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Old 26th April 2012, 01:35 PM
FSM FSM is offline
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Default Neil deGrasse Tyson: Atheist or Agnostic?



Neil is just, awesome.

Dave.
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Old 26th April 2012, 02:38 PM
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Darwinsbulldog Darwinsbulldog is offline
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Default Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson: Atheist or Agnostic?

Agnostic is a state of knowledge. Atheism is a statement about a lack of belief in gods. I respect NT's wish not to be boxed, but if he is a rational agnostic, I would say that he is an atheist also. The statement about atheists was also a little odd. Not every atheist is an activitist. Being agnostic is a state where you don't really believe, if only in a technical sense. So is Neil deGrasse Tyson a believer in god, but with doubts? Can you believe, and yet have doubts? I don't think so.

I don't believe in science. It is not a faith thing for me. One accepts gravity, and tentatively accepts gravitational theory. Not a faith thing at all. And he did say "no evidence for god", so that implies a lack of belief in god, unless that belief is irrational. He is too much of a straight thinker for that, but if he wants to deny being an atheist, then that is OK.
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Old 26th April 2012, 04:48 PM
FSM FSM is offline
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Default Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson: Atheist or Agnostic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darwinsbulldog View Post
Agnostic is a state of knowledge. Atheism is a statement about a lack of belief in gods. I respect NT's wish not to be boxed, but if he is a rational agnostic, I would say that he is an atheist also.
He is in as much as he doesn't believe there is any good evidence for a god, and therefore does not believe, nor does he have faith there is one. Agnostic and Athesist are the same on this point.
I don't know anyone who declares themself agnostic if they have some inkling of a belief. In that case they'd probably call themselfs "spiritual" or even worse, christian

Quote:
The statement about atheists was also a little odd. Not every atheist is an activitist. Being agnostic is a state where you don't really believe, if only in a technical sense. So is Neil deGrasse Tyson a believer in god, but with doubts? Can you believe, and yet have doubts? I don't think so.
I don't believe in science. It is not a faith thing for me. One accepts gravity, and tentatively accepts gravitational theory. Not a faith thing at all. And he did say "no evidence for god", so that implies a lack of belief in god, unless that belief is irrational. He is too much of a straight thinker for that, but if he wants to deny being an atheist, then that is OK.
He has clearly alluded to a lack of belief many times, and of course he essentially admits this by being an agnostic. Albeit I have yet to actually hear him say the actual words "I don't believe in god(s)" (which he likely doesn't want to do because that would instantly put him in the confrontational atheist camp. And he is the master of sound bites, so he chooses his words very deliberately.
He just doesn't seem to be the confrontatonal type when it comes to religion, unless they try and teach it in science class, and then he goes off his rocker
And as he says, he just doesn't care, and has better things to do.
But it is very clear in his many writings and speeches that he doesn't believe, and I'm sure he would say so if asked directly, but maybe not on camera.

It would of course be very cool if he was an outspoken atheist, as he has the gift of the gab. But I for one certainly respect his decision to just not give a toss.

Dave.
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Old 27th April 2012, 11:54 PM
davros davros is offline
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Default Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson: Atheist or Agnostic?

I think he's a stealth atheist.

For example when asked if the universe has a purpose his answer is entitled 'not sure' - so far so useless. But what he actually says is:
Quote:
So while I cannot claim to know for sure whether or not the universe has a purpose, the case against it is strong, and visible to anyone who sees the universe as it is rather than as they wish it to be.
(you can google the reference, no way I'm going to link to Templeton)

Or this:
Quote:
I simply go with what works. And what works is the healthy skepticism embodied in scientific method. Believe me, if the Bible had ever been shown to be a rich source of scientific answers and understanding, we would be mining it daily for cosmic discovery. Yet my vocabulary of scientific inspiration strongly overlaps with that of religious enthusiasts. I, like Ptolemy, am humbled in the presence of our clockwork universe. When I am on the cosmic frontier, and I touch the laws of physics with my pen, or when I look upon the endless sky from an observatory on a mountaintop, I well up with an admiration for its splendor. But I do so knowing and accepting that if I propose a God beyond that horizon, one who graces our valley of collective ignorance, the day will come when our sphere of knowledge will have grown so large that I will have no need of that hypothesis.
(my emphasis)
http://www.haydenplanetarium.org/tys...ic-perspective

If that's not functionally atheist, I don't know what is.
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Old 28th April 2012, 10:32 AM
FSM FSM is offline
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Default Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson: Atheist or Agnostic?

I don't think there is any doubt that he thinks there is (almost certainly) no god, and is therefore an atheist.
I really do think he just doesn't want to get caught up in the arguments that go along with that label. And with his high profile public position, that's probably a smart move. As he might become know more for atheism than science, and end up getting more questions about religion than science. And it's clear he cares a lot more about science than atheism.
So he's a real smart player.

Dave.
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Old 28th April 2012, 02:13 PM
the_gelf the_gelf is offline
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Default Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson: Atheist or Agnostic?

I think something to consider is that:
What if there were a god, but it wasn't conceivable on any level by humans
and:
It didn't care about humans?

That wouldn't mean it doesn't exist, just because it cares not for one of the trillion products of it's creation, whether it has been fooled into thinking it is important or not. Religion simply pretends that it does.

What we can say without a doubt however is:

within the limits of our knowledge of physics, the supernatural (that which is never observed and cannot exist in our universe) does not exist in our universe.

If the above seems a redundant statement, it should. You can be like Einstein and entertain the idea of Pantheism, or entertain the notion of pantheism, but to what effort? If it makes you productive in life, go for it.

The question would then be, why would anyone care to waste years of their life devoted to a system of beliefs that does not advance them in anyway. If they worship a god that cares not about them, why worship at all?
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