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Will the real Atheists please stand up

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posted on Dec, 29 2010 @ 05:48 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 





Originally posted by Astyanax
First of all, I don't think physical cosmology is necessarily the field in which to go looking for evidence of God.


Yes God, in a wider religious perspective, is seen as a more spiritual thing. I’m not looking for people to find God in cosmology, even though I don’t rule out the possibility, the only reason I have brought it up, is because people have asked for further clarification as to what I meant by defining God as the creator of the universe.



Originally posted by Astyanax
I have two reasons for not believing God exists. Thinking about it a bit more deeply, the first reason is not so much that there is no evidence for God's existence but that there is no necessary condition for God to exist. There is no question we can ask that demands an exclusively God-shaped answer.


I’m not sure I know what you mean by “no necessary condition for God to exist”
To the question how did everything get here, how do you know it doesn’t require a God shaped answer?



Originally posted by Astyanax
The second reason is the clincher, however. It is that, given the nature of the world we live in, its creator would have to be either monumentally indifferent to His creation, or downright vicious. This is known as the Problem of Evil, and the only way it can be solved within the framework of conventional religious thought is to multiply entities as the Gnostics did. The moral God of monotheistic imagining is a scandalous impossibility.

Epicurus, a Greek philosopher who lived three centuries before Christ, put it thus:



Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
 Then he is not omnipotent.


Is he able, but not willing?
 Then he is malevolent. 


Is he both able and willing?
 Then whence cometh evil? 


Is he neither able nor willing? 
Then why call him God?

Epicurus, BC 341-270)


The problem with answering your last question is that I’m going to have to add to the definition of God, which goes against what I outlined in my OP. But I will touch on it slightly…

A Pantheist God, is defined as not having any influence on its creation, so what you have cited above, by Epicurus, doesn’t necessarily rule out a God/creator of that description. Now of course, for all intense purposes I am a Christian, so I would cite things like free will, and that we are all spiritual beings and that death is not the end.

But like I said above, I am now adding extras to how God should be defined, when my thread is more about how best to define Agnostic-Atheism. If I keep shifting the Goal posts of how God should be defined, then that has a direct bearing on whether someone remains an Atheist, or suddenly changes their position to being Agnostic, it’s kind of a catch twenty-two situation.

I only really want people to consider if there could be a God who created everything first and whether they consider themselves an Atheist under those single conditions, with the main point, being how best to define Agnostic-Atheism.



A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


Confucius, BC 604-531


- JC




posted on Dec, 29 2010 @ 08:22 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 





Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic

A conclusion is based on evidence.
A decision is based on conclusion. For example:

I looked out the window, saw that the thermometer said 60 degrees, the sky was clear and the ground was dry. From this evidence, I CONCLUDED that it was a nice day. Based on that conclusion, I DECIDED to go for a ride.

I looked at the evidence and came to a conclusion. Then, based on the conclusion, I made a decision. I didn't have to decide to go for a ride. I could have decided to go back to bed. But that wouldn't have changed the conclusion that it was a nice day.



If you look up the word Conclude, you will often find it defined as “reaching a decision”. In this case, the word “decision”, is not being used as an action-taking place physically.

Conclude


To bring to an end; close: concluded the rally with the national anthem. See Synonyms at complete.
2. To bring about (a final agreement or settlement): conclude a peace treaty.
3. To reach a decision or form an opinion about.


So, although the word “decided” or “decision” can be applied to “actions”, like you have pointed out above, “I DECIDED to go for a ride. etc”, they can also be used in a different way/context.

For example… you can also decide that it was a nice day, as well.

(1) I decided that it was a nice day (No action applied)

To “conclude” or to “decide” (not action) something, are both forming an opinion based on evidence. So reaching a decision and reaching a conclusion, are both the same thing.

*****************************************************************************************



Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
The burden of proof is not on the minority. I don't know where you get that. The burden of proof is on those who make a claim. You have made two claims:

A. God created everything.
B. The Universe was caused by the Big Bang.

Both of these are claims. Both hold the burden of proof. But there IS scientific evidence for the Big Bang Theory


But that wasn’t what I meant by position (B)
Here’s what I wrote for position (B)


Originally posted by Joecroft
(B) The universe happened unaided, or/and is part of a perpetual motion system, that is self regulating. (This is generally the scientific criteria for trying to find a solution, to pre Big bang theories)


I was using position (B) in talking about pre Big Bang theories, of which nothing is known scientifically. Not the BIG BANG happening itself, but how it might have taken place. Which is why I mentioned it, using the phrase “pre Big bang theories” above. So you will have to read over my analogy, in my last reply to you, again.

