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It's been almost three years...

Discussion in 'Agnostic DIR' started by Stevicus, Feb 15, 2019.

  1. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Whats to post?
     
  2. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I am the one who naps.
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    This is better than the Strong Atheist DIR, where
    only strident comments are allowed (no questions).
    The mods are a strange bunch, eh.
     
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  3. Yazata

    Yazata Member

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    I was responding to the succession of posts up-thread that all essentially agreed that agnostics don't know anything.

    Of course, if an agnostic knows that agnostics don't know anything, then they would seem to know at least that.

    So I'm inclined to think that interpreting agnosticism as complete and total skepticism is self-contradictory.

    Agnosticism isn't synonymous with total skepticism.

    In real life, agnostics have rarely if ever denied the possibility of any sort of knowledge whatsoever. Thomas Huxley, who coined the word in the 19th century, was talking about how he differed from all those who insisted that they already knew the secret of the universe: theists, atheists, philosophical idealists, materialists and all the rest. Huxley was damn sure that he didn't know what the ultimate answers were and was reasonably certain that nobody else did either.

    Agnostics know where they live, where they work, that jumping off cliffs isn't a good idea, that putting their hands on a hot stove isn't a good idea either, they can recognize their friends and family, and have all kinds of everyday knowledge like that.

    What they don't know is what the universe ultimately is, how it originated, how it got the order that it seemingly displays, what its purpose is (if any) and the answers to questions like that. The religious and metaphysical stuff.
     
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  4. columbus

    columbus Conservative Catholic from Hell

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    Maybe this is the problem.
    Agnostics do know a great deal. Among the things we know is "If there's a God or not, nobody's got credible evidence on the subject."

    Personally, I believe in God. I see God as the answer to the question "Why is there something, rather than nothing?"

    What I don't find credible is people who reduce God to a deity and then go on to make confident assertions about their deity and expect me to take them as an authority on the subject.

    If there is a deity who wants me to believe something, I'd believe it. But humans claiming to know what God wants me to believe or do?
    Nope.
    I don't trust humans that much. None of them. Not even myself.
    Tom
     
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  5. Yazata

    Yazata Member

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    When I was a philosophy major (early 1980's) the word 'atheist' was interpreted in the academic world to mean one who believes/asserts/claims that the proposition 'god exists' is a false proposition. Effectively the denial of god's existence.

    Then (I first became aware of it in the 1990's on the old usenet group alt.atheism) atheists started insisting that atheists merely lacked the belief that 'god exists', without necessarily believing that 'god exists' is false.

    I believe that idea originated with Anthony Flew's distinction between 'strong atheism' (the view above that 'god exists' is F), and 'weak atheism' (simply lacking the belief that god exists without necessarily asserting god's nonexistence).

    There seemed to me to be several motives for this move to a new atheist emphasis on 'weak atheism'. For one, it enabled atheists to insist that newborn babies are born into the pristine purity of atheism (they lack belief in anything including god) and only subsequently are corrupted by society. Hence atheism is supposedly mankind's natural state. And it facilitated atheists insisting that atheism has no burden of proof, since atheists simply lack a belief and aren't asserting the truth of anything.

    I find both of those arguments to be unconvincing and even disingenuous.

    My point up above was less combative, I was merely suggesting that 'weak atheism' intrudes on agnosticism's historical turf and seemingly would include those who are reasonably certain that they don't already know the secret of the universe. (Including whether or not anything exists that corresponds to the idea 'god'.)

    Where a few decades ago they would have been classed as 'agnostics', today the atheists insist on including them under 'atheism's' banner.

    Hence fewer self-acknowledged agnostics and less action for a forum like this one.
     
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  6. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I am the one who naps.
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    I hardly "insist" upon what is common usage.
    It's simply how most use the term.
    The advantage of having agnostics under the umbrella
    of atheism is that the spectrum from weak to strong
    allows for middle ground between the extremes.
     
  7. columbus

    columbus Conservative Catholic from Hell

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    Maybe you should get out of your ivory tower and get to know the rest of us?

    Sorry.
    No.
    I adopted the atheist label(not banner), because religionists couldn't seem to understand nuanced world views that they hadn't been taught about by their religious authorities.
    Tom
     
  8. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    Not only Atheism has been watered down in colloquial language, but so has Agnosticism. Most people think of an agnostic as someone who states that he doesn't know whether a god exists.
    Both are not positions but mere statements of (non) faith.
    My Agnosticism (Huxleyan) doesn't only state that I don't know whether (a) god exists, my position is that I don't know about the existence or nature of god(s) and neither anybody else knows.
     
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  9. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Crazy Diamond

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    Well, it the lack of something is big testament to how big of ginormous **** we give about it, lmao. And, really, people say we can't decide, but look at Christians. They have an active board because they really can't decide. We, on the other hand, decided two things. We are apes and not getting any better than that. And, very importantly, meh.
     
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  10. columbus

    columbus Conservative Catholic from Hell

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    This is something religionists refuse to understand.

    We non-theists don't care what the theists believe. Just keep your hands off my privates and we'll all get along fine.

    But somehow, losing their ability to persecute me has turned into being persecuted.
    Tom
     
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  11. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Crazy Diamond

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    Shooting then a dirty glare is persecuting to them. No more school prayer is discrimination. Not being able to teach the Bible in public school is the persecuting Jesus said would happen as the conspiracy of secularists who are serving the devil fight to get rid of Christianity.
    For those who don't know, that is really how many fundamentalists do believe. Chick Tracts they don't see as nonsensical comedy, but very serious warnings. And they do want to ideally see all of society, including the state Christian.
     
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  12. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    and not just any Christian, but a particularly unpleasant, intrusive variety of Christian that can't leave nonmembers alone... Quaker would not be acceptable...Catholic would not be acceptable...
     
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  13. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    I must admit that I haven't put as much thought or study into the various philosophical positions of "strong atheism" or "weak atheism." I think my actual position is closer to ignostic, which is a term I first came across here on RF.

    The only time it really matters is when it might be related to politics - such as when school boards or state legislatures propose something which clearly violates the First Amendment or the Separation of Church and State. I think agnostics and atheists pretty much take the same side when it comes to issues like that.

    Apart from that, I've noticed how atheists and religious believers (mostly Christian, but not all) might go at each other in debate. An atheist might typically argue that there's no evidence to prove the existence of God, while their position also contains a pre-emptive response to the common retort of "Well, you can't prove that there isn't a God." This is why the atheist position is defined as "lack of belief" which requires no proof or evidence. They may not be trying to muscle in on anyone's turf, but it may just be a way of anticipating the counter-arguments and having a response ready.

    I suppose my own position would be similar, as an agnostic. I don't know that there is a God, so I don't believe in a God. So, since I also have a "lack of belief," I guess that makes me an atheist, too. Maybe I would be classified as a "weak atheist," but I'm not too thrilled with the term "weak." When it comes to secular politics, I actually have some pretty strong views.
     
  14. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    I thought the Strong Atheist DIR was just for those with strong odor.
     
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  15. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I am the one who naps.
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    That's optional.
     
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