Agnostic.com

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Discussion about the latest site footer

It reads "Agnostic.com is a non-profit organization promoting universal truths and peaceful life without religion."

Soooo... I know my views are in the minority here but I do feel they align pretty well with my labeling myself agnostic. And I do not agree that being agnostic is about "peaceful life without religion".

On the dawkins scale, a pure agnostic (the only agnostic on the scale) is defined as one that find gods existence or non-existence equiprobable. Thus to have a site called agnostics.com but to side with the non-exsistence camp doesn't sound like it's taking the equiprobable stance at all. To me, this is like naming a political site "center.com" under the expectation of promoting a balanced view of the right and the left, but then being really only about promoting the right (or the left)

And while many already know that I find the term agnostic a/theist to be an epistemological oxymoron, the name of the site is not "agnosticatheist.com" and thus it should also encompass the agnostic theist, who would be for a peaceful life with religion.

So while I suspect that the majority of the user base likely has no problem with this as the majority of the user base are atheists, as an agnostic, I feel it's a bit of a "bait and switch" to have a site named agnostic, with the expectation of promoting a balanced view on religion and secular views, but really being about only promoting a secular viewpoint. . I am interested in what @Admin has to say, as this is their site, but also what the community has to say about what this site's name means to you and communicates to others, I.e. if being agnostic, to you, really means being without religion.

TheMiddleWay 8 Jan 18

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14

Wow, what a good discussion... makes me hesitant to make changes though. I'm leaning towards something more descriptive such as:

"Agnostic.com is a non-profit community for atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, skeptics and others happy without religion"

Boring but clear and informative.

Admin Level 8 Jan 19, 2018

Fine by me, but as I discovered during my time here, there are some here who follow so-called non-supernatural secular "religions". I think they are philosophies, but they don't agree. Just wondering if they might not like to be included in the phrase "happy without religion". I know they feel attacks on religion offends them. It surprised me, but there it is. Just thought I'd mention it. You might get feedback. Hopefully not. I like it however. I don't envy your job Admin.

I would build on @David1955 comment that it is very common to call Buddhism a religion and I, and many others, would be VERY unhappy without it. As well, you would be excluding pastafarians from this site as well as satanist.

And, again, agnostics are not without religion and thus it still IMO goes contrary to the site name, which prompted this discussion.

@Admin, I guess the bottom line question (pun intended) becomes: are people happy WITH religion welcome here? The footer would answer this "no" but in the past when this question has been asked, I believe the answer has been "yes".

I like this, and hopefully, it will help curtail (as @David1955 stated) never-ending squabbles between calling oneself agnostic or atheist. This, I find, offputting and divisive.

Totally off topic, but I just noticed admin is only a level 7... I love seeing the earning like everyone else. πŸ˜›

12

I always enjoy your feedback as it gets me to step back from coding/etc and think big picture. I recently attended an Atheist meetup where they presented some the PEW research findings that showed atheists and agnostics are 3% and 4% of the US population respectively (see [pewforum.org] ). The follow up questions devolved into some squabble over definitions and I was just thinking "Hey, what's the benefit of labels when it just divides us". Our goal here is make non/un-believers feel welcome and to energize the community to be more bold and visible. I would be happy to work with someone (group?) to rework our messaging. What would you suggest for a footer/tagline?

Admin Level 8 Jan 18, 2018

But this is at the heart of my query : Is it fair to have a site named agnostic.com but ONLY serve the interests of the non-believer?

A fair reading of agnostic IMO would try to serve both sides equally, believer and non-believer. Riffing off your statement, as an agnostic I see no benefit to the labels of believer and non-believer as they just divide us and would rather find harmony between the two camps rather than exclude either camp.

One analogy I like to use is the way that labels of language divide us: an english speaker and a japanese speaker need not express an idea the same way and there are plenty of ideas that don't make sense or don't exist in the other language, but we are all just trying to communicate and express our experiences to the best of our abilities. Building off the language analogy, I see science (the embodiment of secularism) and religion (the embodiment of theism) in the same light: two languages about the same topic but with radically different vocabulary and grammar. As an agnostic, I don't aim to exclude either camp but to view each camp for on it's own and carefully, gently examine how both sides mix. To exclude one side from the discussion, namely religion, would not allow the "equiprobable" side of the dawkins definition of agnostic to be able to express itself.

So my reading of agnostic is as a bilingual philosophy, one that can equally speak to either sides of the claims.

And I wouldn't want to suggest a footer at this time however, I think that would be a great exercise for the community as a vehicle to foster discussion on the site and it's mission.

Maybe even offer a sweet bounty to the winner. πŸ˜‰

Well no wonder I'm always amazed when I find an atheist or agnostic! We're like green eyes! Gees.

How about:

"Agnostic.com is a non-profit organization promoting universal truths and peaceful life with or without religion." ?

@skado How does "with or without religion", line up with the goal for the community as stated by @Admin?

Our goal here is make non/un-believers feel welcome and to energize the community to be more bold and visible.

I find it rather unlikely that someone is going to be a non/unbeliever with religion.

@icolan Might not, I don't know. I was just trying to think in terms of the original post.

I figured you would be cooperative in coming to a resolution. I agree with MiddleWay, personally speaking. We have very similiar beliefs. I think he is correct. Even though we are the minority here, we do still exist and the name "agnostic.com" is what attracted me. I am not certain I would have joined a group calling itself "atheist.com" because I wouldn't want to claim I am an atheist. Although, at this juncture in my life, I do not believe I have experienced God, I can never say that is the end all, be all of the matter. I have no idea what lies ahead in my lifetime. I feel I would be ignorant to make a claim of "All or Nothing." It doesnt work like that for all of us. Some of us Believe in the Middle Path, The Middle Way... warm not hot, not cold. Some of us live walking along the line because we Believe we would be arrogant to make a claim on one extreme or the other. I will not know, more likely than not, in this lifetime whether or not god exists. I am fine with that. But... What If...? And it is Within that "What If" that I lay my cards. In that, I refuse to make a claim of "nothing" simply because "nothing" has ever been proven to refute a belief. Just because I have yet to see nor experience a god doesn't mean one doesn't exist. It merely means thus far in my life, nothing has been brought to me as concrete evidence to the contrary. But, I Am open to the possibility. For those reasons, I Am a true agnostic. I will say "I don't know" before I will be haughty enough to claim "Absolute Truth." I seek the Middle Path. Hence, we do exist here. If not here, where else do we, Agnostics, fit? People around here may think its Not a big deal, but that Is because they Are properly represented by the titles and the site footer here at this site. What of the few of us who are not? Especially when considering the title of the site is Agnostic.com and not Atheist.com? I am not saying you can humanly include ALL areas of belief down to the very last gray area. I am merely saying this place consists primarily of Atheists and Agnostics... so why not include us in your wording too? I am Sure MiddleWay and I could not be the ONLY Two here that feel this way. I mean... shit, maybe we are, but I surely hope not! haha! Even still, please include us. We Exist. We Are Here. Raises hand

@RavenCT Geez no kidding, huh? but i wonder if they polled the millennials because i Do Know a vast majority of them are agnostic or atheist.

@skado i like that!

@icolan We aren't un/nonbelievers who believe. We are currently people who have no proof to say we believe one way over the other. We are saying we have Yet to know a god exists, but that that does not mean one, or more than one, doesn't exist. Just because we cannot prove it exists, doesn't mean it doesn't. We, I, Am saying, I cannot prove either way, therefore I choose to walk the middle and say I Do Not Know, at this juncture in my life. That doesn't make me religious. That doesnt make me a believer. It makes me an "im not sure(er)." We are here because we do not fit in with the religious sect, but that also doesn't mean we aren't open to the possibilities of something beyond our current conceptions.

@TheMiddleWay Sweet bounty? You are ressurrected and unified with god the father, jesus the son and the holy spirit!

@silvereyes I do not necessarily want "Believers" in the mix because I think that would defeat the purpose of this site, but what it boils down to, at least for me, is that even though at this point in time, in our history, we have nothing concreate enough that I Could buy into or believe, But I am open to a possibility in the future, born of a knowledge we currently do not possess, that if something did change, I would be willing to change with it as well. I think, in my case, it is more so about being In Flux and stating, "What If?" In that train of thought, I am open to any discoveries that could potentially alter my current standings and beliefs. I just like to know I am open enough to question even my own cornerstones, my own mantras, my own beliefs. Hence, all i can say is "i don't know," therefore I cannot be an atheist.

@silvereyes I agree. The god if the Christian Bible is obviously a reflection of the mind of man. Clearly a man came up with that crap and not a god. Any god I would believe could exist would be so far removed from our way of thinking that there is no way the holy Bible could encompass that mindset of said god. I am typically confused about how anyone could honestly believe that if a god did exist, it certainly would be a being that mirrors the mind of man.

@Sadoi

I on the other hand would welcome believers to this site. As I'm fond of quoting, 90% of noble prize winners in physics, chemistry, and medicine have been religious; I would hate to think that we are excluding people like that from our community; not necessarily noble prize laureates (though, how awesome would it be to talk religion with a noble prize winner squeeeeeee) but believers who are also great thinkers.

As well, if an agnostic truly is committed to, as @DavidLaDeau aptly stated, "being on the fence", then we need to examine both sides of the fence to have a full, fair, and accurate examination of our beliefs. Using another example I'm fond of using, I'm agnostic about string theory. If I were creating a seminar to examine string theory, I would want both people that believe that it's true and don't believe that it's true so that people like me have full access to both sides of the fence.

I find it funny, but whenever I am addressing @admin and then get this... Miraculous response, it almost makes me feel like I am hearing the voice of god! haha! Like sending something to admin is like praying to some invisible man behind the curtain... Then the Invisible Man Speaks! All hail the holy Admin!!! His coding is comparative to our world. He creates the world of agnostic.com, where we all co-exist, not unlike a planet where we all co-exist. His code could easily be compared to the very fabric of our planet/universe! haha!

@TheMiddleWay Actually, MW, I was about to update my comment because during the night, I had time to ponder this entire thread and I, too, came to the conclusion that I do not wish to ban anyone, including theists. As a matter of fact, I left a response just 30 mins ago that Does reflect my change of mind. I state that I find it a bit intense that we are now currently attempting to figure out Who Is and Isn't welcome here and I found that disturbing. I rethought it out and said to myself, "Ari, you Always Say if we Cannot, if You cannot, defend your Own stance in the face of opposition, then How Strong are your convictions, really? No, we cannot say this person or that person is Not welcome because they 'may' ruffle my feathers. Good! We all need our feathers ruffled from time to time in order to keep our thoughts and our beliefs in check." In that, I realize the Core of who I am, of what I believe, i misrepresented because I Always welcome anyone to disagree with me. It is within defending my own personal stance, that my personal point of view strengthens and doesn't whither and fall away. It would be wrong of us to exclude Anyone from this site, in my opinion. Although I enjoy peace and contentment A LOT, I also know that isn't really how the world works. There will Always be someone who disagrees with us, someone who wishes to pick a fight, someone who wishes to uproot and challenge all that I, we, think or believe. I like to stay conditioned so that when those run-in do come to pass, I am in Top Form. I feel, at this juncture in time and after deep contemplation and reconsideration, that we Should Welcome All, regardless of theism/atheism/agnosticism. It should not be Our choices to simply exclude anyone simply based upon their personal perspectives. That Is more arrogant and a little... chickenshitty, if you ask me, because Why Not welcome the challenge? How weak are your/our views if we lack the where-with-all to defend them, to defend ourselves?

In the end, I say... Bring it on, right? It is selfish and petty to lock any one group out of this forum. Peace Is Nice, yes, but so are Personal Rights to an opinion and Who Am I, or anyone else here for that matter, to say This opinion matters More than That opinion? This, fundamentally, goes against my belief in Equality, fairness and justice.

We Must allow All to become members if they so choose. We can all gear up and take them one step at a time, if they so opt to cross swords. It is not our right to exercise exclusion.

@TheMiddleWay see, i can change my mind too, mister. πŸ˜‰ and, yes, i agree. As I said, having a theist attempt to argue against me is merely a tool I can use to sharpen my argument and my beliefs more. Sometimes it is good to have a mirror placed in front of us to see the Full reflection of what we put out. It is necessary to have discourse in order to further tighten a personal truth or perspective. agreed. I know when I make a mistake and i have no issue with switching my stance and/or admitting the error of my ways.

@Sadoi I'm pretty sure that believer/nonbeliever is a binary position. Either you are a believer or are not a believer.

@icolan or you Dont Know. That makes me neither a Believer or a Nonbeliever. It make me ambiguous, at best. It makes me a middle path walker. It makes me On the Fence. I am neither For Nor Against either or. So... i would say, no binary position here.

@icolan you require a Third option, friend, because I adhere to Neither Believer or Non-Believer. I am Neither. πŸ˜‰

@Sadoi I think I am starting to understand the fence. I don't think there are only two agnostics. I realize I am a middle path thinker. I don't think I would have joined a pure atheist group. I do not fear the theist, any more than I would fear the atheist. I will doubt the existence of god just much as I will doubt the absence of god. This is the kind of dialogue I signed up for.

@Leutrelle ooh my friend, Come! Join the Fooold of the Agnostics!! Besides, we need more team players on our side! hahaha! opens arms I welcome you with open arms!!

I hope this site, as some here seem to want, doesn't turn into another debate forum, which are a dime a dozen. I am in full support of your vision @admin --- a place for nonbelievers to escape the incessant proselytizing by believers; "a place to nurture humanist or non-religious principles; a place to recover from a religious past, and a safe place for people to share their thoughts and opinions, get involved in secular causes, keep up with news, and even meet others."

Should this become a free-for-all, fundamentalist trolling will significantly increase, and there's not much point in me being here. It would have lost its uniqueness and purpose.

6

I am fine with the tag line as it is too. But honestly, this never ending squabble between calling oneself agnostic or atheist is one of the biggest surprises to me here. It seems really to bother some agnostics, though I don't know why, though atheists like me have no problem with the term agnostic. Whatever the site had been called, or its Tagline defined, someone would have been unhappy about it. I thought this was a site for non-believers, unbelievers in religion, with religionists joining, if they really must, as long as they fit the culture of tolerance. Was I wrong? At times the debate between agnostic and atheist reminds me of Monty Python Life of Brian, and the People's Front of Judea and Judean Peoples Front ( or whatever it was) fighting amongst themselves instead of fighting the Romans. Can we just fight the Romans please?