Because you have misunderstood what I meant, I will have to skip over some of the other things you replied to, where you thought I was talking about the Big Bang itself, which I believe did take place, because of the scientific evidence for it.




Originally posted by Joecroft
Should an Agnostic-Atheist be considered one of the following...

An Agnostic, who only until asked for further clarification, either thinks something is unlikely or likely.

Or should they it be considered…

An Atheist, who until asked for further clarification, is either an Atheist in the “active” or “passive” sense.





Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
There is no universal right or wrong answer to that. IMO.


I appreciate your honesty but Atheists have themselves already defined Agnostic-Atheist, as an Atheistic position.



Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
I consider myself an atheist. I don't believe in God.


You say above that there is “no universal right or wrong answer to that” but by calling yourself an Atheist, and based on the fact you are an Agnostic-Atheist regarding the question in my OP, you have already made that decision.

I don’t know if you have been following my other posts, but I have pointed out to another poster, that Atheism being tied in with Agnosticism, is a fairly recent development, in terms of defining Atheism. In fact, prier to the 1800’s it wasn’t defined that way, and it’s only in the mid 1900’s onwards, that it has become more widespread.
What I am trying to explain to you, is that prier to the 1800’s, the definition of Atheism, was not being tied into Agnosticism.



Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Well, maybe they should ask for clarification. You're right. When a person says they're atheist, all kids of negative judgments are made. I'm not going to change what I call myself just so other people will be less judgmental about me.
If they want to know more, they can ask. If they want to make their judgments, they can. They're going to anyway. If I called myself agnostic, there are going to be judgments, too. For me to stop using the word atheist to describe myself would imply that I think there's something wrong or negative about it and it would be catering to people's ignorance and bigotry... Something I'm not known for.



Well, no one is making any judgments about the position you hold; I know I’m certainly not.
This thread is more about how best to define the Agnostic-Atheist position, and whether it should be defined under the banner of Atheism or not.


- JC



posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 12:23 AM
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are you guys still arguing this ?

I thought it has been established that their are no true Atheists because they choose even not to be acknowledged, nor even give credit or know where this belief in non-belief came from let alone the word Atheists...

duh


convert to Truth !


edit on 12/30/2010 by Cosmic.Artifact because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 01:04 AM
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reply to post by Joecroft
 


I’m not sure I know what you mean by “no necessary condition for God to exist”

There is nothing we observe that makes it necessary for there to be a God.


To the question how did everything get here, how do you know it doesn’t require a God shaped answer?

There are other answers, equally satisfactory or better.


A Pantheist God, is defined as not having any influence on its creation, so what you have cited above, by Epicurus, doesn’t necessarily rule out a God/creator of that description.

Oh, but it does. Read it more carefully.


I only really want people to consider if there could be a God who created everything first and whether they consider themselves an Atheist under those single conditions.

Meaning, could I call myself an atheist after I had admitted there could be a God? I do so admit it, yet I am an atheist; and as I have already explained, there is no contradiction involved.



posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 07:06 AM
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Originally posted by Joecroft
To “conclude” or to “decide” (not action) something, are both forming an opinion based on evidence. So reaching a decision and reaching a conclusion, are both the same thing.


As I said, semantics.I have explained it from my perspective several times and I think you actually understand what I'm saying, but you still seem to want me to be wrong about my choice of words. I stand by them, however. I didn't "decide" to be an atheist. I came to the conclusion that there was no God. It's not like it was the latest fad and I decided to take part in it. I'm 53 years old. Not much into fads, if you know what I mean. It took YEARS of study and reflection to come to my conclusions.

Feel free to continue to use whatever words you like to describe my life processes, however.

*****************************************************************************************

Originally posted by Joecroft
I appreciate your honesty but Atheists have themselves already defined Agnostic-Atheist, as an Atheistic position.


Yes, because of the word atheist in there.
There is no dash, it's agnostic atheist. Agnostic is an adjective that describes the noun Atheist. It's like saying "Yellow balloon" or "Questionable practices". Not 2 different nouns.



