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Why agnosticism is the correct way to think about religions.
in Philosophy

By MattGouldMattGould 47 Pts
Personally, even though I am a right winger, I am a religious agnostic. The reason behind my personal opinion that agnosticism is the correct way to think about this religion and the question as to whether or not god exists, is that it is literally impossible to prove one way or the other. Now, my issue with Atheists and Atheism is that so many atheists claim to be proponents of truth and logical thought and questioning, yet they don't even realize that they are making the exact same mistake that religious people make. Which is that they are taking a leap of faith in terms of the knowledge of the existence of god and claiming that there is no god. However, if religious people can't prove that god exists, then by the same token atheists are incapable of proving he doesn't exist. This is why I am not an atheist and I call myself an agnostic, apart from the group think that a lot of atheists claim to be opposed to and yet they perpetrate it themselves. So the question I guess I have is, do you agree with me or disagree. I want to know what everybody's thoughts are on this. I am willing to have my mind changed, however I wouldn't count on it. 
ZeusAres42
"If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking...is freedom."-Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Arguments

  • We have no strong proof of gods existence/non existence s being agnostic is fine. I am not going against religion when I am saying we have no evidence of the religion but no evidence against it
  • Nothing can be proven about the real world in principle. We cannot even prove that the reality exists; what if we all are collectively dreaming in some abstract space, and everything we see, feel and hear is a result of our fantasising? How would you go about disproving it? It is impossible.

    Instead of making rigorous proof, we instead make informed guesses. For example, if I'm driving on a highway at 90 mph with cruise control on and a full gas tank, and then just get up from my seat, move to the backseat and go to sleep there, then I know for certain that over the next hour my car will crash into something. I do not need to prove it rigorously, and there is a very tiny, but finite chance that somehow the car will just continue driving down the highway, as the car will by sheer luck keep also moving in the right direction - but that chance is so small, it can be discarded.

    With gods, there is no information in our collective database of knowledge suggesting that they might exist. Can they in principle? Of course. Elves, unicorns and flying fire-breathing dragons on Earth can exist as well, maybe we just were extremely unlucky and had not met them in a way that could be demonstrated to the population as a whole. Only the leap of faith in saying that they do not exist here is justified. When there is no reason to believe that something exists, then it is nothing but a fantasy, and even if it does exist in reality, it makes more sense to build our models of the world in the assumption that it does not.

    I do not know if gods exist or not, but I know pretty well that the assumption that they do not has worked well for me so far, and my experiences never challenged me to reconsider it. Hence I am atheist.
  • MattGould said:
    Personally, even though I am a right winger, I am a religious agnostic.
    I've never heard of a religious agnostic before. I have heard of an Agnostic though. Unless you mean you're someone that believes in God but also accepts that you cannot know of God's existence with complete certainty.

    Now, my issue with Atheists and Atheism is that so many atheists claim to be proponents of truth and logical thought and questioning, yet they don't even realize that they are making the exact same mistake that religious people make. Which is that they are taking a leap of faith in terms of the knowledge of the existence of god and claiming that there is no god.

    This is a very common misconception about what Atheism is or what I like to call A-theism. A-theism is NOT an opposing belief; it's the negation of belief. If A-theism is faith then bald must be hair color, not smoking must be a habit, not harming animals must also be animal abuse, and so on.

    So as to you're question about this being the correct way to think about religion, well since A-theists and Agnostics (except Agnostic Theists) do not have a belief in religion (Theistic Religion) then they don't really need to think about it at all do they? Much in the same way as a non-astrologer doesn't need to think about astrology.


    References:

    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Atheism

    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Atheism#Misconceptions_about_atheists

    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Atheism#External_links







    MayCaesarPlaffelvohfen

    “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullsh*t requires no such conviction…”
    ― Ben Goldacre, Bad Science




  • MattGould said:
    Personally, even though I am a right winger, I am a religious agnostic.
    I've never heard of a religious agnostic before. I have heard of an Agnostic though. Unless you mean you're someone that believes in God but also accepts that you cannot know of God's existence with complete certainty.

    Now, my issue with Atheists and Atheism is that so many atheists claim to be proponents of truth and logical thought and questioning, yet they don't even realize that they are making the exact same mistake that religious people make. Which is that they are taking a leap of faith in terms of the knowledge of the existence of god and claiming that there is no god.

    This is a very common misconception about what Atheism is or what I like to call A-theism. A-theism is NOT an opposing belief; it's the negation of belief. If A-theism is faith then bald must be hair color, not smoking must be a habit, not harming animals must also be animal abuse, and so on.

    So as to you're question about this being the correct way to think about religion, well since A-theists and Agnostics (except Agnostic Theists) do not have a belief in religion (Theistic Religion) then they don't really need to think about it at all do they? Much in the same way as a non-astrologer doesn't need to think about astrology.



    Since atheists are busy redefining terms, what's the new term for what had traditionally been considered atheists (those who disbelieve in the existence of God)?
  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 685 Pts
    edited November 2
    CYDdharta said:
    MattGould said:
    Personally, even though I am a right winger, I am a religious agnostic.
    I've never heard of a religious agnostic before. I have heard of an Agnostic though. Unless you mean you're someone that believes in God but also accepts that you cannot know of God's existence with complete certainty.

    Now, my issue with Atheists and Atheism is that so many atheists claim to be proponents of truth and logical thought and questioning, yet they don't even realize that they are making the exact same mistake that religious people make. Which is that they are taking a leap of faith in terms of the knowledge of the existence of god and claiming that there is no god.

    This is a very common misconception about what Atheism is or what I like to call A-theism. A-theism is NOT an opposing belief; it's the negation of belief. If A-theism is faith then bald must be hair color, not smoking must be a habit, not harming animals must also be animal abuse, and so on.

    So as to you're question about this being the correct way to think about religion, well since A-theists and Agnostics (except Agnostic Theists) do not have a belief in religion (Theistic Religion) then they don't really need to think about it at all do they? Much in the same way as a non-astrologer doesn't need to think about astrology.



    Since atheists are busy redefining terms, what's the new term for what had traditionally been considered atheists (those who disbelieve in the existence of God)?
    If you do a bit more research you will find that nothing is being redefined here at all. You might want to start with the reference material that I have provided here as well as in other relative debates. However, I will post them again here anyway. But, please note as that the reason I ascribe to definition via those sources is not because of the sources themselves, but because what they say agrees with reason. Especially, given the linguistic structure of Atheism. The prefix "a" of Greek Origin denotes absence/negation of Theistic belief; not opposition. "Anti" of Greek origin is what denotes to opposing or directly against; hence an Anti theist is someone that is directly against/opposed any Theistic belief.

    Anyway, as to answer your question if by disbelieve you mean deny the existence of God then a much more apt term for them would be someone that is an Anti theist; that is what I would say if we're going to give them a term. With that being said, however, they are still Atheists. But they are Atheists not because they believe that God doesn't exist, but much rather because they do not have a belief that God does exist. Likewise, an Atheist is not someone that believes there is no God; they just don't have a belief that there is a God.

    Technically speaking it could be said that everyone on the planet is an Atheist including those of Theistic religions. For example a Christian doesn't believe in an Islamic God and so it follows that they too are Atheists or as I like to say A-theists.

