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Frustrated With Agnosticism


MrSpooky
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Agnostic: "I think atheists and theists are both crazy. They're so absolutist and dogmatic."

 

Spooky: "Well no... there's lots of nuanced distinctions to be made, like Negative Atheism."

 

Agnostic: "What? That's not atheism."

 

Spooky: "You accept Evolution because there's evidence, and don't accept Creationism because there's no evidence. And you do so knowing that you could be wrong with either, though you're best off believing in what you know, right?"

 

Agnostic: "Yeah."

 

Spooky: "Think of Negative Atheism as analogous to your nonacceptance of Creationism and Positive Atheism as your affirmation of Evolution. You don't accept one idea for good reasons (lack of evidence), you accept another idea for good reasons (existence of evidence). It's the same with Negative/Positive atheism respectively. And Atheists DON'T necessarily hold unwavering faith in their claims."

 

Agnostic: "..."

 

Spooky: "The only difference between your views on Biology and Theology is that you hold Theological claims to a different standard."

 

Agnostic: "Atheism is still crazy!"

 

Spooky: "ARGH."

 

 

 

 

WHY. WHY don't they understand this? How can I make it more simple?!

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Douglas Adams said it better, "[agnosticism] is a desire not to think about things too much"- things meaning religious dogma and its self proclaimed 'truths'.

 

I once described myself as an agnostic but then when I thought about it.. it was only a position to make my religious friends happy - implying to them that I am somehow lost with the god question. Atheism is a much stronger opinion in dismissing any religious claim on truth that doesn't measure up.

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I'm agnostic.

 

I don't think all atheists are crazy, and I don't think all Christians are crazy. I do tend to think people who think they can use "all", about people are a little ignorant.

 

I honestly do not care what quotes people can pull up from famous people that are negitive about agnostics. You can do that with just about any group of people.

 

I'm not an agnostic because I do not think, I don't say I'm an agnostic to make others happy. To be honest the negitivity in the OP here is not the first time I've incountered it. Often, for me, in my life, it would be easier to say I'm an atheist, but, for my understandings of the words I'm an agnostic. When I say "my understanding" that is not to say I'm ignorant to the nuances of atheism, it is just to say this is what I think.

 

Heres the thing, some atheists ARE nuts, nutty as bat shit. So are some Christians. Not all, and because "some" people are nuts is NOT why I think what I do. So, you met an agnostic that's ignorant, um and all atheists have doctorates?

 

Some people would like to earase agnostisim form the language, and all us agnostics should become weak atheists. Unfortunatly the word is here, and its the word I use. I don't know. Is there a God? I don't know, not well I don't see any eveidence, but I'm not sure. No, I dojn't know. I just think I have the right to not know, without someone coming along and acting as if I've never thought about it. That, to me is as bad as the xian fundy assholes that tell me I was never a real xian, fuck you.

 

No one here really knows me. You do not have any clue where I've been, what I've read, what I've understood of what I've read. I do not believe personal experiance is evidence for anyone else, but the person who experianced it. Yet, for that ONE person it can be. You do not know how or why I've come to the conclusions I have. You can disagree with me, you can say, oh yes a person CAN know. That is fine, but to make a blanket statement that "all" agnostics just don't want to think about it is ridiculous.

 

Last I checked this wasn't an atheist site. It was an ExChristian site, if this changed, please let me know.

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Last I checked this wasn't an atheist site. It was an ExChristian site, if this changed, please let me know.

 

Damn skippy. I've been a Theist and an Atheist, but Agnosticism is most honest to me. I don't know for sure if there are indeed any "gods" out there and no one else does, either - period. Granted, I think the Atheists have the stronger case by far, but both sides can only point to a small body of knowledge about the universe and all its workings, so neither side can honestly say for sure that they have the correct position.

 

Atheists whining that Agnostics don't want to agree with them is about as dumb as Theists whining about the same. Whether or not there are or were any gods is still an open case - and an irrelevant one.

 

Clearly, it doesn't matter, so focusing too much time on the existence or nonexistence of gods is a waste. There are better things to ponder.

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No one has proof of anything really because some things may exist outside of a person's mental ability (such as explaining 3D to inhabitants of a 2D world), outside of a person's perception (such as vibrating at different wavelengths or other such crap) or simple outside of a person's range (such as what's on the opposite end of the universe).

 

So shouldn't an atheist be someone who knows that they can't prove that there isn't a god but still chooses to believe there isn't because of the sheer probability? That's how I am. I admit that it can't be proven/disproven but I take into account probability.

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That's how I am. I admit that it can't be proven/disproven

 

The same argument can be made for the tooth fairy or Zeus.