What I am trying to explain to you, is that prier to the 1800’s, the definition of Atheism, was not being tied into Agnosticism.


Prior to 1800? Why would I be using language that was common prior to 1800? I don't use the word 'tomato' to describe a woman. Nor do I say 'directly' when I mean 'soon'. These are old phrases that are uncommon in the 21st century. I try to stay current.



Well, no one is making any judgments about the position you hold; I know I’m certainly not.
This thread is more about how best to define the Agnostic-Atheist position, and whether it should be defined under the banner of Atheism or not.


Well, you know my position. One who doesn't BELIEVE in God, but doesn't think we have the KNOWLEDGE to be certain, is an atheist of the agnostic kind.
An agnostic atheist (no dash).



posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 03:31 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 





Originally posted by Joecroft
To the question how did everything get here, how do you know it doesn’t require a God shaped answer?



Originally posted by Astyanax
There are other answers, equally satisfactory or better.


To keep this on topic and in connection with the question in my OP.

So do you think that regarding the pre Big Bang, there is a satisfactory scientific answer, to how the universe came to be as it is?



Originally posted by Astyanax
Oh, but it does. Read it more carefully.


Well, as to defending a Pantheist God, my heart isn’t really in it.



Originally posted by Astyanax
Meaning, could I call myself an atheist after I had admitted there could be a God? I do so admit it, yet I am an atheist; and as I have already explained, there is no contradiction involved.


I’m not entirely sure where you pointed out there was no contradiction.

But anyway, the thing is, right now, I don’t see someone who holds the position of “I don’t know” but “I don’t believe” as trying to be contradictory. The problem I see, is that depending on the question being asked, a person maybe 90% “I don’t know” and 10% “I don’t believe”, which doesn’t really give us an honest picture, of their so called Atheism, especially as they are more rooted in Agnosticism.

I don’t know if you have been following my other posts, but I have pointed out that Atheism being tied in with Agnosticism is a fairly recent development, in terms of defining Atheism. There is also no clear consensus between all groups, that it should be defined that way.


- JC



posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 03:35 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 





Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
As I said, semantics.I have explained it from my perspective several times and I think you actually understand what I'm saying, but you still seem to want me to be wrong about my choice of words. I stand by them, however. I didn't "decide" to be an atheist. I came to the conclusion that there was no God. It's not like it was the latest fad and I decided to take part in it. I'm 53 years old. Not much into fads, if you know what I mean. It took YEARS of study and reflection to come to my conclusions.

Feel free to continue to use whatever words you like to describe my life processes, however.


I don’t want you to be wrong! I even said in one of my other replies to you, that in your own mind you see them as separate and different, but I don’t!…IMO I see them as both the same and I have mentioned the reasons why I think that, in fact, you even said yourself that they were similar.

It’s got nothing to do with how I see your personal process you have used to concluded or decide something. I’m not judging you or imposing my opinion on exactly how you have concluded or decided something, it’s just that I see both words as being the same, i.e. in the context of reaching a conclusion and reaching a decision.



Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
What I am trying to explain to you, is that prier to the 1800’s, the definition of Atheism, was not being tied into Agnosticism.




Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Prior to 1800? Why would I be using language that was common prior to 1800? I don't use the word 'tomato' to describe a woman. Nor do I say 'directly' when I mean 'soon'. These are old phrases that are uncommon in the 21st century. I try to stay current.


I don’t think your quite getting it. The original form of Atheism was not defined, as being connected, in any way to agnosticism, prier to 1800’s and it’s only in the mid 1900’s and more recently, that it has become more widespread knowledge. People who are Agnostic-Atheist are defining themselves as just Atheists, but this is not a currently agreed upon definition by everyone.



- JC



posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 08:37 PM
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reply to post by Joecroft
 

– 1 –



So do you think that regarding the pre Big Bang, there is a satisfactory scientific answer, to how the universe came to be as it is?

That's two questions: What existed before the Big Bang? and How did the universe come to be as it is?

Since Time came into existence with the Big Bang, the first question is probably meaningless. But assuming otherwise, then, since the universe apparently emerged from a singularity (a place where the laws of physics as we know them do not apply), it is not possible to make any scientific statement about what preceded it.

