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Belief vs. Knowledge

wiploc
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4/18/2012 2:32:13 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Moving here from the comments thread of this debate:
http://www.debate.org...
Resolved: Any definition that conflates Atheism with Agnosticism is not Atheism by any sense.
wiploc
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4/18/2012 3:02:21 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
WxGeo wrote:
You believe the proposition all air breathers have lungs (L). It could be the case that indeed some air breathers don't in fact have lungs. Imagine an alien race where evolution just works differently for them. Would you count L as knowledge?

I don't know. I'm a JTB guy (justified true belief) even though I know it has been refuted. That is, I'm a layman. I know I'm wrong, but I don't know what's right, and I need a working definition in the meantime.

So, I guess I'll say there may be air breathers who don't have lungs. Since that may be, the belief that all air breathers have lungs is not knowledge.

There's no way for us to step outside of our noetic structure to discover if our beliefs are true.

Then why do you insist that I claim knowledge when I don't?

Of course some beliefs turn out to be wrong. They weren't at first proposed as such; we're arguing the same thing there.

You say I claim to know that a historical Jesus existed. I'm telling you that's not true. How can we be saying the same thing?

You would be right that not knowing what knowledge is doesn't mean we can't count everything and everything as knowledge. But that's not what I said. I said you can't preclude a BELIEF as knowledge. A belief can be later known if upon a good investigation.

_Some_ beliefs can be precluded as knowledge. I don't have enough justification for my belief about the historical Jesus for that to count as knowledge, even if the belief is true.

Lunch is good, and my point implied that people knowingly engage one another's propositions, internal to their beliefs: this at least gives some prima facie for what I'm trying to say.

Your point is that when I say I believe X, I'm claiming to know X. But I'm not.

I don't mean to easily confuse, a claim to knowledge isn't knowledge. Your definition is circular: "knowledge is propositions known to be true." I didn't mean a circular definition like that.

Your sentence was incoherent. It had no apparent meaning. I was doing my best to assign a meaning to it, so you could tell me if I understood what you were trying to say. If you don't like my interpretation, you can offer another one rather than just picking at mine. Or we can dismiss the issue and move on. Maybe the sentence wasn't important.

Rather I mean I claim that "Christ existed" is a proposition: left open for criticism, which can later become knowledge or not. That's all.

I do not now know that a historical Jesus existed. It doesn't matter what evidence turns up later, you have no warrant for claiming that I'm claiming to know it now.

You belief that "Christ existed" doesn't have to be an established fact to count it as knowledge sir. I really do think your requirements for knowledge are just unreasonably high.

Is that your point? You think all beliefs are knowledge because you set a low bar?

We simply don't stand in such a good epistemic position to raise the bar to certainty.

Knowledge is what you know to be true. If you are in doubt, it isn't knowledge.

For literally most things we count as knowledge would be undermined. You can't prove as established fact that you have a head, you could be a brain in a vat being electro-chemically stimulated to believe you have a head.

If you have to resort to radical skepticism, you're pretty clearly in the wrong. If you don't know whether you have a head, then you don't know whether words have meanings, you don't know whether you are having this discussion, and you certainly don't know that my claim to believe in a historical Jesus is knowledge.

By the way, I do have a head.

-----Saying you "don't believe [P]" vs. Saying you "believe ~[P]" ARE DIFFERENT

Obviously.

(sorry for the caps) The former just IS a psychological state.

Of course.

Whereas the latter is not,

Nonsense.

it is a claim to being aware of something that some who believe [P] is not aware of.

Not at all. I'm just saying I believe Jesus existed. I'm not saying anything about what other people are aware of.

Atheism = "I believe ~Theism"
Agnosticism = "I ~belief of Theism" (or I deny belief of theism)

This has always been the case up until the last few centuries.

The baptism-by-submersion people used to call the baptism-by-sprinkling people atheists, and vice versa.

Believers in Jehovah used to call the deistic founding fathers atheists.

Your definitions are legitimate, but they are not exclusively legitimate. That is, other definitions are also legitimate. Atheists nowadays tend to use the word "atheist" to describe anyone who doesn't believe in gods. That is, if someone calls himself a atheist, he probably hasn't asserted a belief that there are no gods. He's probably just said he does not happen to believe that gods exist.

And if you want to go by historical precedent, it wasn't that long ago that the word "theist" meant deist, and the word "deist" meant theist.
CosmicAlfonzo
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4/18/2012 3:08:43 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 3:06:31 PM, FREEDO wrote:
There is no knowledge. Only belief.
Official "High Priest of Secular Affairs and Transient Distributor of Sonic Apple Seeds relating to the Reptilian Division of Paperwork Immoliation" of The FREEDO Bureaucracy, a DDO branch of the Erisian Front, a subdivision of the Discordian Back, a Limb of the Illuminatian Cosmic Utensil Corp
SuburbiaSurvivor
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4/18/2012 3:20:43 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 3:06:31 PM, FREEDO wrote:
There is no knowledge. Only belief.