 

That said, we've already gotten into enough pissing matches on this site over this issue that I don't wish to start another one. I doubt most atheists on this site really care if others wish to be agnostic or pagan or whatever. It's just an intellectual question to consider that's all. If you are an ex C you will find support and empathy here regardless.

 

I think that Mr. Spooky is just complaining about the bad arguments that are made in favor of agnosticism. Again, for intellectual reasons. Not so that we can create a board clique of atheists; us and them type situation.

 

I like the intellectual considerations myself. I find that those who have problems with we who label ourselves as atheists tend to have adopted the strawman belief about us. That is that we actually hold a positive position that there is no god. Mr Spooky made it plain that this is not the position he/she was arguing.

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Hi Purple, and offended agnostics alike.

 

Sorry you feel that way, but what I typed is what agnosticism is to me, if you disagree with it, its no big deal. The question I asked myself that made me leap from agnostic to atheist is, can I be agnostic to all the definitions of gods who have ever existed?

 

I said no and went from there.

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Hi Purple, and offended agnostics alike.

 

Sorry you feel that way, but what I typed is what agnosticism is to me, if you disagree with it, its no big deal. The question I asked myself that made me leap from agnostic to atheist is, can I be agnostic to all the definitions of gods who have ever existed?

 

I said no and went from there.

 

 

I think labeling oneself an agnostic is part of the process. I remember when I still had issues with the word Atheist. Not everyone wants to admit that's the category they are in, regardless if that's what they are or not. I can't remember where it's posted but Bruce's posts on the difference of agnostic and atheists opened my eyes immensely. You say yourself here that you at one time considered your ideology agnostic. It is a hard thing to come to accept for some people, and some people close their minds off to the word completely as many were raised to fear atheists. Atheist are by and large shunned in our culture. (At least here in the States)

 

I think it takes a lot of courage to step out of blind faith in and of itself and look for answers. That alone is an enormous accomplishment. Baby steps...

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I once read an interesting discussion of agnosticism versus atheism on another site. It was interesting to me, because I wrestled with that question myself...what am I? Am I an atheist, or am I an agnostic? The point made was that the two positions are based on different premises. The classical position of agnosticism, as postulated by Huxley, is that the human mind is incapable of a certain knowledge of anything supernatural. The atheist takes the position of simply having no belief in the supernatural, based on the perception that there is no basis for it. Thus one is a statement of knowledge ("a=without, gnosis=knowing"),

the other is a statement of one's lack of belief. One can therefore be an agnostic atheist, or an agnostic theist. These are simply words we use to express our personal identity. As ex-christians we are free to go in whatever direction we're comfortable with.

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I'm sure some agnostics do think like that, but not all, I'm sure...I certainly don't, and, if I had to choose between theist, atheist and agnostic, I would describe myself as agnostic.

 

I recognise that there are nuances to atheism, but there are also nuances to theism. Not all theists are similar, and not all base their beliefs on ultra-fundie, anti-intellectual blind faith. Just in the same way that not all atheists are positive/strong atheists.

 

I would rather not label myself as atheist, theist or agnostic at all.

 

I genuinely don't know if there are any gods or not, and genuinely have no very strong belief either way. And, yes, I am fairly apathetic towards the question. Does that make me lazy? No. I just don't think the existence or non-existence of supernatural beings is the most important question, nor is it one I can definitively answer. So if it makes no difference and is impossible to have utter certainty about anyway, why should I bother taking a stance?

 

Just because I'm not convinced of something, that doesn't mean it is on the same level as every other belief I'm not convinced about. Personally, I am more convinced (or, rather, less unconvinced) about the existence of God/gods than I am about Santa or the tooth fairy. So I think it is completely reasonable to say I'm an a-Santa-ist but not an atheist.

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Because people don't like to believe they are wrong. He made the assertion that "Atheists and Theists are crazy because they are absolutist and dogmatic", and you pointed out a very rational point that no, they really aren't. It made him feel foolish so he did the only thing he could and repeated himself. He inserted his own identity into his statement and didn't like it when it got smashed (the irony of it since he was discussing the craziness of absolutism and dogma). He got what you were saying and probably believed it, but he wanted to save face.

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..... The classical position of agnosticism, as postulated by Huxley, is that the human mind is incapable of a certain knowledge of anything supernatural.

And therein lies the basic problem with agnosticism; how can you prove that? How do you know you can't know? If you know you can't know something about a god/supernatural then don't you actually know something about that which you claim you can't know anything?

 

The atheist takes the position of simply having no belief in the supernatural, based on the perception that there is no basis for it.

Or it could just be a default position/label for those that lack a belief in gods for any reason?

