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Featured Why aren't there more agnostics?

Discussion in 'Agnosticism' started by Samantha Rinne, Feb 24, 2018.

  1. Ponder This

    Ponder This Well-Known Member

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    Within agnosticism there is a difference between people who say, "I don't know" and people who say, "I can't know". Maybe people who don't know should be motivated to know and maybe most people are disinclined to remain in the zone of "not knowing" for too long because they crave resolution to uncertainty.

    But if agnosticism is going to be a position that a person takes and defends, then what they are defending isn't merely that they "do not know", but that they "can not know". If it is possible for them to know, then they are simply defending their laziness as you say. If it is not possible to know, then the tendency is to not care about it because nothing comes of spinning ones wheels round trying to know the unknowable.

    There are many things that historically people have tried to figure out but that don't seem to lead anywhere. I think the Buddha talks about this somewhere... things that can be contemplated that don't lead to enlightenment but instead lead to the endless spinning of the mind.
     
  2. Milton Platt

    Milton Platt Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like he was talking about theism......
    Since even adherents to all the numerous versions of a god uniformly tell agnostics and atheists that there is no possible way to empirically demonstrate that their god actually exists, it is no wonder that the number of agnostics and atheists are rising. When someone postulates that something exists and then admits there is not any way to actually know it does (as opposed to feeling, or believing, or wishing), that kinda settles the question for many people. When someone defines their god in such a way that it becomes logically or internally inconsistent, it poses a problem. So there is no reason to engage in the "endless spinning of the mind".
     
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  3. ADigitalArtist

    ADigitalArtist Well-Known Member
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    I agree that you either believe in gods or don't, and that's what a/theism covers. But I don't believe a/gnosticism is answering the same question. (And i/gnostic another, and a/patheist another.) Rather that there is a difference between asking belief and knowledge or certainty. Which is why you can be either an agnostic/weak atheist or a gnostic/strong atheist.
    For example, I don't just believe, I know there isn't a plesiosaur in loch ness because I understand that the biosphere of the loch couldn't support a animal that size let alone a population of them. My knowledge would make me gnostic a-plesiosaur. If my position was 'there simply wasn't enough evidence to conclude there is a plesiosair' aka 'I'm not sure but I dont believe' then I wouldn't be one. It'd be an agnostic/weak position.

    These terms have been in circulation in philosopjy discussions since long before we were born. Agnostic atheism - Wikipedia
     
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  4. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    So how can not believing in something that had never in about 10000 years of deity worshipped been proven, evidenced, seen, the most failed concept ever, be a con?
     
  5. QuestioningMind

    QuestioningMind Well-Known Member

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    I still diagree. It's like a jury making a verdict in a trial. Just because a jury finds a defendant not guilty does NOT mean that the jury found the defendent innocent. They are simply stating that the prosecution did not provide sufficient evidence to concinve the jury that the defendent is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Now just because a jurist might feel in his/her heart that the defendent IS innocent, we don't say that jurist has STRONG not guilty verdict. Nor do we say that a jurist who thinks it's certainly POSSIBLE that the defendent committed the crime, but simply doesn't think that the prosecution provided sufficient evidence to find the guilty, as believing the jurist has a WEAK not guilty verdict. All the not guilty verdict reveals is that the jury did not think there was sufficient evidence to convict. BOTH believes that the verdict should be NOT GUILTY... whether or not they feel in their hearts that the defendent is innocent isn't factor. The same holds true for atheists. Its strictly a statement about a belief that a god(s) DO exist.

    Now an agnostic is someone of the jury who has listened to all of the evidence but still can't decide if they believe the defedent is guilty or not guilty. When they hear the case for not guilty, it makes sense to them, but then when they hear the case for guilty, it ALSO makes sense to them. So they are in a possition of not being able to determine if they believe the defendent is giulty or not and therefore would not be able to cast a vote on the matter. .
     
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  6. Ponder This

    Ponder This Well-Known Member

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    Lucky we aren't designed as perfectly logical, syntactic computers... if we were, we might have no way out of programs that don't terminate (aka the halting problem)! Thank God we have the ability to override needless "rationality".
     
  7. Milton Platt

    Milton Platt Well-Known Member

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    Not sure I understand your post.
     
  8. 'mud

    'mud ~~ Life is Stuff ~~
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    Me neither !
     
  9. 'mud

    'mud ~~ Life is Stuff ~~
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    But...some of my code tried to do that...and on and on and on......
     
