Here's my take on it.
Agnosticism is illogical and refutes itself. Agnosticism and agnostics characterize God as unknowable, ineffable, incomprehensible to all attempts to understand him. This doctrine is self-refuting. The agnostic is making a knowledge claim about what he/she claims is unknowable. How do agnostics know that God is unknowable if he is unknowable ? How do they even know that God's existence cannot be disproved if God is unknowable, or that God even exists if he is unknowable ? To claim any attribute for God is knowledge and claims to know this unknowable God possesses certain attributes. That's a logical contradiction, and any being containing two incompatible attributes cannot possibly exist. So one need not resort to agnosticism. He/she would be justified in not believing in that God if the concept of it contradicts itself in any way. One is justified in accepting and adopting the atheist position.
The subjects of atheism and agnosticism come up frequently for discussions here and there is also some heated discussions sometimes on these subjects. I do not see how the group is divided by such discussions. All those who who had heated discussions before are still here.
I rarely ever read every inch of any of the social network's thoughts. I enjoy getting to know people in a good spirited fashion. Personally, this is my favorite. Becoming aware of your statement prompted me to investigate further to see if we had a problem. I have no clue as to the who who aspect of the matter. After stating my views on the subject of the discussion,.....I usually move on . Playing Devil's advocate is part of the appeal for me. I like to stir things up,...just for fun,.. always, just for fun. If there is any serious divisive "heat" , I'll start my on discussion,... like I think I'll do right now ! Thank you, and, good evening.
I was thinking about answering the 'And Anthony persists in dividing the freethinker community' but wasn't sure what to say in reply.
Anyway, to set the record straight from my point of view, your question is not creating division at all.
Debating these types of topics hones our debating skills, forces us to think about what we believe and what other people believe. And don't believe.
Even though I could never become an agnostic atheist, I am an agnostic pink-elephant non-believer. Well, I was a pink-elephant non-believer until a few seconds ago, when I thought I had better check up on pink-elephants. My God!!! they actually exist, or at least one of them does. Pink elephant link. I then decided to change it to pink dolphins. But they also exist. Pink dolphin link. mmmmmmmmm. I think I'll change strategy here.
Let's look at the original statement.
'And Anthony persists in dividing the freethinker community'
So how are you dividing the freethinking community?
Before I answer that I'll look at what you have done.
You have asked a free thinking atheist community to think about a subject and post their thoughts on that subject and you have also giving your thoughts on the subject, in a forum that encourages free thinking.
My conclusion is: I can not respond to the original statement 'And Anthony persists in dividing the freethinker community'.
In fairness, Tom points out a few cases of the rigidity that Anthony has used in his responses. For instance, instead of him stating "this is an illogical position" when someone has just shown him that it's, at the very least, logical to them, Anthony would be better served by responding "in my opinion, this still is illogical to me". I think it's a distinction that might be received in a more positive light, but then, that's just my opinion ;)
At the very least Anthony, I still find your approach to these discussions more diplomatic and open minded than our friend Asa, who I'm sure you're aware has very strong opinions on this matter, and whom I find completely dismissive of conflicting ideas outright. At the end of the day, I agree with leveni that if we can all reach a place where our competing views become a public format to serve as self education for the entire community, no one loses.
My original assumption was right. I shouldn't have said anything. But I didn't want Anthony to think he was all alone.
I also can't/don't disagree with most of what Tom says. But I did find the 'And Anthony persists in dividing the freethinker community' was tilting towards Ad Hominem.
They are afraid of what people will think of them. Like in politics. A politician will throw a preacher under the bus in a heartbeat, the way Obama did Wright. People can be harsh,... like children. It's ridiculous to say the least. They WILL lose friends when they come out, and that, my friends is just a matter of time.
Working for 20 years as a Community College teacher on the campus and in state and county prisons, in battered women and children shelters, counselor and community developer, I ran across very many troubled people. Listening to their stories those who were in some kind of emotional pain it usually could be traced back to fallacious thinking.