Saying 'God made the universe' leaves us in exactly the same position of ignorance. The Book of Genesis says He made it from already existing materials, and specifies at least one of them: water. Would you regard this as a satisfactory answer? Where did the water come from, if God didn't make it?

Alternately – and in contradiction to the Bible – we may aver that God caused the universe to come into being ex nihilo. This, of course, begs the question, Where did God come from? 'Existed for ever' doesn't get us any further than 'We don't know'; actually, they are the same answer in different words.

As to the question of how the universe came to be as it is, religion provides no better answer than 'because God so decreed it', while science provides us with fairly detailed answers based on the laws of nature and the values of the fundamental constants, while (admittedly) failing to explain why these laws and constants are as they are. Perhaps they are so because God decreed it, but no-one can verify that.

– 2 –



The problem I see, is that depending on the question being asked, a person maybe 90% “I don’t know” and 10% “I don’t believe”, which doesn’t really give us an honest picture, of their so called Atheism, especially as they are more rooted in Agnosticism.

You're trying to impose a choice that doesn't exist. The fact is, nobody knows whether or not God exists; it's one hundred percent 'I don't know' for everyone, believers, atheists and agnostics alike. And it's one hundred percent 'I believe', 'I don't believe' and 'I'm not sure what I believe' for all of them, too.

The philosophical position 'agnosticism' can be a mere recognition of this ignorance, in which case it has little meaning. Alternatively, perhaps, it can be a decision to conduct one's life as though God may exist, but also may not. I have no idea what this could mean in practice; you'd have to ask an agnostic.



edit on 30/12/10 by Astyanax because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 09:31 PM
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I am an atheist because the idea of God started with man. The idea of implementing a rule of law started with man and utilized fear. I am an atheist because one of 'Gods' major 'disciples' was a man named Heron who created miracles to dupe people out of their money by using basic science principles (advanced then).

I am an atheist because I am positive that I have yet to hear a single argument for God and many of the convoluted stories and experiences which cannot be explained by natural history, misinterpretation, misconception and human nature.

I am sure that I didn't create my existence but the anthropomorphic idea of many religions regarding a creator is really quite silly.

No offense to anyone who chooses to believe, not in the slightest...



posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 10:28 PM
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Originally posted by Cosmic.Artifact
this belief in non-belief


Belief in non belief in and of itself is a contradiction; polar opposites. Choosing to not believe in an abstract propagated by previous generations is certainly not the same fallacious logical construct.

And the worst part is that there are many documented instances of man fighting man based on a poorly misunderstood abstract/propagation and the shaping of Christianity, to use as one example, to fit the 'unsquelchable' traditions of pagans as their own in order to gain acceptance and conformity.

I do believe that humans have a history of manipulation more than I believe in God...



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 12:34 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 





Originally posted by Astyanax
Since Time came into existence with the Big Bang, the first question is probably meaningless. But assuming otherwise, then, since the universe apparently emerged from a singularity (a place where the laws of physics as we know them do not apply), it is not possible to make any scientific statement about what preceded it.


Exactly, and this is what I wanted people to consider when weighing up the question in my OP, while at the same time trying to not to bring into it, extra ideas about God, that already exist from other outside sources. So far, only a few posters on this thread have been able to do that.



Originally posted by Astyanax
Saying 'God made the universe' leaves us in exactly the same position of ignorance. The Book of Genesis says He made it from already existing materials, and specifies at least one of them: water. Would you regard this as a satisfactory answer? Where did the water come from, if God didn't make it?


I would say we are only in ignorance if we stop looking for answers, just because a person who is a scientist believes in God, doesn’t mean he stops looking for how things work. There was a time when science and a belief in God, were not opposed to one another, but now of course, things are different.



Originally posted by Astyanax
Alternately – and in contradiction to the Bible – we may aver that God caused the universe to come into being ex nihilo. This, of course, begs the question, Where did God come from? 'Existed for ever' doesn't get us any further than 'We don't know'; actually, they are the same answer in different words.


I see your point but whether we believe God created the universe or not, something must have always existed anyway, so even from the scientific perspective of discounting God, we are also in the same position of 'We don't know'



Originally posted by Astyanax
As to the question of how the universe came to be as it is, religion provides no better answer than 'because God so decreed it', while science provides us with fairly detailed answers based on the laws of nature and the values of the fundamental constants, while (admittedly) failing to explain why these laws and constants are as they are. Perhaps they are so because God decreed it, but no-one can verify that.