    Hereafter, I would also like to say that I agree with Sam Harris who states Atheism is a word that should no longer exist.
    Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, "atheism" is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a "non-astrologer" or a "non-alchemist." We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs. —Sam Harris



    Plaffelvohfen

    “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullsh*t requires no such conviction…”
    ― Ben Goldacre, Bad Science




  • @CYDdharta

    Your mistake is that you confuse disbelief in god with belief in non-existence of god. These are very different things. If I do not believe in god, it does not mean that I believe that there is no god. There are many ways not to believe in something and simultaneously not believe in its exact opposite. For example, I do not believe that my neighbor's name is Samantha, because it is just one of a large multitude of her possible names and it would be unreasonable to pick just one and hope to randomly get lucky - but I also do not hold the belief that my neighbor's name is not Samantha, because there is nothing that suggests that it cannot be Samantha.

    However, if you offer me to play a lottery, where I put $100 and choose either "My neighbor's name is Samantha" or "My neighbor's name is not Samantha", win $100 if I am right and lose $100 if I am wrong, then I will pick the option "My neighbor's name is not Samantha", and statistically I am almost destined to win. This is what atheism is: an informed choice of the most logical model in the absence of data. While an agnostic would simply refuse to play this game, because he/she would say, "I do not know my neighbor's name, so I cannot make any sensible choices here."

    An agnostic refuses to take a stance, because he/she assumes that both possibilities are very plausible. An atheist or a theist takes a stance, because one of the two possibilities seems irrelevant to them, for one reason or another. This does not mean that every theist is absolutely convinced there is god, and every atheist is absolutely convinced there is no god; each of us just leans towards a certain version, sometimes so strongly that the alternative is not being considered seriously.
    SkepticalOneZeusAres42PlaffelvohfenCYDdharta
  • VaulkVaulk 656 Pts
    It stands to decent reason that, if you don't know how the earth was created or how life came to be, then any claim that you do know would be classified as a belief.  Generally speaking Western Atheists subscribe to naturalism which, because the ideology or worldview is incomplete in terms of explaining the origin of life, requires belief in lieu of knowledge to at least some degree. 

    When you hold a strong belief (An acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof) in naturalism, that's called faith.  So to say that Atheism isn't a belief system isn't entirely accurate as when asked to explain the origin of life...Atheists must employ a system of belief in one way or another.
    "If there's no such thing as a stupid question then what kind of questions do stupid people ask"?

    "There's going to be a special place in Hell for people who spread lies through the veil of logical fallacies disguised as rational argument".

    "Oh, you don't like my sarcasm?  Well I don't much appreciate your stupid".


  • DeeDee 813 Pts
    However, if religious people can't prove that god exists, then by the same token atheists are incapable of proving he doesn't exist.


    As an atheist I lack a belief in a god or gods I cannot say for certain that no god exists which is a perfectly reasonable position, the believer claims to believe in a god so the burden of proof is with them and is something they cannot prove which leaves them in a position which is totally irrational 

  • If you do a bit more research you will find that nothing is being redefined here at all. You might want to start with the reference material that I have provided here as well as in other relative debates. However, I will post them again here anyway. But, please note as that the reason I ascribe to definition via those sources is not because of the sources themselves, but because what they say agrees with reason. Especially, given the linguistic structure of Atheism. The prefix "a" of Greek Origin denotes absence/negation of Theistic belief; not opposition. "Anti" of Greek origin is what denotes to opposing or directly against; hence an Anti theist is someone that is directly against/opposed any Theistic belief.

    Anyway, as to answer your question if by disbelieve you mean deny the existence of God then a much more apt term for them would be someone that is an Anti theist; that is what I would say if we're going to give them a term. With that being said, however, they are still Atheists. But they are Atheists not because they believe that God doesn't exist, but much rather because they do not have a belief that God does exist. Likewise, an Atheist is not someone that believes there is no God; they just don't have a belief that there is a God.

    Technically speaking it could be said that everyone on the planet is an Atheist including those of Theistic religions. For example a Christian doesn't believe in an Islamic God and so it follows that they too are Atheists or as I like to say A-theists.

    Hereafter, I would also like to say that I agree with Sam Harris who states Atheism is a word that should no longer exist.
    Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, "atheism" is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a "non-astrologer" or a "non-alchemist." We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs. —Sam Harris




    The more research I do, the more it proves that the meaning of the term atheism has been redefined.  You have previously accepted the Oxford English dictionary as an authority on the proper use the English language.
    As I pointed out in your other atheism thread, the Oxford English Second Edition (1989) definition of atheist was;

    atheist, n. (and a.)
     (ˈeɪɵiːɪst)Also 6 atheyst, 6-7 athist(e.[a. F. athéiste (16th c. in Littré), or It. atheista: see prec. and -ist.]
    atheist, n. (and a.)
     A. n.
    atheist, n. (and a.)
    One who denies or disbelieves the existence of a God.

    [a1568: Coverdale Hope of Faithf. Pref. Wks. II. 139 “Eat we and drink we lustily; to-morrow we shall die: which all the epicures protest openly, and the Italian atheoi.”]

    1571: Golding Calvin on Ps. Ep. Ded. 3 “The Atheistes which say..there is no God.”

    1604: Rowlands Looke to it 23 “Thou damned Athist..That doest deny his power which did create thee.”

    1709: Shaftesbury Charac. i. i. 2 (1737) II. 11 “To believe nothing of a designing Principle or Mind, nor any Cause, Measure, or Rule of Things, but Chance..is to be a perfect Atheist.”

    1876: Gladstone in Contemp. Rev. June 22 “By the Atheist I understand the man who not only holds off, like the sceptic, from the affirmative, but who drives himself, or is driven, to the negative assertion in regard to the whole Unseen, or to the existence of God.”

    That is basically the same definition as I find in my Oxford American Dictionary of Current English (1999)



    The Greek prefix a- was the source of the English prefix un-.  While the definitions of terms such as unapologetic, unAmerican, or undemocratic may technically be not apologetic, not American, and not democratic, in actual usage, those words mean the opposite of terms from which they are derived.


    As to your references, wikis, by their nature, are poor sources.  Anyone can change or modify their entries, including you or me.  That said, I see nothing even in those entries which disputes my contention that the term was redefined in the 1990s.  I can agree with the intent of your Harris quote, but disagree with that the term atheism should be stricken.  Instead, the traditional meaning should be reapplied.  If people who hold the view of religion that you do need to call themselves something, then non-theist would make a lot more sense.


    MayCaesar said:
    @CYDdharta

    Your mistake is that you confuse disbelief in god with belief in non-existence of god. These are very different things. If I do not believe in god, it does not mean that I believe that there is no god. There are many ways not to believe in something and simultaneously not believe in its exact opposite. For example, I do not believe that my neighbor's name is Samantha, because it is just one of a large multitude of her possible names and it would be unreasonable to pick just one and hope to randomly get lucky - but I also do not hold the belief that my neighbor's name is not Samantha, because there is nothing that suggests that it cannot be Samantha.

    However, if you offer me to play a lottery, where I put $100 and choose either "My neighbor's name is Samantha" or "My neighbor's name is not Samantha", win $100 if I am right and lose $100 if I am wrong, then I will pick the option "My neighbor's name is not Samantha", and statistically I am almost destined to win. This is what atheism is: an informed choice of the most logical model in the absence of data. While an agnostic would simply refuse to play this game, because he/she would say, "I do not know my neighbor's name, so I cannot make any sensible choices here."