 

It is not a necessity for the Atheist to make a claim that there is no god. The usual strawman argument against Atheists is that they must make such a statement. There is nothing from preventing an Atheist from making such a statement, and I do and consider it to be logically sound, but it is not a part of the definition of Atheist.

 

Now.... does an agnostic have a god they believe in? No, if they did they would no longer be an agnostic. What is the label for those that lack a belief in gods?

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..... The classical position of agnosticism, as postulated by Huxley, is that the human mind is incapable of a certain knowledge of anything supernatural.

And therein lies the basic problem with agnosticism; how can you prove that? How do you know you can't know? If you know you can't know something about a god/supernatural then don't you actually know something about that which you claim you can't know anything?

 

The atheist takes the position of simply having no belief in the supernatural, based on the perception that there is no basis for it.

Or it could just be a default position/label for those that lack a belief in gods for any reason?

 

It is not a necessity for the Atheist to make a claim that there is no god. The usual strawman argument against Atheists is that they must make such a statement. There is nothing from preventing an Atheist from making such a statement, and I do and consider it to be logically sound, but it is not a part of the definition of Atheist.

 

Now.... does an agnostic have a god they believe in? No, if they did they would no longer be an agnostic. What is the label for those that lack a belief in gods?

I follow, mostly.

Your first question, centering on the ability to know whether a god exists, or can exist...is there an ability to construct something provable? Or, rather, is there a limit of our thinking, which says, in effect, our mental processes don't allow us to be certain, because we don't know what our limits of certainty are? Maybe that doesn't make sense, but at least the drill is turning.

 

Agreed that the atheist need not make a claim that god or gods don't exist. Enough to say I hold no such belief. I'm not bound to justify a lack of belief, but if I say god does not exist, that implies I have a certain knowledge that I don't have.

 

In answer to your final question, then, is it not possible to state that one has no certain knowledge of the nature of god, its will, intentions, powers, etc., but to have a belief that such an entity likely exists in some form otherwise unknowable? Or, in the end, is the agnostic just copping out, and saying, in effect, "I don't know and it isn't important to me that I do"?

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Your first question, centering on the ability to know whether a god exists, or can exist...is there an ability to construct something provable? Or, rather, is there a limit of our thinking, which says, in effect, our mental processes don't allow us to be certain, because we don't know what our limits of certainty are? Maybe that doesn't make sense, but at least the drill is turning.

Is it? Many self proclaimed agnostics have stopped at that point and claim you can't know. They do not have any way to support their claims other than to claim they have knowledge they claim they can't possess.

 

Agreed that the atheist need not make a claim that god or gods don't exist. Enough to say I hold no such belief. I'm not bound to justify a lack of belief, but if I say god does not exist, that implies I have a certain knowledge that I don't have.

The Atheist need make no claim other than they lack a belief in gods. There is no claim to knowledge, or lack of knowledge, just a lack of belief.

 

In answer to your final question, then, is it not possible to state that one has no certain knowledge of the nature of god, its will, intentions, powers, etc., but to have a belief that such an entity likely exists in some form otherwise unknowable?

No. Once you claim that something is unknowable you are making a claim that you know something about it. The claim is self canceling.

 

Or, in the end, is the agnostic just copping out, and saying, in effect, "I don't know and it isn't important to me that I do"?

And all the time making that statement, do they have a god they believe in? Why create a strawman argument against Atheism just to call yourself an agnostic?

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No. Once you claim that something is unknowable you are making a claim that you know something about it. The claim is self canceling.

 

I can see your logic here, but I disagree. I don't think the agnostic says that she can't know anything about the question of the existence of gods, but rather that she cannot know the answer to the question.

 

I do not 'know' the rate of inflation in Mongolia in 1995, but I do know that I don't care about the answer. The former is a discrete and specific fact, the latter is something external to that fact that nonetheless relates to it.

 

Or, if we're talking specifically about a total inability to know the answer, I don't know what information MI5 has on Bin Laden's whereabouts, but I do know that I can't find it out in my current position as someone not in the intelligence services.

 

Or, in the end, is the agnostic just copping out, and saying, in effect, "I don't know and it isn't important to me that I do"?

 

Is that really such a bad thing? :shrug:

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Is it? Many self proclaimed agnostics have stopped at that point and claim you can't know. They do not have any way to support their claims other than to claim they have knowledge they claim they can't possess.

But then, they may not see any further need for supporting that claim. It is, in fact, the endpoint.

 

No. Once you claim that something is unknowable you are making a claim that you know something about it. The claim is self canceling.

I see what you mean.

And all the time making that statement, do they have a god they believe in? Why create a strawman argument against Atheism just to call yourself an agnostic?

