belief in God(s)' - otherwise the word 'atheist' would simply be a tautology meaning 'everyone'. Since that implicit assumption is correct, I don't see what other assumptions you think atheism makes.



Bikerman wrote:
I don't know anyone who can rationalize the subject of the various religions, because they all rely on a fundamental irrationality - with the possible exception of some forms of Buddhism.
That is not an assumption?

Other assumptions:
1. The assumption that since there is no proof, there is no God. In any other scientific studies usually proof starts with the opposite of the theory, yet in the case of God science cannot prove there is no God.
Wrong. As I get tired of pointing out, an atheist does not believe in God. That is not the same as asserting there is no God. There is no 'proof' in science so I don't know what you mean. In science one proposes a hypothesis. One tests the hypothesis with a view to falsifying it. If it survives then it goes on to become theory. If it is the best available theory then it becomes currently accepted theory.
In religion one starts with a hypothesis (There is a God or Gods). No test is possible and any counter evidence is ignored.
The two are in no way comparable.
Quote:
2. If theists cannot provide evidence, then their arguments are irrational
Wrong. Irrational has a particular meaning and I have always, to my knowledge, used the word correctly. Evidence OR valid reasoning is fine. The assertion that there is a God, without a valid chain of reasoning or evidence is an irrational assertion - that is what the word irrational means - without valid reasoning/logic.
Quote:
3. The assumption that theists are not truth seekers, are self-deluded, hypocrites and liars
Please point out where that was said. I have certainly never said that of theists.
Quote:
4. The assumption that theists need to be educated by atheists to save them from themselves.
That is not an assumption I have ever made, since I cannot offer to 'save' anyone - I wouldn't even know what that means. I have said, and meant, that I find it odd (or I did - I'm used to it now) that some of the atheists on this forum know more about Christianity than any of the Christians who have posted. That is a simple matter of record.
Quote:
5. The assumption that all knowledge must be empirically based.
Nope - no such assumption.

None of those actually have anything to do with atheism. They may be things you think you have seen atheists say, but so what. Are all Catholics paedophiles? Is it a necessary qualification to be a catholic?
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
Wrong. As I get tired of pointing out, an atheist does not believe in God. That is not the same as asserting there is no God. There is no 'proof' in science so I don't know what you mean. In science one proposes a hypothesis. One tests the hypothesis with a view to falsifying it. If it survives then it goes on to become theory. If it is the best available theory then it becomes currently accepted theory.
In religion one starts with a hypothesis (There is a God or Gods). No test is possible and any counter evidence is ignored.
The two are in no way comparable.
In other words nothing can exist outside the realm of science. Now that has to be very limiting. As well as dogmatic.
Bikerman wrote:
Evidence OR valid reasoning is fine. The assertion that there is a God, without a valid chain of reasoning or evidence is an irrational assertion - that is what the word irrational means - without valid reasoning/logic.
How can valid reasoning be fine when you have never been open for valid reasoning? Surely there has to be someone who is a theist who has come up with valid reasoning, however have you ever been open to that valid reasoning, as if you would have been, we would have seen it? I have not seen evidence of that ...... yet .....
Bikerman wrote:
That is not an assumption I have ever made, since I cannot offer to 'save' anyone - I wouldn't even know what that means. I have said, and meant, that I find it odd (or I did - I'm used to it now) that some of the atheists on this forum know more about Christianity than any of the Christians who have posted. That is a simple matter of record.
The assumptions were not personally aimed at you Bikerman, and yes, I have not seen you trying to save anyone, to the contrary.
Bikerman wrote:
None of those actually have anything to do with atheism. They may be things you think you have seen atheists say, but so what. Are all Catholics paedophiles? Is it a necessary qualification to be a catholic?
True. I've always maintained that all atheists aren't the same, as are those who are religious.
Radar
Bikerman wrote:
Atheists don't believe in God(s). Agnostics say that it is not possible to prove whether God(s) exist.
You can be an agnostic atheist or an agnostic theist.


Just thought I'd say that I like this, since it's something I don't think I've heard said before. However, I don't think the majority of the population would understand agnostic to mean this, and so for the sake of clarity, it is perhaps not that useful.

People go to great lengths to try and show a rational basis for atheism. Less for agnosticism, or at least, those lengths are less apparent.

Much of the confusion on this discussion seems to emerge from people's varying definitions on 'belief' and 'prove'.

Can you actually determine which is more or less rational without taking into account whether or not God exists? Surely the correct answer is the only rational one, and judgements on all other arguments should be considered with respect to that.
deanhills
Radar wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Atheists don't believe in God(s). Agnostics say that it is not possible to prove whether God(s) exist.
You can be an agnostic atheist or an agnostic theist.


Just thought I'd say that I like this, since it's something I don't think I've heard said before. However, I don't think the majority of the population would understand agnostic to mean this, and so for the sake of clarity, it is perhaps not that useful.

People go to great lengths to try and show a rational basis for atheism. Less for agnosticism, or at least, those lengths are less apparent.

Much of the confusion on this discussion seems to emerge from people's varying definitions on 'belief' and 'prove'.

Can you actually determine which is more or less rational without taking into account whether or not God exists? Surely the correct answer is the only rational one, and judgements on all other arguments should be considered with respect to that.
An excellent post Radar. Learned lots from it. OK then, back to the topic. Of the two atheism has to be more rational, and also the simpler of the two. Agnostics are doubters, perhaps they have been religious before and can't quite make up their minds. For someone to move from religion to atheism, they probably have to pass through the valley of agnosticism first. Since there would be plenty of doubts and introspection at that time, it probably would make for plenty of irrational thoughts, while the person is investigating.
Ankhanu
No, you're ignoring prior information, dean.
This isn't a continuum: theist -- agnostic -- atheist
It's two binary scales that are mutually compatible: theist/atheist; gnostic/agnostic.

You start with the core belief, either the default you start with is theism or atheism... and you are either certain or have room for doubt in that position. Thus, four main pairs are possible demonstrating a range of "faith" levels:
Gnostic Theist - high faith
Agnostic Theist - near high to 0 faith
Agnostic Atheist - near high to 0 faith
Gnostic Atheist - high faith

It's possible for your position to change within those categories, but, in the heart, either you think there is or is not supernatural entity, and you have varying degrees of certainty in that.
deanhills
Ankhanu wrote:
No, you're ignoring prior information, dean.
This isn't a continuum: theist -- agnostic -- atheist
It's two binary scales that are mutually compatible: theist/atheist; gnostic/agnostic.

You start with the core belief, either the default you start with is theism or atheism... and you are either certain or have room for doubt in that position. Thus, four main pairs are possible demonstrating a range of "faith" levels:
Gnostic Theist - high faith
Agnostic Theist - near high to 0 faith
Agnostic Atheist - near high to 0 faith
Gnostic Atheist - high faith

It's possible for your position to change within those categories, but, in the heart, either you think there is or is not supernatural entity, and you have varying degrees of certainty in that.
Thanks for the explanation Ankhanu, perhaps it is a bit too rational for me as it has me completely stumped! And not because of a shortcoming on your side. Perhaps there is just something I don't get and maybe you can explain it to me.

The reference to agnostic and gnostic atheists and relationship with faith, how come? What does it mean? I.e. does an agnostic atheist have strong faith in no God to zero faith in no God? And a gnostic atheist? Does a gnostic atheist have high faith in no deities?

Think I always thought faith went with theist territory? So difficult to understand how it gets to be mentioned with atheism. I also can't understand how gnostic ended up with atheism? I thought that was always a peculiarity of some of the theist religions and does not even mean strong religion. More like strong strange religion?
Bikerman
Gnostic - one who knows (Greek Gnosis - knowledge).
Agnostic - one who thinks it cannot be known (at present).
Atheist - one who does not believe in God(s)
Theist - one who believes in God(s)

Simply put them together....

Gnostic Atheist - Knows there is no God and doesn't believe in God(s)
Agnostic Atheist - Believes it is not possible to know (prove) one way or the other (at the moment) and doesn't believe in God(s).
Gnostic Theist - Knows there is a God and believes in God(s)
Agnostic theist - Believes it is not possible to know (prove) one way or the other (at the moment) and believes in God(s).

The problem is that Gnostic can also mean a specific kind of theist (ie it has a specific as well as a general meaning) which is why it isn't normally used in this way.
Ankhanu
What Bikerman said.

Any gnostic position is pretty absolute, and requires faith. There is no supporting evidence for either theism, nor is there direct supporting evidence for atheism (there is indirect evidence via the lack of evidence for theism, direct evidence of a negative doesn't happen). To claim knowledge of either requires faith.
Gnostic positions, in this sense, aren't entirely common. They're more common amongst theists, your classic blind-faithers, for example, but there are a few examples of atheists with this mindset as well. These are the sorts who will maintain their position no matter what contravening evidence comes their way. It is, imo, an absolutely ridiculous position.

An agnostic position relies upon some level of evidence and some level of faith. The two can vary from person to person, from almost complete faith, with some leaway for evidence to the contrary, to pure evidence base. This stance has little to do with what side of the binary "is" or "is not" belief you hold, though exactly how it manifests likely will.
Granted, most atheists I've encountered are lower on the faith scale and heavier on evidence than most theists I have, but that's not universal.

Does that clear up the faith scaling I tacked in?
jmi256
And what would you call someone who claims there is no God?
Ankhanu
jmi256 wrote:
And what would you call someone who claims there is no God?


... by definition, an atheist.

Seriously??
Bikerman
You could call them a gnostic atheist but, as I said before, the word Gnostic also has another meaning - a specific 'type' of theist - so normally the phrase used nowadays is 'strong atheist' - ie one who asserts that there is no God, as well as not personally believing in God. It is, of course, a faith position, as theists love to point out. It isn't, however, an equivalent faith position to theism, since that would imply the evidence for a God is roughly 50/50 when in fact it is nothing of the sort.
If I assert that there isn't a teapot in orbit around Saturn then that is a faith position. It isn't, however, equivalent to the faith position that there IS such a teapot. Both positions are uncertain and therefore require an element of belief. The former, however, is much more rational than the latter. The apposite phrase here is 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence'.
jmi256
Ankhanu wrote:
jmi256 wrote:
And what would you call someone who claims there is no God?


... by definition, an atheist.

Seriously??


Yes. I find sometimes it’s necessary to ask the obvious questions to make sure everyone is in agreement to even the most basic assumptions.

But back to the matter, I think it’s more specific than your answer above, given the definitions provided even higher. It’s fair to say that someone who claims there is no God falls under the Gnostic atheist, right?
Ankhanu
Not necessarily.

For example, I claim there is no god and am an atheist and my claim is based on my belief. I do recognize that my belief could be wrong, however unlikely, which makes my belief agnostic. The gnostic/agnostic (strong/weak) part isn't about the claim or belief... it's about the stance about that claim/belief... the certainty.

My claim of there being no god is an agnostic or weak atheistic claim.

But I do agree agree with Bikerman that the current use of Gnosticism is in reference to a religious movement and not the word's actual meaning. So rather "gnostic", let's just move to using "strong". Concurrently, agnostic can be replaced with "weak", though in common speech, agnostic is still used within this framework as well...

Simply making a claim does not give any information about the basis for said claim. The claim that there is or is no god does not convey a strong/weak position, just a position.
jmi256
Ankhanu wrote:
Not necessarily.

For example, I claim there is no god and am an atheist and my claim is based on my belief. I do recognize that my belief could be wrong, however unlikely, which makes my belief agnostic.

The gnostic/agnostic (strong/weak) part isn't about the claim or belief... it's about the stance about that claim/belief... the certainty.

My claim of there being no god is an agnostic or weak atheistic claim.

Ok, I see your point. You’re saying you’re an agnostic atheist. The fault lies on me in that I wasn’t clear enough. But I was referring to those who make the claim that there is no God and then take it a step further and say it is a fact that there is no God instead of admitting that it is just an opinion. When someone fails to admit that it is their opinion but rather based in fact, it seems to me that they move from the agnostic to the Gnostic. In other words you think there’s no God based on your beliefs/opinions, but that belief/opinion isn’t necessary based on evidence (just as a Gnostic theist’s belief is also not necessarily based on evidence – or at least commonly agreed upon evidence).
Bikerman
Well, I am including, in the word 'assert', probably more than the word actually means. I am assuming that the person doing the asserting is asserting it as a fact, rather than a belief which, however solidly based, is not beyond any doubt.
Yes, I do not believe there is a God and if I am asked whether there is or not, then my answer will be no. BUT if asked 'is it proven?' or 'is it beyond doubt?' or 'is it impossible that there is?' - then my answer would not be yes, I would have to say something like 'I see no evidence for, and, given the enormity of the claim I think that puts it beyond what I regard as 'reasonable doubt', but it is neither impossible nor proven, and if such evidence is forthcoming then, as in anything else, my position will change, however reluctantly.
Dennise
This pretty clear to me. Agnosticism is more logical than atheism.

Atheism has a certainty to it, but the certainty can't be proved. This isn't logical to me.

On the other hand, agnostics don't know for sure one way or another about an all knowing supreme being's existence because there is no clear hard repeatable evidence. There are so many conflicting religious views, none of which can be repeatedly proven. So to stand aside - without knowing one way or another - until there is some kind of solid proof, to me is more logical.

Humans have an organ known as a brain. To not use it is illogical.
deanhills
Dennise wrote:
This pretty clear to me. Agnosticism is more logical than atheism.

Atheism has a certainty to it, but the certainty can't be proved. This isn't logical to me.

On the other hand, agnostics don't know for sure one way or another about an all knowing supreme being's existence because there is no clear hard repeatable evidence. There are so many conflicting religious views, none of which can be repeatedly proven. So to stand aside - without knowing one way or another - until there is some kind of solid proof, to me is more logical.

Humans have an organ known as a brain. To not use it is illogical.
Looks to me as though agnostics just don't want to label themselves in any way, including atheism or religion. That sounds pretty rational to me. They are of the rational opinion that they don't know either way. In a way it could sound like a cop out too. To say that one doesn't know. I much rather prefer people who have made up their minds either way since there is room apparently for agnostic theists or agnostic atheists to cover lack of proof either way. In a way agnosticism sounds almost like "other", "undecided", "don't want to take a stand". Or "take a safe stand". Neutral territory?
Ankhanu
But, at the same time, many who have a stance of "knowing" as you're claiming those with the atheist or theist labels posses may also be very comfortable with the idea of "I don't know"...
Dialogist
I'm a mixture of the last three posts. I agree with Dennise, agnosticism is the most rational because there's no hard evidence either way. I agree with Deanhills, agnosticism isn't a "position" at all. It's more like a referee. In that sense they are the most rational for the 3 seconds it takes to state the blatant obvious and then they're not really needed anymore. One thing theists and athiests both share is the want of bragging rights. haha, nah, but the books need an official verdict even if faith doesn't require it. Agnostics may not help with this quest. I agree with Ankhanu, there's comfort to be found in not having evidence for both position holding atheists and faithful theists alike. My personal opinion is that agnostics may be the most rational but they are not right. One of the other two parties was right all along.
Bikerman
But the agnostic is correct. There is not enough evidence to categorically state one way or the other. That is agnosticism.
watersoul
Dialogist wrote:
My personal opinion is that agnostics may be the most rational but they are not right. One of the other two parties was right all along.


So if I say that the existence of any gods is unknown, that is not right? I'd be interested to know why?

Atheists stating 'there are no gods', or theists stating 'there is/are gods' can only be right or wrong due to the 50/50 nature of the basic choice in the supposed question.
'I don't know' as an answer is absolutely valid, and it's certainly the most honest and rational to me.
Bikerman
*bangs his head against the wall with frustration*
Atheists say 'I do not believe in God(s)'. That IS NOT THE SAME as saying there are no Gods.
Example:
I don't believe that cold-fusion 'exists'. I have seen the evidence and it is not credible. I am, however, completely open to the possibility that it DOES exist, and if more credible evidence is presented then I will happily accept it.
Dialogist
Bikerman wrote:
But the agnostic is correct. There is not enough evidence to categorically state one way or the other. That is agnosticism.


But there's either a God or Not. Unless there's some other divine logic beyond this mortal coil.

watersoul wrote:

So if I say that the existence of any gods is unknown, that is not right? I'd be interested to know why?


Because its purely subjective. The atheists knows no God. The theist knows God personally. The agnostic knows nothing.
Bikerman
So what? The theist agnostic or the atheist agnostic will therefore be correct...it doesn't change the fact that agnosticism is correct.
watersoul
Bikerman wrote:
*bangs his head against the wall with frustration*
Atheists say 'I do not believe in God(s)'. That IS NOT THE SAME as saying there are no Gods.
Example:
I don't believe that cold-fusion 'exists'. I have seen the evidence and it is not credible. I am, however, completely open to the possibility that it DOES exist, and if more credible evidence is presented then I will happily accept it.


Lol, sorry man, totally understand the banging head, it really was just a rushed typo, I'll re-phrase to 'atheists or theists saying either I do or I do not believe' Embarassed

...mental note, click Preview next time Smile
jmi256
Bikerman wrote:
*bangs his head against the wall with frustration*
Atheists say 'I do not believe in God(s)'. That IS NOT THE SAME as saying there are no Gods.

And yet some atheists do claim exactly that there is no God. In my opinion, taking this stance isn’t logical at all for the simple fact that there is no evidence for this claim. I can see/understand the agnostic stance of not knowing whether there is a God or not, but both the atheist and theist claims that there is or isn’t a God require the same amount of faith. From a practical approach, however, only one side will look pretty stupid if the other is correct. For the theist, it doesn’t matter much if atheists are right since we all just end in nothingness. For atheists, however, depending on what view might be correct, they will be missing out on paradise/nirvana/oneness/connection with God/eternal bliss/whatever you want to call it.
Bikerman
Pascal's Wager is the common name for this fallacy.
And it IS a fallacy. Do you seriously contend that any God would be impressed if people believed in him/her/it simply because they thought they should hedge their bets?

PS the fact that SOME atheists claim that there is no God(s) is like saying that some Theists claim that they talk to God - ie completely irrelevant to the definition of either.
jmi256
Bikerman wrote:
Pascal's Wager is the common name for this fallacy.
And it IS a fallacy. Do you seriously contend that any God would be impressed if people believed in him/her/it simply because they thought they should hedge their bets?

Please show me where I said God/gods would be impressed with anything we do. Or is this just the typical tactic of changing the subject as the ship goes down?


Bikerman wrote:
PS the fact that SOME atheists claim that there is no God(s) is like saying that some Theists claim that they talk to God - ie completely irrelevant to the definition of either.

