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The Disingenuousness of "Weak" Atheism

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posted on Jan, 17 2011 @ 06:40 PM
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reply to post by Blue_Jay33
 


Try looking at agnosticism from a philosophical perspective, as we're talking about philosophy. Dictionaries don't provide specialized usage, they're typically general usage books.

Look at philosophy and you can see that 'agnosticism' relates to the subject of epistemology. More specifically it relates to certainty.

Also, your definition of atheism is not believing. It isn't believing in no God. It's a skeptical position. Which is thusly agnostic atheism. Thank you for proving my point.




posted on Jan, 17 2011 @ 06:43 PM
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reply to post by eight bits
 



Originally posted by eight bits
madness


It's still an excluded middle fallacy as you're limiting the number of options.

No, the question "Does God exist?" has three responsive answers, Yes, No, and what in casual English is expressed by the idiom "I don't know." False dichotomy, or its generalization to some greater-k-fold partition, would arise just when there were some other responsive answer. There isn't. The query is an example of what we call it a "yes or no question."


No, it's actually a multifold question. You can answer the question in a plethora of ways.

Answer 1: "I don't know what you're talking about" or rephrased as "What is 'God'?"
Answer 2: Yes, a God exists, I have evidence for it here and know it to be true. (Gnostic theism)
Answer 3: I'm not sure, but I believe one exists for whatever or no reason. (Agnostic theism)
Answer 4: I'm not sure, but there is no evidence so I will not accept the proposition that one does (Agnostic atheism, the skeptical position)
Answer 5: No, a God doesn't exist, here is my definitive evidence for it here. (Gnostic atheism)
Answer 6: I don't care.

Furthermore, the question you're providing is rigged. It is entirely illogical to start out with a question rather than a statement. Especially a yes/no question with regard to complex philosophical issues.

A more proper philosophical statement would be: "The deity referred to in American Arminian Pentecostal Christianity exists." We would then debate and discuss the merits of this statement and try to define the exact specifics of what this deity is prior to accepting or rejecting this claim.

Accepting the claim would be based in evidence or at least reason. One might accept the claim because there is a hint of reason in it, though it is not definitive. The former would be gnostic theism, the latter would agnostic theism.

Rejecting the claim on the basis of a lack of evidence would be agnostic atheism. Rejecting the claim on the basis of an inherent problem with it would be gnostic atheism.

The problem is that this only refers to a single definition of a single deity and cannot encompass all things with regards to the question of atheism or theism. More on this later.



The question does not ask for the story of your life, and it does not ask why you choose the responsive answer you do.


The question itself is rigged. Rigged questions are not productive. Unless, of course, the following question is perfectly valid:

"Do you enjoy it when you decapitate small children?"

That question doesn't allow you to deny that you decapitate small children, it merely requires you to answer yes, no, or I don't know.

It, like "Does God exist?" is a stupid question because it takes a situation that requires explanation and inquiry and boils it down to 3 irrelevant answers.



Since you are not prevented from adding on whatever qualification you like, no responsive answer has been excluded. There can thus be no fallacy.


Any yes/no question on a complex philosophical issue is an excluded middle fallacy.




And again, you're ignoring that there are agnostic atheism, agnostic theism, gnostic atheism, and gnostic theism.

He's not ignoring them. He simply recognizes the first three as the oxymorons that they are.


How are they oxymorons?



Also, as a native speaker of English, he probably knows that agnostic and gnostic are not antonyms, and that in religious discourse, gnostic does not mean having knowledge distinct from having belief.


Trust me, most native English speakers don't know what antonyms are...I say this as a native English speaker and as someone who teaches English as a foreign language.

Oh, and you're wrong.



As to your objection to the ad hominem "pseduo-atheist," quite so. BW ought to have said "pseudo-agnostic." Perhaps it was a a slip of the keyboard. In any case, I suspect BW might agree with me that you're a 100% genuine atheist. With an explanation, of course.


Yay, more ad hominem attacks. And more excluded middle fallacy.




Please, show me where I attempt to discredit the monotheistic God. I have claimed that omniscience and omnipotence are contradictory, but that is a philosophical issue.

Your claim, if it were true, would be cause to believe that none of the Gods with a capital-G in English exists.


No, it is a critique of the positive claim, not an argument presented in a vacuum against monotheistic Gods.



They are all typically professed as both omniscient and omnipotent. In English, therefore, we may say that your claim, if true, discredits God.


It's actually a critique of a definition, not a critique of the being. It's attacking the lack of a consistent ontology of God. In fact, it might be irrelevant to claim to be an agnostic atheist when I'm not even sure what some are referring to when they say the word "God" because such claims are contradictory.



The straw man bleeds.


Nope, that's just some jelly someone stuck in there to make it realistic. Some people are quite good at making really elaborate straw men.