    An agnostic refuses to take a stance, because he/she assumes that both possibilities are very plausible. An atheist or a theist takes a stance, because one of the two possibilities seems irrelevant to them, for one reason or another. This does not mean that every theist is absolutely convinced there is god, and every atheist is absolutely convinced there is no god; each of us just leans towards a certain version, sometimes so strongly that the alternative is not being considered seriously.


    You are incorrect.  I have, indeed, made just that distinction.  What I don't agree with is unnecessarily redefining terms.

  • @Vaulk
    When you hold a strong belief (An acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof) in naturalism, that's called faith.  So to say that Atheism isn't a belief system isn't entirely accurate as when asked to explain the origin of life...Atheists must employ a system of belief in one way or another.
    And that system can be humanism or different forms of existentialism and other philosophies... Atheism is not a philosophy, nor a belief system, it's a single position on a single claim...
    ZeusAres42
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "

  • Atheism is not a philosophy, nor a belief system, it's a single position on a single claim...
    The way the term has been redefined, it's actually more than a single position, which is what causes the confusion.
    Vaulk
  • CYDdharta said:
    If you do a bit more research you will find that nothing is being redefined here at all. You might want to start with the reference material that I have provided here as well as in other relative debates. However, I will post them again here anyway. But, please note as that the reason I ascribe to definition via those sources is not because of the sources themselves, but because what they say agrees with reason. Especially, given the linguistic structure of Atheism. The prefix "a" of Greek Origin denotes absence/negation of Theistic belief; not opposition. "Anti" of Greek origin is what denotes to opposing or directly against; hence an Anti theist is someone that is directly against/opposed any Theistic belief.

    Anyway, as to answer your question if by disbelieve you mean deny the existence of God then a much more apt term for them would be someone that is an Anti theist; that is what I would say if we're going to give them a term. With that being said, however, they are still Atheists. But they are Atheists not because they believe that God doesn't exist, but much rather because they do not have a belief that God does exist. Likewise, an Atheist is not someone that believes there is no God; they just don't have a belief that there is a God.

    Technically speaking it could be said that everyone on the planet is an Atheist including those of Theistic religions. For example a Christian doesn't believe in an Islamic God and so it follows that they too are Atheists or as I like to say A-theists.

    Hereafter, I would also like to say that I agree with Sam Harris who states Atheism is a word that should no longer exist.
    Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, "atheism" is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a "non-astrologer" or a "non-alchemist." We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs. —Sam Harris




    The more research I do, the more it proves that the meaning of the term atheism has been redefined. 
    Right. I thought you were accusing me personally of redefining the term. That being said, I myself would not say that Atheism has been redefined but much rather corrected and updated.

    You have previously accepted the Oxford English dictionary as an authority on the proper use the English language.
    As I pointed out in your other atheism thread, the Oxford English Second Edition (1989) definition of atheist was;

    atheist, n. (and a.)
     (ˈeɪɵiːɪst)Also 6 atheyst, 6-7 athist(e.[a. F. athéiste (16th c. in Littré), or It. atheista: see prec. and -ist.]
    atheist, n. (and a.)
     A. n.
    atheist, n. (and a.)
    One who denies or disbelieves the existence of a God.

    [a1568: Coverdale Hope of Faithf. Pref. Wks. II. 139 “Eat we and drink we lustily; to-morrow we shall die: which all the epicures protest openly, and the Italian atheoi.”]

    1571: Golding Calvin on Ps. Ep. Ded. 3 “The Atheistes which say..there is no God.”

    1604: Rowlands Looke to it 23 “Thou damned Athist..That doest deny his power which did create thee.”

    1709: Shaftesbury Charac. i. i. 2 (1737) II. 11 “To believe nothing of a designing Principle or Mind, nor any Cause, Measure, or Rule of Things, but Chance..is to be a perfect Atheist.”

    1876: Gladstone in Contemp. Rev. June 22 “By the Atheist I understand the man who not only holds off, like the sceptic, from the affirmative, but who drives himself, or is driven, to the negative assertion in regard to the whole Unseen, or to the existence of God.”

    That is basically the same definition as I find in my Oxford American Dictionary of Current English (1999)


    Yes, I do currently ascribe to the current standard Oxford Dictionary definition, as to me it also makes sense. Interestingly, if you go further back in history you will also find that Religion at one point did have a lot of authority and a great hold over western civilization. And consequently, people that didn't have a belief in God were not tolerated and demonized. Several people of the religious persuasion had even gone so far as to accuse Atheists as being promoters of the Devil. So, in a sense you are correct; it was long established by many religious people of the old days that Atheists directly opposed God. Fortunately, we've now moved beyond those old ghastly ways, and the term Atheism is being defined exactly as it should. And when I say we I mean at least most of us that live in the modern Western World. Albeit, there it is still possible that some dictionaries still haven't updated and corrected the term yet.


    The Greek prefix a- was the source of the English prefix un-.  While the definitions of terms such as unapologetic, unAmerican, or undemocratic may technically be not apologetic, not American, and not democratic, in actual usage, those words mean the opposite of terms from which they are derived.

    I don't really see what the Prefix un has got to do the prefix a in Atheism. Also, within the exact source you presented with here did you not spot this:

    In words from Greek, such as abysmal, adamant, amethyst; also partly nativized as a prefix of negation (asexual, amoral, agnostic). The ancient alpha privatum, denoting want or absence. https://www.etymonline.com/word/a-?ref=etymonline_crossreference#etymonline_v_3


    As to your references, wikis, by their nature, are poor sources.  Anyone can change or modify their entries, including you or me.  That said, I see nothing even in those entries which disputes my contention that the term was redefined in the 1990s.  I can agree with the intent of your Harris quote, but disagree with that the term atheism should be stricken.  Instead, the traditional meaning should be reapplied.  If people who hold the view of religion that you do need to call themselves something, then non-theist would make a lot more sense.
    Wile the rational wiki pages may not be good enough for let's say a dissertation I am sure they will suffice for a casual discussion. Furthermore, it's actually the content of the sources that needs considering much rather than the source itself. Not only that but I also provided the sections of external links of which actually take you to academic and reputable sources. And you can also cross-reference the academic sources with what's written in the entry. With that being said, I do understand there are some whacky sources out there which I wouldn't bother considering myself as well.

    Furthermore, I am not convinced you have read that or done much research. Because what I find is that Atheism hasn't been redefined to mean something different, but much rather updated and corrected to mean exactly what it is - "Disbelief or more broadly lack of/abscense of a belief in Theos (AKA GOD). https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199644650.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199644650

    It is actually thanks to the research done devoid of religious influence that we're now able to accept terms such as Atheism for what they actually are.


    “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullsh*t requires no such conviction…”
    ― Ben Goldacre, Bad Science




  • CYDdharta said:
    If you do a bit more research you will find that nothing is being redefined here at all. You might want to start with the reference material that I have provided here as well as in other relative debates. However, I will post them again here anyway. But, please note as that the reason I ascribe to definition via those sources is not because of the sources themselves, but because what they say agrees with reason. Especially, given the linguistic structure of Atheism. The prefix "a" of Greek Origin denotes absence/negation of Theistic belief; not opposition. "Anti" of Greek origin is what denotes to opposing or directly against; hence an Anti theist is someone that is directly against/opposed any Theistic belief.