Wittgenstein famously stated: "The limits of my language are the limits of my world". Thus, using clear language implies a clear worldview.

Consider:

Would you be comfortable with a person claiming they are an atheist but believe in god?

Would you accept a theist claiming that gods don't exist?

If not, then you can understand our discomfort, as agnostics, when a person claims to be agnostic but makes any claims on existence.

As @DavidLaDeau stated, an agnostic is "on the fence" but an atheist is not. Thus, when an atheist, who is "off the fence", further claims they are "on the fence", then that persons claim are clearly not well thought out or expressed.

@TheMiddleWay Well said. I had to read it a few times, not because you failed to communicate, but rather sifting through many understandings of many beliefs can be a cumbersome endeavor. The entire subject is dealing with trying to see through muddy waters.

@TheMiddleWay yes. That is Exactly it! Bingo!

6

At some point, discussion sites tend to gravitate toward one of two mutually exclusive purposes. They will become either a safe haven for people seeking camaraderie and healing from the destructive effects of a common enemy (in this case, religious fanatics) or a creative melting pot of cultural ideas previously deemed incompatible. Both serve real needs, but work better as separate entities. The atmosphere needed for one thwarts the other.

skado Level 8 Jan 18, 2018

I agree and my vote is for the former.

Since none of us will Ever see every ideal/belief eye to eye, it is the latter that must be born of this. We must find a way to mesh, to blend, to be accepting of all trains of thought, belief systems... i mean, if anything atheist and agnostics are cousins. We are like vulcans and romulans (minus the romulans pesky assholishness haha). We have the same root ancestor and that shouldn't make us enemies nor on opposite sides of the team. I believe we need the melting pot. I mean, if not within one another, who can we trust here? I don't know, but I enjoy the friends I have met here, you included my friend, and in such, I want to Blend maaan! Bleeeend!! But, i do still want to be noted for My Beliefs as well, even if it is not the norm around here. πŸ˜‰

@silvereyes Likewise, I was the same as you, at one time, too. I referred to myself as an Atheist, until I began to truly study the differences between the two. Yes, often things are drowned out in the semantics, as you made mention. I believe since these systems of belief are So similar, we have commonground already, hence, let us include both perspectives equally. I sooo agree with you on Abrahamic religions, especially as a woman, I take even greater offense to it. Dogma makes me craazy! I am sure we will be able to find a way to blend together. There are the early days of this site, it would seem, so naturally there are going to be wrinkles that need ironing out, but I have ultimate faith in the admin here, and Mostly in its members, to lend the belief that things Will change, we Wont be discouraged due to the differences in our core beliefs and that we will find ways to compliment one another as opposed to finding differences to wedge between us. The one thing most of us share on this site, and the biggest saving grace out there, is/are the High Intelligence Ratios of its members here at agnostic.com, along with the openminded nature of its members equally. I suspect we can Easily transition beyond these simple disagreements and find a more vast platform from which we can share and exchange and grow together as site-mates. If anything, this site has already helped to open my eyes to a variety of things I'd yet to contemplate. It has served to give me some tangible relationships and experiences that Are aiding in molding my perspectives and I have become enlightened by some of the minds I have found, thus far. These things are All Good and Useful and I look forward to growing even more with the help of my friends here. πŸ˜‰

While I agree that fanaticism of any kind is the enemy, religion is not the only realm of human thought that is infected by it. "Scientism" is equal fanaticism in the realm of the secular and I see A LOT of that in many atheists.... "It works, bitches" as dawkins famously said.

As such, I don't see religion as the enemy anymore than I see science as the enemy; I see abuses of both as the enemy. And as an agnostic, I am a melting pot of religion and science and thus if you don't see how that can function, that is one of the biggest reasons I came to agnostic.com to share how I make it work and talk with other people that make it work.

@silvereyes

This has come up with several people so you'll forgive me if this is the upteenth time you've seen it and I've mentioned it. Wittgenstein said "the limits of my language are the limits of my world". As such, semantics do matter for the right word will either expand or contract your world view.

And that expansion and contraction is at the root of this discussion for me: putting "without religion" in the footer, i.e. mission statement, would not allow this site to expand by allowing agnostics and theist would are happy with religion (or aren't happy without religion) to feel welcome.

@TheMiddleWay I actually just made mention of this not being solely how I function when it comes to religion or lack thereof. I do not reserve my opinion that 'All forms of extremes are dangerous' to Just this topic. I see it in all manner of day to day life. All Extremes, Any Extremes, I find flaw with.

4

Looking at all this and some of the assumptions about what atheism is which I think are wrong but obviously it doesn't seem to matter much whatever you say, I am left wondering what the tag line of this site is becoming.
"Agnostic.com is a non profit organisation allowing discussion between people no matter what they believe, whether they are a bit religious, medium religious, a lot religious, believe in there is no god, might be a god, iffy one way or another about God, agnostic about some gods, or all gods, take your pick, believe in evidence as the basis for all belief, or not, up to you, so whatever you believe, no worries, secular, supernatural, quasi Supernatural, basically whatever works for you, in an environmental where we'll spend our time arguing amongst ourselves while religions continue to spoil the world, except for my preferred religion or non religion, as the case may be, which is good."

In other words, just another social media site.

I had hoped for a clear non mysticism espousing based community.

@Admin
@silvereyes
@Coffeo
@TheMiddleWay
@Sadoi
@DavidLaDeau

"I had hoped for a clear non mysticism espousing based community"

If under the popular dawkins scale, an agnostic considers it equiprobably that gods exist or don't exist, why would a site specifically named after the agnostic mean that the "mysticism" (as you call it) in the equiprobable portion that gods do exist would be completely absent?

hahah! oddly, i found that post totally hilarious! However, it kinda descended into darkness and psychobabble toward the end. We don't argue around here. This is the most passion i have seen in a thread since I have been here. Normally, we all get along swimmingly. I believe you misinterpret who we are as a whole. In all honestly, we Do get along here. A few of us may or may not see eye to eye, but that IS the glory of Opinions AND Tolerance. A solution to said problem has already been agreed upon. Everyone seems pleased with it... soo whats the problem here? I see no problem.

@TheMiddleWay It wasn't specifically named agnostic. @Admin in an earlier post noted that it depended on available domain names and choosing a name which might be generally acceptable. Admin can clarify that, but this site cannot be called specifically agnostic or constrained by the term. Personally I would have preferred Non Believers or Unbelievers, drawing on the Dawkins et.al term used. But it hard to find a term to please everyone.

@David1955

But it's specifically named that now, which is why I consider it weird for a site called agnostic.com to cater exclusively to the atheists/non-believer POV.

@Sadoi I think you missed my point. It wasn't that people don't get along here. They do, and that's great. My point was about the possible dissolution of the focus of the site trying to find a tag line that everyone agrees with. I think we should stand for something clear: religious non belief. Others join in but that's what this site is. Remember this thread started from an agnostic unhappy with the tag line. What does it take for agnostics to be happy? I'm an atheist, I might have complained about the site name Agnostic.com, but I didn't and don't. Is the tag line perfect from my view? No, but again it's ok. Have I called agnostics "arrogant"? No, and won't. Another agnostic said to me that atheists are "insane" because of that view. Yet another said atheists are "dogmatic". I would never say that to an agnostic unless other factors applied. Perhaps my concern is that if this site tries to be all things to all people it might end up being nothing for anyone.

@David1955 yes, but you see, that is what we do. we discuss. we debate. we ponder. sometimes we might butt heads, but overall, i do believe we have a decent level of respect for one another. yes, we can be terse and we can be harsh with one another at times, too, but such is the World in general. we are not aboard some alien internet vessel where utopia engulfs us and we Never disagree. i am also an agnostic who agrees with themiddleway. he is the member you speak of. he started this thread, more so, to point out the fact that agnostics werent really included in the title, and yes, for the atheists here, they are fine with that because they weren't the ones whose belief systems were improperly represented. to others, it is merely semantics. sure, i can see that point of view as well, but for people like myself, like TheMiddleWay, we wished to be properly included, especially considering the site is agnostic.com, which Is what we Are. i did not expect this thread to go completely whacko as it has and i honestly do feel its gotten a bit redundant and old at this point. everything we could All Say, we have said. everything we could iron out, we pretty much have. at this juncture, i feel we are merely beating a dead horse with... Another Dead Horse. i hope, in the end, we can all just agree to disagree. we will. obviously. it saddens me that you have happened to drop in on a more... heated discourse here, because this is honestly not the norm. it is mostly pleasant and relaxing here. the bottom line is, we wanted to be included in the headers here. our beliefs Are valid to us, and in that, we wished to be equally represented. even if there are only a handful of us agnostics here, and even if only TheMiddleWay and I sit alone on our island of our Personal views of agnosticism, that in no way should mean we are slighted by feeling our positions are not validly and accurately included. to you, this may be a non-issue. if so, why bother jumping in and merely critiquing? if it is a non-issue for you, what is the point in belittling the process of discourse as a way to find a mutually acceptable representation for issues that do not even have a bearing on your life or thoughts? you could have just as easily found another thread, one more pleasing to you, to join in on. however, IF you Do involve yourself and come in at a sarcastic angle, what do you expect in response? its like coming in and picking a fight with people whom you witness fighting already and since you take offense to said fighting, you join in to the fight too. haha! i mean... im not trying to give you shit. you Do seem like a rather intelligent person and I hate getting off on a bad foot with you, but likewise you Did sort of include me in your rant and pulled me in to this... sooo... thems my two cents, so to speak. I do Hope you Choose to remain with us. i would be saddened to think this is the first And last time i/we have a chance to have debates and discussions with you. there is but one idiot here, some dude named jeff, that frankly, i could careless if i ever see his face or read his assbackwards words again, otherwise, this Is a nice place and we Are nice people. i look forward to having discussions with you in a more positive light in the future and i apologize for you having walked in on some serious debate, but in all fairness, you Did make that choice for yourself and... this is what it has led to.

@silvereyes. @Sadoi. Atheism - a lack of belief in the existence of God or gods, a lack of belief based on the total absence of evidence to the contrary. That's all gods, past and present. It's actually a position based on the total lack of evidence. If the evidence changes then I'd review it. It's the same position I hold on fairies, dragons and leprechauns, or a cosmic duck that created the universe. God is just a word and an imagined thing like cosmic ducks. The position is consistent with all unproven phenomena. I respect your agnosticism, but I only ask that you acknowledge that your agnosticism must apply equally not just to the God you grew up with but all Gods, ancient and current, as well as dragons and leprechauns and cosmic ducks, because the proven existence or otherwise of all of these things is unknowable. That is not a position I can hold. I don't believe in ANY of them, because there is not a scrap of proof for them, and I don't have to prove that they don't exist. With that said, I'm sure we can all be friends, and, I would have said, until recently, fellow nonbelievers, but with some of these discussions recently, I'm not sure if I can say nor not.

@TheMiddleWay It doesn't just cater to atheists and alike. Another false assumption.

@David1955

If the footer states "peaceful without religion" then the message is clearly that theists who are "peaceful WITH religion" are not welcome.

@David1955

"I respect your agnosticism, but I only ask that you acknowledge that your agnosticism must apply equally not just to the God you grew up with but all Gods, ancient and current, as well as dragons and leprechauns and cosmic ducks, because the proven existence or otherwise of all of these things is unknowable"

Yes... and no (a common agnostic answer lol).

You are correct that agnosticism, the word, applies to subjects beyond theology: I'm agnostic on the big bang and string theory for example. And thus, it is correct that I could be (though don't need to be) agnostic about dragons and leprechauns and cosmic ducks.

But your are incorrect that being agnostic about god/s necessitates my being agnostic about dragons and leprechauns and cosmic ducks. They all have different definitions and a different set of evidence that can be brought to bear from those of god/s. I can even go so far as to claim that it is not unknowable if dragons, leprechauns, and cosmic ducks exist: that I can bring evidence in dismissal (or support) of those claims but I cannot do the same with the claim of god/s in the general. Likewise, I can be agnostic on the general claim of gods while I can bring evidence to bear that certain gods (like thor or the FSM) are incompatible with modern thinking.

@David1955

" I would have said, until recently, fellow nonbelievers, but with some of these discussions recently, I'm not sure if I can say nor not."

This is at the core of my bringing this up.

We are non-believers and we welcome your fellowship extended on that metric...
... be you should also view us as believers and we hope for your fellowship is extended on that metric as well.

That is why, as an agnostic myself and as basis for the site name, I want fellowship to be extended to peoples who do AND do not have religion so we can explore any and all issues from both sides and not just one.

4

How about. "Agnostic.com. A non profit organisation promoting philosophical viewpoints about the meaning of life and existence".

Oooh that one is REALLY Good, as well!

Or "Agnostic.com The name is irrelevant because we mostly talk about attributes of potential gods, spirits, ghosts, and other metaphysical nonsense... when were not arguing over simple definitions that is."

3

Firstly, I tend to reject the Dawkin's scale. The only thing equally probable in my agnosticism is the existence of any god or gods on record. I actually find it more probable that an unknown god might exist. Theism is not what agnosticism is all about, it's more about the origin of the universe and how unknown it really is, and probably unknowable. In my case, I've arrived at the conclusion that is undoubtedly unknowable.

As for the site encompassing both sides of agnosticism, I reject the premise. From my point of view, theism and atheism are at odds with the fundamentals of agnosticism. Even if making the argument that both theism and atheism should be treated equally on their own merits, should they? For the most part, theism boasts outrageous claims without empirical evidence. Should we really entertain this? Do we as a community entertain this stuff as serious? Or as you ask, should the site? Or on a more philosophical level, should agnosticism encompass or entertain unfalsifiable claims without empirical evidence? I think to do so is fundamentally contrary to agnosticism. Entertaining possibilities is one thing, entertaining claims put forth as knowledge is quite different.

