Agnosticism privileges the religious argument.  It says that the religious argument is, at least, as likely as the Atheist argument. However, while the Atheist argument actually has supporting evidence (take a key feature of that argument: "The Universe requires no gods to exist."  Then, Occam's Razor.) the religious argument rests on assumptions that rest on other assumptions- turtles all the way down.

 

It's not that lack of evidence is evidence against the religious argument; it's that to get to THAT point is impossible for the religious argument.  They don't meet even the slightest burden of proof.  The extraordinary claim is not that Atheism is the only factually, scientific, based "religious" position; but that "god" exists.  The religious would need to prove- which they haven't- that it's even Possible for god to exist in the universe we find ourselves.

 

I am not Agnostic.  I am not "99% sure".  I am 100% positive that Atheism is correct.  

 

"But wait!" You scream, if past conversations are any indicator. "What if..."

 

If wishes were fishes we'd all have a wonderful dinner.  I'm 100% sure, in the exact same way that I am 100% sure Harry Potter is a fictional character and not a real boy.  Just because some guy once said some thing and every body believed him, doesn't mean it's True.  And as I've shown: The Arguments aren't even close to evenly matched.

 

There's no reason to accept, assume, or suggest that the Religious argument is even Possible.  Sincerity of belief doesn't protect that belief from falsehood. There's as much reason to caveat Atheism with the "Agnostic Position" as there is to caveat your every day with "... well, only until Kirk and Spock beam down and retrieve me."  Fiction is not fact.

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Tags: Agnosticism, Athiesm, Fact, Logic, Rational, Reason, Sound

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Comment by Tom on March 5, 2011 at 3:59am

Seriously?

 

Occam's Razor says "Don't add bullshit" so I can't disprove bullshit by using it?  And "Pantheism is everything"?

 

That's the best responses?

 

l2 think.

Comment by Tarentola Mauritanica on February 26, 2011 at 8:13am
@John D. & John C.
@John D.
I didn't claim that there is anything supernatural. By mere definition I already rule out any supernatural phenomena. Your statements about pantheism ... well it's good that you brought a definition yourself. Now see 1) again and tell me that this is not a truism again. The evidence is absolute unless you claim that nothing exists.

Apart of that: i would prefer it if you stopped telling me what I supposedly am or am not. I do not call myself atheist for several reasons. None of those however is amongst the ideas that you seem to have about me. I rather agree with Sam Harris that the term atheist itself is idiotic. Let me remind you however that we are speaking about "agnostics" here anyway.

@John C:
You said: "You said the onus of proof is on the theist, but I have to disagree. Since the existence or non-existence of god is not critical to survival, neither point has to be asserted. "
I agree mostly with what you say but for one simple point. I would argue that the main claim of religions is exactly that: it supposedly makes a difference if God "x" exists and (then) it certainly would make a difference if you believed in "it".
Thats a central claim of most religions.
Comment by John Camilli on February 25, 2011 at 5:03pm

Tarentola, I want to address the point at which you disagreed with me. You said the onus of proof is on the theist, but I have to disagree. Since the existence or non-existence of god is not critical to survival, neither point has to be asserted. One may suspend judgement on god indefinitely and be no worse for the wear. Therefore, asserting either way requires proof.

 

I do agree with your position that there are no absolute atheists, though. I think it's possible to be a non-believer about things that don't require decisions, but once a decision is required, a human becomes a believer. For instance, if we must choose between pile of food A (about which we have information only of its appearance), pile of food B (same information), or death from starvation, then we must believe that one choice is better than another in order to pick it. Death by starvation is certainly more difficult and painful than eating either pile of food, so it wouldn't make sense to say that you don't have to choose anything because the only way you could choose death is by believing it is the better alternative, since it isn't the easiest. But your decision would not be based on the entire reality of the situation, since the worse looking pile of food could be more nutritious, or death could be the better alternative. Therefore, belief is required for such a decision and the only way to make any decision here is to be a theist.

Comment by John Camilli on February 25, 2011 at 4:40pm

John D, he's actually right about pantheism. There's no claim to the supernatural in that viewpoint, it's simply a point of view that reveres existence, but it doesn't require worship or even the belief that there is something greater than one's self.

 

Take Hinduism, for example. It started as a pantheistic...philosophy, let's say. But because people want existence to mean something, they started associating extra qualities to natural things and gained superstition. That was when it turned into a religion. Same thing with Buddhism: the Siddartha Buddha never wanted his philosophy to be a religion; he never wanted to be worshipped. True Buddhism is a philosophy. But there is also a Buddhist religion now, because people began associating extra meanings to the Buddha's words, his image, and even the positions of his hands. They applied superstition to pantheism and turned it into polytheism.

