Since ancient times, India has known atheists, but I have not heard of any agnostic person tlll in recent past. The idea of
agnosticism seems to have come to India from  the west. This word therefore puzzles me. A  theist afirms that yes, there
is a god in whom he believes. An atheist says that no, there is no god. Both of these are firm statements and each
 person making  these has something to say that is specific. However, the statement that "There is probably no god "
sounds hollow. It is as good as saying "There is probably some god."  In either case, someone who says this, does not
appear  to have much to say. If you have a 10% doubt that god may exist, you are an agnostic. It is the same if
you have 20% , 50% or 90% doubt. So where does agnosticism stand? Does it really mean anything? If an agnostic is
so much in un-resolvable doubt, should he declare himself as an agnostic, that is, a person not capable of resolving his
position?

The usual excuse for such a doubt is that no one can be 100% sure of anything, but we are so sure of many things in life.
If we have doubt on any subject, we take pains to resolve our doubt. Is it so difficult to resolve a doubt on the existance
of god that it can never be resolved and  so force a person to remain an agnostic for all his life? If this were so, there would
be no atheists in the world.  Does the agnostic lack  something that an atheist has? Or, does an atheist overstep a
limit of sound judgement?

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Replies to This Discussion

I know, I got distracted.  

If it's any consolation, Joan. These quacks are potentially as dangerous as their woo cousins the fundie theists, …and many atheists actually follow their advice.

As good an example as any of what happens when an atheist puts faith before evidence.

When I listen to scientists who perform what looks to me like sound science and continue to believe in god, I listen carefully to their explanations of science and religion. They almost always come down to feelings. "I had a shiver!" or "I felt engulfed by light!" Responses like that. I don't doubt their feelings, I do doubt their interpretations.

Neil deGrasse Tyson asked this question, "Why do 9% of hard scientists still believe in god?" He brings up a good point. Scientists know how to develop inquiry, how to design studies, how to separate feelings from reason. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qlt0hkLNr3w

Forgive me for getting distracted and distracting you by the article on Collins.  My timer went off and I had to run an erand. 

Glad you brought him up!

Neil deGrasse Tyson - agnostic atheist

Yeah, because I'm still seeing it as a position, not an identity.

Even if he doesn't want to be identified with people like P.Z. doesn't change his position on the question of the existence in a creator deity. He doesn't believe in god(s) = atheist, He cannot prove the non-existence of god(s) = agnostic.

Seriously dude, I don't self-identify as an atheist, agnostic or agnostic atheist, …they aren't identities, jobs, vocations, nationalities, ethnicities, hobbies, sports, etc, …they are positions.

They are merely answers to two different questions, one a non belief and another a non absolute certainty, on the existence of creator deities.

I would have a long label, perhaps infinite, if I self-identified by everything I didn't believe in, but could not by logic or evidence prove the absolute non-existence of.

I do believe in dangling prepositions, obviously.

I also don't go around calling myself a non-dentist for that matter

Some will probably understand this.

Richard,

Seriously, how do you prove the non-existence of invisible pink unicorns? How do you justify your non-belief in them? How do you justify your non-belief in Thor? You did no answer my points previously but you keep on saying that abstinence is a valid position. It is not. Either you believe the claims or you do not. If you think those claims have some possible validity you are on the side of belief. There is no maybe. Go ahead and say that I can't know that but you can't know that I'm wrong. Saying that you are better because  you don't want to play does not make you a sports hero. You keep telling me that I'm not responding with the right format but you don't address my questions. So maybe your world view is not supportable?

The straw man cometh...

"Seriously, how do you prove the non-existence of invisible pink unicorns? How do you justify your non-belief in them? How do you justify your non-belief in Thor?"

Why? They aren't believable, it's that simple, if you want proof they don't exist, I can't give it to you.

I can make many and myriad arguments as to the almost certain non-existence, but no proof of their non-existence. Belief, or non-belief doesn't require proof. (for the 11th time)

"you keep on saying that abstinence is a valid position."

Where, link to any post where I said this, seriously. I'm tired of this straw man bullshit, here's some more...

"Either you believe the claims or you do not. If you think those claims have some possible validity you are on the side of belief."

Do you even know what "believe in" means? Aside from this, I have never stated this: "those claims have some possible validity".

If you claim I have, again, post the link.

On to the next intellectually dishonest man of straw...

"Go ahead and say that I can't know that but you can't know that I'm wrong."

Actually, this is what I said:

(copied from my actual post)

"I'm not arguing that you can't know, but more to the point; that you don't know something you're claiming as an absolute certainty."

Show us your proof!

On to the next misrepresentation:

"Saying that you are better because  you don't want to play does not make you a sports hero."

Another outright lie, …I never said any of this.

"You keep telling me that I'm not responding with the right format but you don't address my questions."

Go back and look! And, with paragraphs, block quotes and line breaks …it's called netiquette.

That you refuse to return the courtesy and expect me to wade through blocks of word salad to answer to misrepresentations, …is a bit much to expect. 

"So maybe your world view is not supportable?"

And what "world view" would that be?

agnostic suggests a certain fear of letting go

Please don't let yourself get sucked into the linear view of positions on the existence of a god.  I take the position of agnostic atheist.  I do not believe in god, however I am human and completely capable of making mistakes.  I'm willing to accept that I could be wrong, which is why I am agnostic.  Theism has to do with beliefs, while gnosticism has to do with proof.  A theist believes there is a god and an atheist doesn't.  A gnostic person says "I have proof of the existence/non-existence of god" where and agnostic person would say "There is no evidence either way".

The liberation you felt, if I may suggest this to you, was probably because, like I did, you went from mostly believing to mostly not believing and finally saying to yourself "There is no god" or something of that nature.  That is an INCREDIBLY fearful leap that effects me still.  When I think about it, I still get a little queasy sometimes.  I completely understand your position.  You can read my conversion blog if you're interested to find out how much I understand your position.  Religious thinking tends to be very linear, that is to say, black and white, making people misunderstand things like this.  Their definitions for words like "fact", "theory", "hypothesis", and "truth" are skewed and they apply that skewed logic to everything.  They are of the mindset that there is only one way to do things.  That, alone, begs linear thinking.

I know richard, you did read your posts as well as other news pieces. I should not have put them here on this string and I shall move it off. As to the god reference, I wasn't meaning to direct that to you, just those foolish and uninformed people to voted such a law in. Sorry. I got carried away. 

I'd be happy to have that post in both threads, and the blog, but as the last thread redirects to the blog, you may want to put it there if you want to just post it once. I'll be linking updates to the blog. This is picking up steam on all the major atheist pages on FB as well. That's where I picked up the news of the bill's passing.

I do agree with all your anger, this is absolutely unconscionable.

Thank you Richard. I appreciate your kind words and thoughtful suggestions. 

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