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Old 23rd June 2011, 09:23 PM
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Default What does an agnostic know?

This thread is triggered by dutchie's professed agnosticism, which is expressed in their profile as:
Quote:
Not really atheist, more an agnostic, because logically there is neither proof for or against the existence of a deity
It gives rise to a few questions, to dutchie in the first instance or to anyone else who professes agnosticism specifically with regard to a god.
  • What do you know that is certain?
  • What other thing is it that you can you prove (implied by the comment on proof with regard to a god)?
  • What distinguishes your position with regard to a god from your position with regard to, say, a unicorn, and what distinguishes either from your position with regard to a table?

Thanks.
X
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  #2  
Old 23rd June 2011, 09:59 PM
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Default Re: What does an agnostic know?

What sort of table?
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Old 23rd June 2011, 10:16 PM
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Default Re: What does an agnostic know?



by Cectic
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Old 23rd June 2011, 10:53 PM
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Default Re: What does an agnostic know?

First of all, while I do enjoy humour, I don't see why my lack of belief should be triggering posting of cartoons. Is my choice NOT to adhere to the atheistic belief nor any belief which contains a deity so idiotic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xeno View Post
This thread is triggered by dutchie's professed agnosticism, which is expressed in their profile as:It gives rise to a few questions, to dutchie in the first instance or to anyone else who professes agnosticism specifically with regard to a god.
  • What do you know that is certain?
I can mention many things of which I am certain of. Most of those have a place in the past, so delivering sufficient proof of these facts and events can easily be accomplished. There are also things I am less certain of. Both the existence of a god is one and as you all know, the absence of a god is also one.
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Originally Posted by Xeno View Post
  • What other thing is it that you can you prove (implied by the comment on proof with regard to a god)?
English is not my native language. I read your question three times, and I am still not quite sure what you mean with it.
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Originally Posted by Xeno View Post
  • What distinguishes your position with regard to a god from your position with regard to, say, a unicorn, and what distinguishes either from your position with regard to a table?
It's not hard to understand, if you put your mind to it. First of all, I am unsure of your idea about my "position with regard to a god". Can you describe my position with regard to a god? Which god do you mean? Or do you mean all gods? Let's get the area of discussion marked up properly, before engaging into discussion. Your website has warnings painted all over it with regard to providing proof and being clear in postings. I simply want to behave as a well warned person.

But, for the sake of keeping the flow in things, I will assume you meant to ask whether I see a difference between believing in any god or believing in the existence of a unicorn, or even the Loch Ness monster, for that matter.

Taking the matter literally, I should answer that there really is no difference, since BOTH the existence of a deity or a unicorn, or Nessie can not be definitely disproved.

There is however a difference. With both the unicorn and Nessie, people have claimed to SEE the existence of these animals. They have been depicted, tales have been written about them, testimonials have been provided. In the case of Nessie there have even been film footage and pictures provided. All of this "proof" has been dismissed as indefinite. The "proof" that speaks for the absence of these animals, however, is nothing short of overwhelming. Never in history, has any scientist been able to spot such an animal. But, I agree, in the most literal sense of the word, it is as hard to disprove unicorns and Nessie, as is the case with any deity.

With a deity it's a bit of a different ball game, however. Deities, by their very nature, are unseen, invisible. So it is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to provide definite proof. But because of the very same reasons, it is also IMPOSSIBLE to provide definite proof of their absence. Don't know about you, but I always thought that people who connect the very essence of their life to an invisible friend, do have a serious mental problem (REDRUM comes to mind...).

In conclusion: anyone who thinks I believe in any deity (or in unicorns or in Nessie) is wrong. I am NOT a believer. Period. Being a disbeliever, I am a consistent man and thus I ALSO refuse to believe in the absence of ALL gods. This absence simply cannot be proven beyond any doubt. In my eyes, atheists thus ALSO adhere to a belief, namely their firm belief in the absence of any god - which of course, in its own right, ALSO is a belief.

Where atheists have a belief, I have none.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xeno View Post
Thanks.
X
You are welcome. I hope this cleared things up for you.

Oh yes, before I forget. I do not "believe" in the table upon which my laptop computer now rests. I know it is there. The proof is before me.

Last edited by dutchie; 23rd June 2011 at 10:58 PM.
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Old 23rd June 2011, 11:01 PM
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Default Re: What does an agnostic know?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dutchie View Post
Where atheists have a belief, I have none.
I don't know whether you will care or not, or believe I should feel the way I do about this, but I find your assertion very confronting and almost antagonistic in delivery whether you intended it to be or not.