We may also say that since you believe your claim to be true, that you are an atheist. Your assent to that inference is neither necessary nor solicited.


Yet I don't believe the claim "no gods exist" to be true. Why? Because that would be impossible on multiple levels. You would have to necessarily be aware of every single claimed deity in existence both past and present as well as every single possible deity to be claimed which as not yet been claimed. You would then have to know enough information to claim that each being is impossible.

You are rigging the game by making this a yes/no/dunno question. This is a far more complicated issue that must be handled in a manner that actually fits in with a logically sound reasoning process.

Positive claim -> examination -> critique -> further examination -> repeat until conclusion is reached -> conclusion, whatever that conclusion may be

Yes/no/dunno questions don't belong in philosophy, science, or anywhere else that requires critical thought.




I'll keep showing how ignorant of the most basic precepts of philosophy you are until the cows come home, don't worry. I've dealt with far more ignorant and stubborn users before.

Lol, I don't know where you studied "philosophy," but you deserve your money back.


I am, at the very least, putting forward a consistent position. Your position seems to be grounded in a single yes or no question.

If we're asking "Does God exist?" then we're going to have to be here all night, because I'm going to have to ask "Does Thor exist?" "Does Krishna exist?" "Does Aten (the first monotheistic God) exist?" etc etc.

So I'll just ignore your childish insult. I'm actually studying the subject (though as a secondary area) at a University that is accepted as an accredited institution worldwide.



posted on Jan, 17 2011 @ 09:33 PM
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Try looking at agnosticism from a philosophical perspective, as we're talking about philosophy.


Really? If it is purely a philosophical debate on semantics, you are into nebulous territory. I am not going there.
Your goal seems to make a very simple issue as complected as you possibly can.



Dictionaries don't provide specialized usage


True, the surrounding grammar with adjectives, adverbs and other nouns do this. The issue is on a single word in the OP, not the myriads of sub-categories that can be added too them, which you seem to insist on doing and saying it's a "philosophical perspective". Fair enough, that is your opinion, this is very typical of the atheist community online. Here is an atheist girl explaining it.




edit on 17-1-2011 by Blue_Jay33 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 18 2011 @ 12:04 AM
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Reading through this thread, is giving me major déjà vu and many of the points raised are similar to my thread entitled Will the real Atheists please stand up.

Of course, in my thread, I was not stating that Agnostic Atheism was disingenuous. I was merely presenting a logical inquiry, into how best to define the passive/weak Atheistic position. And while I have no problem with a person who holds the position of “I don’t know “ and “I don’t believe”, I still find defining it perplexing.

Similar points raised here and on my thread, are that of the separation between knowledge and belief, which I still consider to be one of the key issues around this debate. Another key issue I think is defining the word Agnostic, in Agnostic Atheism.

One critical point, which madness has already addressed, is that God must be clearly defined, before responses can be forced onto the receiver of the question “Do you believe in God?” and more importantly so that he/she knows what they are responding to, in relation to the definition of God. For example, a person may be a Theist regarding a Pantheist God, but be Atheistic regarding the Judaic God.


- JC



posted on Jan, 18 2011 @ 01:13 AM
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Originally posted by Blue_Jay33
1)Atheist -Doesn't believe in the existence of a deity.

thanks for the sources...

here is where some confusion lay for me, well not really confusion, question of moral conduct...

atheist   – noun
a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.


1. "disbelieves"
2. "denies"

a disbeliever does not have to openly deny, and when a disbeliever does openly deny they are speaking a few things about themselves...

1.) they really have not made up their mind but are only searching in the wrong place, eg: for a mythical creature or a being with white hair and eyes of fire. (having doubt of their non-belief)

2.) an active denier is being sinister and vengeful against that which they can not understand, and seemingly the majority of the rest of the planet understands in some form of theism.

"active atheism" is...

1. doubtful
2. resentful


Originally posted by Joecroft
One critical point, which certain posters have already addressed, is that God must be clearly defined

with consideration to observations...


edit on 1/18/2011 by Cosmic.Artifact because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 18 2011 @ 01:47 AM
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Originally posted by Joecroft
One critical point, which certain posters have already addressed, is that God must be clearly defined


this leads me to my next logical and rational question...

what would be the intent of seeking clear definition God, if one already accepts God does not exist ?


edit on 1/18/2011 by Cosmic.Artifact because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 18 2011 @ 02:08 AM
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reply to post by madnessinmysoul
 

Hey Madness!

Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
When one is from a theological dictionary, another is from an apologetics book, and the other is from a general reference that actually has a lot of elaboration that discredits the single line definition...then the one source is better than the other.