Albert Ellis' Irrational Beliefs' philosophy worked best for me to sort out fact from fiction. There are many papers, books, and research projects by him on the internet.
Aaron Beck's Cognitive Therapy's philosophy used a different approach than Ellis and they both relied on discovering fallacious thinking that cornered people with no way out. With Socratic questioning, they both are able to facilitate critical thinking.
Marsha Linehan's Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) trains people to manage Borderline Personality Disorder and other emotional upsets. She is at U of WA in Seattle and she was my go to person with problems I encountered. She uses Functional MRI (FMRI) to do her brain research. The brain learns from environment as well as inheritance and many learned thought patterns create problems for people. A very simple process of Skills Training gives one new ways of perceiving challenges, and ways to sort out healthy from unhealthy thinking and behaving.
Matthew McKay, Jeffrey C. Wood, Jeffrey Brantley's The anger contro..., provides The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Workbook, with enough theory to understand what happens in the brain to cause anger, different processes one can learn to manage anger, and replaces it with more functional thoughts and behaviors.
These are self-help books, and if you need a therapist or counselor to help with the training, run, don't walk, away from religious people. They will effectively and efficiently tie your mind into the knots you are trying to heal. These authors don't indoctrinate, all the information and understanding comes out of your own mind and from your own critical thinking. You may end up continuing to believe in a super-human power. That is OK, just don't allow your thoughts to lead you into dysfunctional behavior. You have a moral core that does not need a preacher to tell you what is moral. You already come equipped with that information, you just have to learn how to use it.
a·the·ist - a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.
ag·nos·tic - a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.
Atheism answers the question, “Do you believe God or gods exist?”
The evidence for the existence of all 4000 of the gods and goddesses people have worshipped from the beginning of recorded time is identical:
Since Christian God, Muslim God, the Greek gods, the Roman gods, the Nordic gods, the gods from shamanistic cultures, and so on are all validated subjectively, they each have an equal likelihood of existing.
One could easily make up stories of a newly invented god and convince others to believe them. And, this would result in the same spiritual “feelings” that validate the existence of established gods (think Scientology or Moonies). Therefore, any absurdity conjured up by the human mind has the same likelihood of existing as any of the other 4000 gods and goddesses worshipped by humans.
So, based on the unimaginably low probability that established or newly invented gods are real, the atheist makes the claim, “I don’t believe god/s or goddess/es exist.”
Agnostisism answers a different question, “Can we know if God or gods exist?”
In a universe of infinite time and space, anything is possible. We truly cannot know for certain that god/s or godess/es do not exist. We cannot know for certain that fairies, smurfs, and leprechauns do not exist. It ispossible that invisible horses with Snoopy heads exist in a place called Woowoo. The probability that this scenario is true is astronomically low. However, it is the exact same likelihood that Thor and Odin exist in a place called Valhalla or that the Christian and Muslim gods exist in a place called Heaven.
So, the agnostic states that he/she cannot know if god/s or goddess/es exist. And, the atheist states that, based on probability, he/she does not believe god/s or goddess/es exist.
I pretty much agree with your final summary.
One thing I hate about this whole question is, there is no definition of God or no agreeable definition of God.
If the question was, are you the equivalent of an atheist or agnostic in regards to green mice? Here I could easily choose between being an a-green mice-ist or an agno-green mice-ist. Mice exist, they come in a range of colors. The question is debatable.
But when it comes to the debate between being an atheist or an agnostic, I think it's impossible to debate, because there is no God. Or at least no one has ever seen one.
I consider myself a Agnostic Atheist. I don't know if there is or isn't a God, but I don't believe that there is. Due to human's slim knowledge about the subject it is possible that there is some sort of creator. However based on the knowledge that we do have, I don't think there is a creator. I can't claim with 100% certainty that there isn't a god. I also can't claim with 100% certainty that there isn't a Yeti. I don't believe there to be a Yeti or god though because there isn't much evidence to support it. Make sense?