Actually what atheists claim is quite relevant. Saying an atheist’s claim there is no God/gods having no relevancy is the same as saying a theist’s claim there is a God/gods has no relevancy. Both stances are simply rather silly.
watersoul
jmi256 wrote:

And yet some atheists do claim exactly that there is no God. In my opinion, taking this stance isn’t logical at all for the simple fact that there is no evidence for this claim.
Same goes for theists claiming anything they believe as fact.

jmi256 wrote:
I can see/understand the agnostic stance of not knowing whether there is a God or not, but both the atheist and theist claims that there is or isn’t a God require the same amount of faith. From a practical approach, however, only one side will look pretty stupid if the other is correct. For the theist, it doesn’t matter much if atheists are right since we all just end in nothingness. For atheists, however, depending on what view might be correct, they will be missing out on paradise/nirvana/oneness/connection with God/eternal bliss/whatever you want to call it.
Then as an agnostic atheist I would happily spend an evening arguing with God (after my death of course!) about why he gave me an intelligent and questioning mind with a condition that using it is at the expense of any access to heaven? Question
Ankhanu
Personally, I find a "pure" agnostic stance, 50/50 "I don't know" (or there's no way to know) to be silly and generally lazy, even (and it's quite rare). People have a tendency to lean one way or the other, to some degree.
watersoul
Ankhanu wrote:
Personally, I find a "pure" agnostic stance, 50/50 "I don't know" (or there's no way to know) to be silly and generally lazy, even (and it's quite rare). People have a tendency to lean one way or the other, to some degree.
Ooh, I'd take issue with that, I spent many years praying and reading about or attending many different faith groups. I found nothing, and equally in all my years of 'searching', science has found nothing to absolutely say all those people are wrong.
I'm struggling to see where I'm being 'silly' or 'lazy' walking a middle path which is completely honest?
Ankhanu
I'm not convinced that you sit on that pure agnostic, 50/50 stance Wink
jmi256
watersoul wrote:
jmi256 wrote:

And yet some atheists do claim exactly that there is no God. In my opinion, taking this stance isn’t logical at all for the simple fact that there is no evidence for this claim.
Same goes for theists claiming anything they believe as fact.

Well, the issue is pretty simple (at least to state): Is there a God/gods or isn’t there. The flavor of that belief isn’t material to whether they are an atheist/theist/agnostic. It does seem, however, that whenever one tries to seriously discuss the subject/question with others, especially when the two might not agree 100%, one of them tries to bring other issues (most likely why you hate a certain religion) into the mix.


watersoul wrote:
jmi256 wrote:
I can see/understand the agnostic stance of not knowing whether there is a God or not, but both the atheist and theist claims that there is or isn’t a God require the same amount of faith. From a practical approach, however, only one side will look pretty stupid if the other is correct. For the theist, it doesn’t matter much if atheists are right since we all just end in nothingness. For atheists, however, depending on what view might be correct, they will be missing out on paradise/nirvana/oneness/connection with God/eternal bliss/whatever you want to call it.

Then as an agnostic atheist I would happily spend an evening arguing with God (after my death of course!) about why he gave me an intelligent and questioning mind with a condition that using it is at the expense of any access to heaven? Question

That’s why I made that caveat. Before you can determine the minor details, though (and which religion is right or closer to the truth is minor compared to the question of whether there is even a God/gods), first you need to figure out the big one.



Ankhanu wrote:
Personally, I find a "pure" agnostic stance, 50/50 "I don't know" (or there's no way to know) to be silly and generally lazy, even (and it's quite rare). People have a tendency to lean one way or the other, to some degree.

I think people can make the claim for any side. In the end, however, does it really matter what people think?
watersoul
Ankhanu wrote:
I'm not convinced that you sit on that pure agnostic, 50/50 stance Wink


I couldn't give it a specific ratio obviously, only a narrative statement.
My gut instinct tells me it's all a crock created by humans and exploited as a means of control over the years, but I keep an open mind for the possibility that it was all a horrible complicated trick by some devious and mysterious god/s who expect blind faith.

I'm somewhere in between, and if it drifts between 'pure' agnostic and weak/strong atheism thats ok with me, as at least it retains it's honesty of how I feel and I'm not ever troubled with any doubts about my 'faith'.
Ankhanu
watersoul wrote:
Ankhanu wrote:
I'm not convinced that you sit on that pure agnostic, 50/50 stance Wink


I couldn't give it a specific ratio obviously, only a narrative statement.
My gut instinct tells me it's all a crock created by humans and exploited as a means of control over the years, but I keep an open mind for the possibility that it was all a horrible complicated trick by some devious and mysterious god/s who expect blind faith.

I'm somewhere in between, and if it drifts between 'pure' agnostic and weak/strong atheism thats ok with me, as at least it retains it's honesty of how I feel and I'm not ever troubled with any doubts about my 'faith'.


And that's my point Wink
I've slowly gotten the sense over the past couple months that your stance is quite similar to mine, albeit with a stronger tendency towards "yeah, it could be true" at times. Following your posts and building a picture of your beliefs I do get more of an atheist sense from you than theist... being open minded to being wrong about atheism doesn't really change that. I could never claim with any degree of honesty that I get the impression that you could be a strong atheist, that's for sure.

Being open to evidence does not place one in the 50/50, silly camp (yes, this is overly simplified).
Ankhanu
jmi256 wrote:
I think people can make the claim for any side. In the end, however, does it really matter what people think?


Yes, because their beliefs inform their decisions.
jmi256
Ankhanu wrote:
jmi256 wrote:
I think people can make the claim for any side. In the end, however, does it really matter what people think?


Yes, because their beliefs inform their decisions.


Then let me rephrase that: Does it really matter what other people think?
Ankhanu
Yes, for what they believe informs their decisions.

I hate to point out the obvious, but we (most of us) live in communities with other people. The decisions of others impact all of us, particularly if those others are in a position of power, or they decide to, I dunno, blow up a bus full of civilians.
Bikerman
jmi256 wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Pascal's Wager is the common name for this fallacy.
And it IS a fallacy. Do you seriously contend that any God would be impressed if people believed in him/her/it simply because they thought they should hedge their bets?

Please show me where I said God/gods would be impressed with anything we do. Or is this just the typical tactic of changing the subject as the ship goes down?
Certainly.
Quote:
For atheists, however, depending on what view might be correct, they will be missing out on paradise/nirvana/oneness/connection with God/eternal bliss/whatever you want to call it.

If atheists, by definition, miss-out on paradise/etc then it follows that God has decided that they will not qualify for said paradise/etc therefore it follows that God is not impressed with them and IS impressed with those who DO enjoy paradise/etc.
Basic logic.
jmi256
Ankhanu wrote:
Yes, for what they believe informs their decisions.

I hate to point out the obvious, but we (most of us) live in communities with other people. The decisions of others impact all of us, particularly if those others are in a position of power, or they decide to, I dunno, blow up a bus full of civilians.


I hate to point out the obvious, but you seem to be struggling with the difference between decisions and behaviors/actions. =)
jmi256
Bikerman wrote:
jmi256 wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Pascal's Wager is the common name for this fallacy.
And it IS a fallacy. Do you seriously contend that any God would be impressed if people believed in him/her/it simply because they thought they should hedge their bets?

Please show me where I said God/gods would be impressed with anything we do. Or is this just the typical tactic of changing the subject as the ship goes down?
Certainly.
Quote:
For atheists, however, depending on what view might be correct, they will be missing out on paradise/nirvana/oneness/connection with God/eternal bliss/whatever you want to call it.

If atheists, by definition, miss-out on paradise/etc then it follows that God has decided that they will not qualify for said paradise/etc therefore it follows that God is not impressed with them and IS impressed with those who DO enjoy paradise/etc.
Basic logic.

Wow, that is the biggest stretch I think I’ve seen you make in this thread so far. Not only have you misrepresented what I wrote, but you then use some weird, convoluted thought process that defies logic (which ironically you term “basic logic”) to pull that out of your hat. Bravo!
Ankhanu
jmi256 wrote:
I hate to point out the obvious, but you seem to be struggling with the difference between decisions and behaviors/actions. =)


Alrighty... how are they not interconnected?
jmi256
Ankhanu wrote:
jmi256 wrote:
I hate to point out the obvious, but you seem to be struggling with the difference between decisions and behaviors/actions. =)


Alrighty... how are they not interconnected?


Easy example: I can decide to go to the gym all I want, but until my arse is on the Stairmaster, it doesn't amount to squat.
Ankhanu
If you don't go to the gym (or at least try) after "deciding" to do so, you haven't decided to do so. Desire =/= decision.
Bikerman
jmi256 wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
jmi256 wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Pascal's Wager is the common name for this fallacy.
And it IS a fallacy. Do you seriously contend that any God would be impressed if people believed in him/her/it simply because they thought they should hedge their bets?

Please show me where I said God/gods would be impressed with anything we do. Or is this just the typical tactic of changing the subject as the ship goes down?
Certainly.
Quote:
For atheists, however, depending on what view might be correct, they will be missing out on paradise/nirvana/oneness/connection with God/eternal bliss/whatever you want to call it.

If atheists, by definition, miss-out on paradise/etc then it follows that God has decided that they will not qualify for said paradise/etc therefore it follows that God is not impressed with them and IS impressed with those who DO enjoy paradise/etc.
Basic logic.

Wow, that is the biggest stretch I think I’ve seen you make in this thread so far. Not only have you misrepresented what I wrote, but you then use some weird, convoluted thought process that defies logic (which ironically you term “basic logic”) to pull that out of your hat. Bravo!

I did not misrepresent what you wrote - I quoted it exactly.
There is nothing convoluted about the logical consequences of what you wrote. It is inescapable logic.
deanhills
Ankhanu wrote:
But, at the same time, many who have a stance of "knowing" as you're claiming those with the atheist or theist labels posses may also be very comfortable with the idea of "I don't know"...
I thought that is exactly what I said? I was referring to pure agnostics, i.e. neither theist nor atheist. Those who are agnostic theist or agnostic atheist have made a choice. Pure agnostics to me are playing it safely. Bikerman's position sketched earlier for the most part for me was a rational position, more rational than Watersoul's, who claims a pure agnostic position. I was actually surprised to see this, as I always had the notion that he was an agnostic atheist. So now I've learned something new again. Smile My interpretation of his position however is one that is careful and neutral, being comfortable with the position of "not knowing". Question
Bikerman wrote:
But the agnostic is correct. There is not enough evidence to categorically state one way or the other. That is agnosticism.
Right, but they are not taking a position, either theism or atheism. If they are atheists, and claim agnostic atheism, then that sounds more rational to me. They went the long haul to do all their research and came to a conclusion that feels right for them. I'm not saying pure agnostic is wrong. The thread asked who I thought was more rational, agnostic or atheist, and I thought atheism is more rational, particularly agnostic atheism the way you set out in your first post in this thread. Rational to me is something to do with thinking a lot about something and reasoning it out, and for me there is more reasoning out to take a position of agnostic atheism, than pure agnostics who says they don't know. It may take some rationalism and reasoning for them to get to the "I don't know" position, but they seem to stop at the point of "I don't know".
Bikerman
I don't know what 'pure' agnostic means.
I know what strong agnostic means - doesn't think the existence of God can ever be proven or disproven
I know what 'normal' agnostic means - doesn't think the existence of God can currently be proven or disproven.
I don't see a third state.
I also don't see a category between atheist and theist. By definition the two sets 'atheist' and 'theist' must include the whole population between them. A-theist means not-theist.
Any union of X and not X gives the universal set.....
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
I don't know what 'pure' agnostic means.
I know what strong agnostic means - doesn't think the existence of God can ever be proven or disproven
I know what 'normal' agnostic means - doesn't think the existence of God can currently be proven or disproven.
I don't see a third state.
I also don't see a category between atheist and theist. By definition the two sets 'atheist' and 'theist' must include the whole population between them. A-theist means not-theist.
Any union of X and not X gives the universal set.....
That I understand. I've come across this when you wanted to claim the total of agnostic statistics for atheists in the US Survey you were studying. If that survey differentiated between the category of agnostic as separate from atheism, then there is such a category, except Bikerman does not acknowledge it. I and quite a number of people in the US for certain do.

Refer page 5 of the enclosed report that you submitted for discussion in your thread on Stats on Religiousity in the US:
http://livinginliminality.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/aris_report_2008.pdf
Ankhanu
Since it was likely my post that spawned dean's use of "pure agnostic", I'm going to give the grounds for how I used it. I knew it was a mistake to cobble the phrase, but I went ahead anyway and I apologize for the BS it's going to cause Razz

I was using the term in, largely the same sort of context as Richard Dawkins presented Permanent Agnosticism in Principle (PAP), in overly simplistic terms, those who claim that the existence of god(s) can never be proven. Those who believe that the existence of god(s) is a 50/50 chance, not weighted in either direction, and can't be bothered to think on it any further. I also wrapped up a very few considering agnostics who could be swayed on the issue, but can't be bothered to think about it. Thinking about the subject, one will invariably have a tendency to sway one way or the other at any given time; it may change, but it's almost never 50/50.

Regarding the wrapping of agnostics into atheists in the other thread, again, there are many agnostics who are theists. These people would sit in the theist groupings, not the atheist grouping statistically.
Dialogist
deanhills wrote:
I always had the notion that he was an agnostic atheist.


Which is also sometimes thought of as a weak atheist. And prescription of that description adds or relieves further weight to or from the actual inclination and is varied from self-description to that of the description attributed to it by the party it won't quite conform to. Plus if a person is both agnostic and atheistic to some degree we do indeed have a category for weak agnostics (either agnostic atheist or agnostic theist or weak atheist or weak theist) or also pure agnostic (my dog), as he can't be bothered to think about it, fully in respect of the fact that an agnostic theist is also a weak theist and therefore just as much a diametrically opposing concept as a weak atheist is. Rational, my backside.
deanhills
Dialogist wrote:
deanhills wrote:
I always had the notion that he was an agnostic atheist.


Which is also sometimes thought of as a weak atheist. And prescription of that description adds or relieves further weight to or from the actual inclination and is varied from self-description to that of the description attributed to it by the party it won't quite conform to. Plus if a person is both agnostic and atheistic to some degree we do indeed have a category for weak agnostics (either agnostic atheist or agnostic theist or weak atheist or weak theist) or also pure agnostic (my dog), as he can't be bothered to think about it, fully in respect of the fact that an agnostic theist is also a weak theist and therefore just as much a diametrically opposing concept as a weak atheist is. Rational, my backside.
I think I like the pure agnostic the best! Laughing One can't even accuse them of being irrational?

I don't know about weak atheist however. If a guy says he is an agnostic, and it is Watersoul, then I will most certainly accept and respect that. He always gives everyone lots of latitude, and has an open mind. Perhaps a "don't know" is a good answer for someone who has lots of respect for everyone's views and has come to his "don't know" position after very careful thought. I probably just did not read his postings right.
Dialogist
deanhills wrote:


I don't know about weak atheist however. If a guy says he is an agnostic, and it is Watersoul, then I will most certainly accept and respect that. He always gives everyone lots of latitude, and has an open mind. Perhaps a "don't know" is a good answer for someone who has lots of respect for everyone's views and has come to his "don't know" position after very careful thought. I probably just did not read his postings right.


I wasn't talking about anyone personally, if I gave that impression. But he knows that I already said to him that he is whatever he says he is anyway. So it doesn't really matter.
Bikerman
deanhills wrote:
That I understand. I've come across this when you wanted to claim the total of agnostic statistics for atheists in the US Survey you were studying. If that survey differentiated between the category of agnostic as separate from atheism, then there is such a category, except Bikerman does not acknowledge it. I and quite a number of people in the US for certain do.
It didn't happen anywhere except in your head. I wouldn't possibly claim that agnostics were atheists because I know what the words mean.
As for understanding - your recent posts indicate rather the opposite.
watersoul
deanhills wrote:
Dialogist wrote:
deanhills wrote:
I always had the notion that he was an agnostic atheist.


Which is also sometimes thought of as a weak atheist. And prescription of that description adds or relieves further weight to or from the actual inclination and is varied from self-description to that of the description attributed to it by the party it won't quite conform to. Plus if a person is both agnostic and atheistic to some degree we do indeed have a category for weak agnostics (either agnostic atheist or agnostic theist or weak atheist or weak theist) or also pure agnostic (my dog), as he can't be bothered to think about it, fully in respect of the fact that an agnostic theist is also a weak theist and therefore just as much a diametrically opposing concept as a weak atheist is. Rational, my backside.
I think I like the pure agnostic the best! Laughing One can't even accuse them of being irrational?

I don't know about weak atheist however. If a guy says he is an agnostic, and it is Watersoul, then I will most certainly accept and respect that. He always gives everyone lots of latitude, and has an open mind. Perhaps a "don't know" is a good answer for someone who has lots of respect for everyone's views and has come to his "don't know" position after very careful thought. I probably just did not read his postings right.


As I've said in other posts, my understanding of some philosophical terminology/definitions is certainly not as deep as some others on the forums, so if I just explain where my thoughts are I'm happy with whatever 'official' term is deemed most approriate describing me.

I take a simple dictionary definition of believe:
wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn wrote:
* accept as true; take to be true; "I believed his report"; "We didn't believe his stories from the War"; "She believes in spirits"
* think: judge or regard; look upon; judge; "I think he is very smart"; "I believe her to be very smart"; "I think that he is her boyfriend"; "The racist conceives such people to be inferior"
* be confident about something; "I believe that he will come back from the war"
* follow a credo; have a faith; be a believer; "When you hear his sermons, you will be able to believe, too"


That said, any belief of mine is based on either evidence I have observed myself or researched from sources I believe I can trust. Until I have enough information about any subject of my thoughts I will hold no belief either way, as I don't know.

I believe the scientific opinion that to date, God hasn't yet been proven to exist, or proven not to exist. I also believe that peer reviewed journals etc are a reliable source of information to help me consider any issue.
There is not enough information/evidence available for me to believe that God does or does not exist, so I believe that we are incabable of proving it either way using science at this present time.

I do not believe that 2000+ year old manuscripts/scrolls/gold plates/tablets of stone etc are a reliable source of information for me to believe there is a God. I can only have the belief that they were written with an intention for others to believe.

I do not believe the ancient writings are wrong, due to a lack of evidence.
I do not believe they are right though, again due to lack of evidence.
I don't know.

I am unable to say "I believe there are no gods" as there is not enough information/evidence for me to take that as a truth.
I am also unable to say "I believe there are gods" for the same reason.
I don't know.

I keep an open mind for any eventuality. If I witnessed some amazing miracle such as a god presenting themself in front of me and 'heal' my mates amputated leg or something, I'd probably believe.

If some paradigm shift occurs in physics/maths proving the whole god/s thing is/was a crock, again I would probably believe that myself then.

I believe and take as truth that I don't know at present, but shall continue to consider the topic from both sides as I live my time on the planet.

I suppose in extreme circumstances I could be forced now to pin my flag on a particular mast if I had to:
Imagine a vastly superior alien race showed up at Earth, all belligerent and oppressive. Lets say I've been rounded up and am now being interrogated on one of their ships. Bad cop points his ray-gun at me and says "Listen watersoul, we know stuff, and it's prisoner quiz night, Guess Right For Life game" "We've got one question, make the call, get it right you live, get it wrong or answer 'don't know' and it's my little friend Johnny ray-gun for you...so, do any gods exist?"