Agnosticism is underpinned by what's rational, by reason, and by logic, and therefore tends to reject what isn't rational, reasoned, or logical. That is why it also seems to tend toward "the non-existence camp," but really it's the unknown camp, which is closer to non-existence than existence. That isn't to say that it rejects (or that I reject) the existence of a god. The problem I have is that many atheists on this site reject that there might be a god, despite claiming to simply lack belief. On a fundamental level, such folks actually seem to be anti-agnostic because they reject that there might be a god, and this despite many of these same folks adopting the "agnostic atheist" label. Oh sure, they'll put forth that they're not 100% certain, but for all intents and purposes that is a footnote and the thrust of their rejection doesn't stem from a position of such things being unknown, as it would for an agnostic.

"For the most part, theism boasts outrageous claims without emperical evidence"

So does atheism, as exemplified by science: string theory and multiverse and the holographic universe to name a few. Making outrageous claims is part of the human condition, part of math, science, and philosophy, and not the exclusive providence of theology

"Or on a more philosophical level, should agnosticism encompass or entertain unfalsifiable claims without empirical evidence? "

Using my examples above, should agnosticism encompass string theory and multiverses? I say yes for even as they are unfalsifiable and without empirical evidence today, through discussing them we may find a way to falsify them or provide empirical evidence tomorrow.

"ut really it's the unknown camp, which is closer to non-existence than existence. "

If it is unknown, then how can it be closer to one or the other? That is the fundamental irrationality of mixing agnosticism with theism or atheism that I address in this thread

@TheMiddleWay Umm... I think you're missing the point that theistic claims are presented as fact, not theory. Theory is a whole different thing, and does have underpinnings in established fact, but I'm just talking about credible theories. There are so-called theories that really have no factual basis. I'm not aware of any religion that presents itself as theory, in any sense of the word. It's always fact. This is why unknown is closer to non-existence than existence, because existence asserts claims with no factual basis as fact.

For me, rationality, reason, and logic are part and parcel of my agnosticism, and I would argue for agnosticism in general. I can't suspend these underpinnings of my agnosticism in order to seriously consider theistic claims as fact. I can treat them as hypotheticals, followed by questions, but theists by and large take this an attack, because I haven't accepted their statements as fact. To put it another way, the agnostic position of unknown is more compatible with non-existence, than existence is to the unknown position.

I would go even further in pointing out that any theist coming to this site would probably view the name of the site in and of itself as being an attack on what they think they know to be true. Unless a theist comes here seeking to explore their doubts, it seems most likely that a theist coming here would be on the attack, here to show us pity, and try to convert us.

@bingst

You are however basing a lot of your views on a stereotypical view of theists and atheists.

  • Atheists present their views as fact the same as theist. Look at how many of the members on this site put "100% sure there is no god" to demonstrate this.

  • Theist can be rational, reasonable, and logical. To claim that they "must" not be doesn't jibe with history.

  • Theists by and large take this as an attack? What about atheists? They are not immune to having their beliefs challenged and viewing them as an attack. Again, one need only view some of the more emotional responses from atheists to my post to see this in evidence.

  • It is exactly people exploring their doubts, theists and atheists, that an agnostic should be welcome to. Again, I ask you to examine the posts from people on this site that state they are sure god doesn't exist and they came to this site not to discuss their doubt, but to reaffirm their surety, a philosophy which is not very agnostic.

@TheMiddleWay

Atheists present their views as fact the same as theist. Look at how many of the members on this site put "100% sure there is no god" to demonstrate this.

Yup I'm pretty sure that is the very definition of atheism.

But how many of those atheists would change their opinion if any evidence for a god or gods showed up? I'm guessing most of not all. In fact the ones who didn't would really be the only ones you have a problem with. If they merely claimed "100% sure there is no EVIDENCE of god" would you be happier?

3

I would not expect an agnostic site to present a β€œbalanced” view of belief/non-belief. I would expect it to be a supportive community for non-believers. Really, you don’t need to look hard to get a religious perspective, this is the other side of the coin. I assume β€œagnostic.com” was selected because you need something brief and memorable to name website, but it would be nice if the tag line could be inclusive of all non-believers.

But if we are to based non-belief on being rational, is it rational for a site name to allude to a centrist attitude to the debate but exclude one side of the debate?

The example I'm using is if I created a political website called "centrist" where centrist is a fictional political stance that finds the democratic and republican policies, on the whole, of equal merit. Would that site be being honest if it then ONLY invited republicans or democrats?

I see the same thing here: the site is named for a "middle of the path" view of religion but several on the non-belief side want it to be only for non-belief while I maintain that by virtue of the site name, it should be welcoming to the belief side as well, since an agnostic does not reject or accept religion, but is "on the fence" in regards to it.

@TheMiddleWay I have read most of this thread and I'm concerned you are trying to move the compass of this community to an untenable position. In your post you state "So while I suspect that the majority of the user base likely has no problem with this as the majority of the user base are atheists, as an agnostic, I feel it's a bit of a "bait and switch" to have a site named agnostic, with the expectation of promoting a balanced view on religion and secular views, but really being about only promoting a secular viewpoint." By your own admission there is a majority here that prescribes to a different definition of the term Agnostic than the one you prefer. You are trying to establish some credibility to your eloquent and persistent argument by referencing the Dawkins scale which includes the whole spectrum of theism. But from what I have observed in my brief time on this site to include contributors on this thread, the definition that is most pervasive here was written by Huxley as follows:

"Agnosticism is of the essence of science, whether ancient or modern. It simply means that a man shall not say he knows or believes that which he has no scientific grounds for professing to know or believe. Consequently, agnosticism puts aside not only the greater part of popular theology, but also the greater part of anti-theology. On the whole, the "bosh" of heterodoxy is more offensive to me than that of orthodoxy, because heterodoxy professes to be guided by reason and science, and orthodoxy does not.[12]"

β€”?Thomas Henry Huxley

In my opinion If we include the whole theist spectrum then we will find ourselves besieged by all manner of religious extremists who care not about the scientific method or civil discourse.

@kensmile4u

Huxley's quote makes my point again, in particular this portion: "Consequently, agnosticism puts aside not only the greater part of popular theology, but also the greater part of anti-theology"

Agnosticism rejects unfounded claims by the theist AND the atheist. Thus if we are to dismiss theology by accepting the atheist POV, then, in keeping with this quote, we should also dismiss anti-theology by accepting the theist POV.

"In my opinion If we include the whole theist spectrum then we will find ourselves besieged by all manner of religious extremists who care not about the scientific method or civil discourse. "

We should not allow religious extremism anymore than we should allow scientific extremism.
And the worst atheists can be just as "uncivil" as the worst theist.
There are scientific theists as well as civil theists and it is those that I propose we welcome and not exclude from discussion as per Huxley's original intent.

@kensmile4u I agree. I do not define agnosticism as a balanced β€œmiddle point” between belief and non-belief. Belief in god depends on faith - agnostics aren’t willing to declare certainty one way or the other, therefore they lack faith and thus fall on the spectrum of β€œnon-believer.”

@TheMiddleWay I will have to disagree with you there. The tagline on this site does not include anti-theism. It stops at Atheism. There is a difference. So the tagline is in keeping with Huxley's quote. Please read the link. The significant similarity with many theists and anti-theists is that they are both compelled to activism, attacking, and proselytizing. I can't speak for the creator of this site but my guess is they made a wise decision to narrow the Dawkins spectrum to exclude this kind of uncivil behavior.

[thoughtco.com]

@A2Jennifer

"agnostics aren’t willing to declare certainty one way or the other, therefore they lack faith and this fall on the spectrum of β€œnon-believer.”

If they aren't willing to declare certainty one way or the other, then by extension they can't be willing to declare themselves to be non-believers OR believers nor to claim they lack OR have faith.

To claim that they aren't willing to declare certaintly but then assign certainty in the non-belief camp is a contradiction in other words.

@kensmile4u

"The tagline on this site does not include anti-theism. It stops at Atheism"

Despite the differences, the Anti-theist and Atheist share the commonality of both being "without religion" and thus yes, the tagline does include both.

And since Huxley's quote was never about being "without religion" but about being "without knowledge" either in support or rejection of religion, then "without religion" is a poor tagline for a site who's name is "without knowledge"

@TheMiddleWay Again I will have to disagree with you. Huxley's quote is vey clear on this matter. It states "Consequently, agnosticism puts aside not only the greater part of popular theology, but also the greater part of anti-theology." Therefore the remaining group of people wisely happen to be listed in the tagline because they are not activists, attackers, or proselytizers. You are torturing Huxley's quote by trying to include the nebulous word religion. Please go back to my link and read everything related to Agnosticism. There is not a single sentence in Huxley's remarks that endorses faith or belief without objective evidence earned through scientific methods. So I am happy to leave the word's "without religion" in the tagline because it promotes clarity.

@kensmile4u

"Every fully developed religion exists simultaneously on several different levels. It exists as a set of abstract concepts about the world and its governance. It exists as a set of rites and sacraments, as a traditional method for manipulating the symbols, by means of which beliefs about the cosmic order are expressed. It exists as the feelings of love, fear and devotion evoked by this manipulation of symbols.

And finally it exists as a special kind of feeling or intuition β€” a sense of the oneness of all things in their divine principle, a realization (to use the language of Hindu theology) that β€œthou art That,” a mystical experience of what seems self-evidently to be union with God.

"The ordinary waking consciousness is a very useful and, on most occasions, an indispensable state of mind; but it is by no means the only form of consciousness, nor in all circumstances the best. Insofar as he transcends his ordinary self and his ordinary mode of awareness, the mystic is able to enlarge his vision, to look more deeply into the unfathomable miracle of existence.

The mystical experience is doubly valuable; it is valuable because it gives the experiencer a better understanding of himself and the world and because it may help him to lead a less self-centered and more creative life". - A. Huxley

These are not the words of a man who would promote a world "without religion".

"If we must play the theological game, let us never forget that it is a game. Religion, it seems to me, can survive only as a consciously accepted system of make-believe . . .

You never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion . . . Asses do not bray a liturgy to cloudless skies. Nor do cats attempt, by abstinence from cat's meat, to wheedle the feline spirits into benevolence. Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly. It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, quite intelligent enough" - A. Huxley

While these are the worlds of a man who would promote a world "without religious dogma"


I would argue that Huxley, and his agnosticism, were against the blind following of religion, of letting a book tell you want to do without thinking, or rituals and practices that have no purpose but he did not promote a world "without religion".

I think that a tagline stating "without dogma" would better encompass the agnostic viewpoint since there is religious dogma and science dogma and the agnostic rejects both.

@kensmile4u

Given that neither one of us can ask him directly "Is your agnosticism without religion" we must piece together his views on what he meant by agnosticism and religion from his quotes even if they don't directly have agnosticism and religion in the same sentence.

The purpose of my quotes is to show how Huxley, whom you brought up as defining what agnosticism means, had views that are both positive and negative about religion but never "without religion". Even in "a brave new world " Huxley doesn't advocate a world without religion nor condemns a world with it, but rather condemns a world without choice, a world ruled by dogma.

Further, you didn't cite any sources for your quote so what purpose to holding me to a standard you don't follow? πŸ˜‰

@TheMiddleWay There is no mention of the word Agnostic or Agnosticism in any of the content you attribute to A. Huxley in this post. Please cite all your sources for peer review.

@kensmile4u

You know, I always thought it was Aldous Huxley who coined agnosticism, not Thomas!

Apologies; that is my bad! Had my Huxley's confused.

@TheMiddleWay 1)Here is the source of the quote [en.wikipedia.org] Please look under the section of defining agnosticism at the first quote. 2) I am sourcing Thomas Henry Huxley's specific quote as the pervasive definition I've observed on the site. I never claimed anything beyond the fact that Huxley's other writings on Wikipedia and Thoughtco.com are consistent with the posted quote which brings me to question 3.) I have no idea who you are quoting. Who is -A Huxley? Please provide me a source so I can understand this curious divergent thought from all of T.H. Huxley's work I've read.

@kensmile4u

Here's T. H. Huxley on agnosticism:

"Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method, the essence of which lies in the rigorous application of a single principle. That principle is of great antiquity; it is as old as Socrates; as old as the writer who said, 'Try all things, hold fast by that which is good';"

[goodreads.com]

Try ALL things... if you are without religion, then you cannot be said to have tried all things. And if you try something of religion, and it is good, hold fast to it.

@TheMiddleWay That explains a lot. Aldous Huxley was never an Agnostic.

@TheMiddleWay By 'sciience dogma' do you mean scientific method? If not, what?

@Coffeo

I mean the dogmatic endorsement of the scientific method: scientism.

[en.wikipedia.org]

@TheMiddleWay Thank you for the clarification.

@TheMiddleWay I am in no way assigning certainty to agnostics. I am attributing lack of faith to people who declare that they don’t have faith.

@kensmile4u

" that I have known"

That you have known. This is why anecdotal evidence is a logical fallacy since I have known many that I would trust to have a civil discussion. Thus while I understand where you are coming from in not wanting theists here, I would hope you would understand where I'm coming from in wanting them here.

"Subsequently I'm holding fast to the pervasive definition of agnostic prescribed by T.H.Huxley that excludes religion which I pasted on this thread earlier. "

As am I; I'm holding fast to the definition of agnostics as per the quote you pasted and the quote I pasted, neither of which exclude religion.

@A2Jennifer

Faith is not required for religion, however. There are plenty of relgiious people who believe in their religion because they claim evidence that their religion is correct and thus don't need faith.

As such, I see a site called agnostic to be willing to talk about the evidence the informs an atheists unbelief and the evidence that informs a theists belief.

@TheMiddleWay I applaud your persistence but I must say there are only a handful of religious persons out of thousands that I have known in my life who I would trust to remain civil, open minded, and dedicated to critical thinking on this site. Only one of them is a confirmed christian. The rest follow some of the less popular of the 4200 known religions (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religions_and_spiritual_traditions). So where would we draw the line to ensure we do not become besieged by activist theists? In my opinion we are letting the tail wag the dog if we allow it. Where is the greater "good" in that? Therefore I have fairly tried to deliberate the pros and cons of religion on this site. Subsequently I'm holding fast to the pervasive definition of agnostic prescribed by T.H.Huxley that excludes religion which I pasted on this thread earlier. Lastly I promise you that I will leave this site if it degenerates to a crusade of people shouting over top of each other.