    Anyway, as to answer your question if by disbelieve you mean deny the existence of God then a much more apt term for them would be someone that is an Anti theist; that is what I would say if we're going to give them a term. With that being said, however, they are still Atheists. But they are Atheists not because they believe that God doesn't exist, but much rather because they do not have a belief that God does exist. Likewise, an Atheist is not someone that believes there is no God; they just don't have a belief that there is a God.

    Technically speaking it could be said that everyone on the planet is an Atheist including those of Theistic religions. For example a Christian doesn't believe in an Islamic God and so it follows that they too are Atheists or as I like to say A-theists.

    Hereafter, I would also like to say that I agree with Sam Harris who states Atheism is a word that should no longer exist.
    Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, "atheism" is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a "non-astrologer" or a "non-alchemist." We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs. —Sam Harris




    The more research I do, the more it proves that the meaning of the term atheism has been redefined. 
    Right. I thought you were accusing me personally of redefining the term. That being said, I myself would not say that Atheism has been redefined but much rather corrected and updated.

    You have previously accepted the Oxford English dictionary as an authority on the proper use the English language.
    As I pointed out in your other atheism thread, the Oxford English Second Edition (1989) definition of atheist was;

    atheist, n. (and a.)
     (ˈeɪɵiːɪst)Also 6 atheyst, 6-7 athist(e.[a. F. athéiste (16th c. in Littré), or It. atheista: see prec. and -ist.]
    atheist, n. (and a.)
     A. n.
    atheist, n. (and a.)
    One who denies or disbelieves the existence of a God.

    [a1568: Coverdale Hope of Faithf. Pref. Wks. II. 139 “Eat we and drink we lustily; to-morrow we shall die: which all the epicures protest openly, and the Italian atheoi.”]

    1571: Golding Calvin on Ps. Ep. Ded. 3 “The Atheistes which say..there is no God.”

    1604: Rowlands Looke to it 23 “Thou damned Athist..That doest deny his power which did create thee.”

    1709: Shaftesbury Charac. i. i. 2 (1737) II. 11 “To believe nothing of a designing Principle or Mind, nor any Cause, Measure, or Rule of Things, but Chance..is to be a perfect Atheist.”

    1876: Gladstone in Contemp. Rev. June 22 “By the Atheist I understand the man who not only holds off, like the sceptic, from the affirmative, but who drives himself, or is driven, to the negative assertion in regard to the whole Unseen, or to the existence of God.”

    That is basically the same definition as I find in my Oxford American Dictionary of Current English (1999)


    Yes, I do currently ascribe to the current standard Oxford Dictionary definition, as to me it also makes sense. Interestingly, if you go further back in history you will also find that Religion at one point did have a lot of authority and a great hold over western civilization. And consequently, people that didn't have a belief in God were not tolerated and demonized. Several people of the religious persuasion had even gone so far as to accuse Atheists as being promoters of the Devil. So, in a sense you are correct; it was long established by many religious people of the old days that Atheists directly opposed God. Fortunately, we've now moved beyond those old ghastly ways, and the term Atheism is being defined exactly as it should. And when I say we I mean at least most of us that live in the modern Western World. Albeit, there it is still possible that some dictionaries still haven't updated and corrected the term yet.


    The Greek prefix a- was the source of the English prefix un-.  While the definitions of terms such as unapologetic, unAmerican, or undemocratic may technically be not apologetic, not American, and not democratic, in actual usage, those words mean the opposite of terms from which they are derived.

    I don't really see what the Prefix un has got to do the prefix a in Atheism. Also, within the exact source you presented with here did you not spot this:

    In words from Greek, such as abysmal, adamant, amethyst; also partly nativized as a prefix of negation (asexual, amoral, agnostic). The ancient alpha privatum, denoting want or absence. https://www.etymonline.com/word/a-?ref=etymonline_crossreference#etymonline_v_3


    As to your references, wikis, by their nature, are poor sources.  Anyone can change or modify their entries, including you or me.  That said, I see nothing even in those entries which disputes my contention that the term was redefined in the 1990s.  I can agree with the intent of your Harris quote, but disagree with that the term atheism should be stricken.  Instead, the traditional meaning should be reapplied.  If people who hold the view of religion that you do need to call themselves something, then non-theist would make a lot more sense.
    Wile the rational wiki pages may not be good enough for let's say a dissertation I am sure they will suffice for a casual discussion. Furthermore, it's actually the content of the sources that needs considering much rather than the source itself. Not only that but I also provided the sections of external links of which actually take you to academic and reputable sources. And you can also cross-reference the academic sources with what's written in the entry. With that being said, I do understand there are some whacky sources out there which I wouldn't bother considering myself as well.

    Furthermore, I am not convinced you have read that or done much research. Because what I find is that Atheism hasn't been redefined to mean something different, but much rather updated and corrected to mean exactly what it is - "Disbelief or more broadly lack of/abscense of a belief in Theos (AKA GOD). https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199644650.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199644650

    It is actually thanks to the research done devoid of religious influence that we're now able to accept terms such as Atheism for what they actually are.


    So let me get this straight, you support redefining the term to include groups of people for whom the term hadn't applied, then you want the term stricken because it now applies to those very same groups?  Your motivation seems disingenuous at best.  Once again, why not just self-identify as a non-theist?
  • CYDdharta said:
    CYDdharta said:
    If you do a bit more research you will find that nothing is being redefined here at all. You might want to start with the reference material that I have provided here as well as in other relative debates. However, I will post them again here anyway. But, please note as that the reason I ascribe to definition via those sources is not because of the sources themselves, but because what they say agrees with reason. Especially, given the linguistic structure of Atheism. The prefix "a" of Greek Origin denotes absence/negation of Theistic belief; not opposition. "Anti" of Greek origin is what denotes to opposing or directly against; hence an Anti theist is someone that is directly against/opposed any Theistic belief.

    Anyway, as to answer your question if by disbelieve you mean deny the existence of God then a much more apt term for them would be someone that is an Anti theist; that is what I would say if we're going to give them a term. With that being said, however, they are still Atheists. But they are Atheists not because they believe that God doesn't exist, but much rather because they do not have a belief that God does exist. Likewise, an Atheist is not someone that believes there is no God; they just don't have a belief that there is a God.

    Technically speaking it could be said that everyone on the planet is an Atheist including those of Theistic religions. For example a Christian doesn't believe in an Islamic God and so it follows that they too are Atheists or as I like to say A-theists.

    Hereafter, I would also like to say that I agree with Sam Harris who states Atheism is a word that should no longer exist.
    Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, "atheism" is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a "non-astrologer" or a "non-alchemist." We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs. —Sam Harris




    The more research I do, the more it proves that the meaning of the term atheism has been redefined. 
    Right. I thought you were accusing me personally of redefining the term. That being said, I myself would not say that Atheism has been redefined but much rather corrected and updated.