I do not see the inherent inferiority of a theological book or a general reference book over what you suggest. Perhaps the theological book would be biased, but a general reference has no reason to be.
There are several dozen references that can corroborate BigWhammy's understanding of the term:

Dictionary of Philosophy
Agnosticism: (Gr. agnostos, unknowing) 1. (epist.) that theory of knowledge which asserts that it is impossible for man to attain knowledge of a certain subject-matter.

2. (theol.) that theory of religious knowledge which asserts that it is impossible for man to attain knowledge of God.
...
Atheism: (Gr. a, no; theos, god) Two uses of the term:

a. The belief that there is no God.
b. Some philosophers have been called "atheistic" because they have not held to a belief in a personal God. Atheism in this sense means "not theistic."

The former meaning of the term is a literal rendering. The latter meaning is a less rigorous use of the term although widely current in the history of thought. -- V.F.

(the dictionary is backed by 72 authorities)

And another:

A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names
agnosticism

Belief that human beings do not have sufficient evidence to warrant either the affirmation or the denial of a proposition. The term is used especially in reference to our lack of knowledge of the existence of god. In this, the agnostic, who holds that we cannot know whether or not god exists, differs from the atheist, who denies that god exists.

Recommended Reading: Clarence Darrow, Why I Am an Agnostic and Other Essays (Prometheus, 1994) [at Amazon.com] and Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian, and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects (Simon & Schuster, 1977) [at Amazon.com].

(compiled by this guy)
So to claim that any but your own understanding of the term is wrong is a bit inaccurate. In fact, "agnosticism" is actually the line of thought that it is IMPOSSIBLE to know of the existence (or non-existence) of God(s), not that "currently I do not know". So once again, the agnostic is forming an opinion without evidence or proof (hardly rational or logical or scientific).

And yeah, I was referring to your dismissal of Lane, not anything Mr. XYZ said, apologies for the ambiguity. I also do not know anything about the man, and before BigWhammy brought him up in this thread, I don't think I had ever heard of him before. Still, a cursory glance over the internet shows that he IS considered a philosopher, and academic, and while his religious slant might not endear him to you
, it does not make him any less valid.
I admit, I have been unable to go through your youtube videos- personally, I dislike youtube as a medium of debate or discourse, it is more often used as a vehicle for ridicule and snarky commentary, and then the response to such would be another snarky and belittling video, this time from the other camp, which would be just as equally (in)valid. While it is just as susceptible to being countered, I much prefer a document which I can peruse at leisure, go back and forth, cross-reference, etc.



Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
I'm sorry, but what sort of science is outside the empirical realm? Don't say mathematics, it's still within the material realm.

Mathematics certainly exists within the realm of the physical, but it is not restricted to it. And based off that (rather than empirical observations and experimentation), much of theoretical physics (which attempts to seek the origin of our universe, as well as extra dimensions (which would obviously be out of our physical realm) multiverses, etc. ) is derived.
Since you have a fondness for philosophy, let me give you Aristotle's definition:
"... a man knows a thing scientifically when he possesses a conviction arrived at in a certain way, and when the first principles on which that conviction rests are known to him with certainty—for unless he is more certain of his first principles than of the conclusion drawn from them he will only possess the knowledge in question accidentally. Let this stand as our definition of Scientific Knowledge."



Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
babloyi...wall of text. Please, try to separate. I say this as someone who tends to respect you as a user. I'd hate for people to pass over parts of your posts just because they're daunting.

Hahahahah....it is my suspicion that people do that anyway. The speed at which threads conflagrate coupled with the amount of times that the points I responded to are repeated and my responses ignored makes me get the feeling that well thought out and ordered posts are ultimately pointless. Thanks for somewhat allaying that suspicion
.

And yes, I meant epistemological certainty, not epistemology. By the time I had seen my mistake, the time for editing had expired.

Insofar as the scientific method goes, "I don't know", does not mean and does not equate "I am not going to accept this" or "this is not true".
The scientific method would be "Observation of a phenomena/on, investigating it, creating a hypothesis for it, attempting to fit the hypothesis to the match it, if it fits, modify existing knowledge, if it doesn't, modify the hypothesis". A person certainly CAN have pre-conceived notions and beliefs, but if one wanted to be rational and logical, they'd have to reject them, otherwise, it would constitute a bias.

This has become evident in many anti-evolutionist ideologies- "God exists, therefore evolution must be wrong" and even (yes, it happens, I have seen it)- "God does not exist, therefore evolution must be accurate". While it may not be the best example, as this is stemming from a false connection between the existence of God and the accuracy of evolution, I'm sure you get my point- There are many "atheist" scientists whose main motivation behind the investigation of atheism is a concerted effort to prove the (generally theist) anti-evolutionists wrong.


Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
Science rejects claims when it says "I don't know". It waits for some level of evidence. When there's a little bit of evidence something becomes a tentative hypothesis. When a lot of evidence comes in it becomes a theory. Once all evidence available points to that theory over all other theories consistently, it becomes considered as scientific fact.

I believe you are making a mistake common to anti-evolutionists here. A "scientific fact" would be something like "While I am standing here on earth, at position so-and-so, when I leave hold of this rock in my hand, it falls downwards". A scientific theory would be something like the Theory of Gravity. Theories seek to explain facts, they cannot become facts.


PS: As far as my knowledge goes (the internet, a course or two in logic and debate) the fallacy of the excluded middle DOES involve an either/or statement. It comes from a false application of the "Law of the Excluded Middle" (i.e. either a thing is true, or it's negation is true: truth = P | -P).

So for a person having full knowledge of the required concepts (the understanding of the term "God/s" in the frame of reference asked by the questioner, generally an entity, a higher power, traditionally involved with creation, with such characteristics as omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, etc) the question "Do you believe in God/s?" is not loaded in any way to make presuppositions about the person being questioned. It isn't a question that would require calling a committee to discuss. While there may be several addenda the person would add, the fundamental answer itself would logically result in one of three positions (which again, as far as I see, do not create any fallacy of the excluded middle), being either:
Yes
No
I don't know/I don't care/It is irrelevant to me/I never thought about it

"I don't know, but yes" or "I don't know, but no" are invalid, contradictory answers.

reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 

I believe I did understand your point, I was just explaining how my comprehension of this supposed separation of knowledge of God (I was taking the generally accepted use of a/gnosticism) and belief in God lead to certain logical problems.
edit on 18-1-2011 by babloyi because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 18 2011 @ 02:09 AM
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Originally posted by Blue_Jay33

Here is an atheist girl explaining it.


I am just totally confused now and believe there are not 3 belief systems...

for isn't Gnosticism only based on perceived beliefs also ? which are established by majority when resolution is reached or concluded.

the majority says the sky is blue, therefore it is... established "knowledge"

there are only 2 systems at the top of the mountain in my opinion...



posted on Jan, 18 2011 @ 04:09 AM
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madness

The schema that eludes you is

:responsive-answer-tag [, :explanation].

Where the optional :explanation is chosen from well-formed English narratives, and the required :responsive-answer-tag is exactly one selected from [ yes, no, no opinion ].

So, in your examples:

Answer 1: No opinion, I don't understand the question.
Answer 2: Yes, and I have a story about evidence to tell you....
Answer 3: Yes, in my opinion, which may be incorrect and which I am unable to explain further.
Answer 4: No opinion, which means not "yes" and not "no," in case you were confused about that, and I have a story about evidence to tell you...
Answer 5: No, and I have a story about evidence to tell you...
Answer 6: No opinion, and I have no current intention to acquire one.

See how it works? The question didn't ask you why you would answer the question one way or another. However, you are afforded the opportunity to explain yourself, in addition to whatever answer you choose in reply to the question asked.

That's it. You can turn on the verbal fog machine and crank it up to your heart's content. But in the end, you either dodge the question, or else you answer it. If you answer it, then it's yes, no, or no opinion. And then, you can make some further statement, which does not answer the question, but which adds information to the answer you have already given.

If you have some problem with being asked questions, then that's really too bad. Calling a person "illogical" for asking you a question simply makes it more obvious how tenuous is your grasp of anything philosophical.

Calling a yes-or-no question "rigged" would be funny, except that you are apparently serious. Fortunately, it's also a stupid question. And a fallacious question.

If it's such an imposition, then conserve bandwidth and don't answer. Fixed. However, we then have come full circle. The OP predicted that some of the more prominent online atheists would avoid answering the question straightforwardly. His prediction is looking good.

In other news, I am delighted to read that you are an English teacher. So, you can see, in a professional sort of way, that there is a difference between I have studied philosophy and I am now studying philosophy as a secondary area.

If it's still a work in progress, then I withdraw my endorsement of your potential claim for a refund, and wish you all the best for your future studies in the field.



posted on Jan, 18 2011 @ 08:09 AM
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reply to post by babloyi
 


Originally posted by babloyi
reply to post by madnessinmysoul
 

Hey Madness!

Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
When one is from a theological dictionary, another is from an apologetics book, and the other is from a general reference that actually has a lot of elaboration that discredits the single line definition...then the one source is better than the other.

I do not see the inherent inferiority of a theological book or a general reference book over what you suggest. Perhaps the theological book would be biased, but a general reference has no reason to be.


I'm happy you see the possible bias in a theology book, but the point on general reference is that it refers to usage rather than useful terms.

A general dictionary will most definitely list the incorrect, common usage of the word "theory" before it lists the proper scientific term. I tend to be skeptical of those sorts of things.