I would shut my eyes and answer no Wink

If this post does nothing else it explains how I believe I reach my thoughts and/or conclusions regarding God. If it makes me some sort of social pariah in philosophical circles, well, so be it.
It is however written with absolute honesty.
Arseniy
Sorry for breaking into discussion, but - guys, you're just messing these concepts up!
Atheism stands for complete denial of the very God's existence, activity and so, as a result - denial of belief in it. On the other hand in this antonyms pair lies the theism as an acceptance and even confidence in God's (and God's discourse's) existence and activity - not paying attention to the problems of its cognition.
The other logical antonymous construction is that agnosticism and (vice versa) gnosticism. Gnosis=cognition or knowledge (γνῶσις in ancient Greek), so gnostics are trying to get complete knowledge of God and all other transcedental concepts and ideas. A-gnostics are sure, that our mind can certainly know only the things based on it's empiric experience - that's why it's pointless to try to learn something transcendental (God). I'm agnostic because I do not even want to get into these speculations - there is a lot of other things to meditate about.
N.B. - theism can stand for a kind of christianity widespread in XIX century - google for more. Gnosticism can stand for practices used by mainly north-african theologists - google for it too Smile
Bikerman
No, this is not correct.
Atheism does not necessarily mean the 'complete denial of God's existence'.
An atheist is simply someone who does not believe in God. It could be, for example, that they are unaware of the existence of God (in which case there is no 'denial'). Or it could be (like me) that one sees little evidence for a God and therefore does not (yet) choose to believe that there is such a thing. That is not a 'denial' because I accept the possibility (however remote) that God could exist. I just see no evidence to convince me that this is that case and therefore I don't believe in God(s). Should the evidence be forthcoming then the view will change. That is a quite normal, rational, position to adopt on God, as on many other things.
deanhills
watersoul wrote:
If this post does nothing else it explains how I believe I reach my thoughts and/or conclusions regarding God. If it makes me some sort of social pariah in philosophical circles, well, so be it.
It is however written with absolute honesty.
That sounds very rational to me. Are you a social pariah however? How could an agnostic be cast out? I could see that you could be a target for conversion either way, but I can't see how people would not be able to tolerate your views as you explained they are. They sound very reasonable to me.
Arseniy wrote:
Atheism stands for complete denial of the very God's existence, activity and so, as a result - denial of belief in it. On the other hand in this antonyms pair lies the theism as an acceptance and even confidence in God's (and God's discourse's) existence and activity - not paying attention to the problems of its cognition.
The other logical antonymous construction is that agnosticism and (vice versa) gnosticism. Gnosis=cognition or knowledge (γνῶσις in ancient Greek), so gnostics are trying to get complete knowledge of God and all other transcedental concepts and ideas. A-gnostics are sure, that our mind can certainly know only the things based on it's empiric experience - that's why it's pointless to try to learn something transcendental (God). I'm agnostic because I do not even want to get into these speculations - there is a lot of other things to meditate about.
N.B. - theism can stand for a kind of christianity widespread in XIX century - google for more. Gnosticism can stand for practices used by mainly north-african theologists - google for it too Smile
I like this explanation Arseniy. It explains it better to me too. Smile How about the reference to agnostic theism and agnostic atheism? Would it be more like gnostic theism and gnostic atheism, and/or agnostic theism and agnostic atheism? For example Bikerman has a keen interest in religion and the study of whether God exists, so could he be a gnostic atheist as he is continuously investigating it? Whereas he could not be an agnostic theist, as by your definition agnostics aren't really interested to go to the trouble of investigating as it is pointless? Smile
Dialogist
Wow, watersoul believes in aliens. What a flake. Wink
watersoul
Dialogist wrote:
Wow, watersoul believes in aliens. What a flake. Wink


Lol!

...I believe it would be naive of me to reject the possibility of life evolving on a different planet around one of the billions of stars in the universe. But as with God, not enough evidence either way so I'd have to say 'I don't know' and treat it as another situation reserved at present for 'sitting on my fence' Laughing
Bikerman
That's an interesting case in point.
I share the 'don't know' part, but I do believe there is life out there.
Dialogist
You believe in the supernatural, Bikerman?
catscratches
supernatural - not existing in nature or subject to explanation according to natural laws; not physical or material;

A belief in extraterrestrial life is not a belief in the supernatural.
Arseniy
Bikerman wrote:
It could be, for example, that they are unaware of the existence of God (in which case there is no 'denial').

Any rejecting (as any protest) can be passive or active. So, if you're unaware, you are just "passive" atheist.
Bikerman wrote:
Or it could be (like me) that one sees little evidence for a God and therefore does not (yet) choose to believe that there is such a thing. That is not a 'denial' because I accept the possibility (however remote) that God could exist.

Wohoho, accepting the possibility of God's existence makes you a way closer to the definition of agnosticism Smile Just kidding, surely. That is the kind of binary logic: you believe or you believe not, neverminding possibilities you can use in your analysis. That thing is based on belief, not knowledge. And the word "rational" - ring-ring! Any religion is irrational by itself, so if you identify yourself as a rationalist, you automatically deny religion at all bringing it under the rational explanation (consciesly or unconsciesly).
@deanhills
Let's classify those concepts and explain them more carefully (even though I hate classifying such more or less abstract things).
"Agnostic theist" - standart example of Middle Ages personality. You believe, and you believe with all your nature - you were studied that in your unconscious childhood; so you don't even want or think to get into reflexions about God (NB: the termin "agnostic" is used here in its literal meaning: "a-gnostic"="no gnosis", "no process thinking"; otherwise we might get such conflict as described below as about "gnostic atheist").
"Agnostic atheist" - another standart example, but from totalitarism time. Complete vice versa and communism on top of it.
"Gnostic theist" - the figure of scholast or apologetic of christianity. A philosopher who reflexes about religion to find a roots of it and all existence. Great example are gnostics - I adviced you to google it a post ago Smile
And what about "Gnostic atheism" - I'm really not sure. If we'll define the gnostical person as the one, that is reflexing about God and metaphysical, then it will do. But usually the termin "gnostic" is used to describe some christian philosophers or thinkers. So it depends upon context.
Dialogist
catscratches wrote:
supernatural - not existing in nature or subject to explanation according to natural laws; not physical or material;


Yeah that's good definition, I've not many seen many of them existing in nature though or explained by natural laws or any being physical or material or otherwise. He's another definition:

Wikipedia wrote:

The supernatural or supranatural (Latin: super, supra "above" + natura "nature") is anything above or beyond what one holds to be natural or exists outside natural law and the observable universe


Aliens are supernatural.
Ankhanu
Wikipedia wrote:

The supernatural or supranatural (Latin: super, supra "above" + natura "nature") is anything above or beyond what one holds to be natural or exists outside natural law and the observable universe


I think you made an error in the important part to highlight in that wiki quote. I've underlined an important part of the statement which changes, somewhat, the validity of your final statement.

For all intents and purposes, anyone who discusses the possibility of extraterrestrial life is generally going to be discussing another natural source or form of life, like our own in that sense. They are postulating life that exists within the natural laws, not outside them, whether they are currently observed or not.
watersoul
Dialogist wrote:

Wikipedia wrote:

The supernatural or supranatural (Latin: super, supra "above" + natura "nature") is anything above or beyond what one holds to be natural or exists outside natural law and the observable universe


Aliens are supernatural.


So, once an alien ship (if it ever could, hypothetically) come within range of our best telescopes or furthest space probes, it would, by your reasoning, no longer be supernatural?

Sorry, but god's, ghosts, pixies and the like, fall far more suitably into the supernatural category than the possibility of undiscovered single cell lifeforms on the billions of planets in the universe.
We were unable to 'observe' the curious life around hydro-thermal deep sea vents until recently, does that mean they were 'supernatural' before the best sub's managed to get to them?! Confused
Dialogist
watersoul wrote:
Dialogist wrote:

Wikipedia wrote:

The supernatural or supranatural (Latin: super, supra "above" + natura "nature") is anything above or beyond what one holds to be natural or exists outside natural law and the observable universe


Aliens are supernatural.


So, once an alien ship (if it ever could, hypothetically) come within range of our best telescopes or furthest space probes, it would, by your reasoning, no longer be supernatural?

Sorry, but god's, ghosts, pixies and the like, fall far more suitably into the supernatural category than the possibility of undiscovered single cell lifeforms on the billions of planets in the universe.
We were unable to 'observe' the curious life around hydro-thermal deep sea vents until recently, does that mean they were 'supernatural' before the best sub's managed to get to them?! Confused


I don't really share the Monism "Part of a Larger Nature" view. I think it's begging the question. Intelligent Design will always be flatly refused a peer review because it appeals to a supernatural agent. Fine. But the alternative does to. Earth being the only planet in billions to evolve life. It kind of demands that an atheist believes in the supernatural. And by Supernatural, I am using the correct definition.

Quote:

Science limits its explanations for phenomena to natural explanations, a process known as methodological naturalism, and cannot consider supernatural explanations, as they cannot be investigated empirically. To explain something using natural causes and excluding supernatural causes is to naturalize it. To explain something as resulting from supernatural causes is to supernaturalize it.


And there's no "if" or "when" involved. Just "is". So an alien is supernatural. "If/when" you meet one, they can be observed, explained, naturalized. I have no problem with believing in little green men, or huge white bearded ones either.
ocalhoun
Dialogist wrote:
Earth being the only planet in billions to evolve life.

[citation needed]
Last I heard, we had only discovered a few dozen planets at most, and of those, only a handful have had even a cursory examination for life.
Of those 'billions' you speak of, it very well could be that thousands support life, just that we haven't found any of those yet. (Except for this one, of course.)
Quote:
It kind of demands that an atheist believes in the supernatural.

Not so much... it could be that the development of life is very rare... So rare that in billions of planets over the course of billions of years, it happens (on average) once.
But, if the odds are 1:1billion, and you have a billion planets, it doesn't require any divine intervention.
watersoul
Dialogist wrote:
watersoul wrote:
Dialogist wrote:

Wikipedia wrote:

The supernatural or supranatural (Latin: super, supra "above" + natura "nature") is anything above or beyond what one holds to be natural or exists outside natural law and the observable universe


Aliens are supernatural.


So, once an alien ship (if it ever could, hypothetically) come within range of our best telescopes or furthest space probes, it would, by your reasoning, no longer be supernatural?

Sorry, but god's, ghosts, pixies and the like, fall far more suitably into the supernatural category than the possibility of undiscovered single cell lifeforms on the billions of planets in the universe.
We were unable to 'observe' the curious life around hydro-thermal deep sea vents until recently, does that mean they were 'supernatural' before the best sub's managed to get to them?! Confused


I don't really share the Monism "Part of a Larger Nature" view. I think it's begging the question. Intelligent Design will always be flatly refused a peer review because it appeals to a supernatural agent. Fine. But the alternative does to. Earth being the only planet in billions to evolve life. It kind of demands that an atheist believes in the supernatural. And by Supernatural, I am using the correct definition.

Forgive me but I don't really understand how life on another planet could be deemed supernatural if the planet concerned had a natural environment that sustained some sort of life using the same basic bio-chemical processes we see on Earth.
Even if one was a strong theist, how would it affect their view of God and his intelligent design? I'm not aware of any scriptures that state absolutely that the 'God who created the heavens' etc did not do it elsewhere as well.

By contrast, an atheistic view is usually happy to accept the concept of evolutionary progress on distant planets - even if a secret god actually made it all happen to his/her/it's plan without us realising.
Ankhanu
Personally I "believe" in aliens. I say this in terms of statistical probability and certainly not in absolute terms. It seems to me to be statistically unlikely that life evolved only once in the universe, perhaps even in the galaxy. There are a lot of star systems out there, chances seem pretty good that life could happen in one/some of them.

I'm certainly not convinced that they're flying space ships around, or visiting Earth with them to probe farmers... I'm not even sure I believe that there are intelligent extraterrestrials (but again, it's not outside of statistical likelihood).

I am, however, completely agnostic in my "belief". While I think it's likely, I simply do not know. The belief is based entirely on hypothetical statistics and a desire to avoid egotistical anthropocentrism Razz
watersoul
Ankhanu wrote:
...and a desire to avoid egotistical anthropocentrism Razz

Completely agree there fella Smile
Ankhanu
Honestly, that factor plays strongly in how I view various topics of religion. It's point at which I feel almost any universal/reality view comes unhinged in terms of validity. I may be wrong, but it just feels like a very strong, flag-waving flaw.
Dialogist
Ankhanu wrote:
Honestly, that factor plays strongly in how I view various topics of religion.


Which is why I said "sort of demands" (maybe "it follows" or "strongly suggests" would have been more appropriate) that there is belief of the unknown in (I said atheists, should have said Darwinists) things which cannot be observed or have never presented themselves (but they've never been a stranger to that either). In short, you are logic and rational in your view, to the point of having to entertain more than a strong leaning towards extraterrestrials, which currently sit comfortably in the supernatural bracket. And if we were to compare aliens to how much science is allowing to entertain a supernatural agent or even a pseudoscientic one, then they are suggesting to you that Darwin is... well, egotistically anthropocentric and followers of his are using the same statistical probability to believe in ET that they use to not believe God.

ocalhoun wrote:

Dialogist wrote:

Earth being the only planet in billions to evolve life. [1]

[citation needed]


[1] Extraterrestrial life (from the Latin words: extra ("beyond", or "not of") and‎ terrestris ("of or belonging to Earth")) is defined as life that does not originate from Earth. Possible forms of extraterrestrial life range from simple bacteria-like organisms to sapient beings far more advanced than humans. It is unknown whether any such forms of life exist or ever existed. - Wikipedia

Quote:

the same basic bio-chemical processes we see on Earth.


haha, oh, one of them little things? Don't you see how ridiculous it is? Liquid water (or no evolution), plate tectonics, atmosphere in perfect proximity to the sun, host to intelligent life (sometimes), convenient size for longevity and sustainability, I'm barely scraping the surface. It's a little bit more than a diamond in the rust or a needle in billions upon billions of haystacks. Biggest fluke of all time, rationalists?

ocalhoun wrote:

it doesn't require any divine intervention.


hmmm.

watersoul wrote:

Even if one was a strong theist, how would it affect their view of God and his intelligent design? I'm not aware of any scriptures that state absolutely that the 'God who created the heavens' etc did not do it elsewhere as well.


ID deliberately avoids specifying the nature or identity of the designer. Scripture being called in is not entirely fair to it.

watersoul wrote:

By contrast, an atheistic view is usually happy to accept the concept of evolutionary progress on distant planets - even if a secret god actually made it all happen to his/her/it's plan without us realising.


A theist might be. An agnostic might accept the possibly of it but an atheist being happy to accept a God making anything is a stretch too far for me. That's where it contrasts. Plus after that, you "But I believe in aliens" and you don't know whether to laugh or cry, because they should, it is entirely logical but it's put there by the same logic that makes another belief in an unseen entity in non starter. I wouldn't really call it egotistical anthropocentrism. More like selective skepticism.
watersoul
Dialogist wrote:


watersoul wrote:

By contrast, an atheistic view is usually happy to accept the concept of evolutionary progress on distant planets - even if a secret god actually made it all happen to his/her/it's plan without us realising.


A theist might be. An agnostic might accept the possibly of it but an atheist being happy to accept a God making anything is a stretch too far for me. That's where it contrasts. Plus after that, you "But I believe in aliens" and you don't know whether to laugh or cry, because they should, it is entirely logical but it's put there by the same logic that makes another belief in an unseen entity in non starter. I wouldn't really call it egotistical anthropocentrism. More like selective skepticism.


I didn't say that at all fella, perhaps read it again slowly Rolling Eyes

*Edit* I didn't say anywhere that I believe in aliens either, just that I believe it is naive to deny any possibility. Wow, selective skepticism has been mentioned, I'm noticing a lot of selective reading and word association!
Bikerman
Dialogist wrote:
haha, oh, one of them little things? Don't you see how ridiculous it is? Liquid water (or no evolution), plate tectonics, atmosphere in perfect proximity to the sun, host to intelligent life (sometimes), convenient size for longevity and sustainability, I'm barely scraping the surface. It's a little bit more than a diamond in the rust or a needle in billions upon billions of haystacks. Biggest fluke of all time, rationalists?
Not at all ridiculous. Let's see - 100 billion stars and 250-400 billion galaxies. So far most of the stars have planets, and it looks like multiple planets are common.
Liquid water is not a prerequisite for evolution - it's just necessary for OUR type of life. 'Perfect' is way too strong a word for proximity to the sun - life evolved on earth when it was MUCH hotter.
Plugging the numbers into the Drake equation gives us a number of civilisations between 0 (extreme) and several million. That, notice, is INTELLIGENT life, not just life.
The chances of life existing elsewhere seem to me to be close to 1 in 1.
Dialogist
watersoul wrote:
Dialogist wrote:


watersoul wrote:

By contrast, an atheistic view is usually happy to accept the concept of evolutionary progress on distant planets - even if a secret god actually made it all happen to his/her/it's plan without us realising.


A theist might be. An agnostic might accept the possibly of it but an atheist being happy to accept a God making anything is a stretch too far for me. That's where it contrasts. Plus after that, you "But I believe in aliens" and you don't know whether to laugh or cry, because they should, it is entirely logical but it's put there by the same logic that makes another belief in an unseen entity in non starter. I wouldn't really call it egotistical anthropocentrism. More like selective skepticism.


I didn't say that at all fella, perhaps read it again slowly Rolling Eyes

*Edit* I didn't say anywhere that I believe in aliens either, just that I believe it is naive to deny any possibility. Wow, selective skepticism has been mentioned, I'm noticing a lot of selective reading and word association!


Which part of

Quote:

"By contrast, an atheistic view is usually happy to accept the concept of evolutionary progress on distant planets - even if a secret god actually made it all happen to his/her/it's plan without us realising."


did I misread? The parts that you didn't bold? "an atheistic view is usually happy to accept the concept of evolutionary progress on distant planets even if a secret god actually made it all happen to his/her/it's plan without us realising"? Don't patronize me with "slowly", you were the one who made the gaff. I can not selectively read anything that you didn't type. And you know full well that the "watersoul believes in aliens" was a well intentioned joke. Following comments were just picking up from comments made thereafter. I have no problem with anyone believing in aliens. I think it's an eventual logical assumption. I agree with with Ankhanu, though. If they do exist, they are more likely to be as dumb as a bag of poo or of course, the other possibility, they think we are.

Bikerman wrote:

That, notice, is INTELLIGENT life, not just life.
The chances of life existing elsewhere seem to me to be close to 1 in 1.


Well herein lies the problem about the whole problem, I don't notice. I don't notice anything about extraterrestrial life. That they exist or have ever existed. The only thing I notice is that people who assert that their belief system is based on no evidence (and are willing to change should evidence present itself) - which is rational - are saying "I believe in aliens" and "I do not believe in God" when there's no evidence for either either way. Which doesn't seem entirely rational to me. If I'm taking the "I believe" assertion a little bit strongly, then I apologize (I do understand it is different from a personal religious vocation) but for one in which faith is not a deciding a factor, and is often formed from logic and rationality - of lack of evidence - I am struggling with it. And I don't believe this is my fault.
watersoul
Dialogist wrote:

Which part of

watersoul wrote:

"By contrast, an atheistic view is usually happy to accept the concept of evolutionary progress on distant planets - even if a secret god actually made it all happen to his/her/it's plan without us realising."


did I misread? The parts that you didn't bold? "an atheistic view is usually happy to accept the concept of evolutionary progress on distant planets even if a secret god actually made it all happen to his/her/it's plan without us realising"? Don't patronize me with "slowly", you were the one who made the gaff.


Where's the gaff?

Atheists cannot know there are no gods, so by default, I would suggest, have to accept the possibility (however slim they may think it is) due to its unproven status. That said, if it turned out that all along there was this secret God which the Atheist didn't realise was there, it would not change the atheists view regarding evolution on another planet. I cannot see how the two points are incompatible, or a gaff, it's simply the suggestion of an atheist accepting the possibility of being wrong all along about something they are unable to dis/prove.

On Earth most rational people believe in our evolution over billions of years. If it turned out that a secret God started the process, it would still not change or debunk the evolution theory originally held by non theists.
Dialogist
So it wasn't me appealing to semantics after all then, eh? However, atheists "usually happy accepting" God in any scenario probably still needs you to italicize the possibly that "the possibility" was ever even there to begin with. Which, for all intents and purposes, is not even the "usual" agnostic point of view anyway, as they don't happily accept anything either. The only people who happily accept a God are theists. They are the opposite to atheists. Read it again, slowwwwwly. Very Happy

Quote:

On Earth most rational people believe in our evolution over billions of years. If it turned out that a secret God started the process, it would still not change or debunk the evolution theory originally held by non theists.