Yes, science is forever dealing with the “how” but not so much with the why questions.
Thought I would add this….

“But in the Canons Democritus says there are two kinds of knowing, one through the senses and the other through the intellect. Of these he calls the one through the intellect ‘legitimate’ attesting its trustworthiness for the judgement of truth, and through the senses he names ‘bastard’ denying its inerrancy in the discrimination of what is true. To quote his actual words: Of knowledge there are two forms, one legitimate, one bastard. To the bastard belong all this group: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch. The other is legitimate and separate from that. Then, preferring the legitimate to the bastard, he continues: When the bastard can no longer see any smaller, or hear, or smell, or taste, or perceive by touch, but finer matters have to be examined, then comes the legitimate, since it has a finer organ of perception.”


Democritus BC 460-370


Originally posted by Joecroft


The problem I see, is that depending on the question being asked, a person maybe 90% “I don’t know” and 10% “I don’t believe”, which doesn’t really give us an honest picture, of their so called Atheism, especially as they are more rooted in Agnosticism



Originally posted by Astyanax
You're trying to impose a choice that doesn't exist. The fact is, nobody knows whether or not God exists; it's one hundred percent 'I don't know' for everyone, believers, atheists and agnostics alike. And it's one hundred percent 'I believe', 'I don't believe' and 'I'm not sure what I believe' for all of them, too.


I’m not trying to impose a choice, I’m trying to ask people how best it should be defined.
Well, I did say depending on the question being asked, which can be applied to anything, like for example Aliens, Ghosts, UFOs or even a scientific hypothesis.

But as to the God question in my OP, don’t you think the percentages between “I don’t know” and “I don’t believe” should have to make up one whole percentage between the two, seeing as the Agnostic-Atheist position is classified as one position on it’s own?

It’s just the way I see it, if everyone is a hundred percent 'I don't know', then that would make them Agnostic only.

Originally posted by Joecroft


Should an Agnostic-Atheist be considered one of the following...

An Agnostic, who only until asked for further clarification, either thinks something is unlikely or likely.

Or should they it be considered…

An Atheist, who until asked for further clarification, is either an Atheist in the “active” or “passive” sense.


The above is what I asked BH, who said, “There is no universal right or wrong answer to that. IMO”

What are your thoughts?


- JC



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 01:05 AM
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reply to post by MemoryShock
 



Originally posted by MemoryShock


I am an atheist because the idea of God started with man. The idea of implementing a rule of law started with man and utilized fear. I am an atheist because one of 'Gods' major 'disciples' was a man named Heron who created miracles to dupe people out of their money by using basic science principles (advanced then).

I am an atheist because I am positive that I have yet to hear a single argument for God and many of the convoluted stories and experiences which cannot be explained by natural history, misinterpretation, misconception and human nature.

I am sure that I didn't create my existence but the anthropomorphic idea of many religions regarding a creator is really quite silly.

No offense to anyone who chooses to believe, not in the slightest...



Thanks for your reply but you haven’t answered the question in my OP accurately, The question was why you are an Atheist, with God only being defined, as the creator of the universe, with no religion being brought into play.

Just to clarify here’s just part my OP…

Originally posted by Joecroft


For the sake of simplicity, the definition of God is as follows…

God is the creator of the universe and everything in it. (no religious connotations attached)

The above will be the definition for answering the questions below...


Why are you an Atheist?…




On a side note – And this is a bit off topic for my thread, but by “'Gods' major 'disciples'”, do you mean “Heron” was one of Jesus disciples in the bible?

And if so…

Do you have any sources for this?

And

Is there a thread on this subject on ATS?


- JC



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 11:22 AM
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On a side note – And this is a bit off topic for my thread, but by “'Gods' major 'disciples'”, do you mean “Heron” was one of Jesus disciples in the bible?


I was being a bit snarky...I certainly didn't mean it literally...


There may be a thread or two but I haven't seen them and haven't done a search...but there is plenty of info on the web...

As for answering the question as it was presented, I find it difficult to attribute the creation of the universe by a single entity through an intentional process. I can't explain how the universe was created but I think it was a mish mash of energy...and if one chooses to call that process or attribute it to a God than by all means...