    You have previously accepted the Oxford English dictionary as an authority on the proper use the English language.
    As I pointed out in your other atheism thread, the Oxford English Second Edition (1989) definition of atheist was;

    atheist, n. (and a.)
     (ˈeɪɵiːɪst)Also 6 atheyst, 6-7 athist(e.[a. F. athéiste (16th c. in Littré), or It. atheista: see prec. and -ist.]
    atheist, n. (and a.)
     A. n.
    atheist, n. (and a.)
    One who denies or disbelieves the existence of a God.

    [a1568: Coverdale Hope of Faithf. Pref. Wks. II. 139 “Eat we and drink we lustily; to-morrow we shall die: which all the epicures protest openly, and the Italian atheoi.”]

    1571: Golding Calvin on Ps. Ep. Ded. 3 “The Atheistes which say..there is no God.”

    1604: Rowlands Looke to it 23 “Thou damned Athist..That doest deny his power which did create thee.”

    1709: Shaftesbury Charac. i. i. 2 (1737) II. 11 “To believe nothing of a designing Principle or Mind, nor any Cause, Measure, or Rule of Things, but Chance..is to be a perfect Atheist.”

    1876: Gladstone in Contemp. Rev. June 22 “By the Atheist I understand the man who not only holds off, like the sceptic, from the affirmative, but who drives himself, or is driven, to the negative assertion in regard to the whole Unseen, or to the existence of God.”

    That is basically the same definition as I find in my Oxford American Dictionary of Current English (1999)


    Yes, I do currently ascribe to the current standard Oxford Dictionary definition, as to me it also makes sense. Interestingly, if you go further back in history you will also find that Religion at one point did have a lot of authority and a great hold over western civilization. And consequently, people that didn't have a belief in God were not tolerated and demonized. Several people of the religious persuasion had even gone so far as to accuse Atheists as being promoters of the Devil. So, in a sense you are correct; it was long established by many religious people of the old days that Atheists directly opposed God. Fortunately, we've now moved beyond those old ghastly ways, and the term Atheism is being defined exactly as it should. And when I say we I mean at least most of us that live in the modern Western World. Albeit, there it is still possible that some dictionaries still haven't updated and corrected the term yet.


    The Greek prefix a- was the source of the English prefix un-.  While the definitions of terms such as unapologetic, unAmerican, or undemocratic may technically be not apologetic, not American, and not democratic, in actual usage, those words mean the opposite of terms from which they are derived.

    I don't really see what the Prefix un has got to do the prefix a in Atheism. Also, within the exact source you presented with here did you not spot this:

    In words from Greek, such as abysmal, adamant, amethyst; also partly nativized as a prefix of negation (asexual, amoral, agnostic). The ancient alpha privatum, denoting want or absence. https://www.etymonline.com/word/a-?ref=etymonline_crossreference#etymonline_v_3


    As to your references, wikis, by their nature, are poor sources.  Anyone can change or modify their entries, including you or me.  That said, I see nothing even in those entries which disputes my contention that the term was redefined in the 1990s.  I can agree with the intent of your Harris quote, but disagree with that the term atheism should be stricken.  Instead, the traditional meaning should be reapplied.  If people who hold the view of religion that you do need to call themselves something, then non-theist would make a lot more sense.
    Wile the rational wiki pages may not be good enough for let's say a dissertation I am sure they will suffice for a casual discussion. Furthermore, it's actually the content of the sources that needs considering much rather than the source itself. Not only that but I also provided the sections of external links of which actually take you to academic and reputable sources. And you can also cross-reference the academic sources with what's written in the entry. With that being said, I do understand there are some whacky sources out there which I wouldn't bother considering myself as well.

    Furthermore, I am not convinced you have read that or done much research. Because what I find is that Atheism hasn't been redefined to mean something different, but much rather updated and corrected to mean exactly what it is - "Disbelief or more broadly lack of/abscense of a belief in Theos (AKA GOD). https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199644650.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199644650

    It is actually thanks to the research done devoid of religious influence that we're now able to accept terms such as Atheism for what they actually are.


    So let me get this straight, you support redefining the term to include groups of people for whom the term hadn't applied, then you want the term stricken because it now applies to those very same groups?  Your motivation seems disingenuous at best.  Once again, why not just self-identify as a non-theist?
    Please do not put words into my mouth. As for your question I have no preference for how one that lacks a belief in God identifies themselves.

    “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullsh*t requires no such conviction…”
    ― Ben Goldacre, Bad Science




  • Please do not put words into my mouth. As for your question I have no preference for how one that lacks a belief in God identifies themselves.

    How am I supposedly putting words in your mouth?  All I'm doing is restating what you have already posted.  Here you state your support for the redefinition of the term atheism;

    ZeusAres42 said:

    Yes, I do currently ascribe to the current standard Oxford Dictionary definition, as to me it also makes sense. Interestingly, if you go further back in history you will also find that Religion at one point did have a lot of authority and a great hold over western civilization. And consequently, people that didn't have a belief in God were not tolerated and demonized. Several people of the religious persuasion had even gone so far as to accuse Atheists as being promoters of the Devil. So, in a sense you are correct; it was long established by many religious people of the old days that Atheists directly opposed God. Fortunately, we've now moved beyond those old ghastly ways, and the term Atheism is being defined exactly as it should. And when I say we I mean at least most of us that live in the modern Western World. Albeit, there it is still possible that some dictionaries still haven't updated and corrected the term yet.

    However, 1999 isn't exactly ancient history, nor has there been a terribly significant shift in the number of religious people in the US between 1999 and today (about a 2 point drop).

    And here you are quoting Harris and saying the term atheism should be stricken from the vocabulary;


    Hereafter, I would also like to say that I agree with Sam Harris who states Atheism is a word that should no longer exist.

    So tell me, how am I putting words in your mouth?  How am I at all misrepresenting your position?
    Vaulk
  • CYDdharta said:
    Please do not put words into my mouth. As for your question I have no preference for how one that lacks a belief in God identifies themselves.

    How am I supposedly putting words in your mouth?  All I'm doing is restating what you have already posted.  Here you state your support for the redefinition of the term atheism;

    ZeusAres42 said:

    Yes, I do currently ascribe to the current standard Oxford Dictionary definition, as to me it also makes sense. Interestingly, if you go further back in history you will also find that Religion at one point did have a lot of authority and a great hold over western civilization. And consequently, people that didn't have a belief in God were not tolerated and demonized. Several people of the religious persuasion had even gone so far as to accuse Atheists as being promoters of the Devil. So, in a sense you are correct; it was long established by many religious people of the old days that Atheists directly opposed God. Fortunately, we've now moved beyond those old ghastly ways, and the term Atheism is being defined exactly as it should. And when I say we I mean at least most of us that live in the modern Western World. Albeit, there it is still possible that some dictionaries still haven't updated and corrected the term yet.

    However, 1999 isn't exactly ancient history, nor has there been a terribly significant shift in the number of religious people in the US between 1999 and today (about a 2 point drop).

    And here you are quoting Harris and saying the term atheism should be stricken from the vocabulary;


    Hereafter, I would also like to say that I agree with Sam Harris who states Atheism is a word that should no longer exist.

    So tell me, how am I putting words in your mouth?  How am I at all misrepresenting your position?
    Let me put this another way. I agree with the current way the term Atheism is defined, the reasoning and research behind it. That's not say that I also have to agree that the word should still exist. Just because you agree with the way a word is defined does not mean to say you have to agree with that word to stick around. The way a term is defined and the term itself are two different things.