On the contrary, it would make it complete and worthwhile.
watersoul
Dialogist wrote:
So it wasn't me appealing to semantics after all then, eh? However, atheists "usually happy accepting" God in any scenario probably still needs you to italicize the possibly that "the possibility" was ever even there to begin with. Which, for all intents and purposes, is not even the "usual" agnostic point of view anyway, as they don't happily accept anything either. The only people who happily accept a God are theists. They are the opposite to atheists. Read it again, slowwwwwly. Very Happy



I'll just re-phrase it as my explanations are obviously not good enough. I didn't say or mean at all that atheists happily accept God, I said they are usually happy to accept the evolution concept.

New version of my original statement from way back on page 3:

...an atheistic view is usually happy to accept the concept of evolutionary progress on distant planets even if [edit] it eventually turned out that [/edit] a secret god actually made it all happen to his/her/it's plan without [edit] the atheist [/edit] realising [edit] this before the God was discovered [/edit].

If you still think I meant atheists happily accept God, of course I didn't, so it's a case of either believe me or not and/or just put it down to a Welshmans poor command of the English language.
That one statement is probably pretty boring for everyone else reading about it now.
Bikerman
Quote:
Atheists cannot know there are no gods, so by default, I would suggest, have to accept the possibility (however slim they may think it is) due to its unproven status. That said, if it turned out that all along there was this secret God which the Atheist didn't realise was there, it would not change the atheists view regarding evolution on another planet. I cannot see how the two points are incompatible, or a gaff, it's simply the suggestion of an atheist accepting the possibility of being wrong all along about something they are unable to dis/prove.
There is nothing particularly wrong with this. Dialogist has simply (and I must say not very coherently for once) played with it.
Indeed it is impossible, in my estimation, to currently rule-out the possibility of a God. That is nowhere near the same as 'happily accepting' God. I cannot rule out the possibility of the teapot in orbit around Saturn, but I don't happily accept that it DOES exist, or even that it is anything other than extremely unlikely to the point of near impossibility.
It is indeed an entirely honest position. The agnostic atheist (in most cases) finds the chances of there being a God pretty remote, but is not intellectually dishonest enough to turn that into what it is not - certainty.
You are also correct to say that the existence of a God would be extremely unlikely to impact on evolution. Any God would have to show how he/she/it had deliberately planted solid evidence for the theory (there would be no other explanation that i can think of).
Dialogist
watersoul wrote:
Atheists cannot know there are no gods, so by default,


whoah, there, easy does it. Atheists cannot know there are gods either. Let's open this "default" up here and take a peak inside. No evidence for, no evidence against. This "atheistic" default you speak of, is again, "Agnostic".

watersoul wrote:

I would suggest, have to accept the possibility (however slim they may think it is) due to its unproven status.


Again, somebody believes in the possibility of God is an agnostic. All you are really doing is claiming that all atheists are embittered agnostics. And you may believe that I am misrepresenting you or 'playing with it' (as I've recently been critiqued). That is not the case. I am only relaying the truth from the politics you are trying desperately to preserve for your own affability (agnosticism). I am not trying to mess with you, I have no problem with you or anything to gain from doing so (in fact, to contrary we are both fully aware that makes me look like an a-hole, right?). I do in fact commend you. You are doing a fine job of answering the topic of this thread and no, this argument is not irrelevant regardless of who it irritates. It illustrates the rationality of said beliefs very well.

Atheists who accept for a) God, as you weirdly suggest or even believe in the unknown - no God or b) believe in aliens or even c) pure naturalism (there is nothing beyond matter and energy, there is no supernatural reality- apart from aliens, the world is from nothing so "I can think, therefore I am not"), believe in magic. The agnostics carefully avoid this burden of proof. They must be the most rational, until you notice the sound authority that they conceded after expressing that they accept that either of the other two evidence-shy parties could be correct. How rational is that? 50/50 becomes 100% liability. Heard of edging a bet?

watersoul wrote:

That said, if it turned out that all along there was this secret God which the Atheist didn't realise was there, it would not change the atheists view regarding evolution on another planet.


In the hypothetical event that God was proven, the atheist wouldn't even be an atheist.

No, I'll dig even deeper...

Even if they stayed devoutly rooted in their atheistic faith of evolution and atheism, after God had showed himself, they'd still have to accept either Creationism or Intelligent Design. If they accept the prior, they believe Biblical accounts of creation and evolution flies out of the window. If they accept the latter they believe that evolution is merely the designer's signature cell guidance of its own initial creation.

However, it was the lack of Gods, creation, intelligent design that put billions upon billions of aliens whizzing through the galaxies in the first place, by the implausible proposal that Earth is the only planet to be 'blessed' with this wonderfully, inexplicably, compatible supernatural luck of not just environment and sustainability, locality, liquid water, tectonic plates to knock out (from nothing) intelligent life. What I'm telling you is that you have more chance of getting stuck by lightning three times in the same spot, whilst winning the lottery, while Christopher Hitchens genuflects to God himself, than that ever happening. The only problem is, there's no aliens and apparently no God. Now do you believe in magic? I dare say you always did.

I am now in Australia, that's how far you've made me dig...

watersoul wrote:

I cannot see how the two points are incompatible, or a gaff, it's simply the suggestion of an atheist accepting the possibility of being wrong all along about something they are unable to dis/prove.


It was never that. It was actually theist which should have been an agnostic, for some reason, being called an atheist. And with God hypothetically proved, then there's only one camp left.

The initial thing was...

Quote:

an [a]atheistic view is usually [b]happy to accept the concept of evolutionary progress on distant planets even if a secret [c]god actually made it all happen to his/her/it's plan without us realising[d]"?


It breaks at [a] due to [b] via [c] and there's also a problem with [d] that I can't even be bothered to illustrate the alternative of anymore.

Then then you typed a bunch of stuff about possibility after the event that either a) my mind reading skills didn't catch on to or b) just made it even worse.

By the way, it wasn't problematic before you made me resort to picking it apart and showing you how bad it actually is after that patronizing comment. I would much rather not be a prick but then again I'd much rather not be cajoled to be one by somebody typing out of their posterior either.
Bikerman
Dialogist wrote:
watersoul wrote:
Atheists cannot know there are no gods, so by default,


whoah, there, easy does it. Atheists cannot know there are gods either. Let's open this "default" up here and take a peak inside. No evidence for, no evidence against. This "atheistic" default you speak of, is again, "Agnostic".
Huh? No evidence against?
Pick a god...any god...I'll happily give you evidence against.
Let's take the Christian God.
First point : requires an appeal to the supernatural. That in itself is enough in our normal lives to count very heavily against any proposition. If a physicist said that he had a new, cheap power source but it required a pixie to make it work, most people would have few qualms about disregarding this 'theory' until some positive evidence was produced.

Second point : scripture - which was once said to be absolute truth - indeed it was held to be crucial that it WAS absolute truth - is full of mistakes, contradictions and just plain nonsense. Since this is the only actual 'evidence' for Christians (apart from personal revelation) then this is pretty damning. Christianity is a history of retreat from scripture. Bit by bit philosophers, then scientists, have chipped away at the 'facts' until they have had to be consigned to 'allegory'.

Imagine that UFOlogists produced a definitive textbook which, they claimed, proves their case that little green men are picking up air-miles and frequent-flyer points. Then imagine that one by one the central claims of the books are revealed to be either highly suspect or actually false...does that count as evidence against? I think it does.

As for the point in question - there is no contradiction. Most atheists ARE agnostic - certainly the ones who also have a scientific background. ANY scientist can easily demonstrate that nothing can be absolutely 'known for a fact'. Honesty compels anyone with a scientific background to acknowledge that point. That doesn't mean they think it likely, or even remotely possible, that God exists - they just cannot say with absolute authority that he doesn't.
Those atheists who take a different line are sure that God does not exist and say so (strong atheism). I would say that most of 'us' agnostic atheists are much closer to strong atheism than agnostic theism. it is impossible to quantify, but if pressed i would say that personally I would put the probability on God around the same probability of intelligent life on Europa.
Quote:
Again, somebody believes in the possibility of God is an agnostic.
This is rather weasel worded. Relative certainty can also be regarded as a probability, so the group of people who believe in the possibility of God is close to everyone.
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All you are really doing is claiming that all atheists are embittered agnostics. And you may believe that I am misrepresenting you or 'playing with it' (as I've recently been critiqued). That is not the case.
Yes it is. For example, you introduce the word 'embittered' as a purely subjective opinion, and we have already established that not all atheists are agnostic. So that 'representation' makes two points, both of which are wrong.
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Atheists who accept for a) God, as you weirdly suggest or even believe in the unknown - no God or b) believe in aliens or even c) pure naturalism (there is nothing beyond matter and energy, there is no supernatural reality- apart from aliens, the world is from nothing so "I can think, therefore I am not"), believe in magic. The agnostics carefully avoid this burden of proof. They must be the most rational, until you notice the sound authority that they conceded after expressing that they accept that either of the other two evidence-shy parties could be correct. How rational is that? 50/50 becomes 100% liability. Heard of edging a bet?
Nope that is completely wrong. I believe there are many things we don't know - none of them magic. In fact that is as certain as any statement can be, since I can point to specific examples of things we cannot currently explain (memory, perception, the 'great drift', dark matter....etc). Saying that something cannot be comprehensively ruled out is not the same as 'accepting it' btw.
And again we see the other oft-repeated twisting of reality - 50/50. Whoever said that agnostics think it is 50/50?

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In the hypothetical event that God was proven, the atheist wouldn't even be an atheist.
Why not? There are people who don't believe in evolution and that is as close to proven as anything can be. If people chose to reject the 'proof' then of course they can be atheists.
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Even if they stayed devoutly rooted in their atheistic faith of evolution and atheism, after God had showed himself, they'd still have to accept either Creationism or Intelligent Design. If they accept the prior, they believe Biblical accounts of creation and evolution flies out of the window. If they accept the latter they believe that evolution is merely the designer's signature cell guidance of its own initial creation.
Evolution is not an 'atheist' faith. Most of the Christians in the world accept evolution. Neither does anyone have to accept ID/Creationism (they are actually the same thing), even if God turns up in person.
If and when God can show that he DID design us then we'll talk (although I'd be saying nasty things about his abilities, in that case), otherwise it is quite possible that he hadn't a clue we would evolve from an initial state that he created. There is a touching assumption amongst theists and apologists that if there is a God, he will be 'their' God. Given that most theists are in a tiny minority when considered against all other theistic beliefs over history, it is statistically improbable that ANY theist has an accurate notion of God - even if he DOES exist. He could equally well be a psychotic egomaniac, a forgetful boffin, a non-sentient energy-field or a fundamental particle.
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However, it was the lack of Gods, creation, intelligent design that put billions upon billions of aliens whizzing through the galaxies in the first place, by the implausible proposal that Earth is the only planet to be 'blessed' with this wonderfully, inexplicably, compatible supernatural luck of not just environment and sustainability, locality, liquid water, tectonic plates to knock out (from nothing) intelligent life. What I'm telling you is that you have more chance of getting stuck by lightning three times in the same spot, whilst winning the lottery, while Christopher Hitchens genuflects to God himself, than that ever happening. The only problem is, there's no aliens and apparently no God. Now do you believe in magic? I dare say you always did.
Huh? This is the second time that 'techtonic plates' have been raised.
The fact is that life occurs just about everywhere we look. Find a 'spring' which is around 95 celcius and so acidic it would burn human skin in seconds - life. Dig into solid rock for tens of metres - life.
Go 7 miles down into the ocean where there is no light, the pressure is unbelievable and food is almost non existent - life. What we are learning is that life is remarkably resilient and can exist in a range of conditions much more extreme than previously thought. Intelligent life, of course, is less likely. We don't have any good models to say how unlikely/likely the development of intelligence is, once life gets going. Some biological scientists put it fairly remote (hundreds or thousands to one). Others put it at an almost certainty. We just don't have enough information to say much on this - a sample size of 1 is never a good basis for science.
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[a]atheistic view is usually [b]happy to accept the concept of evolutionary progress on distant planets even if a secret [c]god actually made it all happen to his/her/it's plan without us realising[d]"?

Where did c come from? That seems to be an addition and a rather large assumption. The initial statement did not include that assumption.
Dialogist
Bikerman wrote:

Huh? No evidence against?
Pick a god...any god...I'll happily give you evidence against.
Let's take the Christian God.
First point : requires an appeal to the supernatural. That in itself is enough in our normal lives to count very heavily against any proposition.


Your claim also appeals to the supernatural. It appeals to the supernaturally 'imagined' evidence of that God does not exist. Evidence which cannot be observed, is immaterial and cannot be tested. There is simply no evidence for the for the non-existence of a God. "That in itself is enough in our normal lives to count very heavily against against any proposition" is in itself, a proposition. It's basically saying, that is enough to make me believe [something I have no evidence to prove]. There's no evidence to make this belief a fact however. It's basically just a claim. Just like "God exists". Which also has no evidence.

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If a physicist said that he had a new, cheap power source but it required a pixie to make it work, most people would have few qualms about disregarding this 'theory' until some positive evidence was produced.


Speculation and skepticism is not evidence of the non-existence of a God. If the physicist claimed that he could prove that God does not exist most people would have few qualms about disregarding this 'theory' until some positive evidence was produced too. The burden of proof is now upon him as he has asserted something which he has no evidence to support.


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Second point : scripture - which was once said to be absolute truth - indeed it was held to be crucial that it WAS absolute truth - is full of mistakes, contradictions and just plain nonsense. Since this is the only actual 'evidence' for Christians (apart from personal revelation) then this is pretty damning. Christianity is a history of retreat from scripture. Bit by bit philosophers, then scientists, have chipped away at the 'facts' until they have had to be consigned to 'allegory'.


The historical and geographical relevance of the book notwithstanding, the "unreliability" of this literature is not evidence of the non-existence of a God. If anything, referring to this literature as testimony towards the unreliability of itself is like asking a liar if he is a liar.

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Imagine that UFOlogists produced a definitive textbook which, they claimed, proves their case that little green men are picking up air-miles and frequent-flyer points. Then imagine that one by one the central claims of the books are revealed to be either highly suspect or actually false...does that count as evidence against? I think it does.


It counts for extreme speculation against the reliability of the book, yes. It does not however, prove that aliens do not exist, nor does it even prove emphatically that the book, in its entirely is incorrect. It can be seen as a cause of speculation and skepticism. But "aliens do not exist" claims without supporting evidence should not abound from such findings.

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That doesn't mean they think it likely, or even remotely possible, that God exists - they just cannot say with absolute authority that he doesn't.


But you just have? Does "I'll happily give you evidence against" share a sentiment with "I'll happily have sex with Jessica Alba?" Because I too would welcome the opportunity. However, the possibility is not within my grasp at this point but I am still hopeful as it has a higher probability of materializing.

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Those atheists who take a different line are sure that God does not exist and say so (strong atheism). I would say that most of 'us' agnostic atheists are much closer to strong atheism than agnostic theism. it is impossible to quantify, but if pressed i would say that personally I would put the probability on God around the same probability of intelligent life on Europa.


There's also a very small probability that I will meet Miss Alba, but it's not an impossibility. It's nothing I should write off completely. Also probability is subjective as I tried to show above with the chances of this all being a grand accident. We make allowances for things like the universe going through an inflationary expansion soon after the Big Bang. There's no positive evidence to support this theory, but we believe blindly based on little more than bias. We may even call this scientific, if we're feeling charitable.

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This is rather weasel worded. Relative certainty can also be regarded as a probability, so the group of people who believe in the possibility of God is close to everyone.


"Relative certainty" argues Wittgenstein, when removed from practical life, "is no longer meaningful for meaning". It is my belief that "Relative certainty" never really had a meaning to begin with as it must surely be an oxymoron. I would agree that the general consensus "entertains" (however willfully or begrudgingly) some allowance for a God, yes. But if I (personally) would feel dishonest in presenting this argumentum ad populum as evidence for the existence of a God, mindful of the Earth once "being" flat.

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you introduce the word 'embittered' as a purely subjective opinion, and we have already established that not all atheists are agnostic. So that 'representation' makes two points, both of which are wrong.


I used the word "embittered" as a synonym for "extremely dissatisfied". It wasn't so much my opinion, rather than an impression that I got from watersoul's comments. It was an understanding of what he posted, rather than anything I posted. So if you assume that "not all atheists are agnostics" is correct, then when he said:

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have to accept the possibility (however slim they may think it is) due to its unproven status.


"Have to" does this not induce thoughts of some embittered atheistic agnostic? I'm not playing with this. For one, I really don't need to to pick at peoples verbiage. I have actual arguments. And for two, it's all there on the page and I am being constantly informed that it isn't, often with updates on what it should have said.

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Saying that something cannot be comprehensively ruled out is not the same as 'accepting it' btw


It surely makes a rational man accepting "of" it though. The removal of the "of" word, "accepting it" is more standardized in everyday society in how we use preference and prejudice to determine that which we will or will not "accept". For example, somebody hurling a load of verbal abuse at a person and then them saying, "I am not going to accept that". They are choosing to stand up against the abuse but the reverberations to the ear - they really have no choice in until it is ceased. In fact they have to indeed first accept it, to acknowledge it, before refusing it. It's like saying "Don't think of a pink elephant" (I will steer clear of the ontological argument at this point, rest assured, although there's no need for me to. I could and it would be relevant). They can believe in not accepting the verbal abuse and choose not to but if it is actual, they don't really have any choice. Likewise, a person's missing dog is not evidence that the dog is dead. Eventually they may "accept" that he is not coming back and assume him dead (to them), but there's no evidence (without a corpse) to prove that he's dead or even not in a good home.

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Whoever said that agnostics think it is 50/50?


Them. Certainly not me. If you want to argue that, argue with them about it. If they want to argue that, then by definition, they are not agnostic. Mathematically or otherwise. They are then indeed using "agnosticism" as a front. 51% in any way is not absolute agnosticism and while nothing is perfect in this naturalist world, the term itself becomes flawed (even by 1%). Unless a person can be 99% named Richard. You could argue that there's an element of doubt in all people and no belief is 100% and in fact needs (and often is bolstered) by a little healthy doubt to make the vocation or belief worthwhile. That's not my problem. If they state their position, they should be good for it or change it. If they fritter between both regularly, just leave it alone all together (become a true agnostic). It's not even a position anyway.

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Why not? There are people who don't believe in evolution and that is as close to proven as anything can be. If people chose to reject the 'proof' then of course they can be atheists.


I'm not sure it is as close to proven as anything can be. I mean what is has proved, it has proved 100% (obviously) but any larger picture that we aren't required to consider a mover of and then join the dots between, requires a few leaps of faith. I do agree with the last part though. Nobody should be forced to believe evidence should they choose not to. A person's subjective perception is their own business and right. It's a good point and one I've always been a proponent of. They are not required to believe anything but they do need to be accepting "of" it.

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Evolution is not an 'atheist' faith. Most of the Christians in the world accept evolution. Neither does anyone have to accept ID/Creationism (they are actually the same thing), even if God turns up in person.
ID/Creationism (they are actually the same thing)


They are the same thing? lol, that's the atheistic faith in evolution I was talking about. Right on cue. One has a Bible, "God", a seven day theory, heavens, Adam and Eve. The other? Not so much.

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There is a touching assumption amongst theists and apologists that if there is a God, he will be 'their' God. Given that most theists are in a tiny minority when considered against all other theistic beliefs over history, it is statistically improbable that ANY theist has an accurate notion of God - even if he DOES exist. He could equally well be a psychotic egomaniac, a forgetful boffin, a non-sentient energy-field or a fundamental particle.