There are several dozen references that can corroborate BigWhammy's understanding of the term:

Dictionary of Philosophy
Agnosticism: (Gr. agnostos, unknowing) 1. (epist.) that theory of knowledge which asserts that it is impossible for man to attain knowledge of a certain subject-matter.

2. (theol.) that theory of religious knowledge which asserts that it is impossible for man to attain knowledge of God.
...
Atheism: (Gr. a, no; theos, god) Two uses of the term:

a. The belief that there is no God.
b. Some philosophers have been called "atheistic" because they have not held to a belief in a personal God. Atheism in this sense means "not theistic."

The former meaning of the term is a literal rendering. The latter meaning is a less rigorous use of the term although widely current in the history of thought. -- V.F.

(the dictionary is backed by 72 authorities)


I'm not going to accept this one simply because...well, it's outdated. 1942? And it can't be backed up by the fact that it's an authority writing the book. Remember, that would be an argument from authority.

Hell, in general I'd disagree with the use of a dictionary here. If I can come up with a logical definition through pure reason and examination of the subject matter



And another:

A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names
agnosticism

Belief that human beings do not have sufficient evidence to warrant either the affirmation or the denial of a proposition. The term is used especially in reference to our lack of knowledge of the existence of god. In this, the agnostic, who holds that we cannot know whether or not god exists, differs from the atheist, who denies that god exists.

Recommended Reading: Clarence Darrow, Why I Am an Agnostic and Other Essays (Prometheus, 1994) [at Amazon.com] and Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian, and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects (Simon & Schuster, 1977) [at Amazon.com].

(compiled by this guy)


From the exact same source, linked within the definition of agnostic.


Atheist: Belief that god does not exist. Unlike the agnostic, who merely criticizes traditional arguments for the existence of a deity, the atheist must offer evidence (such as the problem of evil) that there is no god or propose a strong principle for denying what is not known to be true.


I'm proposing a strong principle for denying what is not know to be true. That principle is called skepticism.



So to claim that any but your own understanding of the term is wrong is a bit inaccurate.


It's not my understanding, it is that of many. I mean, I wish I had come up with the idea myself, but it's found elsewhere.



In fact, "agnosticism" is actually the line of thought that it is IMPOSSIBLE to know of the existence (or non-existence) of God(s), not that "currently I do not know". So once again, the agnostic is forming an opinion without evidence or proof (hardly rational or logical or scientific).


Exactly, impossible to know, not impossible to make a reasoned guess. It's impossible to attain epistemological certainty on the issue.



And yeah, I was referring to your dismissal of Lane, not anything Mr. XYZ said, apologies for the ambiguity. I also do not know anything about the man, and before BigWhammy brought him up in this thread, I don't think I had ever heard of him before. Still, a cursory glance over the internet shows that he IS considered a philosopher, and academic, and while his religious slant might not endear him to you
, it does not make him any less valid.


No, his arguments make him less valid. Which is why I posted a link to the "William Lane Craig is not a _____" series compiled on YouTube which addresses his arguments. Here's another link to that playist. I mean, I can personally tear his arguments apart as anyone with a cursory understanding of philosophy should be able to.

And I've yet to hear of a philosopher who actually think that the theologian known as Dr William Lane Craig is actually a philosopher. He is a theologian and an apologist, but I wouldn't call him a philosopher as he's not engaged in any philosophy that doesn't directly influence apologetics. This in contrast to someone like...Thomas Aquinas, who delved into anything he could think of.



I admit, I have been unable to go through your youtube videos- personally, I dislike youtube as a medium of debate or discourse, it is more often used as a vehicle for ridicule and snarky commentary, and then the response to such would be another snarky and belittling video, this time from the other camp, which would be just as equally (in)valid. While it is just as susceptible to being countered, I much prefer a document which I can peruse at leisure, go back and forth, cross-reference, etc.


Well, these videos (for the most part) simply attack the arguments presented by Dr Craig. If I wanted to give you something snarky or belittling I'd refer you to Th1sWasATriumph, who also provides argumentation against Dr Craig's illogical statements.




Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
I'm sorry, but what sort of science is outside the empirical realm? Don't say mathematics, it's still within the material realm.

Mathematics certainly exists within the realm of the physical, but it is not restricted to it. And based off that (rather than empirical observations and experimentation), much of theoretical physics (which attempts to seek the origin of our universe, as well as extra dimensions (which would obviously be out of our physical realm) multiverses, etc. ) is derived.


Extra dimensions would still be in the empirical realm. They wouldn't be something we could directly observe

And mathematics...isn't a science. It's like saying that color is a painting. Color (defined as CMYK for simplicity) is used in painting, but it's only a part of painting. It's also something separate from painting.

