I strikes me from time to time that, as thinkers, we can't also be atheists.

Literal atheism is untenable because we're assuming that we can prove a negative - which is clearly impossible.

That leaves us as agnostics a word I feels is associated with some rather "fence sitting" or woolly ideals.

So are we tied in knots here? Or is there a word which adequately describes us while at the same time demonstrates that we're not subject to the fallacy of "trying to prove a negative".

Tags: agnostic, agnostitism, atheism, english

Views: 151

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Well said, sir.
Well, this conversation seems to have "jumped the shark," at some point: from a question of what descriptive and inclusive terminology a non-believer could appropriately apply to oneself, to simplistic, logical fallacies about how to prove whether or not unicorns exist. Sheesh! Of course unicorns exist! Everyone knows that baby jeebus likes to keep them as pets. Clearly, I'm confused. @_@
:-)
Well, this conversation seems to have "jumped the shark," at some point: from a question of what descriptive and inclusive terminology a non-believer could appropriately apply to oneself, to simplistic, logical fallacies about how to prove whether or not unicorns exist. Sheesh! Of course unicorns exist! Everyone knows that baby jeebus likes to keep them as pets. Clearly, I'm confused. @_@
So are we tied in knots here? Or is there a word which adequately describes us while at the same time demonstrates that we're not subject to the fallacy of "trying to prove a negative".

The word would be atheist. Nontheist if you prefer, but I find in conversation atheist helps clarify some issues (although it does muddy others).

Atheists do not believe in any gods. Atheists don't necessarily believe no gods exist, although some do. You could call them strong atheists or antitheists. Personally, I'm an agnostic atheist.

As long as you've been hanging around here Marc, I'm surprised you haven't picked this up already.
You would think so, Stephan; but I never, ever stop re-evaluating what I know (or think I know). A lot of god botherers could learn something from that. I just learned, to my surprise that paracetamol is (strictly) an alcohol and that it's not the painkiller that kills you but the products that it breaks down into in one's liver.

As I said earlier though, all the water has been muddied rather by the various definitions of atheist/agnostic; freethinker doesn't do us justice somehow and nontheist seems a bit wordy somehow.

I met this again from the other side just recently. My MP is catholic - big groans there - but then I met him and was surprised to find that, although he appears to believe in a creator god - he has no problem with evolution (like his boses) BUT also sits on our side with abortion and gay marriage. He described himself as a liberal catholic which I suppose would be reasonable.

It was this that got me thinking - particularly with all the ignorance we face with what we (don't) believe in.

The Higgs Boson would be like that - do we believe in it now - or are we skeptical until it's actually demonstrated.
Nothing personal, but I don't see anything here that really addresses my comment...I am working and reading in a hurry so I apologize if I missed it. Atheism is pretty well defined except from theist apologists trying to paint atheists as something they aren't.
Precisely this, Stephan.

"theist apologists trying to paint atheists as something they aren't"

Although, as I said, I tend to reevaluate from time-to-time and the overriding misunderstanding over atheist/agnostic/freethinker/bright/nonthesist/... really gets on my tits.
I just don't get all the chatter! A rose by any other name is still a rose. So, 100 years from now, you and I will know if there is a god and if the only way to "him", as some believe, is through Christ, then I'm wrong and will experience the consequences. If there is a god and Christ is not the way to "him" then I will meet you wherever that is and we can have a good laugh about all the words we used up when we could be out doing something useful, or fun, or creative. I know! I don't believe! I know there is no god! So, every single day I wake I shall enjoy the privilege of being alive and sentient on this planet.

I watch the birds at my bird feeder squabbling over the seeds. They fight for something they did not make, did not grow, did not harvest. The seeds are a gift to them from the farmer, the retailer who sold me the seeds and me, given to them freely, no strings attached.

Life is like that, It is a gift I did not make. I just am very grateful to have the opportunity to be alive in this age, at this time. When I am dead, the electric circuit stops, the lights go out, and it is all over. If there is immortality, it is in the memories others carry of me.
"............ If there is immortality, it is in the memories others carry of me."

Yes Joan, that is a good atheist position. All the more reason to be a diarist and a writer preparing an autobiography----so that the family will have the knowledge of my origins and the memories of my life, including those of the future family not yet born from among the future descendants.
Thanks for those, Joan/Dr Meaden.

A person is defined by their actions.

One thing I do preach (sorry, can't think of a better word) is this: we will only be as immortal as the deeds by which we are remembered: good or bad - and that should be a sobering thought for those intent on doing harm.

I find this comforting in a small way, tempered in the knowledge that history is recorded by the winning side.

Most of my books are out of print now, but perhaps the current rash of patents trickling through the in-trays of expensive lawyers will give people something to remember me by.

For those of us alive today, the Internet itself, might create an indelible library for future generations to examine the way we thought. Assuming, of course, that it isn't subject to political alteration...

*Sighs* the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Marc, you are so right about history being recorded by the "winning side" or by the side who made fantastic wealth. I went to Falmouth, Mass. on a genealogy hunt for ancestors and by pure luck, found a librarian who shared my ancestry. She told me stories about a common ancestor who was wealthy because of the slave trade. Nowhere else did I find that information. I knew he was very wealthy and visited the house he built with his ill-gotten gains, but knew not a word about how he made his fortune.

Character reveals itself on the internet and we can't hide very long from who we are and how we think. The bullies and thugs reveal themselves, just as the compassionate and caring ones.

My hope is that we can look honestly and critically at our political and religious up-bringing and find better ways to live in civil society.

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