    What I did NOT say or imply was that Atheism is a word that should exist, and also shouldn't exist at the same time, as that wouldn't make any sense; but that's not what I said.

    As for the bit about history, I actually said this "if you go further back in history...." I was also referring mostly the middle and post middle ages of the UK, and  some other countries in Europe in that time; not 1999 USA.

    Anyway, the current standard definition still is "Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods." - https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/atheism



    “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullsh*t requires no such conviction…”
    ― Ben Goldacre, Bad Science




  • CYDdhartaCYDdharta 1203 Pts
    edited November 5
    Let me put this another way. I agree with the current way the term Atheism is defined, the reasoning and research behind it. That's not say that I also have to agree that the word should still exist. Just because you agree with the way a word is defined does not mean to say you have to agree with that word to stick around. The way a term is defined and the term itself are two different things.

    What I did NOT say or imply was that Atheism is a word that should exist, and also shouldn't exist at the same time, as that wouldn't make any sense; but that's not what I said.

    As for the bit about history, I actually said this "if you go further back in history...." I was also referring mostly the middle and post middle ages of the UK, and  some other countries in Europe in that time; not 1999 USA.

    Anyway, the current standard definition still is "Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods." - https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/atheism



    I was referring to 1999, as the Oxford English definition at that time was "the theory or belief that God does not exist".

    Why do you agree with the recent redefinition?

    And having stated your support for that recent redefinition, do you not see the conflict with simultaneously taking the position that the word should be stricken because, as redefined, it has lost much of it's meaning?
  • VaulkVaulk 656 Pts
    edited November 6
    @Vaulk
    When you hold a strong belief (An acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof) in naturalism, that's called faith.  So to say that Atheism isn't a belief system isn't entirely accurate as when asked to explain the origin of life...Atheists must employ a system of belief in one way or another.
    And that system can be humanism or different forms of existentialism and other philosophies... Atheism is not a philosophy, nor a belief system, it's a single position on a single claim...

    Take the single claim or singe position that evolution does not exist, one will inevitable have to adopt a multitude of different beliefs as a direct result of the position that evolution does not exist and these beliefs will span over tens if not hundreds of theories, claims, hypothesis', and postulations.  One equates the other.

    Likewise the supposed single claim or single position of Atheism inevitably equates to the adoption several systems and methodologies of several combinations depending on one's personal taste because, in the end, we're still talking about what is believed to be true based upon probability and assumption...not what is fact.

    I know Atheists typically don't enjoy the idea of equating Atheism to Faith or Belief but the simple fact that Atheism requires both of these things in order to function logically is indisputable.  The origination of life, how it happened and why it happened are constantly in dispute and cannot be known with any degree of certainty and, despite a level of probability, cannot be stated as known fact.  This fact alone places the explanations provided by naturalism, humanism, and existentialism into the realm of faith and belief.  Any single claim or position that requires you to adopt a faith or belief system is by definition "Faith based".  






    "If there's no such thing as a stupid question then what kind of questions do stupid people ask"?

    "There's going to be a special place in Hell for people who spread lies through the veil of logical fallacies disguised as rational argument".

    "Oh, you don't like my sarcasm?  Well I don't much appreciate your stupid".


  • @CYDdharta

    Why should we not use the recent redefinition? Languages naturally evolve with time. Sure, we can be stubborn and speak in Old English, for example, but that would not be very practical in the modern world. It makes more sense to speak the same language everyone else does, even if we dislike the new meanings of some of the words.

    This debate is really pointless. Everybody knows what they mean by word "atheist". Debating strict definitions merely demonstrates the desire of the people to not want to discuss the actual subject, maybe because of their sensitivity, or something else.
    ZeusAres42
  • I guess the only way we shall ever find the truth to this very old question is to simply wait until death answers it.
  • DeeDee 813 Pts
    @Vaulk

    Faith in god is belief in a god that is secure and unconcerned with logic or reason. It is important to separate "faith" that a god exists from the kind of "faith" one has in a friend or family member. The latter describes a form of trust that is based on past experiences and loyalties to people who obviously exist. Faith in a god's existence also is very different from having faith that the sun will rise tomorrow morning.

    A Christians belief in a god is based on spiritual conviction nothing else , I like a lot of other atheists are merely content to state we don’t know when it comes to the bigger questions of which you speak yet you then state various explanations put forward by atheists regarding these questions.

    Atheism is still a position on one question and one question alone and that’s it , 


  • MayCaesar said:
    @CYDdharta

    Why should we not use the recent redefinition? Languages naturally evolve with time. Sure, we can be stubborn and speak in Old English, for example, but that would not be very practical in the modern world. It makes more sense to speak the same language everyone else does, even if we dislike the new meanings of some of the words.

    This debate is really pointless. Everybody knows what they mean by word "atheist". Debating strict definitions merely demonstrates the desire of the people to not want to discuss the actual subject, maybe because of their sensitivity, or something else.
    Do you not see the problem with saying you agree with the new watered-down definition of "atheism" and also saying that the meaning of the term has been so watered down that word that it should no longer exist?

    And no, everybody does NOT know what they mean by word "atheist" because the word has more than one meaning now.  That's one of the problems with redefining terms to suit political agendas.
  • MayCaesar said:
    @CYDdharta

    Why should we not use the recent redefinition? Languages naturally evolve with time. Sure, we can be stubborn and speak in Old English, for example, but that would not be very practical in the modern world. It makes more sense to speak the same language everyone else does, even if we dislike the new meanings of some of the words.

    This debate is really pointless. Everybody knows what they mean by word "atheist". Debating strict definitions merely demonstrates the desire of the people to not want to discuss the actual subject, maybe because of their sensitivity, or something else.
    @MayCaesar The only thing I would say here is that the word hasn't been defined or given a new meaning. On the contrary it's actually been defined to mean what it meant all along. This also logically follows given the reasoning behind it.

    With that being said, it is also sound to say that the word isn't necessary to identify oneself as someone who doesn't believe in Gods existence. But if the word we choose to use is "Atheist" then we should apply the appropriate definition; and should probably actually clarify what we mean by this just for the benefit of others.
    CYDdhartaMayCaesar

    “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullsh*t requires no such conviction…”
    ― Ben Goldacre, Bad Science





  • @MayCaesar The only thing I would say here is that the word hasn't been defined or given a new meaning. On the contrary it's actually been defined to mean what it meant all along. This also logically follows given the reasoning behind it.

    With that being said, it is also sound to say that the word isn't necessary to identify oneself as someone who doesn't believe in Gods existence. But if the word we choose to use is "Atheist" then we should apply the appropriate definition; and should probably actually clarify what we mean by this just for the benefit of others.

    So you self-identify as an atheist, endorse the term being watered down, and want the term stricken from the English language. It's hard to imagine a more conflicted position in this issue.  If you have such a problem with the term, why self-identify with it?  Why not just identify with another term?
  • CYDdharta said:

    @MayCaesar The only thing I would say here is that the word hasn't been defined or given a new meaning. On the contrary it's actually been defined to mean what it meant all along. This also logically follows given the reasoning behind it.