Comment by Tarentola Mauritanica on February 25, 2011 at 9:50am

@John:

Perhaps a bad wording... there is a difference of course between not believing in something and believing the same thing not to exist...

Anyway...

you see no "evidence" for a pantheistic god? you must be kidding. the pantheistic god is a truism. It actually can't be refuted. Pantheists DEFINE God as the universe (eg. all that exists). Now unless you claim that nothing exists you automatically have to agree that "God" (as defined by them) exists. You see, they (at least some branches) make no claim at all about any "supernatural" aspects of that God or even a personality. The pantheistic god is simply a three letter word used for something else. Yet as "a-theist" one would have to be against that "theism" as well. But as long as you acknowledge that pantheism is a theism i would like to see how you declare yourself to be an atheist "disbelieving" a pantheistic "god" as well ;)

As for me ... i do not really care at all for the pantheistic god because it is simply renaming something. I DO care for quite a lot of "Gods" that are claimed by for example abramitic religions that actually are "distinct entities" with "abilities. There one could use the term "a-theist" provided one wanted to. I don't because i think labeling myself as something i am "not" is silly.

 

And "NO" i don't believe in any "spirit". I am without religion.

 

About agnosticism .. well that term is in my view just as silly because saying "i don't know" concerning a topic you can't know is an obviously normal position and doesn't deserve a name. And concerning those things that one can make up ones mind (and i would claim many theistic gods fall into that category) it would be silly to use the term agnostic for.

Haven't seen any agnostic that didn't have (negative) ideas about the existence of whatever "concrete" god i asked them about.

Comment by Glen Rosenberg on February 25, 2011 at 9:28am

Tarentola,

Your post makes no sense. At least not to me.  Maybe you can explain what you mean.

John, 

I agree up to the part where you equate believers and atheists. Atheists are not the group that has to disprove god. Theists have to prove it. Reality is we are all atheists as to positions we "know" are false. To quibble with the degree of certainty is meaningless.

The atheist is susceptible to reason and will modify their thinking based on evidence. We all know it is a bear to make a theist use there noggins. Your false equivalency between theism and atheism is a dangerous position because it fails to differentiate between a rational world view and a supernatural world view. We all know how baleful and pernicious religion is. So stay on planet earth, please!

Comment by Tarentola Mauritanica on February 25, 2011 at 4:38am
Agnosticism doesn't exist.
Atheism by the way doesn't either.
Haven't met any atheist yet that could really (consistently) fit the definition not to believe in any gods. You only need to take the pantheistic definition and no sane person could deny the existence of "such a god". Most would have to argue that this is not the "kind of god" that atheism is about ...
Comment by John Camilli on February 25, 2011 at 4:28am

You are making several incorrect assumptions here. First, agnosticism does not say the religious point of view is as likely; it doesn't give odds at all. It just says 'I don't know, or I suspend judgement.'

 

Next, Occam's razor does not prove that the simplist explanation is the correct one, as most people now think it does. Occam said that one should not posit explanations that go beyond the evidence, or as Einstein paraphrased 'one's explanations should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.' This philosophy helps us decide which ideas to test first because simpler ideas are easier to test, it does not say anything about which ideas are correct, so it does not rightly function the support for a hypothesis.

 

Lastly, if you are 100% sure that atheism is the correct point of view, then you are as much a believer as every theist who is sure of there viewpoint. You cannot prove that God doesn't exist, so to be sure is to be the same kind of fool you criticize. Try a little uncertainty: it's a more natural state for humans. Just because some guy once said something and everybody believed him, doesn't mean it's false either.

 

Check out the philosophical school of Pyrrhonism.

Comment by Andrew Garber on February 24, 2011 at 9:42pm

I SOOO concur.  Once, I posted as my facebook status, "I don't believe in agnostics.  I don't think they exist.  Every agnostic I ever knew was really a pussy atheist."  You should have seen the fall-out.

 

Eventually, I was forced to retract.  I had been proven wrong.  Every agnostice I knew was actually a pussy theist.  Who knew?

 

I made my argument to this effect here.

Comment by Steve on February 24, 2011 at 8:42pm
I think the agnostic is just someone who knows in their heart that there is no deity but finds the idea of certitude in a universe of unknowns unpalatable. Having been religious then agnostic then atheist I can understand this middle step as an evolutionary one. But just as some find themselves stuck in states of belief unable to question the logic of those beliefs the agnostic may be stalled out and not want to move forward to the next step. Seems silly in retrospect but moving out of superstition for some is more difficult than for others.

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