@TheMiddleWay@TheMiddleWay I have already stated you are torturing Huxley's quote which clearly states " agnosticism puts aside not only the greater part of popular theology, but also the greater part of anti-theology." Your persistence in attacking this quoted line of thought is not observably persuasive based on the responses in this post. You also truncated an important quote attributed to T.H.Huxley which can be read at the following site. [goodreads.com] and here is the full quote. β€œAgnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method, the essence of which lies in the rigorous application of a single principle. That principle is of great antiquity; it is as old as Socrates; as old as the writer who said, 'Try all things, hold fast by that which is good'; it is the foundation of the Reformation, which simply illustrated the axiom that every man should be able to give a reason for the faith that is in him, it is the great principle of Descartes; it is the fundamental axiom of modern science. Positively the principle may be expressed: In matters of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other consideration. And negatively: In matters of the intellect, do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable. That I take to be the agnostic position, which if a man keep whole and undefiled, he shall not be ashamed to look the universe in the face, whatever the future may have in store for him.

The results of the working out of the agnostic principle will vary according to individual knowledge and capacity, and according to the general condition of science. That which is unproved today may be proved, by the help of new discoveries, tomorrow. The only negative fixed points will be those negations which flow from the demonstrable limitation of our faculties. And the only obligation accepted is to have the mind always open to conviction.

That it is wrong for a man to say he is certain of the objective truth of a proposition unless he can provide evidence which logically justifies that certainty. This is what agnosticism asserts and in my opinion, is all that is essential to agnosticism.”

As an educated man I'm sure you can appreciate the importance of full disclosure when presenting supportive material. Any modification could cause a serious reader to suspect sophistry.

Additionally, tucked within Huxley's quote is a quote from Socrates which states 'Try all things, hold fast by that which is good'. I interpret that quote to be applicable to both anecdotal and empirical evidence. So in response to that quote I presented my anecdotal evidence observed through interactions with thousands of religious people. It is important to note here that the scientific method begins with anecdotal evidence as sourced at the following link. [en.wikipedia.org]

So in closing I will use the quote you partially pasted on the site to justify the existing tagline. 1) Religion is a creed. It is not a method. 2) Asking questions about anecdotal evidence (Try all things), developing hypotheses, testing predictions, analyzing data and repeat until you draw statistically significant empirical conclusions (hold fast by that which is good) is the scientific method. Religion stops at develop Hypotheses! You never get to keep the good and throw away the bad in religion! 3) Science is reason based and demonstrable. Many religions are mostly magical, mystical thinking which is not demonstrable. 4) Science has a dynamic refinement loop to facilitate growth toward greater truth. Religion holds static Dogma as truth. 5) Agnosticism reveres evidence. Religion reveres Dogma

In my opinion the persistent torturing of these quotes using dubious semantics is tedious and unpersuasive. So I will respectfully decline to respond to any further invitations on this post. However I do respect your rights to your opinions and I admire your inquisitive spirit. Subsequently I will be glad to converse with you on any other posts. I'm sure we can find agreement on something else.

@kensmile4u

I will close out as well, then, and in doing so I will leave you with how the rest of his quote only goes to prove that Huxley's agnosticism didn't exclude religion.

For one, no where in the quote did he specifically exclude religion. This is the most obvious one. He presented a method by which we can exclude any human ideology, from science to religion, namely those that can be tested, but nowhere does he make the blanket statement "agnosticism is without religion"

That one is the most obvious and clear to the point that agnosticism is not "without religion" but since you wanted to go for the full quote, I'll leave you with more evidence from the full quote that this is the case.

In matters of the intellect, do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable.

If we are to accept that the agnostic is "without religion", then we have to accept that the agnostic has demonstrated with certainty that ALL tenets and claims and the very nature of "religion" are false; this has not been done.

that which is unproved today may be proved, by the help of new discoveries, tomorrow.

The god hypothesis ("God exists" or "God doesn't exist", however you want to phrase it) stands unproven today by may be proved, by the help of new discoveries, tomorrow. As such, the agnostic is not "without religion" since it stands unproven today and may be proven tomorrow.

That it is wrong for a man to say he is certain of the objective truth of a proposition unless he can provide evidence which logically justifies that certainty

Thus it is wrong to claim the objective truth of "God exists" or "God doesn't exist" unless you can provide evidence with logically justified that certainty. As such, because no such evidence has to date been provided, the agnostic cann't be "without religion" nor "with religion" and must be willing to...

And the only obligation accepted is to have the mind always open to conviction.

And thus be open to both possibilities, to be able to weigh evidence on both sides of the argument, not to defacto say "we are without religion" until you can provide evidence to dismiss all aspects of religion, which has not been done to date.


Until the next, my interactions with you have not been tedious nor unpersuasive. On the contrary, interactions with you have not only clarified many things about agnosticism but also provided a lot of quotes by which to present the case that Huxley never meant his philosophy to be "without religion" but rather that we should be agnostic about that which we don't know and can't demonstrate, a camp into which religion fits neatly.

3

There are a lot of comments on this post, and I must confess to not having read all of them in detail. So if what I'm about to say reiterates anything in an earlier comment, I apologize in advance.

If it is really the case that an agnostic regards the existence or non-existence of god as equiprobable, then I am not, as I had thought, an agnostic. But I do not deny the existence of god, so I am not an atheist. A de facto atheist, perhaps, but not a hard atheist. I regard the probability of the existence of god (depending on what sort of god we're talking about) as something less than 1%. But not zero. Suddenly I find there isn't a word that describes my position (or not a polite one, anyway). Please can I go back to being an agnostic?

@silvereyes Exactly. I think I can regard myself as agnostic even though I don't think it's a 50-50 chance one way or the other. (In fact, how many agnostics do think it's a 50-50 chance?) If we're talking about a creator god, then maybe a 1 or 2% chance, I'd say. If we're talking about a god who is actually aware of and interested in humans, I'd say more like a 0.0001% chance. πŸ™‚

@Coffeo. Your choice of course. But a question: what benefit, strength of position, or real advantage does calling yourself an agnostic give you over calling yourself an atheist? Put another way, what is the negative reflection or downside, either in your own eyes, or in others', in saying you are an atheist? It is a genuine question.

@David1955 @silvereyes I've decided it really doesn't matter after all, since nobody ever asks me what my views are about god or religion, and I never have to declare myself . The definition is really for me alone, and I prefer to go with agnostic because, as the word implies, I don't know.

So the equiprobable definition is Dawkins based on his scale (look up Dawkins scale). I used it because it's a very common definition to make my point but, even IMO, not the best one. This is because it's attaching a probability to a situation to which probability cannot be applied.

A better definition of agnostic is that you don't know that there are gods or not. It's not a matter of probability but knowledge. The hard agnostic, further, claims that evidence for gods is simply not possible one way or the other (that's where I stand) while the soft agnostic claims that evidence doesn't exist one way or the other but is possible.

But either way a hallmark of the agnostic is that they reserve judgement and don't make a claim one way or the other because judgement is based on knowledge.

I would dub thee atheist for you don't believe that gods exist. Atheist is not about knowledge or belief but a statement of existence. Thus if you make the claim that gods don't exist, you are atheist. You can't be agnostic because in order to make a claim on existence, it has to be informed by some knowledge.

As to why you should care, even to your self, the words you use will shape your view of things and if you use inconsistent or contradictory words, then you will have inconsistent or contradictory views. To call yourself atheist means you are making a statement on existence which to be logical has to be informed by some knowledge. To call yourself agnostic means you aren't making a statement on existence but rather what the status of your knowledge is. In this regard, I quote wittgenstein: "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world."

@TheMiddleWay You know, that's too complicated for me. I'm going to stick with agnostic de facto atheist. Hope you're OK with that! πŸ™‚

@Coffeo

Stick with what works for you. But should my words ever work better for you, they are always there for you.

I would make broader categories for believer vs agnostic vs atheist. Believers have faith that there is a god, even though they may sometimes doubt their faith. atheists believe there is no god, even in the absence of certainty. Agnostics lack a faith in god but don’t feel strongly that there is not a god.
I’d be curious among agnostics if they are open to the possibility of many gods or subscribe only to the possibility of a single god, either of the Judeo-Christian variety or if the non-interfering creator type.
Dawkins’ scale is interesting to gauge people’s perspective, but is a bit specific for everyday labels.

@A2Jennifer To me the key word here is strongly. How strongly? I feel very strongly (though without absolute certainty) that there is no god of the Judeo-Christian type. I am much more open to the idea of a non-interfering creator but I'm not sure that such a thing really warrants being called a god.

3

I do agree with you. Agnostic is generally understood as "I don't know". I am a hard atheist so that does not apply to me."a peaceful life without religion" does sound more Atheist or at least secular to me.
It seems to me there are more of those whom are truly on the atheist side of the fence than undecided that at least make comments.
What I do love about this site is it does provide a platform for those whom are agnostic to have discussions and allow the to learn, grow and consider what their actual beliefs are. There are not many places that are a good platform for those on the fence. This is a great place where people actually discuss these issues without jumping into debates and arguments.

"On the fence" is a great way of viewing agnosticism. And if you are an atheist who stated "I believe gods don't exist" or "I know gods don't exist" you are not on the fence.

I would further add my viewpoint, that an agnostic would also be happy reconciling the differences between the theist and atheist, to serve as a mediator or harmonizer given that being on the fence, I believe, we are more able to view the merits and deficiencies of both sides.

3

We believe the Possibility Exists and because of that fact, we cannot concretely say No, close the doors, pull the blinds, that is It. It is In that possibility that we claim we do not know. Hence, "Agnostic."

Sadoi Level 7 Jan 18, 2018
3

Perspective is a funny thing, isn't it? @admin

I'm fine with the tagline.

I have the opposite view of the site. I was expecting the site to be predominantly non-believers which is how I view agnostics. The semantic differences don't interest me and I am surprised how much energy is spent on them.

I'm also surprised at the number of posts about religion, especially ones that assume we all came from a religious background. I absolutely wasn't expecting that.

So the bait and switch for me is diametrically opposed to yours. I'd prefer no religious people on the site.

I am not religious. Not in the slightest. As an agnostic, my stance is, I could never be so arrogant to claim Atheism because the title of "atheist" is finite. Since, I cannot prove the existence Of god nor against god, it is arrogant of me, personally in my own mind, to use such an absolute. I cannot deal in Absolutes because the truth is, I have no proof either way. I cannot say there Is no God because I've yet to see Any valid proof Of A god or of Gods. However, who is to say that some where down the line... say decades down the line, someone or something comes along with an entirely new thread of intelligence and within that thread, something tangible can be proved... something beyond that which I would even know would be enough to cause me to switch to belief, and if there was some way to validate the existence of a god or of a supreme being, I Would Then be Wrong all my life to have taken a stance of Absolutes. In that, I leave Open the possibility because I am not vain enough to Claim I Know anything for a Fact. Just because I have never felt the "hand of god" nor seen "visions of god" nor heard the "voice of god" doesn't tell me, exactly, that no god exists. Sure, one could say the reason those things have nevere occured is because that Is Proof that there Is No God. Just because you cannot prove the existence of something doesnt mean it does not exist. I am open to the possibility of Change. I mean, lets look at how far humanity has come in the last thousands of years... in the last centuries, last Decades. We are making leaps and bounds in science, in intellect, not so much in the areas of wisdom, but in the ways of intellectual prowess, we are moving along nicely. Likewise, we are still right out of the womb and into the diapers by way of our intellectual evolution. Hence, who Can say once our minuscule little human brains evolve more, we Might find something conclusive that Could say, "yeah, there could be a creator" or "there Is a creator." For those reasons, alone, I could not and would not claim atheism. I do Not know. And the Wisest words I EVER learned Were and Are "I Don't Know." It is honest. It is clear. It doesn't say, "i bury my heels in the sand and make this claim, all or nothing!" No way. I'm far too intelligent for that. πŸ˜‰ (hee hee hee)

@AMGT I fully respect your position, too. In my Personal experience, as an Agnostic, I have had many, rather unsavory conflicts with atheist who find my position as an agnostic to be weak. They view my preference to choose No option presented to me as a cop out by saying "Maybe there is a god. Maybe there isn't a god." Its almost akin to being a bi-sexual in a lesbian bar. We get horrible grief because they claim we "cannot make up our minds." In my experience, atheists have tended to come at me with this sense of "Absolutes" and if I do not adhere to those same tennants, they find it is their right to scoff at my "inability" As they claim, to make a choice one way or the other. I rarely have the joy of meeting other atheists or agnostics in my day to day life in the way I have here so my exposure hasn't be vast, but the ones I have had to deal with, atheists, they were typically coming at me from a place of arrogance and of certainty that they Knew there was no god and if I doubted the existence of God, I should refer to myself as "atheist." In my life, that has been the plight of my atheistic adventures. Hence, why I draw from that conclusion. However, here, on this site, most of my current circle are Atheist and not Agnostic, at least not Agnostic in the ways I am. The closest person to reflecting my beliefs would be MiddleWay. And just as I am an agnostic, open to all possibilities, I am Also open to the possibility of meeting some Atheists who aren't judgemental asses. haha!! I must admit, it helps to speak to actual atheists that are open minded. This forum has also been a great way to communicate and express various beliefs with a broad range of people. I speak Only from my personal experience, and in my personal experience, most of my encounters with other Atheists (usually in med school) has been hostile, condescending and aggressive. I was placed into positions where I was made to defend my own personal beliefs. That is why I have the viewpoint I possess. It is through my experiences that I have come to feel this way. However, I am also open to and willing to experience change. I will respect anyones rights so long as they are mindful of my own. Thus far, I was rarely respected by Atheists, merely spoken down to, as though my belief was invalid, therefore, unimportant in light of their Vast Knowledge to the Contrary and of my lack of willingness to Pick a Side, so to speak.

@Sadoi To be clear, I wasn't referring to you in my response to the question posed.

Like @AMGT, I don't see being an atheist as an arrogant and absolute position. It wouldn't even occur to me to stick to that label if evidence showed I was wrong.

In general, many people on here get mired in semantics about their definition of atheist or agnostic and manage to get into heated arguments over it.