  10. Milton Platt

    Milton Platt Well-Known Member

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    LOL...I'm sure Ponder This has a point to make.....I'm admitting my own dullness here
     
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  11. 'mud

    'mud ~~ Life is Stuff ~~
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    It's like galloping on a donkey, lot of noise, but get's nowhere.
    Now.......try again....
     
  12. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    I see a problem with this approach.

    Yes, at a certain point, all knowledge is tentative. Induction has limits. I have no way of proving that I’m not a brain in a vat being fed stimuli of the false world I only think I’m living in. There are lots of things that make my knowledge less than perfect.

    ... but this is true about all knowledge, not just knowledge of the existence or non-existence of gods.

    If I were to call myself “agnostic” when it came to the non-existence of some god but not call myself one on other reality claims, what I would be doing is implying that I’m more uncertain about the god-claim than the other claims. But to do that, I would have to have more reason to be uncertain about the non-existence of gods than I am about other things.

    So it’s not really making your case to point out that we can’t know with perfect certainty whether gods exist. We can't know anything with perfect certainty. To call myself an agnostic with regard to gods but not with regard to anything else would imply that I had a special level of uncertainty about gods that I don't have about anything else. Make the case for why that is true before you tell me that I should call myself an agnostic.
     
  13. 'mud

    'mud ~~ Life is Stuff ~~
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    I'm getting pretty old now and I can't figure out the connection between gnosis and agnostic.
    I understand what my gnosis is, but...how does it connect to a Christian `god` ?
    The more I learn about the Earth to feed to my gnosis, the more I doubt the `gods`.
    Atheist means less of a belief in `gods`,
    Agnostic means a question about the existence of `gods`.
    Soooooo...the smarter one gets, and the higher our gnosis gets,
    the less we believe in the existance of `gods`.
    Makes sense to me, what's the problem ?
    'Splain it to me !
     
  14. Ponder This

    Ponder This Well-Known Member

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    I think that it's true that people will tend to abandon a line of thought that doesn't lead to a result, but that it is also true that some people won't abandon thinking about an unsolvable question. My understanding is that the Buddha taught that there are some things that no matter long they are contemplated, they don't lead anywhere. I'm not saying the know-ability of the existence of God is one of those things, because I don't remember exactly which things the Buddha said were like that, but this sounds dangerously like one of those things.

    When I thank God that we aren't syntactic computers, I'm pointing out that God provides a way for people to break out of what could be a non-terminating thought process. In other words, although it might be considered irrational for God to exist, logic is not up to the task (and never will be).
     
  15. Milton Platt

    Milton Platt Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, that is crystal clear.
    I do believe that logic and reason should be applied to all things, and I see no reason a god should get a pass, nor should it escape examination. If a god manifests at all in reality, then we should be able to measure those effects as opposed to things which are guided by nature. This would apply to gods such as the Christian god, which are said to do supernatural things which manifest in ways that defy natural laws such as physics. This would not apply to a deist kind of god that does not interfere with the universe in any way, but that kind of god is pretty much the same as a non-existent god.
     
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  16. Ponder This

    Ponder This Well-Known Member

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    While logic and reason are useful, they should not be applied to all things.

    When Alexander the Great cut the Gordian Knot, he bypassed logic and reason to solve a problem logic and reason had failed to solve.

    If you think that this means God gets a pass and escapes examination, then I think you've missed the point; that isn't what I'm saying at all.
     
  17. Milton Platt

    Milton Platt Well-Known Member

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    I can think of no reason not to use logic and reason. Are you postulating a god that it is illogical and unreasonable to believe in?

    I reject your idea about the Gordian knot. He used reason and decided that was the best way to undo the knot. He did not do it without thinking about the problem.
     
    #57 Milton Platt, Feb 28, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  18. Ponder This

    Ponder This Well-Known Member

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    No...
    I'm saying that we aren't perfectly logical beings to begin with and that when logic and reasoning fails, we have the ability to find creative seemingly irrational solutions to problems.

    No one said he didn't think about it first, but since the Gordian Knot represents an extremely difficult or involved problem, it's fair to say that he did not resolve it in the so-called 'logical' fashion.
     
  19. Milton Platt

    Milton Platt Well-Known Member

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    Why was it not logical to use the best method possible?
     
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  20. Ponder This

    Ponder This Well-Known Member

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    Next time someone hands me a puzzle to solve, maybe I'll tear it in half, hand it back, and tell him, "It's only logical to use the best method possible." I wonder how that would go.
     
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