    With that being said, it is also sound to say that the word isn't necessary to identify oneself as someone who doesn't believe in Gods existence. But if the word we choose to use is "Atheist" then we should apply the appropriate definition; and should probably actually clarify what we mean by this just for the benefit of others.

    So you self-identify as an atheist, endorse the term being watered down, and want the term stricken from the English language. It's hard to imagine a more conflicted position in this issue.  If you have such a problem with the term, why self-identify with it?  Why not just identify with another term?

    @CYDharta Either I am not conveying the message I am trying to convey very well or you are misapprehending what I am trying to convey. And with that being said, how about we just forget about what the term means for now.

    The OP said agnosticism is the correct way to think about religion. Now, if by agnosticism he means unsure about what to believe is that the most reasonable way to think about it?

    Or is it more reasonable to think that there is no reason to believe in God's existence for the time being until evidence comes to light that either supports this belief or dis-confirms it? 




    “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullsh*t requires no such conviction…”
    ― Ben Goldacre, Bad Science





  • @CYDharta Either I am not conveying the message I am trying to convey very well or you are misapprehending what I am trying to convey. And with that being said, how about we just forget about what the term means for now.

    The OP said agnosticism is the correct way to think about religion. Now, if by agnosticism he means unsure about what to believe is that the most reasonable way to think about it?

    Or is it more reasonable to think that there is no reason to believe in God's existence for the time being until evidence comes to light that either supports this belief or dis-confirms it? 


    That isn't what agnosticism means.  Agnosticism - the view that any ultimate reality (such as a deity) is unknown and probably unknowable.  It does not mean one is simply unsure.  Agnosticism is a belief.

    The way atheism has been redefined covers just being unsure.  In fact, the main thing redefining the term did was add people who are just unsure to the deniers that had been the traditional atheists.

  • @CYDdharta

    In this interpretation, agnosticism is not incompatible with atheism. Of course reality is unknown and unknowable; that does not mean, however, that no reasonable conclusions can be drawn. I may not know and be able to know how the world works fundamentally, but I know some hypotheses that turn out to work well consistently, and some other hypotheses that do not bring any relevant information on the table.

    Strictly speaking, the question on whether gods exist or not will never be answered with 100% certainty. If we do not find any gods, that does not mean they are not there; similarly, if we do find them, there is no way to prove that they are actually gods, and even if they exhibit all characteristics that we would expect from gods, it still does not mean that are not simply very advanced physical beings, and perhaps there are "actual gods" above them that have created them.

    Does it mean that we cannot take a stance on the subject that will be informed and practical? Of course not. There are no gods, as far as I am concerned, and I would even say that there can be no gods by the very definition of the word "god" - but I can always turn out to be wrong one day. I would rather turn out to be wrong and admit that I was wrong and my most reasonable hypothesis failed (it happens, both in science and in life in general), than to be afraid to take a stance and never be able to lift a finger without considering millions possible consequences that lifting a finger can have.

    It is not that the word "atheism" has been redefined. It is that there are many shades to atheism, just as there are to any other point of view, and no two atheists think the same.
    ZeusAres42CYDdharta
  • MayCaesar said:
    @CYDdharta

    In this interpretation, agnosticism is not incompatible with atheism. Of course reality is unknown and unknowable; that does not mean, however, that no reasonable conclusions can be drawn. I may not know and be able to know how the world works fundamentally, but I know some hypotheses that turn out to work well consistently, and some other hypotheses that do not bring any relevant information on the table.

    Strictly speaking, the question on whether gods exist or not will never be answered with 100% certainty. If we do not find any gods, that does not mean they are not there; similarly, if we do find them, there is no way to prove that they are actually gods, and even if they exhibit all characteristics that we would expect from gods, it still does not mean that are not simply very advanced physical beings, and perhaps there are "actual gods" above them that have created them.

    Does it mean that we cannot take a stance on the subject that will be informed and practical? Of course not. There are no gods, as far as I am concerned, and I would even say that there can be no gods by the very definition of the word "god" - but I can always turn out to be wrong one day. I would rather turn out to be wrong and admit that I was wrong and my most reasonable hypothesis failed (it happens, both in science and in life in general), than to be afraid to take a stance and never be able to lift a finger without considering millions possible consequences that lifting a finger can have.

    It is not that the word "atheism" has been redefined. It is that there are many shades to atheism, just as there are to any other point of view, and no two atheists think the same.

    By this interpretation?  You mean by the actual definition.  Agnostics are not atheists, even by the newly revised definition of the term atheism.  They no more lack belief in a God or gods than they believe in the Catholic God, or the God of Judaism, or Odin, or Shangdi.  Any or all of them may be correct.  To me, the most reasonable position to take is to admit that we don't know and that we cannot know, and it most certainly DOES mean that we cannot honestly take a stance.  I would rather admit that I don't know and that I cannot know than lie to myself and claim to know something that I really don't know.


  • @CYDdharta

    Yet that is not how you live your life in general. Every time you go outside your house, you do not know if you will be murdered by some random stranger or not. Yet you go outside without even thinking about it, fully expecting that in the evening you will come back unharmed. Why? Because your experience and intelligence allows you to conclude that the possibility that you will be fine at the end of the day is much more reasonable to assume, as the opposite result is highly unlikely, for various reasons.

    If you were to never take any stances, since you can never know anything for certain, then you would be effectively disabled, unable to sneeze without facing the possibility that it will trigger an apocalyptic event. That is not how humans operate, and that is not how logic works in general.

    To me, the possibility that there are gods is just as relevant as the possibility that there are unicorns, fire-breathing dragons, genies, zombies, ghosts, flying saucepans, Jedi or whatever else human mind has come up with. Occam's Razor principle suggests that, in the absence of any evidence, one must by default assume the null hypothesis - which, among other things, suggests that nothing the absence of which does not contradict our knowledge should be taken into account when building a model of the world.

    At the same time, strictly speaking, I cannot know that there are no things I just listed on Earth, or in the Universe as a whole, or even outside it. I also do not think that everything is knowable in principle, and that aligns with the definition of "agnosticism" you provided. Does not prohibit me from taking a reasonable informed stance. I do not need to know everything to be able to make some fairly reliable assumptions.
    CYDdharta
  • MayCaesar said:
    @CYDdharta

    Yet that is not how you live your life in general. Every time you go outside your house, you do not know if you will be murdered by some random stranger or not. Yet you go outside without even thinking about it, fully expecting that in the evening you will come back unharmed. Why? Because your experience and intelligence allows you to conclude that the possibility that you will be fine at the end of the day is much more reasonable to assume, as the opposite result is highly unlikely, for various reasons.

    If you were to never take any stances, since you can never know anything for certain, then you would be effectively disabled, unable to sneeze without facing the possibility that it will trigger an apocalyptic event. That is not how humans operate, and that is not how logic works in general.

    To me, the possibility that there are gods is just as relevant as the possibility that there are unicorns, fire-breathing dragons, genies, zombies, ghosts, flying saucepans, Jedi or whatever else human mind has come up with. Occam's Razor principle suggests that, in the absence of any evidence, one must by default assume the null hypothesis - which, among other things, suggests that nothing the absence of which does not contradict our knowledge should be taken into account when building a model of the world.