@shockwaverider yeah, i am no fan of arguments. I thought we were merely discussing terminology here, as well. I think its just that those of us who feel slightly different would also like to feel represented. Often times we have had some rather negative experiences out there in a world dealing with Atheists who seem to undermind our positions as agnostics. It isn't something I have only recently experienced. I began switching over to a non-god belief in my late teens, but it fully took hold while I was attending UCLA school of Neuro-psych. All my peers were non-believers, atheists, and when I began there, I was still a devout believer and eventually I transitioned to atheist, then I read more and realized I was agnostic. Once I switched over to Agnostic, all hell broke loose in my Atheistic circle of friends. I was literally harrassed over those things for most of my years At UCLA so when I come out of the corner as I have, and perhaps I sound as though im saying 'thems fightin words,' the truth is, I am not. My opinion is based upon the countless times I was ganged up on by hoards of atheists. I simply wanted my perspective to be respected just as I opted to respect Their perspectives, but that never seemed to happen. This is probably why I have a sour taste in my mouth any time the subject of Atheist Vs Agnostic pops up. Perhaps I had the misfortune of dealing with some rather unsavory atheists, but either way, it has been in my experience that the respect went one way. Hence, why I react as I do. Sure, with time and exposure to more atheists with open minds and equal respect for my beliefs, things would begin to change and manifest differently inside of my head. I already have such Strong Respect for So many people here that I can Truly say this experience has been refreshing, eye opening and pleasant. I have never met this many atheists in one place that generally allow me my beliefs without jumping down my throat with two combat boots on. These are the types of things that alter someones thinking, like myself. It will take time, but I have hope that it is possible Because Of the awesome people I am currently mixing and mingling with. I believe at this point, we've already figured out what it would take to quell this budding issue and it sounds agreeable enough to me. My hope in being a member here is to grow and to learn from our differences, to allow it to remold my perceptions and to evolve with other likeminded individuals. I am Enjoying the process of learning from others in this platform. I Like that i get no shit or grief over what I Say I believe. For me, I was just wanting it to be made crystal clear that We Are here and that we want the same things. Other than that, im having a blast here and beyond semantics, I am pleased as punch with everyone I have met, thus far, minus one... loose cannon whose name seems to evade my mind at this moment. Only one jerk, though, out of dozens more. These, to me, are GOOD RATIOS! hahaha

@Sadoi I just have come in here and really say, agreeing @AMGT, that there really isn't anything arrogant or finite about being an an atheist. Saying that the total absence of evidence of God justifies being an atheist is no more arrogant than saying a total absence of evidence for any other supernatural things justifies being a nonbeliever in those things. Now, if the evidence changes, I'll reconsider it. That's hardly arrogance. We're I an agnostic, I'd also have to be agnostic about the Islamic God, the Jewish God, the God Apollo and all the rest. Or, is agnostic just about the Christian God? I wonder. I don't see how you can be agnostic about only God and be consistent. I hate to be in dispute with fellow brother and sister non believers, but equating atheism with arrogance is just a button pusher for me. Sorry.

@AMGT the position that atheist takes is that there certainly is no God, period. Not that if proof were provided, positions would change because under those terms one could easily be considered an Agnostic. Most of the atheist I have encountered, their stance is that there is no God, they also leave no room for the possibility because to be open to the possibility would ruin contrary to their beliefs as an atheist. This is why I came to identify myself as Agnostic because I cannot logically say there is/are no god (s) even though at this phase in my life, I see no proof to support that theory. Despite that, I am still open to the possibility, hence I cannot commit myself to atheism. When I did claim atheism, I was starting there is no God. There was no room in that belief system to say "if and when there's is a way to validate such a thing As God, I would believe.". Atheism flat out, says there is no God, not there may be no god, and i simply do not know for sure. To me, that Is taking a stance of absolutes. I'm not saying in some far away future, if the existence of a supreme being were too be totally provable that other atheist wouldn't change their tunes. I'm saying that, to me, making a clear and concise decision that there is undoubtedly no god seems arrogant because, again, For me, that's a mighty risky move full of certainty in the face of the possibility that Just because we correctly have no proof of a God does not mean there is Absolutely no god. And the atheists I Have encountered have fought me rabidly, tooth and nail, saying I was ignorant to even leave open the door to the potential ideology that a god "could" exist and I was unwilling to say I Know There Is/Are No God(s). I could never bring myself to completely closing the door on possibilities. Just because we cannot currently Prove the existence of God is not valid enough proof that this is a truism. If I were to claim atheism, that would be my claim. Not that If somewhere down the line proof is brought before me, I will change my tune. That would be more akin to being an Agnostic and not an atheist. I am unwilling to say for the remainder of my life that without proof of God,I simply will dismiss it as non existent. Instead, I choose the more Open ended claim of I cannot prove the existence or non existent of god, therefore I take the stance of "I don't know" either way. Again, for Me, Personally, that is arrogant simply because the fact that there is No proof of something existing doesn't mean it is Absolutely not possible. And it really is a point of semantics. To me, I see it as being cocksure, putting all your eggs into one "absolute" basket by saying there is no God, period. Not that there is no God, to the best of my knowledge because that leaves open the possibility for a "maybe" and atheists do not see a maybe in existence. I, however, do say there is a maybe and for me to Personally, claim otherwise would lend to my psyche a feeling of arrogance by staying an Absolute, as in:. There is No God.

As for the atheists of my past, oh geez, I could tell you horror stories about the battles they would provoke out of me. It was on the Daily that they came at me. They would look For reasons to bring up my Agnostic beliefs as a point of weakness. They would try to convince me it was ignorant to leave open the possibility for a supreme being in the face of the blaring lack of proof. To me, their beliefs in the opposite were Equitably ignorant to me. So to be honest, you and I may never see eye to eye on this. I Do understand where you are coming from, and you, as a person, I consider kind and you've always been nothing but genuine toward me, so yeah, I'm not keen on having to cause you any grief over my position and personal opinion, but this Is how I perceive it and for the very reasons you feel your stance is accurate and correct, I, likewise, feel the same about my own. Do I, personally, believe you are an arrogant person by nature? From what I've witnessed of you here at this forum, no, I wouldn't say You are specifically arrogant in nature. However in regards to atheism, yes, I do believe it is an arrogant claim to make because it is an absolute. Whether or not your opinion would change at a latter day if and when proof could be collected and validated is irrelevant at this point in the conversation because that is currently a moot point. However, I would personally rather take the stance of "it's possible" now, this early in the game, so that if and when it ever Did come to pass that a god existed, my Agnostic belief would have been accurate all along. For me, to claim otherwise is me claiming an absolute otherwise, I would be an Agnostic, not an atheist.

I'm not wanting to argue anyone's beliefs. I am merely stating My Personal belief in the matter and to me, in my mind (my mind, not anyone else's) I do see it as arrogant to choose to crush All possibility with no proof to support either the existence or non existent of a God. As for the friends I have around here that are atheists, on a personal level, I utterly enjoy them, I Respect Them, you as well. I Respect your rights and opinions Even If I do not agree with them on a whole. Likewise, the same can be said of my position. You may not agree with it, you may take offense to my beliefs and the wording (semantics) Of my beliefs, but that is the beauty of being a part of the world and if this community. We May Not always agree, but that in no way should be taken personally because I am not attempting to slight you. I could be no more guilty of defending my stance as you could be of defending yours. I don't want you to think I'm coming down on All atheists, because I am not. I am merely giving my personal view on the matter at hand. My hope is that we can move Beyond this discussion and learn to tolerate and understand one another better, whether or not we agree with one another.

@AMGT sorry there may be many typos in my response because I'm trying to text this all out in a cell phone, which I loathe to do, and I'm rushing to respond to you, specifically, while racing to get ready for the gym, then for work. Basically in in a total rush and didn't even have time to proof read before I sent. Hopefully it will be coherent and will make sense despite my complete distraction while typing it up and they potential for auto incorrect. Lol

@David1955 I'm sorry I was hoping to have time to respond to you as well, but alas, I am out of time! In the interim, please reference my response to AMGT. thank you. πŸ™‚

@AMGT What source told you there’s limits or bounds on the label atheist?

Uhh the dictionary definition of the word atheist, as well as the meaning of that title in and of the circle of atheists. Atheists, Directly. Otherwise, it would be agnosticism, not atheism.

". The semantic differences don't interest me and I am surprised how much energy is spent on them. "

The famous philospher wittgenstein said "the limits of my language are the limits of my world". Thus the clearer your language the clearer your worldview. This is why I take the time to clearly define what atheist, theist, and agnostic mean in relation to each other for myself and then share worldview with others.

@AMGT

I wouldn't say atheism is defacto arrogance either, sorry @Sadoi. I would go so far as to say unjustified however given that as there is no evidence for the claim neither is there any evidence in contra to it and thus adopting a position for or against, atheist or theist, is, to my agnostic mind, unjustified. But not arrogance or it's closely related cousin, hubris.

I will say, however, that Hitchens and Dawkins have given the role model of the arrogant atheist and that, like Sadoi, I see plenty of atheists in RL and on this site that have no problem adopting that role model. These are the atheists that overstep their bounds, that claim they KNOW gods don't exist even with no evidence to that effect and are just as bad as arroant theist that claim they KNOW gods do exists. So in this regard, I do see where Sadoi is coming from given that Atheist cut of that cloth see no problem in their arrogant attitude since, well "It works, bitches", right?

@David1955

"We're I an agnostic, I'd also have to be agnostic about the Islamic God, the Jewish God, the God Apollo and all the rest. Or, is agnostic just about the Christian God? I wonder."

Because it's the word of the day LOL I will say there is an arrogance in ONLY considering the judeochristian gods in any discussion of religion.

So yeah, the agnostic is a statement about god/s in general. And really it can be used on more than gods: for example, it's fair to be agnostic about william shakespere or string theory... some people claim they exist and are real, other that they aren't; an agnostic would claim it is equiprobably the shakespere did or did not exist while they would claim that there is no evidence for or against string theory.

@David1955 We're I an agnostic, I'd also have to be agnostic about the Islamic God, the Jewish God, the God Apollo and all the rest. Or, is agnostic just about the Christian God?

This is also a moot point since any godhead I could stand behind has yet to be represented by Any man made religion. All and none of those gods are and are not included. I personally believe all religions are man made, born of Mans mind and not of a supreme being, in my opinion. Thusly, if a supreme being did exist, I don't, seriously, believe that we have heard from it via holy texts because I view All religious texts as Non Points. I see them as written By and For man. I see those gods about as realistic as I would see superheros like Batman, the hulk, Green lantern, Wonder woman, et Al. Hence, I needn't cover them in my beliefs as an Agnostic. Any supreme being, I suspect, that if it existed, we have yet to hear From it directly. No way in hell would it echo the belief system of Males of that time period, mainly. Most religious texts were certainly not written for or about females. Therefore, my theory is that Only a man could be so cocky as to come up with a vast majority of the dogmatic garbage. I would assume we couldn't even begin to gauge the mind of Any supreme being and in that, it is almost ridiculous to believe Any God would be such a cruel, sexist pig as is depicted in most religious texts.

I needn't pick Any man made gods in order to claim agnosticism. That has little to no bearing on my beliefs as an Agnostic. I am unsure how you came to such a conclusion, to be honest.

I would then have to say ideem religious texts to be true. I do not. I do not believe Any religion/religious texts on the face of this planet, currently or in our theological past, is true or valid. Hence, they have no bearing on my beliefs as an agnostic or an atheist. Any god, in my opinion, that could exist, has yet to be represented by any human being in the history of our experience.

This is a moot point.

@TheMiddleWay we don't have to agree down the line, friend. πŸ˜‰ Again, i consistently repeated, "in my personal experience" and "from my life experiences, in My opinion" because in My Lifetime, I have mostly dealt with the latter sort of Atheist. The arrogant, asshole who is as extreme as a devout theist. As I also stated repeatedly, having found a site of this nature, with a more accurate representation of Actual Atheists of all mental shapes and sizes has aided to Help me begin to reform my opinions. Even still, I do consider claiming either Theism or Atheism an Absolute and in that, i consider it a flaw of logic and I consider Both arrogant to say you Know For A Fact. That is impossible, in my Agnostic mind. Just because I will Not agree with them on this one point of contention doesn't mean i consider them, on a whole, to be arrogant foolish assholes. This is, again, my opinion Only when it comes to atheism. Their arguments will not change my perceptions at this time, hence, either we can agree to disagree (me and those who've taken offense to my point of view) or they can move on along and limit their contact with me. I do still stand by my statement. I knew from the get-go it could easily be a lonely, one woman perch, but I would rather speak the truth of what "I Believe" rather than tip-toe around others here who Could take offense. It is easy to be offended. Defend yourself then and Expect me to defend myself also. This is a moot point. I will not convert over to send out apologies for my perceptions and, likewise, I do not expect that from any of them in return. If they take it as a personal slight in All they Are as a human being, that is them superimposing an assumption upon my words/my point. I have said time and time again, this is a Personal Opinion, yet it still seems to continue to arise. I also stated I am beginning to experience Healthy Atheist friends and perhaps certain things I feel Will change, but my belief that it is arrogant to go to one extreme or the other Applies in All Areas of my life. Any friends of mine who drink too much or overeat or become obsessive about one thing or another, I consider them ignorant and IF they attempt to argue in favor of An Extreme point of view or Action, I consider them arrogant to take such a stance of "Absolute Truth" in Any Area. This isnt just true of me in regards to "atheist/agnostic" topics. I am okay if I am the lone wolf on this one. I cannot deny it is how I feel and I refuse to lie about it, either. Perhaps it will change in time, perhaps it will not. Either way, it has nothing to do with attacks on anyones Person. If offense on ones belief is taken so dramatically, well, again, toughen up. People like me Do exist and we have a right to feel as we do, equally. I made this bed, MW, and I am more than willing to lay in it. πŸ˜‰ Im a tough girl. I Can take it. I have utmost respect for you and, i don't need a "Saviour." haha! Pun Intended. I just feel at this point, myself and those in disagreement with me need to simply agree we will Not see eye to eye on this. Period. My personal experiences have made me who I am. I am Still young enough to know I Can and will change and expand, but as for now, this Is what I feel. shrugs It is what it is.

2

I have only been a member a short while, and the way I found the sight was by typing agnostic. I clicked and joined. It has been my impression that there are at least as many atheists as agnostics which I would expect, and have no problem. I would not expect theist to be interested, unless they were having some doubt in their position of belief. I think W/O religion is a good tenet.