I don't think the agnostic necessarily has a god they believe in, at least in the sense of god as a creator, superior being, with a will, and all that other anthropomorphic stuff. But I'd agree, to fall into a strawman argument over atheism would not make sense. Whether the agnostic takes such as position either by belief that the knowledge is unattainable, or out of apathy to the question, the agnostic is still in a negative position. Which further erodes my earlier statement regarding agnostic theists.

 

 

QUOTE(Piprus)

Or, in the end, is the agnostic just copping out, and saying, in effect, "I don't know and it isn't important to me that I do"?

 

 

Is that really such a bad thing?

I think not.

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I can see your logic here, but I disagree. I don't think the agnostic says that she can't know anything about the question of the existence of gods, but rather that she cannot know the answer to the question.

How can you know that you can't know?

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Agnostic: "Atheism is still crazy!"

 

Now THAT'S a cop-out if ever there was one. Like Kurari says, he probably understood but he had this face he had to save.

 

WHY. WHY don't they understand this? How can I make it more simple?!

 

Sometimes people do understand but they are not honest enough to admit it. After a while you might hear him repeating your ideas and standing on them as though they were his own. People who are dishonest with ideas and feelings do that. I'm still trying to figure this out for myself but it's what makes the most sense right now.

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But then, they may not see any further need for supporting that claim. It is, in fact, the endpoint.

An end point based on what? How could that be a logical end point?

 

I see what you mean.

Good. That doesn't mean you have to agree though.

 

I don't think the agnostic necessarily has a god they believe in, at least in the sense of god as a creator, superior being, with a will, and all that other anthropomorphic stuff. But I'd agree, to fall into a strawman argument over atheism would not make sense. Whether the agnostic takes such as position either by belief that the knowledge is unattainable, or out of apathy to the question, the agnostic is still in a negative position. Which further erodes my earlier statement regarding agnostic theists.

Wouldn't an agnostic theist be an oxymoron? My, admittedly simplistic, way of looking at it is that since an agnostic does not have a god, or even god concept, they believe in then by default they are an Atheist. My definition of an Atheist, and seems to be a very popular one among Atheists, is a lack of belief in gods. After that very basic definition you can divide Atheists into different categories if you wish.

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I think that Mr. Spooky is just complaining about the bad arguments that are made in favor of agnosticism. Again, for intellectual reasons. Not so that we can create a board clique of atheists; us and them type situation.

 

I like the intellectual considerations myself. I find that those who have problems with we who label ourselves as atheists tend to have adopted the strawman belief about us. That is that we actually hold a positive position that there is no god. Mr Spooky made it plain that this is not the position he/she was arguing.

 

Exactly.

 

The problem isn't with agnosticism itself, it's with those who claim the position as some kind of moral high ground above the whole "atheism v. theism" debate.

 

It's not the position, it's the holier-than-thou attitude adopted by those who hold to it--an attitude which, of course, is not by any means limited to agnosticism.

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Since I don't consider agnosticism a mutually exclusive position from either atheism or theism, I don't quite understand why agnostics try and make their position somehow distinct and separate. The only reason I have been able to accept is the idea that atheism has too much baggage and some people don't like the negativity associated with atheism.

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I really don't understand why there should be any frustrations from unbelievers as to what other unbelievers label themselves. Why can't everyone just let everyone else *be* who *they are*? What is the big deal? If one is a free thinker, why should he/she care as to what one labels themselves?

 

Frankly, I'm sick of labels, I don't even want to call myself an atheist anymore. I'm an unbelieving, happily married wife of 15 years, mother and free-thinking home educator of two wonderful children, who are being raised as free thinkers. Wife/Mother and my name are fine enough labels for me and ones that I'm proud to wear.

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QUOTE(Piprus @ Apr 22 2007, 03:23 PM)

But then, they may not see any further need for supporting that claim. It is, in fact, the endpoint.

 

An end point based on what? How could that be a logical end point?

If one states that the answer to the question is unknowable, and if that statement is accepted, of what value is further discussion?

 

Good. That doesn't mean you have to agree though.

Not necessarily in agreement. One may claim that the answer is unknowable, which is not a claim that they know anything. Perhaps it is then more honest for the agnostic to say he/she believesthe answer is unknowable.

 

Wouldn't an agnostic theist be an oxymoron? My, admittedly simplistic, way of looking at it is that since an agnostic does not have a god, or even god concept, they believe in then by default they are an Atheist.

Would you say that agnostics are being intellectually dishonest?

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Since I don't consider agnosticism a mutually exclusive position from either atheism or theism, I don't quite understand why agnostics try and make their position somehow distinct and separate. The only reason I have been able to accept is the idea that atheism has too much baggage and some people don't like the negativity associated with atheism.

 

Agreed. I could get into the etymology of the words like Bruce did to prove that point, but like Vigile I don't want to start another pissing match.

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