    At the same time, strictly speaking, I cannot know that there are no things I just listed on Earth, or in the Universe as a whole, or even outside it. I also do not think that everything is knowable in principle, and that aligns with the definition of "agnosticism" you provided. Does not prohibit me from taking a reasonable informed stance. I do not need to know everything to be able to make some fairly reliable assumptions.

    I can determine whether or not I'll be murdered by some random stranger outside of my house by going outside of my house.  I cannot make the same determination about the origins of the universe.  By the same token, I don't live my life strictly by Occam's razor.  I suspect you don't either, as not many people do.  Anyone who has ever played the lottery or a game of chance is violating Occam's razor.
  • @CYDdharta

    Yes, and you can also determine whether or not you will die if you jump off a skyscraper by jumping off a skyscraper. Yet you do not do so; you have some natural expectations of what is going to happen, based on your knowledge and experience. You cannot prove with certainty what will happen without actually jumping off, but as a logical and rational being you realise that such a test is not needed.

    Playing a game of chance has nothing to do with Occam's razor; you can play a game of chance for fun, fully aware of the nature of the game. I do not like games of chance, as I like to be in charge of what is happening, rather than trusting my fate into the die, but I can play a game in which chance is a factor to a certain degree.

    Occam's razor has more to do with what you assume to be true by default. Do unicorns exist? I assume they do not, because there is zero evidence behind them. Do black holes exist? Probably yes, as the modern science directly predicts their existence, and we have observed objects in telescopes that behave fully how we would expect black holes to behave. Do humans exist? Certainly; we would not be having this conversation otherwise.
    It is clear where gods and other supernatural entities belong in this categorisation. I cannot know that there are no unicorns, but I see no reason for them to exist. Same with gods. That is my personal version of atheism and agnosticism; you can label it any way convenient to you, but you cannot disagree that both are a part of this world view.
  • I would like to use an analogy. Let's say I am a Doctor and a patient comes to me, and she believes she has cancer. So I do a thorough examination and find no signs of her having cancer at all. Now, as a Doctor I realize that we can never say never, and nor can we say always as I cannot know for sure; there still exists the remote possibility that she does have cancer. I conclude the consultation by telling her to come back in two weeks for a review. Now, because she appears in good health, no obviously worrying symptoms etc there is absolutely no reason for me to believe she does have cancer.

    That's how I think about a Deity. The idea of a Deity is just that - an idea. And there's absolutely no reason to believe in this idea unless evidence comes to light in support of this idea. But people who believe in Deities do not do so based on reason; they do so based on the faith heuristic.
    MayCaesar

    “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullsh*t requires no such conviction…”
    ― Ben Goldacre, Bad Science




  • MayCaesar said:
    @CYDdharta

    Yes, and you can also determine whether or not you will die if you jump off a skyscraper by jumping off a skyscraper. Yet you do not do so; you have some natural expectations of what is going to happen, based on your knowledge and experience. You cannot prove with certainty what will happen without actually jumping off, but as a logical and rational being you realise that such a test is not needed.

    Playing a game of chance has nothing to do with Occam's razor; you can play a game of chance for fun, fully aware of the nature of the game. I do not like games of chance, as I like to be in charge of what is happening, rather than trusting my fate into the die, but I can play a game in which chance is a factor to a certain degree.

    Occam's razor has more to do with what you assume to be true by default. Do unicorns exist? I assume they do not, because there is zero evidence behind them. Do black holes exist? Probably yes, as the modern science directly predicts their existence, and we have observed objects in telescopes that behave fully how we would expect black holes to behave. Do humans exist? Certainly; we would not be having this conversation otherwise.
    It is clear where gods and other supernatural entities belong in this categorisation. I cannot know that there are no unicorns, but I see no reason for them to exist. Same with gods. That is my personal version of atheism and agnosticism; you can label it any way convenient to you, but you cannot disagree that both are a part of this world view.

    I don't believe there are any natural expectations as to the origins of the universe, thus one theory is as valid as the next.

    So you play games expecting to lose.  Seems rather pointless.

    Agnosticism and atheism are related only insofar as neither professes a belief in God or gods.
  • @CYDdharta

    Not when we have strong experimental evidence supporting some theories, and zero evidence supporting other theories. But even were we to lack any evidence whatsoever with regards to any theories, the null hypothesis, in my eyes, would be that either the Universe has always existed, or it emerged as part of some natural phenomena. Intelligent actors creating the Universe is obviously beyond natural expectations, pretty much by definition of the word "natural".

    I rarely play games expecting to lose. I tend to play games in which, I believe, I have a tangible chance of winning, and can influence the outcome to a significant degree. I do not play obviously losing games, such as lotteries or casino games.
  • MayCaesar said:
    @CYDdharta

    Not when we have strong experimental evidence supporting some theories, and zero evidence supporting other theories. But even were we to lack any evidence whatsoever with regards to any theories, the null hypothesis, in my eyes, would be that either the Universe has always existed, or it emerged as part of some natural phenomena. Intelligent actors creating the Universe is obviously beyond natural expectations, pretty much by definition of the word "natural".

    I rarely play games expecting to lose. I tend to play games in which, I believe, I have a tangible chance of winning, and can influence the outcome to a significant degree. I do not play obviously losing games, such as lotteries or casino games.
    We don't have strong evidence of anything and we never will.  The best science will ever be able to do is explain what happened from a moment after the big bang until the present, as all laws break down in a singularity.  We will never be able to explain where that singularity came from.  One theory is just as good as any other theory.

    So you admit to occasionally playing games expecting to lose, rarely though it may be.
  • @CYDdharta

    Just because we cannot explain everything related to the Big Bang theory, does not mean we cannot have high confidence in that theory as a whole, given how well it has predicted a lot of phenomena supported by evidence. On the other hand, when it comes to gods, there is zero evidence whatsoever of them existing.

    I like challenging myself and sometimes play chess games against players far superior to me, that are very likely to beat me. I have no illusions there and know what I sign up for. I fail to see how Occam's razor comes into this equation. I do not play games to understand something about the world; I play games to have a good time.
  • MayCaesar said:
    @CYDdharta

    Just because we cannot explain everything related to the Big Bang theory, does not mean we cannot have high confidence in that theory as a whole, given how well it has predicted a lot of phenomena supported by evidence. On the other hand, when it comes to gods, there is zero evidence whatsoever of them existing.

    I like challenging myself and sometimes play chess games against players far superior to me, that are very likely to beat me. I have no illusions there and know what I sign up for. I fail to see how Occam's razor comes into this equation. I do not play games to understand something about the world; I play games to have a good time.

    You can delude yourself into believing your beliefs are scientific, but since we're talking about the point at which science breaks down, this is nothing more than a delusion.  Science does not and cannot have the answer.

    Where did it say Occams's razor was only to be used to understand something about the world?

  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 685 Pts
    edited November 11
    Atheism is to: "Without belief in God/S (Theos) existence"

    As amorality is to? Answer = "Without morals (not immoral or moral)."
     
    As asexuality is to "Without sexual attraction."

    As Agnostic is to "Without Gnosis/not gnostic." (Mid 19th century from a-‘not’ + gnostic.). https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/agnostic






    “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullsh*t requires no such conviction…”
    ― Ben Goldacre, Bad Science




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