There's an equally touching assumption amongst atheists, agnostics and theists that a supernatural being with the ability to exist outside of spacetime with the ability to create everything from scratch, who either created itself or existed ex nihilo for an eternity that time wasn't created yet to measure, would indeed answer to worldly logic (including this attempt at paradigming it from me). The best I can do, in entertaining the notion of such a being, is presume that it is intelligent.

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The fact is that life occurs just about everywhere we look.


We can look at life and we can play a game of biological pass the parcel with it. But we can't do it.

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Where did c come from? That seems to be an addition and a rather large assumption. The initial statement did not include that assumption.


I haven't changed anything about his post. If I was too other than to bold or italicize, I would still ask his permission and/or leave note to say I'd done so.
Bikerman
Dialogist wrote:
Your claim also appeals to the supernatural. It appeals to the supernaturally 'imagined' evidence of that God does not exist. Evidence which cannot be observed, is immaterial and cannot be tested.
This is a nonsense point. One does not need to provide evidence that IPU does not exist. One does not need to provide evidence that there is currently no 23ft human being on the planet....and so on. There are an infinite number of possible 'claims'. Demanding that each be evidentially refuted is both futile and fundamentally stupid. It is, therefore, up to the person claiming the phenomenon/effect to provide evidence that it is worth more attention.
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There is simply no evidence for the for the non-existence of a God. "That in itself is enough in our normal lives to count very heavily against against any proposition" is in itself, a proposition. It's basically saying, that is enough to make me believe [something I have no evidence to prove]. There's no evidence to make this belief a fact however. It's basically just a claim. Just like "God exists". Which also has no evidence.
There is no evidence that a purple Dragon does not exist. There can never be any such evidence. it is therefore logically futile and actually fallacious to propose that this somehow shows ANYTHING....
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Speculation and skepticism is not evidence of the non-existence of a God. If the physicist claimed that he could prove that God does not exist most people would have few qualms about disregarding this 'theory' until some positive evidence was produced too. The burden of proof is now upon him as he has asserted something which he has no evidence to support.
Exactly. Therefore the onus is on the theist to provide evidence for THEIR claims.
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The historical and geographical relevance of the book notwithstanding, the "unreliability" of this literature is not evidence of the non-existence of a God. If anything, referring to this literature as testimony towards the unreliability of itself is like asking a liar if he is a liar.
Nonono. If an organisation bases it's existence, its laws and its very ontology on a particular set of books and those books prove unreliable then the existence of the organisation is called into question. One does not ask the bible for evidence of the bible's inerrancy. One tests the claims made. Thus we test the Exodus story archaeologically, historically etc and we find it is nonsense. In fact we don't need to spend much time looking for the archaeology in this case, since the actual story itself is logically flawed and internally inconsistent. There would have had to have been 2 million Jews, for example, involved in the 'exodus' from Egypt (the bible repeatedly refers to 600,000 men, minus children, women and old folk). This is nonsense, of course.
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It counts for extreme speculation against the reliability of the book, yes. It does not however, prove that aliens do not exist, nor does it even prove emphatically that the book, in its entirely is incorrect. It can be seen as a cause of speculation and skepticism. But "aliens do not exist" claims without supporting evidence should abound from such findings.
Since the only support for those claims is the UFOlogist movement, if you discredit the movement you de-facto discredit the claims.

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There's also a very small probability that I will meet Miss Alba, but it's not an impossibility. It's nothing I should write off completely. Also probability is subjective as I tried to show above with the chances of this all being a grand accident. We make allowances for things like the universe going through an inflationary expansion soon after the Big Bang. There's no positive evidence to support this theory, but we believe blindly based on little more than bias. We may even call this scientific, if we're feeling charitable.
There is plenty of evidence, and no scientist 'blindly believes' inflationary universe theory since all scientists know that theory is always temporary. In fact many alternative hypotheses have been proposed, and some of them have even been tested, yet to date inflation holds up well. It will be tested more thoroughly in the coming years and then we will see.
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"Relative certainty" argues Wittgenstein, when removed from practical life, "is no longer meaningful for meaning". It is my belief that "Relative certainty" never really had a meaning to begin with as it must surely be an oxymoron. I would agree that the general consensus "entertains" (however willfully or begrudgingly) some allowance for a God, yes. But if I (personally) would feel dishonest in presenting this argumentum ad populum as evidence for the existence of a God, mindful of the Earth once "being" flat.
I didn't present any such ad-pop. You basically presented the reverse ad-pop with the claim that anyone who allows for the possibility of God is an agnostic. It isn't actually true, but in any case it is so close to a universal set that it has no meaning. In fact if someone is certain of the existence of God then they are agnostic by your definition.
The normal definition of an agnostic is much better - one who holds that the existence of God can neither be proved nor disproved.
As for 'relative certainty' Wittgenstein also said that relative certainty was a meaningful concept in everyday practical life.
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I used the word "embittered" as a synonym for "extremely dissatisfied". It wasn't so much my opinion, rather than an impression that I got from watersoul's comments. It was an understanding of what he posted, rather than anything I posted. So if you assume that "not all atheists are agnostics" is correct, then when he said:
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have to accept the possibility (however slim they may think it is) due to its unproven status.

"Have to" does this not induce thoughts of some embittered atheistic agnostic? I'm not playing with this. For one, I really don't need to to pick at peoples verbiage. I have actual arguments. And for two, it's all there on the page and I am being constantly informed that it isn't, often with updates on what it should have said.
Of course it doesn't induce such thoughts. Why should it?. 'Have to' in this case means accepting a moral imperative to be honest. That doesn't make one bitter. If you want to be honest then you have to tell the truth - why should that embitter anyone?
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It surely makes a rational man accepting "of" it though. The removal of the "of" word, "accepting it" is more standardized in everyday society in how we use preference and prejudice to determine that which we will or will not "accept". For example, somebody hurling a load of verbal abuse at a person and then them saying, "I am not going to accept that". They are choosing to stand up against the abuse but the reverberations to the ear - they really have no choice in until it is ceased. In fact they have to indeed first accept it, to acknowledge it, before refusing it. It's like saying "Don't think of a pink elephant" (I will steer clear of the ontological argument at this point, rest assured, although there's no need for me to. I could and it would be relevant). They can believe in not accepting the verbal abuse and choose not to but if it is actual, they don't really have any choice. Likewise, a person's missing dog is not evidence that the dog is dead. Eventually they may "accept" that he is not coming back and assume him dead (to them), but there's no evidence (without a corpse) to prove that he's dead or even not in a good home.
This is one long red-herring. The removal of the 'of' makes sod-all difference. A rational man accepts what can be rationally demonstrated. God cannot and is therefore not accepted as an actual entity, only as an unlikely hypothesis. This whole strand of argument is rather tired and meaningless. It is easy to demonstrate this - as follows.
You cannot conclusively demonstrate that the flying spaghetti monster does not exist. Therefore, using your logic, you accept the FSM. Since you accept the existence of a talking pile of spaghetti with divine powers then most people would suggest that some treatment would be called for - and some would be quite anxiously signalling for someone to call the local mental hospital.
As I have already said, there are an infinity of things that you cannot disprove absolutely. The idea that this means you are actually 'accepting of' that infinity of possible entities/phenomenon is clearly nonsense.
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Whoever said that agnostics think it is 50/50?
Them. Certainly not me. If you want to argue that, argue with them about it. If they want to argue that, then by definition, they are not agnostic.
LOL.....so now you are going to play with this as well eh?
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Mathematically or otherwise. They are then indeed using "agnosticism" as a front. 51% in any way is not absolute agnosticism and while nothing is perfect in this naturalist world, the term itself becomes flawed (even by 1%).
Absolute nonsense. Agnosticism doesn't imply or mean equal possibility of existing or not existing. It simply means not provable either way.
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Unless a person can be 99% named Richard. You could argue that there's an element of doubt in all people and no belief is 100% and in fact needs (and often is bolstered) by a little healthy doubt to make the vocation or belief worthwhile. That's not my problem. If they state their position, they should be good for it or change it. If they fritter between both regularly, just leave it alone all together (become a true agnostic). It's not even a position anyway.
I DO argue that there is an element of doubt in all rational people. Indeed that is my point. But this notion that an agnostic has to be perfectly balanced at some hypothetical and entirely notional 50/50 point is just sheer invention and bears no relation to the real world.
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I'm not sure it is as close to proven as anything can be. I mean what is has proved, it has proved 100% (obviously) but any larger picture that we aren't required to consider a mover of and then join the dots between, requires a few leaps of faith.
Explain please? What part of evolutionary theory requires a leap of faith?
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I do agree with the last part though. Nobody should be forced to believe evidence should they choose not to. A person's subjective perception is their own business and right. It's a good point and one I've always been a proponent of. They are not required to believe anything but they do need to be accepting "of" it.
I think this is complete rubbish and very dangerous rubbish at that - on a par with the crazy notion that all beliefs are worthy of respect. Accepting, with or without the 'of', is not something anyone 'owes' to any point of view, hypothesis or idea. The world is full of insane, dangerous, immoral and impossible notions and anyone who is 'accepting of' them is merely encouraging more insanity.

The important point is respect for an individuals right to hold an opinion, no matter how assinine one considers that opinion, and the determination to protect that right. I certainly don't 'accept' (am not accepting 'of') belief in sky fairies. I think the notion is quite mad in many respects and I have no intention of 'accepting' such a bizarre notion without any evidence to support it. I will, however, defend the right of any person to hold such bizarre beliefs.
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They are the same thing? lol, that's the atheistic faith in evolution I was talking about. Right on cue. One has a Bible, "God", a seven day theory, heavens, Adam and Eve. The other? Not so much.
No, they are the same. ID was 'invented' in the 1980s (1987 actually) by creationists in the US. The history and timeline is well understood - even the US courts know this by now. It was part of the 'wedge strategy' to introduce biblical teachings into science lessons in US schools and ultimately replace the teaching of evolution.
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There's an equally touching assumption amongst atheists, agnostics and theists that a supernatural being with the ability to exist outside of spacetime with the ability to create everything from scratch, who either created itself or existed ex nihilo for an eternity that time wasn't created yet to measure, would indeed answer to worldly logic (including this attempt at paradigming it from me). The best I can do, in entertaining the notion of such a being, is presume that it is intelligent.
There is no such assumption. I don't make any assumptions about a deity because I don't believe one exists. You are doing the assuming here. Who said there was a supernatural being who could exist outside spacetime and create everything from scratch? Genesis? So does that mean you believe the rest of the nonsense in Genesis as well?
Your presumption that such an impossible entity would be intelligent strikes me as quite bizarre. On what possible grounds can you base such an assumption?
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We can look at life and we can play a game of biological pass the parcel with it. But we can't do it.
We HAVE done it. Scientists in the US created synthetic life months ago.
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I haven't changed anything about his post. If I was too other than to bold or italicize, I would still ask his permission and/or leave note to say I'd done so.
I wasn't suggesting otherwise - I just didn't notice it in any of the nearby posts so I wonder how it was introduced.
watersoul
Dialogist wrote:
I would much rather not be a prick but then again I'd much rather not be cajoled to be one by somebody typing out of their posterior either.

If you felt cajoled into becoming a 'prick' that was unfortunate and not my intention.
I have now removed the keyboard from my arse and sincerely hope this will facilitate a swift amendment to your 'prick' status.
deanhills
Thomas Huxley expressed his choice of agnostic very well:
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When I reached intellectual maturity and began to ask myself whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist or an idealist; Christian or a freethinker; I found that the more I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until, at last, I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with any of these denominations, except the last. The one thing in which most of these good people were agreed was the one thing in which I differed from them. They were quite sure they had attained a certain "gnosis,"–had, more or less successfully, solved the problem of existence; while I was quite sure I had not, and had a pretty strong conviction that the problem was insoluble.

So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of "agnostic." It came into my head as suggestively antithetic to the "gnostic" of Church history, who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant. To my great satisfaction the term took.

Source: Wikipedia

Bikerman wrote:
The normal definition of an agnostic is much better - one who holds that the existence of God can neither be proved nor disproved.
I've never heard of a "normal" definition before. There are many definitions of agnostic. There is also this definition:
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Agnosticism is the view that the truth value of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—is unknown or unknowable. Agnosticism can be defined in various ways, and is sometimes used to indicate doubt or a skeptical approach to questions.
Source: Wikipedia
Dialogist
Bikerman wrote:
This is a nonsense point. One does not need to provide evidence that IPU does not exist. One does not need to provide evidence that there is currently no 23ft human being on the planet....and so on. There are an infinite number of possible 'claims'. Demanding that each be evidentially refuted is both futile and fundamentally stupid. It is, therefore, up to the person claiming the phenomenon/effect to provide evidence that it is worth more attention.


The days of postulating religious theory as scientific fact are all but centuries ago. A man referring to it as scientific fact, even longer, or a scientist working upon its assumptions, even longer or perhaps never, only really accountable due to lack of scientific advancement. Any attempt to pervert the course of knowledge from religious groups predates modern science. Ever since the birth of modern science, a priori and a posteriori has known its authority, its credibility and functioned empirically perfectly well.

The old argument that creationist theory is still taught in schools is futile. These backwards institutions are not recognized as any significant voice within the scientific realm of knowledge and understanding. Most religions now either ignore (to their detriment) or fully support scientific requirements with regards to education.

It's really a silly argument that is constantly being labored over by atheists. It's an assumption of its own that supposes that because Jeff aged 10 to 12 read a book about Creationism, Prof Stephen Hawkins must revise his theories. What it doesn't tell us is that whenever Jeff leaves his religious high school, in order to do anything, he must attend a college and then a university. And even if he stays strictly within religious institutions even at their least demanding requirements, in order to poke any foot through any scientific door, he must, to reach any level of notoriety, show evidence of claims.

It is a weak point that suggests that Harry Potter could in any way one day become scientific fact. You seem to place a great deal of importance on the peer review? The peer review stops The Philosopher's Stone becoming anything other than pure fiction. I learned how to fight in school too. Application of this in the real world was quickly administered to by actual authority. A child's naive understanding of the world is an unfortunate yet temporary, non-consesquential and ineffectual irrelevance.

So to address your point. If Jeff wants to claim that a 23ft human riding a Purple Dragon can be proved, Jeff, if to be then taken seriously as any notable authority with have to show workings. He'll have to show evidence. Jeff's claim will be assessed upon such. Even Tom, who has never believed Jeff's theories, in claiming that "23ft human riding a Purple Dragon" definitely "does not exist", has to show evidence for that claim, or not make it because then he's just as scientifically unsupported as Jeff. Otherwise, he can just ignore it and go about his science.

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Exactly. Therefore the onus is on the theist to provide evidence for THEIR claims.


Well lets look at what evidence actually is. In its broadest sense something that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion.

Assertion: "I believe in God"
Testing: "Do you?"
Evidence: "Yes".

Assertion: "I believe there is no God".
Testing: "Do you?"
Evidence: "Yes".

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Assertion: "There is a God!"
Testing: "Evidence?"
Evidence: A bunch of theories.

Assertion: "There is no God!"
Testing: "Evidence?"
Evidence: A bunch of theories.

Now let's look at "onus". "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" works both ways, however the statement is incorrect. What is should say is "Extraordinary claims require sufficient evidence". It doesn't sound as sensational, but science has never minded.

The onus and burden and proof is the on the one who is making the claim. The titles that are based on belief, "Theist", "Atheist" and "Agnostic" are just based on belief. They really have no place within science. If science were to be classified in any of those categories, it would be "agnostic". Whatever the scientist does with his Sunday morning is his own private business. If he brings it to work, fine, but he'd better have evidence.

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Nonono. If an organisation bases it's existence, its laws and its very ontology on a particular set of books and those books prove unreliable then the existence of the organisation is called into question. One does not ask the bible for evidence of the bible's inerrancy. One tests the claims made. Thus we test the Exodus story archaeologically, historically etc and we find it is nonsense. In fact we don't need to spend much time looking for the archaeology in this case, since the actual story itself is logically flawed and internally inconsistent. There would have had to have been 2 million Jews, for example, involved in the 'exodus' from Egypt (the bible repeatedly refers to 600,000 men, minus children, women and old folk). This is nonsense, of course.


Finding literature about topic inaccurate does not a topic disprove. It does not prove the non-existance of God. It merely beats the people who believe in with a stick. Whether they deserve it or not is besides the point. It doesn't offer any evidence that there is no God. The part I bolded was of special interest to us both. I don't really want to refer to over threads or other arguments concerning the detrimental effect of religions on the world, but I'd like you to re-read it and tell me what's wrong with it, if anything.

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Since the only support for those claims is the UFOlogist movement, if you discredit the movement you de-facto discredit the claims.


You are welcome to discredit them. This is normally done by it failing in peer review. You aren't welcome to make claims about "aliens don't exist" unless you can show some evidence, because then you would be discredited to. Well you wouldn't, because we know how it works, and how biased it is, but still, you'd be committing the crime you accused it of. You'd be no more credible than it, technically speaking.

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There is plenty of evidence, and no scientist 'blindly believes' inflationary universe theory since all scientists know that theory is always temporary. In fact many alternative hypotheses have been proposed, and some of them have even been tested, yet to date inflation holds up well. It will be tested more thoroughly in the coming years and then we will see.


There's some great work being done. Some remarkable cosmological work is being done too. We should champion these efforts and not remove their "inflationary" placeholders due to theories about their theories, even if they do lack evidence or indeed logic, like every finite and contingent being has a cause (etc).

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I didn't present any such ad-pop. You basically presented the reverse ad-pop with the claim that anyone who allows for the possibility of God is an agnostic. It isn't actually true, but in any case it is so close to a universal set that it has no meaning. In fact if someone is certain of the existence of God then they are agnostic by your definition.
The normal definition of an agnostic is much better - one who holds that the existence of God can neither be proved nor disproved.
As for 'relative certainty' Wittgenstein also said that relative certainty was a meaningful concept in everyday practical life.


Well if the practicality of practical life has any practically other than practically then we'd all be naturalistic animals eating our young or starving with no will to exist, the problem as Wittgenstein unwittingly recognizes is the allowance of the opposite. If there's an opposite conceived then we back to ontology again. All he really does is draw up a proof for the supernatural, even transcendental, if we're splitting hairs.

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Of course it doesn't induce such thoughts. Why should it?. 'Have to' in this case means accepting a moral imperative to be honest. That doesn't make one bitter. If you want to be honest then you have to tell the truth - why should that embitter anyone?


Because a naturalistic view of the world is one whereby morally objective "truths" are subjective to experience of successful survival. A belief either way of said fact discredits that.

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This is one long red-herring. The removal of the 'of' makes sod-all difference. A rational man accepts what can be rationally demonstrated. God cannot and is therefore not accepted as an actual entity, only as an unlikely hypothesis. This whole strand of argument is rather tired and meaningless. It is easy to demonstrate this - as follows.
You cannot conclusively demonstrate that the flying spaghetti monster does not exist. Therefore, using your logic, you accept the FSM. Since you accept the existence of a talking pile of spaghetti with divine powers then most people would suggest that some treatment would be called for - and some would be quite anxiously signalling for someone to call the local mental hospital.
As I have already said, there are an infinity of things that you cannot disprove absolutely. The idea that this means you are actually 'accepting of' that infinity of possible entities/phenomenon is clearly nonsense.