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 04:23 PM
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Originally posted by MemoryShock
As for answering the question as it was presented, I find it difficult to attribute the creation of the universe by a single entity through an intentional process. I can't explain how the universe was created but I think it was a mish mash of energy...and if one chooses to call that process or attribute it to a God than by all means...

That is me. Same thinking.

GOD implies singularity. In my opinion.

I believe there was energy evolvement of consciousness. Not necessarily a singularity named GOD responsible for all Creation.



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 07:13 PM
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To further prove my point about what the meaning of the term agnostic has evolved into in the modern vernacular, I give you none other than the ATS small-print at the bottom of the page:


This content community relies on user-generated content from our member contributors. The opinions of our members are not those of site ownership who maintains strict editorial agnosticism and simply provides a collaborative venue for free expression.


Clearly the site ownership aren't maintaining a ''strict editorial lack of knowledge'', but are expressing the fact that they do not take one side or the other, and take a strictly impartial, noncommittal editorial stance on issues discussed. ie. agnosticism.



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 10:13 PM
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reply to post by Joecroft
 



Of knowledge there are two forms, one legitimate, one bastard. To the bastard belong all this group: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch. The other is legitimate and separate from that. – Democritus

This is the ancient division between empiricism (knowledge derived from the senses) and rationalism (knowledge derived from supposedly universal first principles using only reason). Until the early Enlightenment, the Western philosophical tradition tended to privilege empiricism. I guess this shows how proud early thinkers were of being able to think.

Rationalism reached its highest development in the philosophy of Descartes, for whom mind was the fundamental reality, and Berkeley, who denied the existence of any other reality but mind. In reaction to this, empiricism started making a comeback among European philosophers around the seventeenth century, particularly in England with Thomas Hobbes and his successors such as Hume and Locke. Empiricism is the philosophical foundation of all science, and the massive success of the latter, together with the evident absurdity of late Rationalist thought, has ensured its preeminence in the modern world. It is also the basis of modern secular thought.

The truth is that both observation and reason are necessary in order to arrive at true knowledge, and a close inspection of the fragments that are all we have left of his writings will show that Democritus understood this. The idea that there is 'legitimate' and 'illegitimate' knowledge is an obscurantist fallacy.


Don’t you think the percentages between “I don’t know” and “I don’t believe” should have to make up one whole percentage between the two? If everyone is a hundred percent 'I don't know', then that would make them Agnostic only.

I have already answered this. On this subject, everybody is a hundred percent 'I don't know,' no matter what they claim. Theism, atheism and agnosticism are opinions, nothing more.



edit on 31/12/10 by Astyanax because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 1 2011 @ 08:14 AM
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The philosophical position 'agnosticism' can be a mere recognition of this ignorance, in which case it has little meaning. Alternatively, perhaps, it can be a decision to conduct one's life as though God may exist, but also may not. I have no idea what this could mean in practice; you'd have to ask an agnostic.

You have reached Dial-an-Agnostic. How may I direct your call?

Apparently "this ignorance" refers to "I'm not sure what I believe," offered as an alternative to "I don't believe." Well, it's not much of an alternative. Atheists and agnostics both say "I don't believe." Believers say "I do believe," the other apparent alternative So, who's left for Door #3?

Everybody, since autoepistemic knowledge is imperfect? That's not very interesting, and no "alternative" at all. Maybe the marginal cases of belief states that come up: newborn babies, people from cultures where gods aren't part of the local religious mix, ... ?

I would resist calling incapacity to answer or unfamiliarity with the question "agnostic," just as I would resist calling it "atheist," "atheist or agnostic," or "theist," as some do on a "god-shaped hole" theory. The categories simply don't apply in the marginal cases. That's fairly routine for partitions, that they fray at the edges.

So, we're down to the other horn, "A decision to conduct one's life as though God may exist, but also may not." That's easy. I don't believe that there is a largest prime pair, but I believe that such is possible, in the sense that available knowledge has not decided the question. I have therefore decided to conduct my life accordingly.

Assuming that you, like me, don't know whether or not there is a largest prime pair, and like me, don't believe that there is, do you experience any difficulty conducting your life accordingly?

Assuming your answer is no, then it would appear that you have some idea after all about what this sort of thing could mean in practice.