Pure mathematics and pure logic aren't 'things' in science, they're used in science. They're abstractions...but this is neither here nor there for now. I'd love to discuss this further, I just don't want to drag this already time-consuming thread off topic further.



Since you have a fondness for philosophy, let me give you Aristotle's definition:


I don't like Aristotle...I mean, I don't like his work...more specifically I don't like it in light of later explanation on the subject. I'd prefer Bacon on the issue. Hell, I'd just prefer bacon.



"... a man knows a thing scientifically when he possesses a conviction arrived at in a certain way, and when the first principles on which that conviction rests are known to him with certainty—for unless he is more certain of his first principles than of the conclusion drawn from them he will only possess the knowledge in question accidentally. Let this stand as our definition of Scientific Knowledge."


I have no problem with that, though I'd go into further philosophy of science with Bacon and Popper.




Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
babloyi...wall of text. Please, try to separate. I say this as someone who tends to respect you as a user. I'd hate for people to pass over parts of your posts just because they're daunting.

Hahahahah....it is my suspicion that people do that anyway. The speed at which threads conflagrate coupled with the amount of times that the points I responded to are repeated and my responses ignored makes me get the feeling that well thought out and ordered posts are ultimately pointless. Thanks for somewhat allaying that suspicion
.


Well, I just wanted to give a piece of advice to someone I actually enjoy discussing things with.
And yes, I meant epistemological certainty, not epistemology. By the time I had seen my mistake, the time for editing had expired.



Insofar as the scientific method goes, "I don't know", does not mean and does not equate "I am not going to accept this" or "this is not true".


But "I don't know because the proposed proposition has yet to be demonstrated" is a reason to state "I am not going to accept this" with the necessary addition of "...unless evidence is provided at a later date".



The scientific method would be "Observation of a phenomena/on, investigating it, creating a hypothesis for it, attempting to fit the hypothesis to the match it, if it fits, modify existing knowledge, if it doesn't, modify the hypothesis". A person certainly CAN have pre-conceived notions and beliefs, but if one wanted to be rational and logical, they'd have to reject them, otherwise, it would constitute a bias.


Yes, but that's where you're missing the ball. The question seems to be rigged from the outset here because there's no hypothesis here. Instead of proposing a hypothesis we are given a question. Instead of taking on the necessary burden of proof that a positive claimant must take on, BigWhammy is shifting the burden equally in an illogical manner.

He's basically asking the peer-reviewers to do all of the work for him.



This has become evident in many anti-evolutionist ideologies- "God exists, therefore evolution must be wrong" and even (yes, it happens, I have seen it)- "God does not exist, therefore evolution must be accurate".


Well, both camps are silly. Evolution is only accurate because of the evidence. Were there no evidence and necessarily no deities of any sort...we'd be stuck with a question mark.



While it may not be the best example, as this is stemming from a false connection between the existence of God and the accuracy of evolution, I'm sure you get my point- There are many "atheist" scientists whose main motivation behind the investigation of atheism is a concerted effort to prove the (generally theist) anti-evolutionists wrong.


I've yet to meet them or hear of them. Care to share some examples?




Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
Science rejects claims when it says "I don't know". It waits for some level of evidence. When there's a little bit of evidence something becomes a tentative hypothesis. When a lot of evidence comes in it becomes a theory. Once all evidence available points to that theory over all other theories consistently, it becomes considered as scientific fact.

I believe you are making a mistake common to anti-evolutionists here. A "scientific fact" would be something like "While I am standing here on earth, at position so-and-so, when I leave hold of this rock in my hand, it falls downwards". A scientific theory would be something like the Theory of Gravity. Theories seek to explain facts, they cannot become facts.


Well, theory as defined that way is obviously not a fact. Evolution is a fact, the theory itself is an explanation of that fact. Allele frequency over successive generations is the fact.



PS: As far as my knowledge goes (the internet, a course or two in logic and debate) the fallacy of the excluded middle DOES involve an either/or statement. It comes from a false application of the "Law of the Excluded Middle" (i.e. either a thing is true, or it's negation is true: truth = P | -P).


But it can necessarily be applied to any sort of artificially selected set of choices. The middle being excluded just becomes smaller. Think of it like a triangle frame, we're excluding the entire middle bit between the three sides.



So for a person having full knowledge of the required concepts (the understanding of the term "God/s" in the frame of reference asked by the questioner, generally an entity, a higher power, traditionally involved with creation, with such characteristics as omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, etc) the question "Do you believe in God/s?" is not loaded in any way to make presuppositions about the person being questioned. It isn't a question that would require calling a committee to discuss. While there may be several addenda the person would add, the fundamental answer itself would logically result in one of three positions (which again, as far as I see, do not create any fallacy of the excluded middle), being either:
Yes
No
I don't know/I don't care/It is irrelevant to me/I never thought about it


But the question itself is loaded. It's like asking people how much they enjoy killing puppies on a scale of 1-5, 1 being a little and 5 being thoroughly.