Well if you can clearly assert that the FSM does not exist, although you seem to have a picture, then show evidence that it was created by Bobby Henderson in 2005 and we'll discredit it. Whatever a rational man holds as truth was demonstrated quite clearly in the Earth once "being" flat example. The rational man accepts what he is told is fact, and he bases his "beliefs" upon such information, regardless of its accurate or inaccurate validity. The rational man is a database. My computer is entirely rational. I would not ask it what it "thinks" about anything.

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LOL.....so now you are going to play with this as well eh?


I may as well, as the onus of evidence is not on me to validity their claims. However, "Are you serious?" being asked and then "Yes" being answered is still good enough for me in terms of belief. However I classify that thereafter is merely just my belief.

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Absolute nonsense. Agnosticism doesn't imply or mean equal possibility of existing or not existing. It simply means not provable either way.


Or rather it is unknown or unknowable. Possibility do to the possibility that there's a possibility that either it exists or does not exist and this is unknown or unknowable. If there's no possibility then it is it known.

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I DO argue that there is an element of doubt in all rational people. Indeed that is my point. But this notion that an agnostic has to be perfectly balanced at some hypothetical and entirely notional 50/50 point is just sheer invention and bears no relation to the real world.


Which proves that the definition which you provide for agnosticism is not applicable to any human being within respects to the other beliefs or even "belief" itself. It's not a belief. It's a negation of a belief. And since every conscience human being has a belief then it is either just a blatant lie or a political safety blanket.

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I think this is complete rubbish and very dangerous rubbish at that - on a par with the crazy notion that all beliefs are worthy of respect. Accepting, with or without the 'of', is not something anyone 'owes' to any point of view, hypothesis or idea. The world is full of insane, dangerous, immoral and impossible notions and anyone who is 'accepting of' them is merely encouraging more insanity.


On the other hand the world is full of countries, uncontacted tribes, indigenous people which fascist dictators haven't invaded yet to re-appropriate, enslave, pillage and "civilize". Nazis, The Indian Raj, Iraq etc. The coin has two sides. There is people in the amazon who live peacefully performing rain dances and living off their natural cultivation. That is none of our business. It may become so due to crops, oil or people trafficking, but again, human beings have a right to society free lifestyles. Any attempt to force ones superior view upon them is morally incorrect, dangerous, fascist rubbish. "You are free to do as we tell you" is never a philosophy that I can ever subscribe to.

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The important point is respect for an individuals right to hold an opinion, no matter how assinine one considers that opinion, and the determination to protect that right. I certainly don't 'accept' (am not accepting 'of') belief in sky fairies. I think the notion is quite mad in many respects and I have no intention of 'accepting' such a bizarre notion without any evidence to support it. I will, however, defend the right of any person to hold such bizarre beliefs.


I am glad that you are accepting of that belief then. The semantics of the word "accept" not withstanding, the point is not forcing somebody to believe something they do not want to believe, which from what I can tell, you have always been an enthusiastic proponent of yourself. Freedom of belief is not one way street specifically beneficial to lack of belief, is what I am saying. If that freedom of belief is to be taken seriously, it must respect freedom of belief before it requests it.

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No, they are the same. ID was 'invented' in the 1980s (1987 actually) by creationists in the US. The history and timeline is well understood - even the US courts know this by now. It was part of the 'wedge strategy' to introduce biblical teachings into science lessons in US schools and ultimately replace the teaching of evolution.


And how was it (apart from appealing to a supernatural agent - the only thing they have in common) then modernized to use the scientific method? Well, simply by making it nothing resembling the Biblical story of Creation whatsoever. By noting the wedge strategy, you're noting the extreme difference.

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There is no such assumption. I don't make any assumptions about a deity because I don't believe one exists. You are doing the assuming here. Who said there was a supernatural being who could exist outside spacetime and create everything from scratch? Genesis?
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No, Cosmology. I don't believe in a deity itself, is an assumption, a supposition.

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Your presumption that such an impossible entity would be intelligent strikes me as quite bizarre. On what possible grounds can you base such an assumption?


I take it that it needs a cause, if I take that cause to be a supernatural entity capable of existing outside spacetime and thus creating all and everything thereafter, I would actually find "intelligent" somewhat insufficient.

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We HAVE done it. Scientists in the US created synthetic life months ago.


We've been self-replicating since we've been here. I can do that. It was "top-down". Taking an existing organism and changing it to create something new. It is constructing a genome, which is more or less a slightly modified copy of an existing genome, then putting it back into an existing cell. Amazing for sure, but not Godly.
Bikerman
Dialogist wrote:
The days of postulating religious theory as scientific fact are all but centuries ago. A man referring to it as scientific fact, even longer, or a scientist working upon its assumptions, even longer or perhaps never, only really accountable due to lack of scientific advancement. Any attempt to pervert the course of knowledge from religious groups predates modern science. Ever since the birth of modern science, a priori and a posteriori has known its authority, its credibility and functioned empirically perfectly well.
Which again shows that you either don't know what you are talking about, or you are being disingenuous. There is little point continuing with the rest of this debate if you are simply going to throw out stuff like this which is just so wrong I barely know where to begin....

Every single sentence in the paragraph above is demonstrably wrong. The scary thing is that you seem to believe it. This means you have somehow managed to remain unaware of the creationist movement and developments over the last 30 years. You weren't, for example, aware of the 'teach the controversy' campaign to get ID taught as scientific fact. You weren't aware that schools in England are NOW teaching ID as scientific fact. I presume you haven't heard of the ACE curriculum? (Accelerated Christian Education). It is currently followed in 7000 schools around the world - including many in the US and UK. The central 'plank' of the curriculum is the belief in biblical literalism and inerrancy.
(And this is just in the West - I haven't even mentioned other countries where teaching religion as fact is routine. That would need a book, not a posting).

Intelligent Design is simply the latest in a long-line of attempts by the religious to present religious theory as scientific fact. One can trace the lineage back through 'creation science' in the late 70s.
The following statement:
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And how was it (apart from appealing to a supernatural agent - the only thing they have in common) then modernized to use the scientific method? Well, simply by making it nothing resembling the Biblical story of Creation whatsoever. By noting the wedge strategy, you're noting the extreme difference.
raises serious questions in my mind. It is the sort of thing Dembski and other liars* routinely say. ID doesn't use the scientific method and the reason for leaving out the biblical stuff is simply legal - they wish to get around the provisions of the US Constitution which forbid religious teaching. It is well known (and documented) that the primary proponents of ID are creationists and it has been established in a court of law in the US that it is simply a religious belief system, dishonestly presented as science.

*The word is entirely justified. See the summary by Justice Jones in the Dover case.

Creationism (the 'fact' that the world was created as per the Genesis account) did largely 'go away' for a period around the end of the 19th century, but to pretend that it has no currency in the modern world is breathtaking. It is aggressively supported by many followers in many countries and is actually increasing in several - including the UK.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2006/nov/27/controversiesinscience.religion

You seem to have an image of the modern world which is way out of step with the facts as we know them. If it were really the case that nobody has been positing religious 'theory' as scientific fact then one wonders why a majority of US citizens believe that the bible is either literally true, or mostly true - including the belief that evolution is a gigantic conspiracy theory and that the world really was created in 6 days, about 6500 years ago. They certainly don't get that from the mainstream media, so I wonder where it comes from? In fact I know fine well where it comes from. Organisations like the Discovery Institute have an open agenda to replace the teaching of evolution in schools with a biblical account. They also have a LOT of money and influence and have enjoyed no small success. It isn't enough to simply say that science has had its chance and not persuaded people. In many places science has NOT had a chance. I can take you to several communities where science is more or less a dirty word - and this is in the UK, not the bible-belt of the US. The parasites in the various creationist sects feed on this distrust and seek to cast all modern science as atheist dogma, in order to remove the huge scientific objections to their basically idiotic 'beliefs'.

In fact I find it really astonishing that you are unaware of such things as the Dover Trial - where the parents of US children had to take court action to stop schools teaching creationism as science. At best your posting can be seen as misinformation stemming from almost unbelievable complacency...

PS - the only thing wrong with my statement about the bible is that it is clumsily phrased. The meaning is clear and is correct. One does not use anecdotal evidence to validate the anecdote
Dialogist
So why are you using anecdotal evidence to validate the anecdote? Or indeed the claim that Creationism and Intelligent Design are the same thing? When they are clearly not.

The reason people believe in Creationism is because they read it in the Bible not because they've been forced to by the Illuminati. They have a particular religious belief and they take the story of creationism from there. The history of ID is interesting. Send it in to a magazine. It doesn't have any bearing on whether it uses the scientific method or deliberately avoids naming the designer or not. I've read that wikipedia page to. I note you missed the point about violating the 1st Amendment of The Constitution of the United States and cannot be taught in schools? Worth mentioning don't you think? That the Establishment Clause actually prohibits both Creationism and Intelligent Design being taught in the US? And that the United States Supreme Court Edwards v. Aguillard ruling barred the teaching of "creation science" in public schools as breaching the separation of church and state?

I've also read a great deal about how bias and rumors of withheld submissions have prevented it getting a peer review, and how science doesn't see it as science even though the scientists who work on it do. Also how Creationists strongly disapprove of it too. As far as scientific standards go though, if evolution is scientific fact, then ID is just as a good, if not better, I mean, if we're allowing for propositions, presuppositions, suppositions and basically just theory pretending to be scientific fact. Because that's why it is right? A theory. Or is Modern evolutionary theory now a fact? I already know the answer to it and that you will type it in capitals as evidence, so don't bother. Just accept that it is a theory and save us both some time... Talk about postulating.

You're also failing to address my argument that nobody cares. Nobody in science cares because nobody in science is interested in Creationism or Intelligent Design to any notable leaning. If one was to follow either, they could only get so far in science and it would need to be in a cosmological or geological capacity. They still need evidence of their claims, so where's the problem? Or are high schools being issued with feilds medals and noble prizes for outstanding work these days?

Case in point: It does not matter what a high school teaches. Whatsoever.

By the way on much lighter note, I thought you might like this, Muhammad and aliens:

http://video.uk.msn.com/browse/news/week-in-video?VideoID=2gz76igs&PlayerSize=Small
Afaceinthematrix
Well actually, if you're going to mention court cases in the U.S., then legally, Creationism and Intelligent Design are the same thing. For obvious reasons (violation of separation of church and state, not being science, being full of disinformation, etc.) Creationism was banned from the classrooms.

A bunch of people (like Answers in Genesis) tried to find a loop hole with their "creation science" nonsense and then they came out with intelligent design. They thought they'd get that into the schools. But that failed in court when a judge, rightly so, ruled that intelligent design was just renaming creationism and so it cannot be in schools.

Even by definition they are obviously the same. Creationists believe that an intelligent designer "created" the universe. ID people believe that an intelligent designer "designed" the universe. The real division among those people are the people that will accept the scientific evidence that evolution has happened, the big bang is the best model for the formation of the universe, etc. and then just say that all of that was part of "god's plan" and then the other people who are just delusional and/or ignorant and who ignore basic evidence...
Bikerman
Dialogist wrote:
So why are you using anecdotal evidence to validate the anecdote? Or indeed the claim that Creationism and Intelligent Design are the same thing? When they are clearly not.

I gave you a clear link to the Dover case, which examines the evidence in forensic detail and concludes that they ARE the same.
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The reason people believe in Creationism is because they read it in the Bible not because they've been forced to by the Illuminati. They have a particular religious belief and they take the story of creationism from there.
More nonsense. If this were true then they would also believe in stoning adulterers and killing cheeky kids. People do not form their views from reading the bible - that much is VERY clear from the apologists who routinely post on this forum - most of them don't know what the bible actually says.
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The history of ID is interesting. Send it in to a magazine. It doesn't have any bearing on whether it uses the scientific method or deliberately avoids naming the designer or not. I've read that wikipedia page to. I note you missed the point about violating the 1st Amendment of The Constitution of the United States and cannot be taught in schools? Worth mentioning don't you think?
Which is why I DID mention it - quite clearly and explicitly.
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That the Establishment Clause actually prohibits both Creationism and Intelligent Design being taught in the US? And that the United States Supreme Court Edwards v. Aguillard ruling barred the teaching of "creation science" in public schools as breaching the separation of church and state?
This would be the stuff that you say hasn't been around for centuries?
In fact schools have been teaching it and continue to do so. It is only when parents object and threaten court action that it comes to the attention of the public.
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I've also read a great deal about how bias and rumors of withheld submissions have prevented it getting a peer review, and how science doesn't see it as science even though the scientists who work on it do. Also how Creationists strongly disapprove of it too. As far as scientific standards go though, if evolution is scientific fact, then ID is just as a good, if not better, I mean, if we're allowing for propositions, presuppositions, suppositions and basically just theory pretending to be scientific fact. Because that's why it is right? A theory. Or is Modern evolutionary theory now a fact? I already know the answer to it and that you will type it in capitals as evidence, so don't bother. Just accept that it is a theory and save us both some time... Talk about postulating.
Now this simply confirms my previous suspicion*. You have read a lot of nonsense and choose to repeat it here. Provide your evidence that ID has been discriminated against. If you have 'read a great deal' then that should be easy. There again, one wonders how it is possible to read a great deal about ID and not know it was created in 1987 by a bunch of creationists....strange....
In fact you can't - and I know because I really HAVE read a great deal about it.
One minute you say that no scientists are working on religious theory and the next you say this? ROFLMAO.

*The give-away is the 'just a theory' line. For future reference: science only deals in theories and a theory in science is not the same as 'theory' in common parlance. A theory is a model, supported by observation and experiment, that accounts for a group of phenomena. In science a 'theory' is as close to 'fact' as science can get. ID is not even close to being a theory.
The use of this 'argument' is most often associated with creationists, but it is also used by supporters of various pseudo-science (astrology, spiritualism etc etc). It is ALWAYS an indication that the person doesn't understand science and/or has a hidden agenda.

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Case in point: It does not matter what a high school teaches. Whatsoever.
Oh dear - 25 years wasted. I sort-of thought it might make a difference if kids were taught. I thought it might possibly help them get a job/career and perhaps encourage them to think a bit more deeply. I even deluded myself that I might be helping to educate some future scientists and leaders. Now you tell me that non of it mattered.....well, I guess I'll start up a business in remedial adult education then. That way I'll have a thriving business educating the adults who leave school at 16 barely able to read or write and completely ignorant of modern science....

PS:-
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I am glad that you are accepting of that belief then. The semantics of the word "accept" not withstanding, the point is not forcing somebody to believe something they do not want to believe, which from what I can tell, you have always been an enthusiastic proponent of yourself. Freedom of belief is not one way street specifically beneficial to lack of belief, is what I am saying. If that freedom of belief is to be taken seriously, it must respect freedom of belief before it requests it.
I'm not quite sure what this is actually saying, but it seems to imply that I propose forcing people to believe something against their will. That is about as far from true as possible. I debate, quite seriously at times, my own views and those of other people. Debate is not 'force'. People are free to read or not read what I write. I have always been a strong supporter of free speech, and nothing has changed. That does not mean that I 'respect' the views of other people just because they hold them - I don't. I will argue against them, where I believe they are wrong. What I will NOT do is support any move to ban or restrict them - even the really offensive ones. And, if it comes to it, I will publicly support the right of facists, nazis, racists, homophobes, holocaust deniers and anybody else - and I have done so on several occasions, which does not make one popular, but is essential if one *really* believes in free speech.
Dialogist
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Well actually, if you're going to mention court cases in the U.S., then legally, Creationism and Intelligent Design are the same thing. For obvious reasons (violation of separation of church and state, not being science, being full of disinformation, etc.) Creationism was banned from the classrooms.


The first two are correct but it being full of disinformation is disinformation.

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A bunch of people (like Answers in Genesis) tried to find a loop hole with their "creation science" nonsense and then they came out with intelligent design. They thought they'd get that into the schools. But that failed in court when a judge, rightly so, ruled that intelligent design was just renaming creationism and so it cannot be in schools.


Actually what he said was, Intelligent Design "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents" which is basically translates as "It's seems quasi-religious. We can't have that". It's basically ad hominem. "A creationist wrote it, it has to suck." I guess because he's a judge, he doesn't have to show evidence of his workings. If he did, it would be in schools because the designer is not unveiled as the God of Creation, the Creation story is not told, it's missing all of the Creationism plot, props and actors. There's not even a "God" in it, for Designer's sake.

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Even by definition they are obviously the same. Creationists believe that an intelligent designer "created" the universe. ID people believe that an intelligent designer "designed" the universe.


And therefore they are the same? Religious people believe God created the universe and scientists believe a Bing Bang created the universe so they are the same too?

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The real division among those people are the people that will accept the scientific evidence that evolution has happened, the big bang is the best model for the formation of the universe, etc. and then just say that all of that was part of "god's plan"


No they won't. They will say it is cosmologically, physically and logically impossible as the Kalam cosmological argument clearly shows. The Big Bang is the worst attempt at disinformation that science has ever (let me ammend that) "propaganda" has ever spouted. It's not scientific. It is an assumption of the 1st order. There is no evidence. It doesn't work and it's was put there and then the "temporarily" sign was added after it was shown how ridiculous it is. I mean I'll tell you exactly how ridiculous it is. It came about in 1927. Aristotle disproved it in 306 BC.
ocalhoun
Dialogist wrote:
I mean I'll tell you exactly how ridiculous it is. It came about in 1927. Aristotle disproved it in 306 BC.

(Shortly after his invention of the time machine, in 304 BC... Of course, the real credit should be due to the physicist Arnold Wittinger who disproved the theory in 2079, and told the time-wandering Aristotle about it.)

Seriously though, how can you disprove a theory that hasn't been theorized yet?
Others might use your work and findings to disprove it, but you can't disprove a theory that you've never heard about.
Dialogist
ocalhoun wrote:
Seriously though, how can you disprove a theory that hasn't been theorized yet?


I was saying that they broke a pretty basic causality premise that a pre-Creationist had already sown up. Interesting question though. How do you disprove a theory that hasn't been theorized yet? I don't know, was Richard Dawkins' meme concept transmitted by Richard Dawkins' meme concept? What do these people have against causal logic?
Afaceinthematrix
Dialogist wrote:

The first two are correct but it being full of disinformation is disinformation.


Well actually, if you look into Creationism/ID and read the bible that these people use as their basis, you'll easily see that it's full of disinformation. The bible implies that the Earth is 6,000 years old. That is wrong. Genesis says that there was a giant worldwide flood. That's actually impossible. I think Bikerman once wrote an entire post (you can probably find it if you search for it - I won't do it because I'd get in trouble for linking to an outside post) about all of the problems with Genesis.

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Actually what he said was, Intelligent Design "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents" which is basically translates as "It's seems quasi-religious. We can't have that". It's basically ad hominem. "A creationist wrote it, it has to suck." I guess because he's a judge, he doesn't have to show evidence of his workings. If he did, it would be in schools because the designer is not unveiled as the God of Creation, the Creation story is not told, it's missing all of the Creationism plot, props and actors. There's not even a "God" in it, for Designer's sake.


Actually, that's not the entire statement or what he said. He basically said that ID was a relabeling of Creationism.

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And therefore they are the same? Religious people believe God created the universe and scientists believe a Bing Bang created the universe so they are the same too?


Actually scientists do not believe that the BB "created" the universe. How can something like that "create" a universe? An accurate statement would be that all evidence points to the BB as being the most accurate model of the formation of our universe.

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No they won't. They will say it is cosmologically, physically and logically impossible as the Kalam cosmological argument clearly shows. The Big Bang is the worst attempt at disinformation that science has ever (let me ammend that) "propaganda" has ever spouted. It's not scientific. It is an assumption of the 1st order. There is no evidence. It doesn't work and it's was put there and then the "temporarily" sign was added after it was shown how ridiculous it is. I mean I'll tell you exactly how ridiculous it is. It came about in 1927. Aristotle disproved it in 306 BC.