The core of this discussion as I phrased it is that an agnostic, the name of the site, is not in doubt about their position of belief but is rather "on the fence" in terms of the very core of the belief OR unbelief.

In other words, while a theist may doubt their beleif that gods do exists and an atheist may doubt their belief that gods do not exists, and agnostic doubts that either belief is well founded and thus has no belief either way.

Viewed this way, having agnostic as the site name should mean that atheists and theists are equally welcome as "fodder" for the agnostic to examine both of their claims... otherwise, an agnostic just becomes an atheist and the site name becomes a bit of a "bait and switch"

@TheMiddleWay Thanks for further or repeat explanation. I have only this experience with other agnostics and atheists. I have been under the impression that atheists don't doubt their belief that gods don't exist. Where the agnostic was a doubter. I guess the equiprobable term kinda throws me. When answering the questions for signing into agnostic.com I believe there was a what percent did you believe god exists? I think I choose the not very much category .01%.

So guess I am not equiprobable. That would be like 50/50 right? This is very new definition of agnostic to me. If my belief was that the odds were equal between God and no God then I would probably be a God guy. I don't believe there is a god. However I can't prove there is a god, or there isn't a god. Maybe this is a clear cut case of I don't know what the HELLπŸ™‚ I am. I know I am not on the fence.

I hope you can forgive my ignorance. I am sure I am guilty of simplifying the subject. I think adding religion could hinder this groups development.

Actually, they're are far More atheists here than Agnostic. I am one of the Agnostics, Middleway is an Agnostic, but beyond that, I'm not exactly sure who the Other Agnostics around here are. Haha pretty funny, if you ask me. "Atheists, raise your hands". (site turns into a sea of arms). "Agnostics raise your hands". (after the sounds of the crickets pause, I know for a fact you'd At Least see Two arms in the air). Hahaha. It's like that. πŸ˜‰

@Leutrelle Also, as one of the Agnostics around here, I actually listed my belief that a god "could exist" in the 1% and that no god exists in the 99% so, how much an agnostic does or doesnt believe that a god could exist is irrelevant. Middleway is listed at 50/50, yet we Both believe the Same thing regarding Agnosticism. The fact that he and I, Both, claim there is no proof for or against a god is not impacted by how much more (or less) each of us feels the probability for either or. The basic belief is the same. The percentages of "belief" have no bearing on the heart of the matter.

@Sadoi Ya I thought that may be the case just from comments I read.

@Leutrelle

Sorry for the 50/50. I too dont' think that is a good explanation for what an agnostic is but it's a popular one derived from the Dawkins Scale which has Atheists on one side of the spectrum, theists on the other and agnostics on the middle.

A much better view of agnostics is as you said it, a doubter. But we doubt both sides: we doubt that one can claim that gods exist or that they do exists. Further, like you said as well, I don't think atheists (in the general) have doubts. I think that is something they say because they know they can't justify their beliefs with evidence and thus they claim to have doubts but when you probe them on it, they actually don't.

@Leutrelle Agnosticism has NOTHING TO DO WITH BELIEF about the existence of god. It's about knowledge and whether or not it can be obtained. Agnostics are not "undecided" or "on the fence". They are affirmative in their claim that one cannot know whether god exists. If you're talking about beliefs, you're talking about theism or atheism.

@TheMiddleWay I think you are right about doubting both ways although I tend to recognize the doubt of god more. My origin of thought and the reason for the agnostic position was that atheism was another belief. I don't like to say that cause it probably irritates the atheist. I am glad we have had this conversation. It brings back to my original thought.

@Leutrelle yup, and hey, its great that you are curious and asking questions. no question is an ignorant question and curiosity is quite useful in this world. πŸ™‚

@JeffMurray Yes you are right. The word belief seems to roll out of my brain easier. I am still not clear why the word belief is taboo. The fence concept does seem like a 50/50 metaphor, and that does not bode well with me. In the moment I am thinking I am a very sloppy agnostic.

@JeffMurray uhh i beg to differ sir. That is not what we are saying at all. We Are on the fence. Both MiddleWay and I already confirmed and hit upon this point. We ARE undecided. Hmm... are you an Agnostic, sir? If so... maybe you can tell me, or even Us @TheMiddleWay what that entails in your opinion because so far, I disagree with Everything, on a whole, that you Just told @Leutrelle. It Has plenty to do with the belief, or disbelief about the existence of god. Yes, i agree with the second sentence, to a point... But the last remainder of your response, i FULL and COMPLETELY disagree with. Hmm... okay... i cannot even... backs away slowly Woa... that was utterly confusing there Jeff. shaking head What Agnostics are you talking to, sir?? Im Very Curious. or did you just hit up some dictionary meaning for "Agnostics and What they Believe?" Hmm... not at all any where close to how it is for me, as an Agnostic. Not at all. Nor does it ring anywhere near close to what Other Agnostics I know, believe. Hmm... alrighty then... have a NICE DAAAAY! (runs for the hills)

@Leutrelle Atheists don't like the word belief because theists try to equate their belief in god based on faith with our belief in no god that has no faith component. I don't need god to not exist. I have no vested interest either way. If he does, and we get undeniable proof, then my worldview changes the same way it would with any other scientific discovery. But to claim I'm "on the fence" or "undecided" is not accurate of my situation. It insinuates I'm trying to make up my mind or I'm searching for evidence or proof. I'm not. My brain has told me the proposition of god is stupid, so I don't believe it (making me an atheist), but I also know I can't possibly know there is no god (making me an agnostic). Other people try to conflate the words 'belief' and 'know' and the concepts 'knowledge of evidence' and 'knowledge of existence'. Trying to defend it they make fallacious arguments. I tried an analogy that was somehow found incomprehensible.

If I find a bloody collar in the road with my dog's tag on it, I have evidence to suggest that he got hit by a car. Depending on the amount of blood, what the weather conditions are, how resilient and old/young it is, if there were foot pints leading anywhere, etc. I can make educated guesses on whether or not my dog is still alive. Based on that evidence, I can believe the dog is still alive, but until I find him dead or alive, I can't KNOW whether or not he's alive. So you can believe something one way or the other without knowing. The only thing that is logically inconsistent is believing something that is incompatible with what you know.

@JeffMurray

"The only thing that is logically inconsistent is believing something that is incompatible with what you know.

...or don't know; which is why I find the following stance logically inconsistent.

"My brain has told me the proposition of god is stupid, so I don't believe it (making me an atheist), but I also know I can't possibly know there is no god (making me an agnostic)."

So you've made up your mind on the god proposition even though you can't possibly know there is no god. So you made up your mind on a subject even-though you can't possibly know if you are right or wrong on the subject?

If I gave you had no knowledge of a certain field of math and I gave you a problem and solution from the field of math, could you logically claim to believe my solution is right or wrong even though you have no knowledge in the field and thus no way to work it out on your own or test the solution?

Likewise, if you claim you have no knowledge of god's existence and yet you claim the solution to the "god does exists" problem is wrong, how is that logical to you? ... or any different or defensible than the theist under the same conditions claiming the solution is right?

@JeffMurray

"If I find a bloody collar in the road with my dog's tag on it, I have evidence to suggest that he got hit by a car. Depending on the amount of blood, what the weather conditions are, how resilient and old/young it is, if there were foot pints leading anywhere, etc. I can make educated guesses on whether or not my dog is still alive."

Exactly; you have KNOWLEDGE to inform your claims about the status of the dogs existence. But if you had none of the knowledge, if you were agnostic, how would you justify your claim that your dog was alive? If asked if your dog is alive or dead, would not the logically consistent, the honest answer be "I don't know"? πŸ˜‰

@JeffMurray I have enjoyed the thoughts shared. Now I have some thinking to do.

@Leutrelle

Me too and me too. πŸ™‚

@TheMiddleWay Dude, are you really that slow? You are creating a false equivalency. Your math analogy isn't a parallel. The ACTUAL parallel would be "If you had no knowledge of a certain field of math and I gave you a problem and solution, and thousands of mathematicians claimed the answer was correct without showing much work, while thousands of other mathematicians showed why those proofs they attempted to use were invalid. Could you claim to believe the solution is right or wrong even though you have no PROOF of the answer?" And the answer is yes, I can believe something based on a preponderance of evidence even though I don't have proof.

@JeffMurray

"Dude, are you really that slow?"

Does every one of your responses need to start with an ad hominem? If you can't focus your discussion to the issues at hand, then you are focusing on the wrong thing. 😟

" "If you had no knowledge of a certain field of math and I gave you a problem and solution, and thousands of mathematicians claimed the answer was correct without showing much work, while thousands of other mathematicians showed why those proofs they attempted to use were invalid. Could you claim to believe the solution is right or wrong even though you have no PROOF of the answer?" "

In our last interaction, you also tried to use the strawman, red hering, and false equivalence fallacies to dismiss my point. All you demonstrate is that you don't understand those fallacies as I will (again) demonstrate.

This is the "argument from authority", closely related to the "bandwagon" fallacy:
you are claiming that the solution is in/correct, because many other experts claims the solution is in/correct.... NOT because you understood why it was in/correct.
The scenario I presented was not that.
The scenario as presented was if YOU AND YOU ALONE could justify that the solution was in/correct as a way to inform your belief and, given that you lacked the math knowledge, that there would be no substance to your justification one way or the other.


If you wish to introduce experts into the scenario, then it's the case that you trust the experts and the evidence they provide such that the experts say something, so you believe in what the experts say. But there are two problems with this: one is that this attitude is on of "faith" in that you have faith that experts know what they are doing (but you can't double check as you lack their knowledge) and you have "faith" that the evidence they use (but you don't understand) is factual.

So the fact that we inject "argument from authority" and "faith" into the discussion is one problem with your scenario but here is the other, which also present in your dog collar scenario:

"And the answer is yes, I can believe something based on a preponderance of evidence even though I don't have proof."

So what is the preponderance of the evidence, one way or the other, in the case of the god claim?

@TheMiddleWay I'm sorry for asking if you were slow, that was wrong. I really thought you were trolling. Maybe you are genuine.

The reason it is not parallel is because you can't have the god question in a vacuum like you can the math question. There are hundreds of thousands of experiences mankind has had pitting science and the god question against each other (like believing the sun was a god and that tides were the will of the god of the sea, etc. ad nauseam) The knowledge of these experiences cannot be unlearned, and they most certainly can inform one's decision to believe or not. No one has the same set of experiences, the same physical composition, or biochemical reactions as any other, so all of these things produce different belief outcomes in each individual. To say that any knowledge that can inform your decision invalidates the ability to claim you can't know god doesn't exist is patently false. Similarly, to claim that this same pool of knowledge means that claiming you don't believe is logically inconsistent is also false.

As for your claim that my argument was a fallacy...

First of all, that is not what the argument from authority fallacy states. Again, you don't know your logical fallacies. Maybe look them up before trying to use them in an argument? The fallacy states, "Using an authority as evidence in your argument when the authority is not really an authority on the facts relevant to the argument." Last time I checked, mathematicians were authority figures in the field of mathematics.

Secondly, in my parallel, you'd be claiming that one believing that the tides are caused by the moon and not Poseidon is fallacious because they only believe it because scientists told them. Which for everyone is 100% the case. I've never performed, independently without a base of knowledge from any of the world's previous scientists (or technically, any machinery or measurement apparatus that others claim works in the way they say) to determine what causes the tides. (Which again, is not a logical fallacy because scientists of that field would be authority figures.)

As for your claim that trusting experts (i.e. having faith that what they say is true) is also not parallel because their knowledge can be gained by others and verified. They have reproducible evidence for their claims and they can, and have, been independently verified. You can't really be suggesting that lay people who believe the sun is a ball of burning gasses are doing so fallaciously?

So, to me at least, the preponderance of evidence is that for thousands of years, many of the things mankind has attributed to the powers of god have been scientifically explained. Furthermore, looking at the trajectory of scientific discovery, it is feasible that all but one other proposition, which is, insofar as I can surmise, possibly just a man-made contradiction that won't likely be conquered by scientific discovery, and that is the dichotomy of the line vs the first law of thermodynamics, could be answered by science. All this, at least to me, is an overwhelming amount of evidence that god does not exist, but is obviously not proof that he doesn't. Hence, I don't believe god exists (atheist) but I can't know for certain he doesn't (agnostic).

@JeffMurray

You yourself said it: "many of the things mankind has attributed to the powers of god have been scientifically explained" Many, but not all, because there are places science cannot reach now or maybe ever. And further, when you state that "possibly just a man-made contradiction that won't likely be conquered by scientific discovery" you admit that science can't touch it but make the unjustified claim that this is because it is man-made rather than because the god hypothesis, that "god", is inaccessible to science by design... that he/she/it exists and that existence is beyond science to prove.

The god of the gaps is a terribly difficult god to dismiss in other words. πŸ˜›

@JeffMurray

"Hence, I don't believe god exists (atheist) but I can't know for certain he doesn't (agnostic)."

Which brings us back to discussion at hand:

Having a "preponderance of the evidence" is not being "without knowledge".
Thus, justifying atheism as you have, with evidence, with knowledge, stands in contradiction to being agnostic, which claims there IS no evidence, no knowledge.

@TheMiddleWay NO. IT. DOESN'T. Again, you are conflating knowledge of evidence with knowledge of the thing you have evidence for. And here is where I use your own words to prove to everyone else, but probably not you, that you are wrong. You stated, "Having a 'preponderance of the evidence' is not being 'without knowledge'." The preponderance of evidence I cited in this instance was scientific explanations of things once attributed to god which we are all aware of and cannot unlearn (e.g. believing the sun was a god and that the tides were caused by a god). Things you most certainly know. So, since you claim, "Having a 'preponderance of the evidence' is not being 'without knowledge'" it is no longer possible for you to claim you are agnostic!

You can't have it both ways. Either the evidence I cited is enough knowledge that you can't claim to be agnostic, meaning since you have said knowledge you can't claim to be agnostic, -OR- it isn't enough knowledge that you can no longer claim to be agnostic meaning my claim that I am an agnostic atheist is logically valid -OR- you pretend to be so ignorant that you don't possess the knowledge I cited in my example that you claimed prevented agnosticism. So which is it? Wrong, wrong, or mind-numbingly ignorant?