No, there is only knowledge. I know what I believe, because I know that I believe it. Therefore I know it.
"I'm going to tell you something that you're never going to forget, SuburbiaSurvivor. Women... Are just human beings"
FREEDO
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4/18/2012 3:24:05 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 3:20:43 PM, SuburbiaSurvivor wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:06:31 PM, FREEDO wrote:
There is no knowledge. Only belief.

No, there is only knowledge. I know what I believe, because I know that I believe it. Therefore I know it.

You believe that you believe it. For if you know what you believe because you know that you believe it, meaning there is no belief, then you didn't really know that you believe anything in the first place. You only believe it.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
SuburbiaSurvivor
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4/18/2012 3:31:48 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 3:24:05 PM, FREEDO wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:20:43 PM, SuburbiaSurvivor wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:06:31 PM, FREEDO wrote:
There is no knowledge. Only belief.

No, there is only knowledge. I know what I believe, because I know that I believe it. Therefore I know it.

You believe that you believe it. For if you know what you believe because you know that you believe it, meaning there is no belief, then you didn't really know that you believe anything in the first place. You only believe it.

Not so, my dear Freedo. For it is impossible to believe that I believe it if I do not know that I believe that I believe it because how could I believe it if I did not know that I believe it? If I am unaware that I believe it then I do not believe it at all! Therefore there is no belief. But if I have knowledge of my belief then I do believe in it. Therefore belief is contigent on my knowledge of my belief. Thus belief and knowledge are reliant on each other. But what comes first? One must know that one believes before one can believe thus knowledge comes first and therefore is the only thing that exists.
"I'm going to tell you something that you're never going to forget, SuburbiaSurvivor. Women... Are just human beings"
GeoLaureate8
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4/18/2012 3:39:51 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 3:06:31 PM, FREEDO wrote:
There is no knowledge. Only belief.

There is only knowledge. No belief.

"All views are wrong views. There is only reality"
-- Thich Nhat Hanh (Zen Master)
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
SuburbiaSurvivor
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4/18/2012 3:44:16 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 3:39:51 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:06:31 PM, FREEDO wrote:
There is no knowledge. Only belief.

There is only knowledge. No belief.

"All views are wrong views. There is only reality"
-- Thich Nhat Hanh (Zen Master)

I didn't know Buddhists could speak English 0.0
"I'm going to tell you something that you're never going to forget, SuburbiaSurvivor. Women... Are just human beings"
WxGeo
Posts: 134
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4/18/2012 3:44:24 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
"Atheists nowadays tend to use the word "atheist" to describe anyone who doesn't believe in gods."

--This is exactly my point sir. They have taken the philosophical denial of theism and turned it into a biographical description.
--But that's not atheism, right?

That's agnosticism: "I don't believe in gods"

why?

"Because I lack knowledge of them"

Whereas the traditional atheist: "I deny there are gods"

why?

"because there are reasons to not believe in them"

what are the reasons?

"Divine paradox's, incoherence, Evil in the world, etc"

The atheist here, if he were to say "I deny there are gods"

why?

"I don't know" = agnosticism

Now I lost the debate because of the resolution was hastily chosen without deep thought. I'm new to debating and the site. Indeed there is a sense in which agnosticism can be conflated with atheism, but I should've said, not without loosing the traditional meaning of atheism, which is not lack of believe, but the belief of a denial.

My point was simply to show that this is a blatant redefining of atheism to agnosticism so that atheists can wave the banner of denying God and still be able to sit back, intellectually lazy, and criticize arguments without having any of your own. And that IS intellectual laziness. I'm calling a spade a spade there.

Now you may not be intellectually lazy, you may stay true to the redefining of atheism, which is agnosticism. But the moment you claim, not; "I don't believe God exists," but "I believe God does not exist" and I ask "what makes you believe that?" You cannot consistently say "I don't know." Because then that's saying I'm unaware of any reasons supporting my belief, it's saying "I'm ignorant either way, but I believe it," which is just inconsistent.
WxGeo
SuburbiaSurvivor
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4/18/2012 3:47:25 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 3:44:24 PM, WxGeo wrote:
"Atheists nowadays tend to use the word "atheist" to describe anyone who doesn't believe in gods."

--This is exactly my point sir. They have taken the philosophical denial of theism and turned it into a biographical description.
--But that's not atheism, right?

That's agnosticism: "I don't believe in gods"

why?

"Because I lack knowledge of them"

Whereas the traditional atheist: "I deny there are gods"

why?

"because there are reasons to not believe in them"

what are the reasons?

"Divine paradox's, incoherence, Evil in the world, etc"

The atheist here, if he were to say "I deny there are gods"

why?

"I don't know" = agnosticism

Now I lost the debate because of the resolution was hastily chosen without deep thought. I'm new to debating and the site. Indeed there is a sense in which agnosticism can be conflated with atheism, but I should've said, not without loosing the traditional meaning of atheism, which is not lack of believe, but the belief of a denial.