Given that I do not have the time nor desire to give a physics lesson to someone who probably won't even read it, I'll just link to a page with a shitload of information about evidence for the BB. If you actually did your homework, you would see that you're just wrong... There is plenty of evidence and it is the best model that we currently have.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/astronomy/bigbang.html
deanhills
I saw a few YouTube shows last night that gave a fresh perspective on atheism and agnosticism. The shows maintain that agnostic and gnostic can't stand on their own as they have to be connected with either theism or atheism. I don't agree. Agnosticism stands outside belief systems and is only relevant to belief systems when it is connected up either with theism or atheism, i.e. gnostic or agnostic theism or gnostic or agnostic atheism. Atheists believe they have found their position on belief, so have theists. They have come to a definite conclusion where they stand on the basis of their knowledge. Agnostics haven't, as they are of the opinion that they don't know. They are agnostic.

So on the strength of the above I would say that theism, atheism and agnosticism are all rational positions, however theism and atheism are more rational. They have knowledge either based on faith or on rational deduction from a point of view of science that have provided them with the ability to choose a belief system that they are comfortable with. Agnostics claim they have no knowledge to sway them to any belief system, including theism and atheism and prefer to stand completely outside the world of religion and "eisms".
Bikerman
Dialogist wrote:
Actually what he said was, Intelligent Design "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents" which is basically translates as "It's seems quasi-religious. We can't have that". It's basically ad hominem. "A creationist wrote it, it has to suck." I guess because he's a judge, he doesn't have to show evidence of his workings. If he did, it would be in schools because the designer is not unveiled as the God of Creation, the Creation story is not told, it's missing all of the Creationism plot, props and actors. There's not even a "God" in it, for Designer's sake.
He did not just say it was 'quasi religious'. He was far more explicit.
Judge Jones wrote:
A significant aspect of the IDM [intelligent design movement] is that despite Defendants' protestations to the contrary, it describes ID as a religious argument. In that vein, the writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity.

Judge Jones wrote:
The evidence at trial demonstrates that ID is nothing less than the progeny of creationism.

Judge Jones wrote:
The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory.

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They will say it is cosmologically, physically and logically impossible as the Kalam cosmological argument clearly shows. The Big Bang is the worst attempt at disinformation that science has ever (let me ammend that) "propaganda" has ever spouted. It's not scientific. It is an assumption of the 1st order. There is no evidence. It doesn't work and it's was put there and then the "temporarily" sign was added after it was shown how ridiculous it is. I mean I'll tell you exactly how ridiculous it is. It came about in 1927. Aristotle disproved it in 306 BC.
This is complete and utter bilge.
The main lines of evidence for the BB are set out in a posting I made some time ago in the science forums.
http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-121600.html
It is certainly correct that 'they will say' this - but why do you give what 'they will say' such credence? If you want to know about science, why would you ask a creationist? It leads to making silly statements about the Big Bang based on....well, based on nothing really....
Ankhanu
deanhills wrote:
... Atheists believe they have found their position on belief, so have theists. They have come to a definite conclusion where they stand on the basis of their knowledge.

... Agnostics claim they have no knowledge to sway them to any belief system, including theism and atheism and prefer to stand completely outside the world of religion and "eisms".


The prior posts throughout this thread are strong evidence that this is BS.

Once again, atheism is not a belief system. You'd do well to remember that.
Dialogist
Quote:

Once again, atheism is not a belief system. You'd do well to remember that.


Which of these does it not engage with?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belief_system
deanhills
Ankhanu wrote:
deanhills wrote:
... Atheists believe they have found their position on belief, so have theists. They have come to a definite conclusion where they stand on the basis of their knowledge.

... Agnostics claim they have no knowledge to sway them to any belief system, including theism and atheism and prefer to stand completely outside the world of religion and "eisms".


The prior posts throughout this thread are strong evidence that this is BS.

Once again, atheism is not a belief system. You'd do well to remember that.
Neither is agnosticm a belief system. Perhaps you can consider that as well. If you are uncomfortable with atheism as a belief system, let's just say agnostics don't want to "join" any "eisms", including atheism, because they aren't comfortable with being part of those on the basis of "having no knowledge".

By the way, I don't see any strong evidence that this is BS. Even if the majority of posters in this thread have that point of view, that does not necessarily make their opinion the right one. If you do research over the Internet you will find many others don't agree with your point either. The research study that Bikerman quoted in his Stats Thread in the Phil& Rel forum also differentiates between the categories of agnostics and atheists. I'm one of those who disagree with your point of view. Except I won't refer to your point of view as BS. I would rather say I differ with your point of view. Twisted Evil
Bikerman
Dialogist wrote:
Quote:

Once again, atheism is not a belief system. You'd do well to remember that.


Which of these does it not engage with?

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

It engages with non of them.

Do you believe in Zeus or Ra? Is that a philosophy, life stance, ideology?
Do we have to define everyone's philosophy by the things they don't believe? Of course not, it is a nonsense.
Stephen Roberts wrote:
I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
Ankhanu
deanhills wrote:
Neither is agnosticm a belief system. Perhaps you can consider that as well. If you are uncomfortable with atheism as a belief system, let's just say agnostics don't want to "join" any "eisms", including atheism, because they aren't comfortable with being part of those on the basis of "having no knowledge".

By the way, I don't see any strong evidence that this is BS. Even if the majority of posters in this thread have that point of view, that does not necessarily make their opinion the right one. If you do research over the Internet you will find many others don't agree with your point either. The research study that Bikerman quoted in his Stats Thread in the Phil& Rel forum also differentiates between the categories of agnostics and atheists. I'm one of those who disagree with your point of view. Except I won't refer to your point of view as BS. I would rather say I differ with your point of view. Twisted Evil


It wasn't claimed that agnosticisms might be a belief system. I was simply trying to clear up the misunderstanding that atheism might be. It's come up before and apparently came up again. Hopefully that's the last of it (but I'm cynical on that point).

The part I was calling BS was this, "They have come to a definite conclusion where they stand on the basis of their knowledge" Your wording is clearly overly strong, particularly in the case of almost all atheists who, at least, have participated in this thread… and in fact almost all atheists I have read, watched or met. The various polls I've encountered, people I know, and even posters here on Frih demonstrate that a good number of theists are also not so "definite" on their conclusion of belief. You're right, there are those with definite conclusions, they are quite few on the atheist side of things, and they're more populous on the theist side, but, by my experience on this vast internetz and in meatspace, the majority of peoples' conclusions on the topic are not definite. Most people are wise enough to know that they don't really know, even if they aren't interested in really digging into the subject.
If you don't see the strong evidence towards this, I suggest you reread some threads.
Ankhanu
... or maybe I'm just picking on an unintended meaning based on poor choice of wording. If so, my apologies.

(Also apologies for not using an edit, I'm posting from my phone again. Feel free to tag this on to the last post)
deanhills
Ankhanu wrote:
It wasn't claimed that agnosticisms might be a belief system. I was simply trying to clear up the misunderstanding that atheism might be. It's come up before and apparently came up again. Hopefully that's the last of it (but I'm cynical on that point).
OK, while we are on the topic what system would atheism then be? If theism is a belief system, would atheism then be a non-belief system?

Ankhanu wrote:
The part I was calling BS was this, "They have come to a definite conclusion where they stand on the basis of their knowledge" Your wording is clearly overly strong,
Laughing Completely agreed. It was too strong. Thanks for correcting it. Sort of incompatible with the basics of agnosticism to have come to a definite conclusion. But they have come to their conclusion, similar to you with atheism.
Ankhanu wrote:
The various polls I've encountered, people I know, and even posters here on Frih demonstrate that a good number of theists are also not so "definite" on their conclusion of belief.
Agreed. I can't imagine that any of the eisms or tics can use "definite" anywhere.

Ankhanu wrote:
Most people are wise enough to know that they don't really know, even if they aren't interested in really digging into the subject.
Wise in relation to what? I thought when you were discussing this in your previous post that you were referring to a black and white finding that agnostics are atheists. Period. That finding by the way looks like a very definite conclusion to me. Very Happy
Dialogist
Bikerman wrote:

Do you believe in Zeus or Ra? Is that a philosophy, life stance, ideology?
Do we have to define everyone's philosophy by the things they don't believe? Of course not, it is a nonsense.



People of certain religions do not believe in Zeus for the same reason that evolutionists believe in catastrophic meteor showers but not deluges. It "fits in" with their dogma and their personal belief. The point is neither here nor there, if not only to prove that atheism has a ideology.

There is actually an atheistic belief system about the atheistic belief system itself, that this thread and countless others so blatantly evidence. The belief about the belief is an antecedent of Russell's teapot, which even he himself knew was too crap to publish. It appears logical for a minute until you examine it or place it within the context of reality that it has the gall to appeal to. It has been alluded to and adopted by Richard Dawkins and many others to ridicule and mock a belief with the aim of belittling it beyond what it actually is.

The problem with it is that nobody believes in flying teapots. Nobody has devoted their lives to magical spaghetti. Nobody has used pink unicorns for inspiration to feed the 5 thousand nor have they been martyred for their belief in garage dwelling dragons. 90% of the world's population, however do believe in or entertain or deity concept. Regardless of ad populum, it is a preponderance of a very real and tangible actuality of human history, society and ideology. If you find yourself in the 10% then you have quite a controversial belief system. If you have a belief system that is only validated by the enormity of the opposing view, then you still have a belief system. It is clarified as soon as you say, "Actually, I believe..."

If you would like us to believe that atheism has never engaged with life stance, religion, world view, philosophy and ideology, and is not in fact partaking in all, then I seriously doubt that. Atheism has a movement, followers and ideology. One does not have to be credulous to even grant it preachers, dogma and naturalistic philosophy. Atheism is clearly a belief in itself. The system of which, is alive and well on this forum, in this thread and many others concerned with the "title" and definition of which that an adherent should define themselves by.

As for Russell's teapot, let it go, eh? It's reductio ad absurdum.
Bikerman
Dialogist wrote:
People of certain religions do not believe in Zeus for the same reason that evolutionists believe in catastrophic meteor showers but not deluges. It "fits in" with their dogma and their personal belief. The point is neither here nor there, if not only to prove that atheism has a ideology.
You are showing that agenda again. Why would evolutionists believe in catastrophic meteor showers? Well, some don't. You make the normal creationist mistake of conflating 'evolutionists' with non-religious. Complete fallacy.
As for those of use who DO believe in catastrophic impacts (not showers)..that would be because WE CAN SEE THE CRATERS.

Why do most sensible people not believe in a global deluge? Because it is LAUGHABLE NONSENSE easily refuted on any one of dozens of grounds.
Quote:
There is actually an atheistic belief system about the atheistic belief system itself, that this thread and countless others so blatantly evidence. The belief about the belief is an antecedent of Russell's teapot, which even he himself knew was too crap to publish. It appears logical for a minute until you examine it or place it within the context of reality that it has the gall to appeal to. It has been alluded to and adopted by Richard Dawkins and many others to ridicule and mock a belief with the aim of belittling it beyond what it actually is.
It is an excellent analogy and it is perfectly logical.
Quote:
The problem with it is that nobody believes in flying teapots. Nobody has devoted their lives to magical spaghetti. Nobody has used pink unicorns for inspiration to feed the 5 thousand nor have they been martyred for their belief in garage dwelling dragons.
So what? Is that your argument? Ad populum? Pathetic.
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90% of the world's population, however do believe in or entertain or deity concept. Regardless of ad populum, it is a preponderance of a very real and tangible actuality of human history, society and ideology.
So is Sun worship. So what?
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If you find yourself in the 10% then you have quite a controversial belief system. If you have a belief system that is only validated by the enormity of the opposing view, then you still have a belief system.
LOL, ridiculous argument. My lack of belief in God(s) has nothing to do with the number who DO believe. It is based on long and careful consideration of the issue.
This whole line is a nonsense argument based on nothing more than ad-populum fallacies.
Before Christianity large parts of the population worshipped various Gods, objects etc. So what? At one time the 'majority' of mankind probably worshipped the Sun or similar objects. Does that add credibility to the belief? Of course not. Mankind does indeed have an apparent tendency to look for 'Gods'. We have some good ideas why that should be, and I have no doubt that science will eventually explain this 'need' quite satisfactorily. The notion that this somehow validates a particular theistic belief, or makes it likely that the God(s) of that belief actually exists is nonsense.
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If you would like us to believe that atheism has never engaged with life stance, religion, world view, philosophy and ideology, and is not in fact partaking in all, then I seriously doubt that. Atheism has a movement, followers and ideology. One does not have to be credulous to even grant it preachers, dogma and naturalistic philosophy. Atheism is clearly a belief in itself. The system of which, is alive and well on this forum, in this thread and many others concerned with the "title" and definition of which that an adherent should define themselves by.
LOL...OK then - tell me. What do atheists believe? What belief can be said to classify a person as an atheist? Naturalistic philosophy ? Nope. Many theists have a naturalistic philosophy and many atheists don't. Evolution? Obviously not since most of the religions accept that.
So come on then - what do all atheists believe?
Quote:
As for Russell's teapot, let it go, eh? It's reductio ad absurdum.
Nope, its a very useful analogy to point up the ridiculous nature of exactly the sort of argument you try to deploy here - one long ad-populum fallacy.
Dialogist
You can see a Chicxulub crater that may have been responsible for a global population of dinosaurs being wiped out (because, oh, it also caused volcanoes!) and you can also find marine fossils atop mountains (birds carried them up there!) Please. You can't see evolution happening. Faith? Enter Dawkins: "It's like a murder scene, the detective arrives on the scene, he didn't see the murder but there's a very real clue!" Great, so who did it, Inspector Dawkins? "That's easy, it was probably the Pope."

To answer the "tectonic plate" thing that seemed to mystify you. The Earth is the only planet that has them. They cause mountains and "craters", they cause rivers and canyons. They also, for some bizarre reason control the water level of the entire Earth. I know it all sounds a bit "Noah's Arky", but that's probably because it is. If a meteor shower can make life on Earth practically extinct, then when those "volcanoes" all simultaneously erupt, you have tectonics causing earth quakes and tsunamis. A meteor shower, according to evolutionists, precipitates a global deluge. Perhaps not quite to the same scale of this asteroid battering coming from 360 degrees that some morons are led to believe.

reductio ad absurdum used against perceived reductio ad absurdum is logical? Because two fallacious arguments make a rational one? Where? How? And how can you compare a physical object to the supernatural? And how can you compare religion to a teapot? Unless of course, teapots are a malign influence on the world too, just as Nietzsche's Übermensch is responsible for the holocaust. The nonsense you come out with..

I told you why it wasn't ad populum in the original post. Just like a piece of bread being buttered 90% is strong evidence that the bread is mostly buttered. And the crust is saying, "This bread is not buttered!" When, yes, it clearly is

Abortion exists. No question about it. You have one side saying, "I don't believe in abortion" yet it exists. So do they believe it is a conspiracy lie that has been made up? Or do they not "believe in" the concept. If Sun Worship is a concept that the majority of the bread is buttered with and you firmly hold a belief that it is not buttered then you have yourself a belief system.

Straw man! I was wondering when he'd show up. The point is not that because the majority of the world looks upwards is neither ad populum nor an attempt to make it "likely" that a God of belief exists. It merely to show you than in opposition to it, you have a belief system of your own. If you oppose it with a belief ("I do not believe in God" is a belief of its own) then you have a belief. If you find yourself debating theists or theist sympathizers regularly on daily basis, throwing fallacious arguments at straw men and refuting everything they say on some sort of objective or mission, then believe me, you are part of that belief system.

That's there's no God. Back to Nietzsche for a minute, he created one to replace one. Atheists are petrified of the abyss so they create the God of Atheism to replace itself. That's the rationality of it. The believe in something that doesn't exist. That's the guts of it. If there was no God, they'd be no atheists. That's the humor of it.

Within the last 2 or 3 generations, theists have become a lot smarter than they used to be. "God told me so in the Bible" is not the standard tool of 'rationalization' anymore. They understand the burden of proof and have a good understanding of philosophy, diverse politics and the freedom of speech. They attended the same secular state public schools and abided by the same secular state laws that everyone did. The majority of them received the same science and math education that everyone else did. Logic and rationality is now their friend. Modern times have bred a modern theist, against all odds.

[Mod - apologies for the alteration to this post. I had a very strange 'glitch' on my computer and my reply turned out to be an edit (I'm damn sure I pressed reply). Anyway, I then noticed a warning from Bitdefender and it turned-out I had picked-up a nasty, so I logged-out to clean the machine. Hence I didn't correct the posting immediately for which I apologise. I think I've now straightened it out.
Bikerman]
Bikerman
Quote:
You can see a Chicxulub crater that may have been responsible for a global population of dinosaurs being wiped out (because, oh, it also caused volcanoes!) and you can also find marine fossils atop mountains (birds carried them up there!) Please. You can't see evolution happening. Faith? Enter Dawkins: "It's like a murder scene, the detective arrives on the scene, he didn't see the murder but there's a very real clue!" Great, so who did it, Inspector Dawkins? "That's easy, it was probably the Pope."
For someone who says he is not a theist you sure have bought into the creationist propoganda.
YES you CAN see evolution happening. IT HAS BEEN SEEN. Not just what the creationists mistakenly call 'micro-evolution' - I mean the full speciation event - the evolution of new species.
It has been observed many times.
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To answer the "tectonic plate" thing that seemed to mystify you. The Earth is the only planet that has them. They cause mountains and "craters", they cause rivers and canyons. They also, for some bizarre reason control the water level of the entire Earth. I know it all sounds a bit "Noah's Arky", but that's probably because it is. If a meteor shower can make life on Earth practically extinct, then when those "volcanoes" all simultaneously erupt, you have tectonics causing earth quakes and tsunamis. A meteor shower, according to evolutionists, precipitates a global deluge. Perhaps not quite to the same scale of this asteroid battering coming from 360 degrees that some morons are led to believe.
What meteor shower are you on about? The last time Earth was probably bombarded by meteor showers was WAY before any hypothesised flood event.
Techtonic plates don't baffle me at all. I understand the basic geology. Of course they affect sea levels, since they form the 'floors' of the oceans. So what? The amount of water on earth now is pretty much the same as it was a billion years ago, let alone 6500 years. Sea-levels have not changed dramatically for thousands of years - and they were much LOWER as you move towards the last ice age (for obvious reasons). The notion that this can help out the poor deluded creationists is a non-starter.
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reductio ad absurdum used against perceived reductio ad absurdum is logical? Because two fallacious arguments make a rational one? Where? How? And how can you compare a physical object to the supernatural? And how can you compare religion to a teapot? Unless of course, teapots are a malign influence on the world too, just as Nietzsche's Übermensch is responsible for the holocaust. The nonsense you come out with...
I didn't compare either.
The comparison is between two beliefs, where there is no evidence for either. I actually think the teapot is a lot more reasonable than the God belief. The teapot could possibly have found a Jupiter orbit by natural means. Maybe it was overlooked by technicians on Voyager 2 who left it there after a tea-break. It doesn't require one to completely throw away one's critical faculties to believe in the teapot. God, on the other hand, certainly does.
The notion that Nietzsche's 'superman' led to the holocaust is bizarre. What led to the holocaust was two thousand years of religiously driven anti-Semitism, which enabled Hitler to portray a whole sub-section of humanity as 'not human'. The buck stops with the Church.
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I told you why it wasn't ad populum in the original post. Just like a piece of bread being buttered 90% is strong evidence that the bread is mostly buttered. And the crust is saying, "This bread is not buttered!" When, yes, it clearly is.
No, you didn't tell me why. You told me why YOU THINK it isn't. You are wrong - it is. Trying to use the number of believers as evidence for a particular Deity is absolutely and utterly ad-populum fallacy. Trying to use it as evidence that those who do not share the belief are themselves expressing a belief is just bizarre.
Where do you sample the numbers? Over the last 2000 years? Why? Why not look at the numbers from 10000BCE? When people believed in animistic or shamanistic 'Gods', was the bread buttered?
It is a damn stupid argument.
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Abortion exists. No question about it. You have one side saying, "I don't believe in abortion" yet it exists. So do they believe it is a conspiracy lie that has been made up? Or do they not "believe in" the concept. If Sun Worship is a concept that the majority of the bread is buttered with and you firmly hold a belief that it is not buttered then you have yourself a belief system.
What nonsense is this? Who says they do not believe in abortion? People might well say that they do not believe abortion is wrong - completely different thing (known as the red-herring fallacy).
This 'buttered bread' analogy is also quite confused. If by being 'buttered' you mean that a large minority of people believe in a particular deity, then fine, the bread is 1/3rd buttered. That tells us absolutely nothing about the truth of those beliefs, but it DOES tell us that they have a particular belief system. To believe the bread was not 1/3rd buttered would mean not accepting the solid evidence that about 1/3rd of the world's population profess to be Christians. Why would I not believe it?
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Straw man! I was wondering when he'd show up. The point is not that because the majority of the world looks upwards is neither ad populum nor an attempt to make it "likely" that a God of belief exists. It merely to show you than in opposition to it, you have a belief system of your own. If you oppose it with a belief ("I do not believe in God" is a belief of its own) then you have a belief. If you find yourself debating theists or theist sympathizers regularly on daily basis, throwing fallacious arguments at straw men and refuting everything they say on some sort of objective or mission, then believe me, you are part of that belief system.
But it shows nothing of the sort, as has been demonstrated repeatedly. This is incoherent babble. First you talk about 'believing' in buttered bread, then not believing abortion exists, now you think that the fact that a large number of people hold a particular belief proves that those who don't are expressing a belief?
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That's there's no God. Back to Nietzsche for a minute, he created one to replace one. Atheists are petrified of the abyss so they create the God of Atheism to replace itself. That's the rationality of it. The believe in something that doesn't exist. That's the guts of it. If there was no God, they'd be no atheists. That's the humor of it.
Incoherent. I don't particularly like Nietzsche's philosophy - I regard him as much over-rated. But that is irrelevant since I don't base my lack of belief on his work in any case. The lack of belief is the same lack of belief I have in anything that is wildly improbable and has no supporting evidence.
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Within the last 2 or 3 generations, theists have become a lot smarter than they used to be. "God told me so in the Bible" is not the standard tool of 'rationalization' anymore. They understand the burden of proof and have a good understanding of philosophy, diverse politics and the freedom of speech. They attended the same secular state public schools and abided by the same secular state laws that everyone did. The majority of them received the same science and math education that everyone else did. Logic and rationality is now their friend. Modern times have bred a modern theist, against all odds.
Not if this thread is anything to judge by....