@JeffMurray

"Wrong, wrong, or mind-numbingly ignorant?"

Now instead of starting your posts with ad hominems you end with them... not much improvement IMO. 😟

" So, since you claim, "Having a 'preponderance of the evidence' is not being 'without knowledge'" it is no longer possible for you to claim you are agnostic!"

That is correct and the basis of my original post.

" meaning since you have said knowledge you can't claim to be agnostic,"

This is what I've been saying all along: in light of the knowledge you posses that informs your atheism, it makes sense to claim atheism but no sense to claim agnosticism. And further, because there is no atheism (or theism) that exists without basis of knowledge, gnostic atheism or theism makes sense, but is redundant.

@TheMiddleWay That's not an ad hominem, that was a question of which of the three possible outcomes you were choosing? Are you saying it's an ad hominem to ask someone to recognize their position is wrong?

"in light of the knowledge you posses that informs your atheism, it makes sense to claim atheism but no sense to claim agnosticism."
But you possess that that same knowledge; you are saying that you shouldn't be able to claim agnosticism, but that's all you claim. Why does your conclusion say you can't do the exact thing you do?

"because there is no atheism (or theism) that exists without basis of knowledge, gnostic atheism or theism makes sense"
Similarly, you say that any belief or even lack of belief carries a base knowledge that precludes one from claiming agnosticism, yet that's the very thing you do.

@JeffMurray

"That's not an ad hominem, that was a question of which of the three possible outcomes you were choosing? Are you saying it's an ad hominem to ask someone to recognize their position is wrong?"

When one of the options is "mind-numbing ignorant", clearly, yes.

"But you possess that that same knowledge"

No, we don't as I'll try to demonstrate

Working with knowledge as a "justified true belief" (JTB), you see absence of evidence as evidence of absences and thus use this absence of evidence as justification for it to be true that gods are absent Hence, you have your JTB in the absence of evidence, knowledge, to informs your claim that gods are absent.

However, I don't see absence of evidence as evidence of absence. Thus, that same absence of evidence that you used as justification for it to be true that gods are absents I cannot use to justify any claim. Thus I cannot claim knowledge, I cannot be justified nor claim it true, that gods are absent by this lack of evidence.

In short, you claim that absence of evidence gives you knowledge while I make no such claims.

"Similarly, you say that any belief or even lack of belief carries a base knowledge that precludes one from claiming agnosticism, "

Exactly. And in not claiming agnosticism, that I neither believe nor don't belief, I don't claim base knowledge, I claim I am "without knowledge", "without a justified true belief".... I know a lot of reasons atheist and theists use to support their position, but I find most of them unjustified, not true, and thus not JTB, not knowledge.

@TheMiddleWay

I do not claim an absence of evidence is the same as evidence of absence. That is a formal fallacy: denying the antecedent. If A, then B, Not A, Not B. I am claiming that the evidence itself is evidence of absence (but not proof). For instance, what we've learned about the evolutionary process is evidence that there isn't an outside force acting on it. We know how it works and don't see things that contradict it. Regardless of all of that, this still means you continue to conflate knowledge of evidence god doesn't exist and knowledge that god doesn't exist. I don't know if we agree on this or not, but I don't believe it is accurate to claim I believe something I know (I would just say I know X), so I think we at least agree that it is nonsensical to be a gnostic [a]theist. I think 'know' and 'believe' are distinct words that convey different levels of certainty. Of course, we disagree on everything else, so I probably shouldn't have added one more thing to argue about onto the pile.

So you really have no beliefs whatsoever that are based on evidence for which you don't have proof? Like you would never say, "I believe the Golden State Warriors are going to make the playoffs."

@JeffMurray

I could have sworn you held the position that the lack of evidence of gods was evidence to you that there are not gods. If not, sorry I attributed that to you. So if that is not your position, then take that example as showcasing how similar evidence can lead to different notions of knowledge and the "you" to be in the general not specific.

"So you really have no beliefs whatsoever that are based on evidence for which you don't have proof? "

I'm a physicist. I don't have that luxury. This is why I'm agnostic on string theory: it's nice story on paper but there is no empirical proof that it's real or not; we can't (as of yet) check to see if the strings are really there or not. Likewise with any creation mythos, from biblical genesis to scientific big bang: they are all nice stories but there is no empirical proof that they are real or not; we can't (as of yet) go back in time and check whether the story is true or not. This is why I have no trouble examining evidence for and against string theory and weighting each upon it's merits and likewise for creation mythos.

Place this in distinction to the Steelers: I know they are real, I know what their true performance was this season and the last, I know that their opponents are real and what their true performance was as well. Thus I have JTB, knowledge, to inform my belief that they would make it to the super bowl... I needn't be agnostic on the issue. Of course, that belief was proven wrong (Grrrrr 😟 ), but that goes to show that beliefs aren't about being right or wrong, but believing your are right even though, as a belief, you could be wrong. Put this in distinction to my KNOWING the steelers were going to win. Then I would be making a stronger claim that there is no way they will lose... I use JTB to claim that it's justified and it's true that they will win. See how there are levels, JTB to inform a belief or JTB to inform another JTB

Likewise, as an atheist, you have JTB, knowledge, informing your belief that gods don't exists but not a JTB that gods don't exist.... you have knowledge informing your belief but you don't claim to have knowledge that informs further knowledge Of course, in having a belief, you could be wrong, but again belief is not about being wrong or right and thus the whole "I don't know that I'm right" is part and parcel of any belief and another way of seeing why adding "agnostic atheist" to say "I believe I'm right but I don't know I'm right and so I could be wrong" is unnecessary.... when you say "I believe god's don't exist" it goes without saying that it's only a belief and thus you could be wrong.

Now I know (pun intended) what you might be thinking at this point: when a theist says "i believe in god" they aren't allowing for any chance they are wrong... they believe and so it has to be and so it is and there is no doubt. They claim they have faith exactly because they know god is real, not because they just believe it.. And you'd be right to criticize them on this for despite your charges taht I conflate belief and knowledge, they DO conflate the two... they use "believe" where we would use "know"... they use a word with uncertainty implicit in it, "I believe", with one that has certainty in it "I know"... atheists are partial to this as well and why they use agnostic atheist to mean "I believe but I don't know" but really, at the end of it, if you believe you don't know (lacing the justified and true portion of JTB) and if you know you already believe, as discussed before.

(disclaimer: I think the above is coherent but it's late, it's been a long day, and thus I'm not sure it's 100% cognizant LOL; I leave it up to you to discover any inconsistences, real or otherwise).

@TheMiddleWay Sorry it took so long to respond. There's a lot to unpack there.

First of all, for someone who is calling out the agnostic atheist for oxymoronic [redundant] wording, I can't understand why you would use the phrase Justified True Belief. A. If it's true, of course it's justified. B. If it's true I don't think it's a belief any longer, it's knowledge. (Edit: which after finishing the post and adding the definitions, it appears that is actually the definition for 'knowledge'.) Furthermore, I don't know why you'd label your belief that the Steelers would make it to the Superbowl as a JTB (read: knowledge) when it was, in fact, a false belief.

At the beginning of your response to the belief question you claimed you don't have that luxury, then went on to explain that you do, in fact, have beliefs based on the evidence you've observed about things you couldn't know. So you believed the Steelers would make it to the Superbowl based on what you learned, but you couldn't know for sure they would. I don't see how this is not an exact parallel to how people who label themselves agnostic atheists feel. You may claim that what you learned about the concept of god doesn't count as evidence at all, but it absolutely could for others (we don't all share experiences, brains, and brain chemistry). So just like you believed the Steelers would make it to the Superbowl, I don't believe there is a sentient god that created the universe, yet we both know we can't possibly know these things.

"the whole 'I don't know that I'm right' is part and parcel of any belief"
Of course, that goes without saying, but that's not what we mean by agnostic. We aren't saying, "but I may be wrong" or "I don't know", we're saying, "but I know I can't know". That is a very important distinction. Maybe this is why you think all combinations of [a]gnostic and [a]theist are redundant, when in fact it's only the gnostic theist.

Do you agree that 'atheist' probably shouldn't need to be a word? We don't have words for people who don't believe in other propositions there's no evidence for. What is the name for people who don't believe stuffed animals become animated while you're sleeping? If that became a prevalent belief, however, especially as prevalent as a belief in god, we would probably come up with one. Same is true for 'agnostic' I suppose. Why do you need to claim you know you can't have knowledge about something NO ONE has knowledge about? Do we have a name for a person who can turn himself inside-out? No, because no one can. These are seemingly silly words, yet they exist and are extremely prevalent, popular, and emotive. You spent several minutes typing out what you knew would be my rebuttal, yet didn't see why it was so important. You seem like a guy that likes to avoid confusion, yet knowing there is the potential for confusion on this point, you dismiss it as "oxymoronic", redundant, or unnecessary. 'Atheist' and 'agnostic' have different meanings and deal with different things. And regardless of whether or not you think they are always redundant instead of just redundant in certain combinations, they have become vital in helping to define ourselves. I'd like to point out that this very issue has dominated hours per day for weeks now, and I'm quite certain this site is not the first time you've spent an exorbitant amount of time on this topic, yet even in a room primarily filled with people who identify as one or more of the following, we can't agree. Doesn't that speak volumes about how vitally important it is to use the words we already have defined to be as clear and specific as possible, regardless of whether or not we think it may technically be redundant, especially if we are going to try to use these labels with the general public as well?

Definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary
True: In accordance with fact or reality.
Knowledge: Philosophy True, justified belief; certain understanding, as opposed to opinion.
Believe: Accept that (something) is true, especially without proof.
Agnostic: A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God.
Atheist: A person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.

@AMGT @Leutrelle

@JeffMurray

"So you believed the Steelers would make it to the Superbowl based on what you learned, but you couldn't know for sure they would. I don't see how this is not an exact parallel to how people who label themselves agnostic atheists feel"

Recall that I said that because this belief was informed by knowledge, I didn't have to be agnostic about it.... I can be a plain "theist" and claim that I believe the steelers will win. This doesn't mean they WILL win, merely that I believe they will and have evidence to support my assertion

In analogy, imagine that you asked me if manchester united was going to win the Eurocup. I have no knowledge of their players, their history, nothing. As such, any belief I expressed of their winning would not be a real belief, it would be guesswork; I would have no evidence to support my assertion. I would call myself agnostic on their chances of winning as in "I can't render judgement due to lack of knowledge" or "I neither believe nor disbelieve that they will win". On the other hand, like the steelers example, if I did have knowledge about the team, their players, etc, then I could not call myself agnostic because I have knowledge informing my belief.

Bringing it back to theology, we have no evidence to inform our beliefs about gods. While I can go to a steelers game and see, with my own eyes, the games that will inform my belief and I can go online and record, by my own hand, the statistics that inform my belief, I cannot do the same with god game. As such, it is wrong to claim that god existence will win (theist) or lose (atheist) and I must remian purely agnostic. But that is me.... if you (in the general) do claim to have knowledge that informs your belief that god existence will win or lose, then you are no longer agnostic but are right to make the claim that your are theist or atheist.

"I'd like to point out that this very issue has dominated hours per day for weeks now, and I'm quite certain this site is not the first time you've spent an exorbitant amount of time on this topic"

It's interesting that you claim to certain on this considering you don't have any knowledge to back your point up, just our current interaction. πŸ˜‰ And this demonstrates the dangers of believing something, or worse, being certain of something, without knowledge to back it up... of being an agnostic a/theist and believing something without knowledge to back it up. πŸ˜‰

@TheMiddleWay Should I wait for you to respond to the rest before I reply?

@JeffMurray W/O a vote I think you two are stuck in a draw.

@JeffMurray

I've responded as much as I want to; I'm not going to get into a separate debate regarding the need for the word "atheist', though I'll gladly chime in if you made a separate thread on the topic πŸ˜‰

@Leutrelle

LOL... to be fair, philosophers for hundreds if not thousands of years have been pontificating and elaborating on the meaning of the words "belief" and "knowledge" and "truth" etc. That is why I never see discussions like this as win, lose, or draw but as exercises to test how I view myself, how I view others, and how others view my views.

@TheMiddleWay Well I guess some one has to do itπŸ™‚

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If you truly believe that gods existence or non-existence are equiprobable wouldn't following any specific religion mean that you are choosing a side?

Why do you find the term agnostic atheist to be contradictory?

uh-oh. You had to ask that one question, didn't you? lol!!

"If you truly believe that gods existence or non-existence are equiprobable wouldn't following any specific religion mean that you are choosing a side?"

That is correct. Choosing a religion means you've chosen the theist side. And my problem with the footer is that rejecting all religions means that you've chosen the atheist side. Yet the agnostic chooses neither side but is free to examine both sides for their merits and deficiencies.

In regards to your other question, I've a whole other thread where we can discuss this.

Please review the posts there and by all means, add to the discussion there.

[agnostic.com]

@TheMiddleWay ooh yes! Thank goodness you linked him to the Other thread! I was envisioning this thread in the midst of Blowing the heck up with superimposed threads from the link above transferred to this one! What a relief you posted the link! Hahaha

For the love of god do not click that fucking link. You will regret it. (Unless you want to see me prove him wrong and then give up because he still couldn't grasp it.)

Wait, I have another one...
Don't bother with that link, it's just Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up.

Uugh, I clicked that link once. It takes you to the circle of hell where all you do is try to divide by zero.

If train A leaves point A at 60mph and train B leaves point B at 40mph, how long after clicking that link will you want to gouge out your eyes and shoot yourself in the head?

@TheMiddleWay Isn't it a binary, regardless of knowledge. Either you believe (theist) or you don't believe (atheist).

@icolan

Not regardless of knowledge, because honest belief is informed by knowledge; anything else is guesswork and not binary because "I don't know" is always a third option. Let me give you an example

Assume you have no proficiency in math. Assume I asked you if you believe a certain math problem is correct. Would you be able to say you believe or don't believe the results of that math subject?

I propose to you that the only honest answer is "I don't know".

After all, lacking proficiency (knowledge) of the math subject, you would lack the tools, the process, the concepts to inform you belief one way or the other. If you were to claim you believed that math was correct, you don't have the knowledge show me why you believed that math was correct and your belief is guesswork and nothing more; likewise if you believed the math was incorrect.