The question artificially limits the question to either two positive positions or a shrug of the shoulders. We actually have a positive claim "God exists" and the negative critique from atheists.



"I don't know, but yes" or "I don't know, but no" are invalid, contradictory answers.


It's not "I don't know" more than "I cannot be sure". I can't be sure that you're not on the toilet when you make your posts, but I can guess that you don't.

edit on 18/1/11 by madnessinmysoul because: Quote fixing



posted on Jan, 18 2011 @ 08:09 AM
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Originally posted by babloyi
reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 

I believe I did understand your point, I was just explaining how my comprehension of this supposed separation of knowledge of God (I was taking the generally accepted use of a/gnosticism) and belief in God lead to certain logical problems.


There are only logical problems for some, it seems, though. For others, we understand perfectly and are trying to explain it to you so you will understand it, too.
You asked:


Originally posted by babloyi
Where is the gnostic-atheist who knows that god/s exists, but does not believe?


And there is no such thing. That's the same as asking about a theist who knows there is no God. The term theist states a positive belief in God, just as the term atheist indicates a lack of belief in a deity.

'Gnostic' preceding either theist OR atheist just means that I KNOW for sure the position that follows.
'Agnostic' preceding either theist OR atheist just means that I DON'T KNOW for sure the position that follows.


Used in this way, 'gnostic' and 'agnostic' are adjectives that modify the nouns 'theist' or 'atheist'.

What you need to do is realize that while the word 'agnostic' commonly refers to something about God or our beginnings, that's not the only way it's used. I can be agnostic about aliens. Meaning I don't think we KNOW enough to say one way or the other. But separate from what I KNOW is what I BELIEVE. So, I could say that regarding aliens, I'm an agnostic believer. Because I don't KNOW enough to be sure, but the evidence I've seen causes me to believe that they exist.

Simply stated, the word, 'agnostic' means "I don't know"... But don't know what? What is the person referring to? They don't know something, but they need to elaborate to get their full meaning across. Is it aliens that they don't know about? Is it secret societies? Is it the government's involvement in 9/11 that this person is agnostic about?

But when we add the word theist (agnostic theist) it gives more information. Ah! This person is talking about theism. So, they aren't certain about the existence of a God, but since theist indicates a positive belief in a deity, we now know that the word 'agnostic' refers to their knowledge of the existence of a God and can say that they don't KNOW (a-gnostic) but believe in a God (theist).
edit on 1/18/2011 by Benevolent Heretic because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 18 2011 @ 08:13 AM
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reply to post by eight bits
 


You're still limiting things to an ignorant question. This is a question that is simply illogical in that it is a demonstration of the excluded middle fallacy.

The discussion, if held in a manner that conforms to reason, should begin:


Theist: "God exists + reasons/evidence"

An atheist would then either accept the premise due to the reasons being compelling or reject it due to the reasons and evidence being invalid.

I've made this as short as possible to get rid of any accusations of 'verbal fog'.



posted on Jan, 18 2011 @ 08:37 AM
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Originally posted by Blue_Jay33
community online. Here is an atheist girl explaining it.


This is a much better video on the subject. It's the one that 'clicked' with me and made me understand the position of agnosticism as related to theism. Good luck.





Originally posted by Joecroft
And while I have no problem with a person who holds the position of “I don’t know “ and “I don’t believe”, I still find defining it perplexing.


Maybe I can help.
With some hypothetical examples.

Do you BELIEVE 9/11 was an inside job? Or do you believe the official story? Do you KNOW your position on 9/11 to be the TRUTH?

Do you BELIEVE aliens are real? Or do you dis-believe in aliens? Do you KNOW your position on aliens to be the TRUTH?

Do you BELIEVE your wife is faithful? Or do you believe she's cheating? Do you KNOW your position on your wife's faithfulness to be the TRUTH?



One critical point, which madness has already addressed, is that God must be clearly defined, before responses can be forced onto the receiver of the question “Do you believe in God?” and more importantly so that he/she knows what they are responding to, in relation to the definition of God. For example, a person may be a Theist regarding a Pantheist God, but be Atheistic regarding the Judaic God.


Great point. If someone asks a question that's got part of the answer in it, then I can give a simpler answer. Maybe I can answer "no". But if I make a statement, separate from a 'loaded' question and out of the blue, say "no", people wouldn't know what I was talking about. So if someone asks if I BELIEVE in God, then I can say that I'm an atheist, as that answers the BELIEF question directly.

But when they ask "How do you know there is no God"?, I inform them that I DON'T KNOW for certain. Or simply stated, I'm an agnostic atheist. I don't KNOW, but I do believe. I think it's a pretty simple concept and I don't understand the argument.