In fact the rise of creationism indicates to me that a great number of theists have no clue about science, the burden of proof, philosophy OR freedom of speech (or, come to that, basic honesty).
I have seen no evidence that the average theist is any more philosophically enlightened than they were generations ago.

In fact high intelligence is negatively correlated with religiosity, which would tend to indicate the really bright ones have joined the atheist camp Smile
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=402381
Ankhanu
deanhills wrote:
OK, while we are on the topic what system would atheism then be? If theism is a belief system, would atheism then be a non-belief system?

Atheism is a statement. It's, at best, a statement of position on a single topic.

deanhills wrote:
... Sort of incompatible with the basics of agnosticism to have come to a definite conclusion. But they have come to their conclusion, similar to you with atheism.

Yeah, we all come to a conclusion, even those agnostics who come to the conclusion that there's no way to know. For (I would argue) most, there is a fair degree of wiggle room in how conclusive the conclusion is though.

deanhills wrote:
... I can't imagine that any of the eisms or tics can use "definite" anywhere.

I dunno about this. There are some pretty notable examples of people who are absolutely rigid in their righteousness on the topic, in all three of the groupings, believers, denyers and those who can never know. Examples of atheists and agnostics are a little harder to come by, though I know they exist... I can't be bothered doing the leg work right now to find them, but we have examples of theists pretty readily at hand who are rigid in their belief and no information to the contrary could possibly sway them.
Ray Comfort is a fine example, he knows God exists; debating him on the subject is utter futility. Clearly, he can't translate this knowledge into anything for others to work with, but that's immaterial to his steadfast knowledge.
The geologist Dr. Kurt Wise is another example that Dawkins illustrates with some frequency to demonstrate the topic. He's a highly trained scientist who, based on a fundmentalist Christian upbringing, is a young Earth creationist. He has said that even if irrefutable evidence against his belief were to be found, he would accept it, but continue to maintain his belief in God, because he believes.

I'm sure there are examples of similarly closed minded atheists/agnostics, but, I can't be arsed to find them now Razz I may find the energy later and edit this post to include them.

deanhills wrote:
Ankhanu wrote:
Most people are wise enough to know that they don't really know, even if they aren't interested in really digging into the subject.
Wise in relation to what? I thought when you were discussing this in your previous post that you were referring to a black and white finding that agnostics are atheists. Period. That finding by the way looks like a very definite conclusion to me. Very Happy


Maybe "wise" was the wrong word... "aware", perhaps?
I was discussing that agnostics are atheists in the sense that they fall under the umbrella of "not theist". That is a definite conclusion, but it's one based on defining a word, not based on the existence of god(s), or other concept that, at this time, cannot be absolutely determined.
This hearkens back to discussions on the undue baggage that is attributed to the word "atheist". An atheist is simply one who doesn't believe; whether that lack of belief comes in the form of denial or just not really knowing, it is still not belief. All other connotations associated with "atheist" are, strictly speaking, special cases.

I think the real problem that people have here is with anti-theists, which is a much more restricted word than the exceptionally broad atheist term.


Dialogist wrote:
[Mod - apologies for the alteration to this post. I had a very strange 'glitch' on my computer and my reply turned out to be an edit (I'm damn sure I pressed reply). Anyway, I then noticed a warning from Bitdefender and it turned-out I had picked-up a nasty, so I logged-out to clean the machine. Hence I didn't correct the posting immediately for which I apologise. I think I've now straightened it out.
Bikerman]


That explains so very, VERY much. I was quite confused for a while Razz
Bikerman
Yes, the machine started locking and glitching. I noticed that the reply had gone in as an edit soon after I posted it, but Bitdefender was screaming about a Trojan so I had to close down, safe start and do a proper scan and clean.
My apologies to Dialogist for inadvertently altering his post, and to readers like yourself who were understandably confused.
I think I have now restored the status-quo .....
deanhills
Ankhanu wrote:
deanhills wrote:
OK, while we are on the topic what system would atheism then be? If theism is a belief system, would atheism then be a non-belief system?

Atheism is a statement. It's, at best, a statement of position on a single topic.
So how can an atheist be real if "it" is only a statement of a position on a single topic?
Ankhanu wrote:
deanhills wrote:
]... I can't imagine that any of the eisms or tics can use "definite" anywhere.

I dunno about this. There are some pretty notable examples of people who are absolutely rigid in their righteousness on the topic, in all three of the groupings, believers, denyers and those who can never know. Examples of atheists and agnostics are a little harder to come by, though I know they exist... I can't be bothered doing the leg work right now to find them, but we have examples of theists pretty readily at hand who are rigid in their belief and no information to the contrary could possibly sway them.
Ray Comfort is a fine example, he knows God exists; debating him on the subject is utter futility. Clearly, he can't translate this knowledge into anything for others to work with, but that's immaterial to his steadfast knowledge.
The geologist Dr. Kurt Wise is another example that Dawkins illustrates with some frequency to demonstrate the topic. He's a highly trained scientist who, based on a fundmentalist Christian upbringing, is a young Earth creationist. He has said that even if irrefutable evidence against his belief were to be found, he would accept it, but continue to maintain his belief in God, because he believes.

I'm sure there are examples of similarly closed minded atheists/agnostics, but, I can't be arsed to find them now Razz I may find the energy later and edit this post to include them.
No need to do that as I agree completely with you.

Ankhanu wrote:
An atheist is simply one who doesn't believe; whether that lack of belief comes in the form of denial or just not really knowing, it is still not belief. All other connotations associated with "atheist" are, strictly speaking, special cases.
But for agnosticism it is not about belief. It is about not knowing. So I won't agree that "not knowing" is a default for "not believing".
deanhills
Found this interesting YouTube video on Neil deGrasse Tyson: Atheist or Agnostic? Tyson explains the difference between atheist and agnostic quite well for me. I also like his point of view about why he resists labels.

loremar
Deanhills wrote:

Found this interesting YouTube video on Neil deGrasse Tyson: Atheist or Agnostic? Tyson explains the difference between atheist and agnostic quite well for me. I also like his point of view about why he resists labels.


If golf players start to talk about against non-golf players saying there's something wrong with them not playing golf, then non-players would definitely make a fuss. I'm a non-player so what? or even sling a mud back, "I don't play golf, it's boring". Likewise, if non-golf players started saying "Golf is boring", the players would make the defense.

So, atheist vs theist. Who started? Very Happy
But maybe each side really has something to say against the other? Maybe there are concerning facts why one side can't just sit back and watch?
So, I think the atheist label is not ridiculous. Mind you, when I was high school, I didn't like the label. I thought there was something more about atheism other than non-belief, like being a delinquent. Why would I be labeled such for just saying I don't believe in God? See, I had the same wavelength with Neil deGrass on this. But you just can't help it. You'd only realize that as you interact with people, your non-belief would only show. You find yourself disagreeing most of the time with them, thus the label. For 10 years, I just learned to embrace it. I'm an atheist so f***** what?

As for agnosticism. I don't think you can avoid having to choose between atheism and theism. Even in the personal level, you will inevitably have to make the assumption. If someone invites you to pray, you have to ask yourself, "Should I pray or not". You might be forced to pray to avoid confrontations. This has happened to me. But what about praying deep down your heart? Should you pray. If you pray, then you've made the assumption that God exists, even if you think that there's a good chance that praying is pointless. If you don't pray, it's either you made the assumption that there is no God or there is a God but you have a feeling that he might do something about your non-praying. If you make the assumption that God does not exist, then there's probably some reason why you think it's pointless to feel paranoid about it.

So in essence, there can not be a 'pure agnostic'(which what they say as neither atheist nor theist). Even the way you'd respond to other people's belief, a 'maybe' could mean a No or Yes, depends on how you'd act on it or how it reflects internally.

The reason why somebody claims you're an atheist because it probably shows. The way you disagree or how you view issues might reflect on what assumption you made.

Agnosticism is just about the certainty of knowing. It says nothing about how you believe, which reflects on how you think or make decisions.
deanhills
Nice post Loremar. I don't think Tyson saw the label as ridiculous even though he joked about it. More like it's not as non as it suggests. If one is claimed to be an atheist, there is a whole description and maybe activities for some that are associated that people may feel they know what kind of person it is. He feels that he would be limited by those - probably along stereotyping lines.

With regard to Agnosticism I can see where atheists come from when they claim it for themselves but also where agnostics come from who can't identify themselves with being atheist.
loremar
Atheists are just people who aren't convinced with faith in God.
If somebody asks do you believe in God? some might say "I don't know". They don't know whether they believe in God or not. But I have a feeling that agnostics are just people who have not met enough people who'd test themselves. Maybe these other people are just busy wrestling with their so-called opponents who were just also victim of the other side's persistence. Some agnostics just dodge any encounters that's why they'd never know whether they believe it or not. But I would bet most agnostics are atheists. There must be a wide array of things about theism that doesn't look convincing to them which eventually put them on the agnostic position. But if they were to meet enough theists to test them then maybe they will finally admit who they are.

If that sounds like "annoying the crap out of agnostics would force them to admit", then yes that's what I'm saying. Very Happy
They're just peace-loving people. But it's definitely not impossible to drag them into war, right? Wink
deanhills
loremar wrote:
Some agnostics just dodge any encounters that's why they'd never know whether they believe it or not. But I would bet most agnostics are atheists.
I just can't see Tyson being a dodger however. He seems to be quite a deep thinker.

loremar wrote:
There must be a wide array of things about theism that doesn't look convincing to them which eventually put them on the agnostic position. But if they were to meet enough theists to test them then maybe they will finally admit who they are.
I wonder however if agnostics arrive at being agnostic via religion. Quite a large number of atheists do. Maybe for agnostics it could be both theism and atheism that they can't identify with. Or any other eisms for that matter.
loremar
deanhills wrote:
I just can't see Tyson being a dodger however. He seems to be quite a deep thinker.

Nope, I don't think Tyson belongs to the category of people who says "I don't know" when asked "do you believe in God?". Tyson is an atheist who doesn't want to be called atheist. He knows what he believes.
Neil deGrasse Tyson wrote:
"Every account of a higher power that I've seen described, of all religions that I've seen include many statements with regard to the benevolence of that power. When I look at the universe and all the ways the universe wants to kill us, I find it hard to reconcile that with statements of beneficence."

"But a careful reading of older texts, particularly those concerned with the universe itself, shows that the authors invoke divinity only when they reach the boundaries of their understanding. They appeal to a higher power only when staring into the ocean of their own ignorance. They call on God only from the lonely and precarious edge of incomprehension. Where they feel certain about their explanations, however, God gets hardly a mention."


And he said this too in a 2011 interview:
Quote:
...god is an ever receding pocket of scientific ignorance,...

He is against any evidence of God that's currently presented today more notably the Intelligent Design. Yet he agrees that observation about facts in the Universe contradicts the existence of a benevolent God. This is much like Darwin and Darwin calls himself agnostic too.

The only reason why he doesn't want to be called atheist like what he said in the video you posted is because he doesn't want to be called an atheist as he explained n the video. He's one of the many people including other atheists who makes the mistake of generalizing atheists. That atheists are people who are outspoken atheist, who debates about god's existence, who stays in a room with other atheists and talks about their atheism. For him an atheist is an in-your-face atheist. But this is not true. Not talking about it doesn't make you less of an atheist. Let me just use his example. He says that people don't play golf don't call themselves names and stay in a room talking about not playing golf. Well, not talking about it doesn't change the fact that you don't play golf. Not talking about God's existence doesn't change the fact that you don't believe in God. Does people who don't believe in God necessarily call themselves atheist? Well, not calling themselves atheist doesn't change the fact that they're atheists. Atheist is just a shortcut of "I don't believe in God" like a non-golfer is a shortcut for people who don't play golf. The only difference is there will be atheists who'd go out there and wear tag that says "I'm an atheist" because they feel that they should due to discrimination, inhumanities done through theism, and whatever reasons there is that tramples their right not to believe in gods. And some atheists just don't care and some of them would even rather don't want to be compared with people who wear tags that they're "atheists" so they'd rather wear a tag that says "atheist" but with a line drawn across the word.
Neil Tyson is not the kind of person who says I don't know when asked about if he believes in God. And based on his interviews, his answer is clearly a categorical "No". He doesn't call himself agnostic because he can't identify whether he's an atheist or not. He calls himself agnostic because he doesn't want to be called an atheist.

If he doesn't want to be likened to people who call themselves atheist then so do we, because unlike him we feel that we should be proud of it instead of let many theists do what they usually do to us, isolating us from the rest of society. He can call himself agnostic all he wants, I don't care. But that doesn't change what he believes.

Actually I would have called myself agnostic a long time ago if I would have known about the word. It's hard to be a lone-wolf here. But it was only recently that I know of such movements, so I'm proud of it anyways.

Quote:
I wonder however if agnostics arrive at being agnostic via religion. Quite a large number of atheists do. Maybe for agnostics it could be both theism and atheism that they can't identify with. Or any other eisms for that matter.

I'm not sure if there's a large number of atheists that do. There are definitely more theists so definitely there's more elbowroom for agnostics via religion.

I still don't eliminate that there could be pure agnostics out there but they just don't know whether they're atheists or not.But in essence, there can't be. There actions and thoughts would speak somehow.
Anatisim
Agnosticism: Before today I've considered myself an atheist but just to be on the safe side... sure... why not, lamb for the slaughter while the deified drives a Lexus, smiling and is as cordial as the deity itself. Speaking of deities, I had a dream/vision of a caterpillar-like one that spoke to me in Spanish and I somehow understood it. Kept calling me a bitch while enlightening me of its revelation. Went on about how the sacred union between two women is the key to salvation. We must scurry forth and form these unions with unwed mothers, MILFs & lest we forget the GILFs (health providing). While 12 is a number of some mystical importance, the Men shall service these unions for 6 days and on the 7th day, shall be the day of rest. Bitch, dig unto the earth beneath the soil on which you stand. You will find the scriptures that will guide you to your salvation. Underneath my feet I dug up a Pepsi can with strange hieroglyphics etched on to it. I have yet to decipher its' entirety but what I could make out seemed to be a sort of prayer:
"Our Sisters, who art entwined, hallowed be thy wings. Gyrations come. Til all is done. In bed as it should be in public. Give us this day. Your daily spread. And forgive us our prejudices. As we continue to prejudice the faggots and the homos. Lead us not into desperation..." which is all that I could make out. I mean not to offend the gays I'm just relaying the vision I experienced.
I saw a topic 'bout Dreams but thought I'd post this here cuz of the meaningful lesson learned by todays' word, Agnosticism.
deanhills
Sounds pretty rational to me ... Laughing

I heard a good one from a learned astro physicist. If you pray, then you're a theist. If you don't pray, you're an atheist. And if you don't want to be associated or labeled by either of the two, you're an agnostic. Problem is one rarely has the luxury of defining oneself. People around you always get to do that for you. Also most atheists are of the point of view that being agnostic is being an atheist. They could not care what one's arguments are for being an agnostic. Agnostics are counted as atheists period, no further discussion needed about the subject, it simply is what it is.
ocalhoun
Anatisim wrote:
Agnosticism: Before today I've considered myself an atheist but just to be on the safe side... sure... why not, lamb for the slaughter while the deified drives a Lexus, smiling and is as cordial as the deity itself. Speaking of deities, I had a dream/vision of a caterpillar-like one that spoke to me in Spanish and I somehow understood it. Kept calling me a bitch while enlightening me of its revelation. Went on about how the sacred union between two women is the key to salvation. We must scurry forth and form these unions with unwed mothers, MILFs & lest we forget the GILFs (health providing). While 12 is a number of some mystical importance, the Men shall service these unions for 6 days and on the 7th day, shall be the day of rest. Bitch, dig unto the earth beneath the soil on which you stand. You will find the scriptures that will guide you to your salvation. Underneath my feet I dug up a Pepsi can with strange hieroglyphics etched on to it. I have yet to decipher its' entirety but what I could make out seemed to be a sort of prayer:
"Our Sisters, who art entwined, hallowed be thy wings. Gyrations come. Til all is done. In bed as it should be in public. Give us this day. Your daily spread. And forgive us our prejudices. As we continue to prejudice the faggots and the homos. Lead us not into desperation..." which is all that I could make out. I mean not to offend the gays I'm just relaying the vision I experienced.
I saw a topic 'bout Dreams but thought I'd post this here cuz of the meaningful lesson learned by todays' word, Agnosticism.

I salute you, oh prophet of the Spanish Caterpillar God!
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