Now apply this to the god problem. If you have no knowledge of god/s (which I claim nobody truly has), then on what is your belief or unbelief in god informed upon? Many claim that the absence of evidence for god/s is proof that they don't exist. But the problem is that there are many things that we know exist today for which there was no evidence in the past, like electrons and dna. So as the saying goes, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". In fact, in order to claim god doesn't exist, one needs evidence of that non-existence, such as (using biology and physics again) proving that the humors and the aether doesn't exist.

So in conclusion, "I don't know" is the third option to "i believe" or "I don't believe" that agnostics take

@JeffMurray What link do you make reference to?

@JeffMurray wait... are you referring to MiddleWay?? And this is what you propose:

(Unless you want to see me prove him wrong and then give up because he still couldn't grasp it.)

HAH! okay, if you cannot even tolerate clicking the link and reading his thread, how the heck can you possibly believe you can prove him wrong because I, for one, would Loooove to see you do that! haha! I think i'd get a full on hearty laugh if you did. But, you know... some people are fond of an intellectual butt kicking from time to time so, by all means, I place a Ton of faith in MW's ability to defend his point. I mean, you are critisizing him without even offering up one single point to support your theory that you can disprove his. Hmm... seems more like stones, glass houses.. ahem. First, come up with an argument to disprove his point/prove your point, rather than simply making jokes and critisizing. I am interested to see your abilities and to gauge your perception of his notions.

Look, I'm not blowing smoke up MiddleWays ass here either. Truth be told, he is pretty brilliant and if you are saying you have an argument to make, Then make it. I wait with bated breath! This, I would like to see. Soo... if you can't handle the convo, say something, Anything, of substance in its steed, please. πŸ˜‰

Hey, I Could legitly Rick Roll you, though, if you would like. πŸ™‚

@icolan See what I mean about him conflating the words 'believe' and 'know'?

@Sadoi Did you even read the other thread? I proved him wrong twice on it and he just used fallacious arguments and pretended he didn't lose. Go read it and get your hearty laugh. You were thanking goodness he posted the link and you don't even know what was said there?

@JeffMurray yes, i did. you proved him wrong according to Whom? you? him? both of you collectively? please elaborate. i havent revisited in a bit so give me some inspiration to do so.

@JeffMurray i am a part of that thread, actually. πŸ˜‰

@TheMiddleWay Regardless of proficiency in math, you are not asking if the answer is correct or not, you are asking if I believe the answer is correct which has nothing to do with the math, it has to do with faith in whomever is presenting the problem and their skills in math. The answers are either I believe the presenter is correct or I don't believe, Theist or Atheist.

If you had asked if I know if the answer is correct, that requires knowledge and proficiency in math. The correct answer there would be either I know or I don't know, Gnostic or Agnostic.

On the god problem, if someone has no knowledge of a god or gods, then their belief or lack thereof is based on the evidence or lack thereof. Theists believe there is a god and have accepted the evidence as presented by the elders of their religion. Atheists do not accept the evidence that any religion has presented.

So in that vein, a gnostic theist is someone who has accepted the evidence their religion has presented as proof that their god exists so they know and believe. An agnostic theist is someone who believes but does not claim that the evidence that backs their belief is proof, they believe but don't know. An agnostic atheist is someone who has not accepted the evidence presented by any religion so does not know or believe.

I don't know cannot be a third option between I believe and I don't believe because to know and to believe are two different things. I don't know it the binary opposite of I know, just as I don't believe is the binary opposite of I believe.

There are too many cases of people believing something without evidence or believeing something despite evidence to the contratry to claim that belief requires knowledge. Honest belief doesn't even require knowledge, probably the only area I have faith or belief is when a trusted scientist discusses scientific theories and discoveries. I don't always possess the knowledge, skill, or background to understand what they are talking about and will believe their findings based on trust in their skill and knowledge.

After having read some of the thread you have posted, I am going to make this my last post on this thread as I don't think we will agree on this particular subject.

@icolan

Agreement is no necessary for an exposition and discussion of ideas so I'll leave you with this.

  1. Knowledge and belief are not two completely different things: one informs the other, as per "justified true belief" schema.

Thus a person that both "knows and believes" is being redundant (for as per JTB you can't have knowledge of something without believing in it) while a person that believes but doesn't know is engaging in guesswork (since as per JTB, with no knowledge there is no justification for their belief).

2)If you are uncomfortable with "I don't know" as a third option, then let me restated it as "I have no opinion on the matter" or "I can render no judgement on the matter" given that I don't have evidence to believe and I don't have evidence to disbelieve and thus cannot justifiably render an judgement or opinion one way or the other.

@TheMiddleWay

My apologies for posting again, but you are a very interesting person to have a discussion with.

For a rational person where knowledge informs belief, knowledge and belief are not two different things. In the supernatural belief world belief only requires acceptance of claims made regardless of and in some cases in spite of contradictory evidence.

You are talking about a progression from observation to hypothesis to evidence to theory to knowledge to belief, which is a perfectly acceptable path to justified true belief, and the only rational way to get there. In this sense, knowledge and belief are intertwined and inseparable, and an agnostic atheist would be redundant, but not oxymoronic.

In the rest of the world people can and do jump straight to the belief part skipping over all the knowledge steps to get there. Acceptance of claims made by their religion without ever testing those claims leads them to their belief without justification. Here an agnostic atheist is not redundant because religious people have divorced belief and knowledge, and a rational person responding to their claims with I don't know and I don't believe is being precise in the rejection of the claims.

You are correct, a person who both knows and believes is being redundant in a situation where there is actual repeatable proof for that belief. I believe that evolution is real, based on scientific evidence and the reading I have done on the subject, I have knowledge and belief, making me gnostic and theistic with regard to evolution.

Things get a little squirley in the area of supernatural beliefs, I have knowledge of their claims, but I don't have knowledge of the existence of their god(s), thus I am agnostic to the existence of their god(s). I also lack belief in their god(s), and thus I also identify as an atheist.

I make no claims to the state of existence of their god(s) and only reject their claims based on the lack of sufficient evidence, I am agnostic and atheist, lacking knowledge and belief. If they were able to provide sufficient evidence to meet my standards, I would become a gnostic theist, having knowledge and belief, I still wouldn't worship, but that is another discussion.

Thank you for your time on this topic, while we may not agree I believe this is as close as we will come. I can see your position and while I agree in rational discussions, I disagree in discussions with irrational individuals who skip over knowledge and go straight to belief, the precision of language is necessary there.

@icolan

And thank you as well. Agreement is rarely the metric by which I gauge success; only exposition of ideas and thoughtful discourse are gauges of success.

2

I consider myself an Agnostic, and you and I Do have very similiar ideas about what that entails, to us. I am with you on the notion that the site footer should be slightly altered in order to encompass all of our beliefs, or lack thereof. I suppose I never felt the need to be the "squeeky wheel" so to speak, but I have noticed that footer does not fully encapsulate what I, personally, believe, however I am rather used to being misunderstood at this point in my life. haha! I, too, like you, would prefer that be changed to support All of our views. I suspect you and I, although we are a working part of this community, are slightly different in our points of view verses that of the majority. I do find it uncanny that you are quite similarly aligned with my point of view, equally. I would say you and I are not the norm in this neck o' the woods, but even still, you are correct in your assertion that this Is listed as agnostic.com, therefore the thinking would be that the site footer should align with said definition of "Agnostic" over the one that is presented and more properly represents an "atheistic" point of view. I think, MiddleWay, we are still the minority, but you do bring up a valid point. What of those like MiddleWay and myself? Yes, we might be fewer in number here, compared to atheist, but we do still exist in this community. We are prolifically active. We have and do respond to a vast array of members here. Should we not be equally represented as well? I suspect @Admin will accommodate this request being that they have never seemed unreasonable and I am so appreciative of their quick responses to all of our woes and I am a Huge Supporter of what they are attempting to achieve here. Thus far, I think, at least in my case, they've done good by me. I, too, would appreciate feeling included in the site footer, equally. I absolutely respect the view points of all the people here whom I have begun friendships with. I take their reasoning as valid and acceptable. Likewise, I would wish for the same in return. I probably wouldn't have even thought to ask for such things if not for MiddleWay having pointed it out first. Overall, I support his assertion and am in agreement with him because... I happen to believe the same thing, myself.

Sadoi Level 7 Jan 18, 2018

I want to reiterate what @Sadoi said that I've not felt ostracized by how I view my agnosticism and, quite the opposite, having to explain or define or defend it only helps to strengthen and refine how I view myself.

But for that very reason, again as @Sadoi said, we should not paint ourselves into a corner and waste the opportunity to (potentially) have a site that would welcome all views and allow all views to examine them for their merits and demerits.

After all, atheism is a good position, but it has problems. Theism is a good position, but it has problems. If anything, I see the agnostic as being the mediator who can take the good and take that bad and take them both and there you have the facts of life. πŸ˜€

@TheMiddleWay I was reading your response and as I got to the bottom and I'm reading aloud, I began thinking, "why is this familiar... Wait a minute... Wait a minutes... It's THE FACTS OF LIFE!". That is too much Tootie! Watch where you're going on those skates! You might run over someone's dogma! Sorry I'm still at work. Will respond more after I'm off the slave ship. I just had to respond to this, though, because I haven't laughed THIS HARD in weeks! I laugh, but Not like That!

@Sadoi

Yeah, my guess is only you are going to get that ref. πŸ˜‰

@TheMiddleWay oh, I got it okay! I lost my shit, thats how well I got it! I was laughing so hard I curled up in a ball because my ribs started to hurt after a few minutes of cackling!

@TheMiddleWay and that whole laughing event took place at work. I couldnt even stop to take a breath to explain to my co-workers what the hell was wrong with me! I tried, profusely, but it was impossible. So i gave up and laid down on one of the patient beds in the back office where I was doing charts because I couldn't stop. I sounded like a freakin donkey hee hawing! Im telling you, I have HONESTLY not laughed THAT hardcore in a long while! When I finally caught my breath and explained to my co-workers Why I was laughing as I was, they couldn't even understand. They didn't get it. I said the punchline repeatedly, "You know... The Facts of LIFE?? You take the good...? You take the bad...?? No...? No takers?" They did not get it. I suppose you are double correct. I Am the only one who gets that reference!

Oh well, you can KNOW that it was not lost on me! Fuck! You are so freakin funny, man! You're killin me smalls!

@Sadoi

It's definititely one of those "you had to be there" jokes. LOL

@TheMiddleWay and, based on our ages, we Were there. haha

2

This was an excellent choice. I have difficulty talking to the average person and to bring the intelectual together is a great way to broaden the thought process. I have often posted things on facebook and never get a reply.

1

I think we can debate our slogans all day. The point of the site as I understand it is a community to discuss our lives and experiences without presumptions of religious agendas. Just my 2 cents. πŸ˜‰

1

Ookaaay. Stick a fork in me. I'm done! tosses hands in air

Sadoi Level 7 Jan 19, 2018
1

Well, I suppose The community for Atheists and Agnostics.com would have been a bit long for a .com site. Pretty sure though that everyone signing up knew what they were in for, and balancing religion with secular world viewpoints probably wasn't it. I prefer the Antitheist approach myself, which is that religion does indeed poison everything.

"and balancing religion with secular world viewpoints probably wasn't it"

The point I'm making is that agnostic is exactly that: balancing religion with secular in the search for evidence of both. The fact that there is a majority of atheists and not theists can be due to many things but the fact that we DO see theists here goes to show that the agnostic label should attract both sides of the debate, as it where.

0

Consider these quotes from T. H. Huxley, the originator of the term "agnosticism", in support of why "without religion" is a poor tagline with named after the ideology he espoused:


"Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method, the essence of which lies in the rigorous application of a single principle. That principle is of great antiquity; it is as old as Socrates; as old as the writer who said, 'Try all things, hold fast by that which is good';"

If we are "without religion", we are not trying all things. If there are things "with religion" which are good, then we must hold fast to them.

By extension, if you feel there is NO good to religion, then one is no longer agnostic for one is not willing to "try all things" and the site name stands in contradiction to it's given intent.


β€œAgnosticism is of the essence of science, whether ancient or modern. It simply means that a man shall not say he knows or believes that which he has no scientific grounds for professing to know or believe. Consequently Agnosticism puts aside not only the greater part of popular theology, but also the greater part of anti-theology. On the whole, the "bosh" of heterodoxy is more offensive to me than that of orthodoxy, because heterodoxy professes to be guided by reason and science, and orthodoxy does not.”

Notice that it puts aside theology and anti-theology. Thus if we are willing to put aside theology and welcome atheists, by this quote, we must also be willing to put aside anti-theology and welcome theists


"β€œI am too much of a skeptic to deny the possibility of anything.” "

And if we are "without religion", then we deny it's possibility, something T.H. Huxley is clearly against.

[goodreads.com]

0

The debate over gods Is not even good philosophical exercise. The discussion always leads to one big pseudo intellectual circle jerk. So many words to go nowhere. There are LOTS of reasons to not believe the religiously inspired fairy tales, but not one reason to believe that any of them have any fact value at all.
Are we looking forward to our future or sheepishly clinging to the echoes of our ancestors chanting in their caves.
I so wish I were the first to discover that there are no such things as deities. Thankfully though I am not.

Furthermore, the debate over the definitions of agnostic and atheist is fucking ridiculous. If a room full of agnostic and/or atheist people can't even settle on a definition, why the fuck would anyone expect labeling himself as one or both of them to an 'outsider' will mean anything whatsoever. We will all have to explain what we mean by whatever label we use, so ultimately this argument is exasperatingly stupid. For me, however, it has become an exercise, a morbid masochistic exercise, to see if I can get one person to recognize faulty logical form and fallacious arguments.

0

The debate over gods Is not even good philosophical exercise. The discussion always leads to one big pseudo intellectual circle jerk. So many words to go nowhere. There are LOTS of reasons to not believe the religiously inspired fairy tales, but not one reason to believe that any of them have any fact value at all.
Are we looking forward to our future or sheepishly clinging to the echoes of our ancestors chanting in their caves.
I so wish I were the first to discover that there are no such things as deities. Thankfully though I am not.

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