I really don't know why the OP and some others have an issue with the use of this phrase. What is the problem, really?



posted on Jan, 18 2011 @ 08:41 AM
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Ah, ignorant. How could I have forgotten that one? Well, at least I got illogical, rigged, fallacious and stupid right.

Anyway, I appreciate your brevity, madness. But BW's question is fine as asked, well-posed and altogether standard both as to form and as to content.

If you prefer not to answer, then no worry. It is perfectly plain what your views on the question are.

It doesn't get more succinct than that, and BW gets credit for a correct prediction. Win-win.



posted on Jan, 18 2011 @ 08:47 AM
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Originally posted by eight bits
But BW's question is fine as asked, well-posed and altogether standard both as to form and as to content.


I would agree. It's a perfectly valid question. And as I said in my last post:

If someone asks if I BELIEVE in God, then I can say that I'm an atheist, as that answers the BELIEF question directly.

But when they ask "How do you KNOW there is no God"?, I inform them that I DON'T KNOW for certain. Or simply stated, I'm an agnostic atheist. I don't KNOW, but I don't BELIEVE. I think it's a pretty simple concept and I don't understand the argument.
.

edit on 1/18/2011 by Benevolent Heretic because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 18 2011 @ 09:02 AM
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reply to post by Cosmic.Artifact
 





"active atheism" is... 2. resentful


Interesting and very true.
Often the resentment focuses on the God of the bible for some reason, that resentment evolves into agnostic and then an atheist perception.



posted on Jan, 18 2011 @ 09:19 AM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


Took the time to watch that video, as I do want to understand the other side, and after watching it, I believe I do have a better understanding now.



posted on Jan, 18 2011 @ 09:40 AM
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reply to post by Blue_Jay33
 


Thank you for taking the time to watch that.


I also want to understand the other side. But I don't. Can you (or anyone) explain the problem with using these words as we put forth? I'm lost as to the complaint of the OP. I've read it many times and all I can come up with is that he doesn't like the way we describe ourselves. I cannot imagine myself telling someone else how to think about themselves and which words they can use.



posted on Jan, 18 2011 @ 10:23 AM
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BH

We seem to be in agreement that an atheist is someone who believes that there is no god. The confidence with which they hold that belief is of no bearing. Atheist refers to the content of someone's belief, not their confidence.

Where you and I part company is that agnostic has nothing to do with confidence, either.

Long after Thomas Huxley had introduced the word into the language, and long after it had attained widesperad usage, Robert Flint attempted to redefine it by fiat, based on what he thought the word ought to have meant. From him comes idea that gnosis is knowledge and a- means without, so agnostic ought to have meant "without knowledge."

Flint's argument is far-fetched. By that reasoning, manufactured should mean made by hand. But even if Flintism were how words typically acquire meaning in living languages from ancient languages' roots, it is not the factual etymology of agnostic.

The word was coined as a consciously crafted token which denoted what Huxley said it denoted, what he believed about gods and why he believed that. As more and more people used the word, the word lost its detailed connection to Huxley's reasons, but kept Huxley's conclusion. Thus, the word has always referred to the content of someone's beliefs.

Long before Flint tried to launch his counterrevolution, the meaning was not to believe in god (not to be a theist) and not to believe there was no god (not to be an atheist).


But when they ask "How do you KNOW there is no God"?, I inform them that I DON'T KNOW for certain. Or simply stated, I'm an agnostic atheist. I don't KNOW, but I do BELIEVE. I think it's a pretty simple concept and I don't understand the argument.

I would be very surprised if anybody seriously expected you to know the truth of any of your beliefs, on any discussable subject.

It sounds, therefore, like you encounter some rhetorical embellishment in your debating opponents. Perhaps, then, it is worth the few words it takes to tell them simply that you do not claim to know, but that this is what you believe.

Even if there some pithy phrase for that most ordinary human credal situation, what are the odds that your listeners would understand such a phrase without an explanation anyway? And in this case, if they know the misjoined words at all, then they will not know what "agnostic atheist" means, because each word refers to a set of beliefs, the two sets of beliefs are incompatible, and neither word refers to the confidence with which any belief is held.



posted on Jan, 18 2011 @ 11:07 AM
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Originally posted by eight bits
Long after Thomas Huxley had introduced the word into the language, and long after it had attained widesperad usage, Robert Flint attempted to redefine it by fiat, based on what he thought the word ought to have meant. From him comes idea that gnosis is knowledge and a- means without, so agnostic ought to have meant "without knowledge.".


thought Huxley defined it so:



The reason why Huxley started using the term agnosticism was because he found so many people talking about things as if they had knowledge[/b[ on the topic when he, himself, did not:

"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."


Huxley on Agnosticism



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