(If prime pairs are not your thing, then feel free to adapt the example. Maybe you'd prefer something in a secular future contingency, The Boston Celtics are the 2011 NBA Champions, for instance.)



posted on Jan, 1 2011 @ 01:50 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax

I have already answered this. On this subject, everybody is a hundred percent 'I don't know,' no matter what they claim. Theism, atheism and agnosticism are opinions, nothing more.



Yes! I believe the correct response is: "I don't know".

People can believe whatever they want. But the bottom line is - no matter what - I DON'T KNOW!



posted on Jan, 1 2011 @ 07:48 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 




Originally posted by Astyanax
The truth is that both observation and reason are necessary in order to arrive at true knowledge, and a close inspection of the fragments that are all we have left of his writings will show that Democritus understood this. The idea that there is 'legitimate' and 'illegitimate' knowledge is an obscurantist fallacy.


Thanks for elaborating on the history of empiricism and rationalism, for that alone, I gave you a star.

I agree with you, in that both observation, and reason are necessary to arrive at true knowledge. In the field of the cosmology and cosmogony however, while empiricism is of primary importance, it can only take us so far. This is especially the case for pre Big Bang theories, where rationalist thought is the more dominant factor towards seeking a solution, due to our lack of observational knowledge.



Originally posted by Astyanax
I have already answered this. On this subject, everybody is a hundred percent 'I don't know,' no matter what they claim. Theism, atheism and agnosticism are opinions, nothing more.



Knowledge is what helps us to form our beliefs, so to say that the two are somehow separate, doesn’t make any sense. If your knowledge leads you to say “I don’t know” and it’s 100% as you suggest, then you can’t also say that your knowledge leads you to say you “I don’t believe” 100%. This is why I suggested that the Agnostic-Atheist position would have to be split up to form 100% knowledge, between the two combined positions.

For example, 90% of your knowledge tells you, you “don’t know” and 10% of your complete knowledge tells you, “I don’t believe”, this makes more sense to me, because it incorporates all of a persons knowledge, into what is regarded as being one held position i.e. Agnostic-Atheism. But like I said in one of my other posts, this example would not give us a good idea of a persons position because it is predominantly an Agnostic one.

You say you have already answered the question, but what I am asking you is; In your opinion, do you think the “I don't know”, combined with the “I don’t Believe” position, should be considered primarily as an Atheistic one?

Some factors to consider are the following…

(1) Atheism was not being tied into Agnosticism, until the early 1800’s and only in the mid 1900’s has it become more widespread knowledge.

(2) Because of the changes to try and redefine Atheism as being tied into an agnostic position, there is no overall agreement on (A) how Atheism should be defined now and (B) that changes in the definition of Atheism, should take place at all.


- JC

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

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

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



posted on Jan, 1 2011 @ 10:26 PM
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reply to post by eight bits
 

Your posts are always challenging and a pleasure to read.



Astyanax: The philosophical position 'agnosticism' can be a mere recognition (of our inability to know for certain whether God exists or not), in which case it has little meaning. Alternatively, perhaps, it can be a decision to conduct one's life as though God may exist, but also may not. I have no idea what this could mean in practice; you'd have to ask an agnostic.


eight bits: Apparently "this ignorance" refers to "I'm not sure what I believe," offered as an alternative to "I don't believe."

I would call it, simply, 'ignorance', and – since this appears to be irremediable – go on from there to adopt a position on belief. That is the essence of my conversation with Joecroft so far.


I don't believe that there is a largest prime pair, but I believe that such is possible, in the sense that available knowledge has not decided the question. I have therefore decided to conduct my life accordingly.

Assuming that you, like me, don't know whether or not there is a largest prime pair, and like me, don't believe that there is, do you experience any difficulty conducting your life accordingly?

Assuming your answer is no, then it would appear that you have some idea after all about what this sort of thing could mean in practice.

If only!

The question of whether a largest prime pair exists (or some basketball team wins a national championship in a distant foreign country) makes not a whit of difference to me. I am not a mathematician with a reputation at stake upon the issue, and I have little interest in sports.

The question of whether God exists or not, however, may be all-important. That depends, of course, on the kind of God whose existence is being debated. If some version of the Judaeo-Christian God (as described by the various scriptural and ecclestiacal authorities) exists, you and I may be in very deep trouble.

You may well say (as I do) that the existence of such a God is a laughable impossibility, but that isn't going to satisfy Joecroft.



edit on 1/1/11 by Astyanax because: (no reason given)



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