I hear it a lot from theists, and that's bad enough. My best man and old best mate decided to relentlessly attack me with this point when he found out I was an atheist (him being a new found xtian and fucking hypocrite). He no longer features as prominently as a close friend as he didn't know when to back off.

To be perfectly honest, I hate this fucking subject. I hope you can at least take this partially on board.
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Old 23rd June 2011, 11:08 PM
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Default Re: What does an agnostic know?

Two things.

Firstly I imagine Xeno is alluding to the distinct difference in definitions between the words atheist and agnostic. You appear to be applying a fairly recent useage of the word agnostic, being "neither have a belief or a lack of belief in gods". The etymology rather disagrees with this definition of agnosticism though, placing atheist-theist as a statement about belief and agnostic-gnostic as a statement about knowledge (or the ability to know). Here's a diagram which explains it better.




and here's another cartoon to help explain the idea;





Secondly I'm really interested in this "belief" you keep asserting atheists have. I see there is now a thread for that very discussion, so am happy to leave that for over there.
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Old 23rd June 2011, 11:10 PM
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Default Re: What does an agnostic know?

Atheist: anyone who doesn't believe in god.

Agnostic: someone who doesn't believe in god, with additional epistemological qualifications.

therefore:

Agnosticism = subset of atheism.

Problem solved.


Bonus content: the epistemological content of agnosticism is, itself, a belief - ie that the existence of god is unknowable.
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This paper only shows that for every piece of literary junk, there’ll be a junk journal somewhere willing to publish it. Shame on you for claiming this as evidence to support your argument.
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Old 23rd June 2011, 11:29 PM
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Smile Re: What does an agnostic know?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fearless View Post
I don't know whether you will care or not, or believe I should feel the way I do about this, but I find your assertion very confronting and almost antagonistic in delivery whether you intended it to be or not.
I meant to offend nobody. Remember, I myself have not brought up the subject in a posting - it was brought up because in my profile I mentioned I was an agnostic. People decided to respond, I replied. Can't see the wrong in that on a discussion forum...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xeno View Post
I hear it a lot from theists, and that's bad enough. My best man and old best mate decided to relentlessly attack me with this point when he found out I was an atheist (him being a new found xtian and fucking hypocrite). He no longer features as prominently as a close friend as he didn't know when to back off.
Like you, I have seen many friendships going tits up, because someone decided to become a christian. I have lived in a baptist family all of my youth, and I can tell you stories that will make the hairs in your neck stand up and your skin crawl.
I resent being compared to any fundamentalist. I have decided to believe nothing. If that offends anyone, fine, I can't help it. I think tolerance is a good and valuable asset to any personality.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xeno View Post
To be perfectly honest, I hate this fucking subject. I hope you can at least take this partially on board.
Good to see the "f" word is permitted on this board. When registering I took the trouble of carefully reading your forum rules and it stated clearly that vulgar language was prohibited. Is it just prohibited to normal members? Just to make sure.

I am an admin on a general discussion forum. As much as I dislike discussing certain subjects, I certainly won't mention this dislike anywhere. It tends to kill those discussions, while all I want is that people engage in ANY discussion. If agnosticism is a no-go area, fine. I won't engage in any discussion regarding the subject any more. I listen to site admins.

I have done my utmost best to offend nobody. I have done my utmost best to respect this community and I will try being a part of it. If being an agnostic already causes frowns, I pity anyone that is willing to discuss a religion here. If I were a site admin here, I wouldn't want this forum to turn into an exclusive collection of yay-sayers...

Again, no offence intended.
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  #9  
Old 23rd June 2011, 11:42 PM
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Default Re: What does an agnostic know?

For some reason people claiming that "Logic dictates that atheism is just as much a belief as a religion" annoys us.

If you make baseless assertions here people are likely to call you on them.
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  #10  
Old 24th June 2011, 12:00 AM
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Default Re: What does an agnostic know?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loki View Post
For some reason people claiming that "Logic dictates that atheism is just as much a belief as a religion" annoys us.

If you make baseless assertions here people are likely to call you on them.
If you quote me only a little, and then leave out my extensive explanation of this sentence, then it would be easy to do it away as baseless. But.. -and this is an important question- why would you be annoyed in the first place? Did I attack your convictions? Did I attack your person? Would your convictions be altered by anything I would think of writing?

I only get annoyed when people attack my person, whilst knowing nothing about me. My convictions may be attacked at any moment, without me losing a second of precious sleep over it. Annoyance is wasted energy, IMO.
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