2 1

QUESTION AtheIst vs agnostIc

I just found this and became an immediate fan of Jaclyn Glenn. She is an agnostic atheist who has a unique understanding of why many of us prefer not to be called "atheists".

I may contact her to see if she's ever confronted dogmatic atheists, those who KNOW there is/are no god(s), as she touches on in this video. Perhaps she hasn't discovered the term yet though it's clear she's met some.

Either way, consider me an atheist if you will. To call me one if you fail to confront, or even admit the existence of, dogmatic atheists is an insult.

This has been a GREAT day for discovering beautiful, intelligent AND humanist young women! Sadly none are models or performers. too. sigh

DangerDave 8 Mar 18

Post a comment Reply Add Photo

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


@Ersomething to avoid confusion, let's break this up.

Being that we're on the same page on definitions what are you doing about dogmatic atheists? Do you ever speak against them? Do you ever try to counsel them? I've yet to see one atheist on this site do so.

Sadly, most dogmatic atheists avoid replying to or even reading posts such as these. Like the theist, discussing it would undermine their sense of superiority, their core beliefs...their dogma.

Like it or not, atheism has an idiot fringe and, claim them or not, they claim you.

@Ersomething please reply to this thread for clarity. I may have to explain further to hlfsousa that yes, I know there are dogmatic atheists...and yes, I can be quite "dogmatic" about it!

Observe this phenomenon. This is why I find being called an atheist so highly offensive. People like him are definitely part of the reason atheists get bad press but it's worse in that your "moderates" do nothing to educate them...and they are your most vocal and controversial representatives!

@DangerDave I'm at work so I can't really give it the attention the discussion deserve at a glance, but I think we're on the same page definition wise?

As for speaking against them, if someone is using terms like knowledge in a discussion like this then I'll tend to correct them, mostly because people don't really recognize the terms they're using. I'll admit I haven't run into people misusing "knowledge" that much. Most of the extremists i deal with are people insulting theists for their beliefs. While i think their beliefs arent justified i don't go for outright personal attacks and I think that hyper aggressiveness is harmful to our cause, if such a cause exists.

When I get home I'd like to parse out whether atheists actually have a cause in the traditional sense, and what it means. I think at first glance I'd say I get why you dislike being associated with people misusing terms / making you look bad via extremism. I just think I'm at a point..It's terrible to say "I don't care that they claim me" and I'm not sure that's where I stand, but I'm more concerned with what I think rather than what people think I think..although that in turn leads to more assumptions and presupposition & other emotional hangup detrimental to discussion.

Once I get home I'll think about where I stand on atheists, causes and reputations. But I'm stopped at a gas station and gotta get to my driving haha. I'll re-read what you wrote as well and see if im even responding to the right points haha. This is just an at a glance response honestly

@Ersomething all is good and again you have understood why I would never, ever and under no circumstances self identify as an atheist even with full understanding by the most basic definition I am one.

For me it's not only personal. While it's hardly an agnostic platform either if we as humanists don't take a nonviolent antitheist stance we will continue with the theists' holy wars, social stratification and environmental destruction with a small, useless, whimpering voice of dissent.

In my strongly held opinion these are far greater issues than the labels we choose and vastly more important than needlessly debating the countless ideologies of the dogmatic, be they theist or atheist.


Dogmatic would imply dogma, the one thing atheism cannot have. Care to clarify?

I have a separate post with greater detail but see the video...though she doesn't state it as dogma, she simply states an atheist cannot KNOW a deity does not exist.

An atheist, by definition, does not believe in a god or gods. When you say you KNOW they do not exist you've created a dogma beyond the scope of atheism.

I wouldn't mind seeing the rest of that post, the one toy mentioned. But if you're going with the common philosophical definition of knowledge* you're right that an atheist cannot know there's no god. You prolly know this but for others benefit, knowledge is usually defined by having 3 components:

  1. A belief (duh)
  2. The belief must be true in order for it to be known.
  3. The belief must be justified.

Now an atheist believes there is no God so that's number 1. An atheist is justified in their belief due to the fact they do not see any evidence of divine intervention or what have you.

The issue is with number 2. With it not being observable, the truth value of the belief cannot be known to be true or false. With the truth value being unknown the justified true belief requirement for knowledge can't be met. So we can think theres no god, and have very strong feelings and feel very confident in our answer, but knowing is taking 1 tiny step too far.

*Intentionally leaving out Gettier problem stuff and just accepting the traditional model for knowledge for the sake of a clean argument

@DangerDave claiming to know is not a dogma, otherwise all scientific knowledge would be dogma.

@Ersomething too, I'm going with the Deists on the expanded definition of dogma till a better one comes along. (see link)

@hlfsousa And yes, claiming to know is the very definition of dogma: Science makes no claim of being incontrovertibly true. Since any scientific finding IS refutable given new evidence is why it is NOT dogma. (We've been down this road before. Do you just not get it? Perhaps you should seek out an actual scientific researcher to explain it to you.)

a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. - Google Dictionary

Semantics aside you both have the responses of refusing to see the problem and sweeping it under the rug as most atheists do, much in the same way moderate xians claim their extremists are not one of us.

This is another reason I find the label atheist repulsive as I am sure is the case for many theists.

Did you either of you even watch the video?

Dogmatic Atheism and Scientific Ignorance

@DangerDave You have just established dogma by your own definition, in case you didn't notice.

@DangerDave I'd re-read what I wrote. I was agreeing with you that it's intellectually dishonest to say you know something in a philosophical or absolute sense, and that if someone is an atheist that person cannot correctly claim knowledge. I don't need to prove the existence of a person who claims knowledge because that seems obvious that they exist. Those people I believe are misinformed about what it means to know something, which is why I'm just expanding on what it means to have knowledge in this context.
But honestly, the average person who claims to know something is not actually claiming absolute knowledge. The word know is often used to state a strong belief in something, and that's okay. In casual conversation its acceptable to use the word that way. It's just when claiming absolute knowledge that the conversation shifts.

And yes I watched the video. And the only issue I have is that she is wrong about the word belief. Belief just means to have a claim. It does not mean that belief needs to be true or justified. So "there is no god" is a belief. It surprises me that with her attention to definitions she misses that point. Of course, I believe that she is wrong about atheism not being a belief system as a result

She is correct mostly about agnostics. I didnt think it was a problem but yeah, agnostic doesnt have to mean equal footing. There are plenty of agnostic theists. But what s interesting is that agnostics are in a position of having knowledge that they can't know about the existence of God.

And you said semantics aside, but really thats all any of our arguments are, just plays on definition..

@Ersomething Yes we can't make a justifiable knowledge claim that there's no god. But that's not because the burden of proof is on us or because there's no data or evidence at all. The problem is in how gods are defined and framed. They are inherently non-falsifiable (due to being supernatural and non-examinable) and therefore, no supportable knowledge claim at all can be made for OR against their existence. However ... the logical default is unbelief when actual information about the truth claim is unobtanium. We do not afford belief to the unsubstantiated and certainly not to the unsubstantiatABLE.

@hlfsousa This is the same circular argument of the theist. Yes, there is proof of what I've described as dogmatic atheists, therefore I KNOW there are dogmatic atheists.

Apparently you are one. Answer a simple question: do you KNOW there is no god?

@mordant I'm at work now but I'd like to read it and give your post the attention it deserves, but just letting you know I'll get back to you 🙂

@DangerDave I do, and I also know your description of knowledge and dogma are crap.

@hlfsousa Then I'll be using you as an example of a dogmatic atheist. It must feel good knowing everything. Far be it from me to ruin that illusion for you.

@DangerDave right back at ya

You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:39513
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.