@leveni (to continue where the reply threads have run out)
Agnosticism and gnosticism should never have been brought up in atheism in the first place.
evidence of existence = knowledge of existence
imaginary concepts = two camps: agnostic belief and gnostic belief. two methods of "knowing" the imaginary, or unevidenced.
The very existence of agnostic atheists is a fallacy in itself. Anyone who has any portion of their brain that accepts a god concept is not an atheist. They are simply infinitely weak theists. Of course it serves the aims of politicians to lump together agnostics with atheists. But I disagree fundamentally with that assertion. Atheists live in the real, agnostics reserve a space for the unreal.
Thanks for the reply. Especially:
Uncertainty = contradictory evidence.
God = no evidence, there is no uncertainty there
Leveni and TNT666,
I agree with TNT that you can assert that you are some combination of a/gnosticism and a/theism, but you will not necessarily make good sense. I was trying to define these words, as I think appropriate, as the first group being related to a belief in knowledge of a thing and the second, a belief in the existence of a thing. If you will only define gnosticism as it relates to faith, then I guess, we will not agree on the fact that I believe one who is gnostic has a proper affirmative belief that knowledge of a certain thing is possible. And I disagree with TNT that we cannot be gnostic about a negative. I believe that I can be certain (gnostic) that it is impossible for any god to exist (atheist). The way I understand agnosticism is that it describes someone who believes that knowledge one way or another is possible. I believe I can come up with reasons why every other combination of these terms, other than gnostic atheism, is invalid. Any belief in any god, whether certain or not, is flat out wrong. And asserting that we cannot have knowledge as to whether or not God exists, while believing that He doesn't, or agnostic atheism, is also wrong.
The difference????? the word BELIEF. There are only three 'levels of evidence' :
-undisputed evidence.... "the near roundness of the earth"
-contradictory evidence...... "active chemicals make humans sick"
-non existent... "unicorns and gods"
Neither of the three situations require 'belief' for a skeptic. A true skeptic functions on evidence alone. Honest dialogue requires the use of the word 'uncertainty' for only the second situation. Any skeptic who can "believe" in a possible god given total and complete lack of evidence is no skeptic at all. Personally, 'belief' is the one word I have completely banned from my vocabulary since meeting people on this website, because of so-called agnostics who throw that word around like it was some sort of badge of honour to remain friendly with religious folk.
Frankly, the popularity of the words agnostic and skeptic as buzz words in our Western civilisation may be the greatest contribution the 'new' atheists made to society in the last two decades. And the natural trendy instinct of humans means there are many people jumping on the band wagon of skepticism, and trying to redefine it, making it more 'inclusive'.
To the three above situations, a skeptic responds yes, maybe, no.
How do you define skepticism? And skeptic. With concrete language please. What do you think are the essential qualities of these ideas that make them so?
I'll admit, I have not been operating on an explicitly defined concept, but I call people who doubt knowledge in the absence of contradictory evidence, skeptics. I guess, what I really mean is that these people are too skeptical, they are irrational. Proper valid skepticism is healthy doubt in the presence of incomplete or contradictory evidence. But another part of me thinks that doubt in the presence of incomplete or contradictory evidence is just part of the normal integration process and skeptics are always wishy-washy, no matter what, as a rule. These brand of skeptics assert that they know for certain that certain knowledge is impossible, which we both recognize as idiotic.