My point was simply to show that this is a blatant redefining of atheism to agnosticism so that atheists can wave the banner of denying God and still be able to sit back, intellectually lazy, and criticize arguments without having any of your own. And that IS intellectual laziness. I'm calling a spade a spade there.

Now you may not be intellectually lazy, you may stay true to the redefining of atheism, which is agnosticism. But the moment you claim, not; "I don't believe God exists," but "I believe God does not exist" and I ask "what makes you believe that?" You cannot consistently say "I don't know." Because then that's saying I'm unaware of any reasons supporting my belief, it's saying "I'm ignorant either way, but I believe it," which is just inconsistent.

One time I blew up a trashcan behind a church with a chlorine bomb and it was so loud the police came! :D
"I'm going to tell you something that you're never going to forget, SuburbiaSurvivor. Women... Are just human beings"
WxGeo
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4/18/2012 4:21:20 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 3:39:51 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:06:31 PM, FREEDO wrote:
There is no knowledge. Only belief.

There is only knowledge. No belief.

"All views are wrong views. There is only reality"
-- Thich Nhat Hanh (Zen Master)

Oh just how self-refuting is that?
WxGeo
WxGeo
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4/18/2012 4:22:38 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 3:20:43 PM, SuburbiaSurvivor wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:06:31 PM, FREEDO wrote:
There is no knowledge. Only belief.

No, there is only knowledge. I know what I believe, because I know that I believe it. Therefore I know it.

Quite circular.
WxGeo
WxGeo
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4/18/2012 4:23:34 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 3:06:31 PM, FREEDO wrote:
There is no knowledge. Only belief.

This is self refuting too, what are they teaching in schools today?
WxGeo
GeoLaureate8
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4/18/2012 4:31:07 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 4:21:20 PM, WxGeo wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:39:51 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:06:31 PM, FREEDO wrote:
There is no knowledge. Only belief.

There is only knowledge. No belief.

"All views are wrong views. There is only reality"
-- Thich Nhat Hanh (Zen Master)

Oh just how self-refuting is that?

Demonstrate how it is self-refuting.

.
.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
SuburbiaSurvivor
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4/18/2012 4:35:58 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 4:22:38 PM, WxGeo wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:20:43 PM, SuburbiaSurvivor wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:06:31 PM, FREEDO wrote:
There is no knowledge. Only belief.

No, there is only knowledge. I know what I believe, because I know that I believe it. Therefore I know it.

Quite circular.

But circles are perfect, therefore if my argument is quite circular it is quite perfect.
"I'm going to tell you something that you're never going to forget, SuburbiaSurvivor. Women... Are just human beings"
SuburbiaSurvivor
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4/18/2012 4:38:43 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 3:39:51 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:06:31 PM, FREEDO wrote:
There is no knowledge. Only belief.

There is only knowledge. No belief.

"All views are wrong views. There is only reality"
-- Thich Nhat Hanh (Zen Master)

xD If all views are wrong views then the view that all views are wrong views is a wrong view. Therefore that statement is negated.
"I'm going to tell you something that you're never going to forget, SuburbiaSurvivor. Women... Are just human beings"
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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4/18/2012 4:46:55 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 4:38:43 PM, SuburbiaSurvivor wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:39:51 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:06:31 PM, FREEDO wrote:
There is no knowledge. Only belief.

There is only knowledge. No belief.

"All views are wrong views. There is only reality"
-- Thich Nhat Hanh (Zen Master)

xD If all views are wrong views then the view that all views are wrong views is a wrong view. Therefore that statement is negated.

That's not a view, that's a truth. You created a strawman calling his statement a "view."

.
.
.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
SuburbiaSurvivor
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4/18/2012 4:57:49 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 4:46:55 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 4/18/2012 4:38:43 PM, SuburbiaSurvivor wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:39:51 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:06:31 PM, FREEDO wrote:
There is no knowledge. Only belief.

There is only knowledge. No belief.

"All views are wrong views. There is only reality"
-- Thich Nhat Hanh (Zen Master)

xD If all views are wrong views then the view that all views are wrong views is a wrong view. Therefore that statement is negated.

That's not a view, that's a truth. You created a strawman calling his statement a "view."

And you're making a baseless assertion calling his view a "truth". How would you confirm his view as truth without relying on someone's view? You could rely on evidence but evidence is seen through one's perception, which is synonymous with view in this context (if not, explain how it is different), and if all perceptions are wrong, then his view can not be confirmed as truth, and thus, remains a wrong view.

If some perceptions are right then it is inexplicable why all views are wrong.
"I'm going to tell you something that you're never going to forget, SuburbiaSurvivor. Women... Are just human beings"
wiploc
Posts: 1,485
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4/18/2012 5:03:03 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 3:44:24 PM, WxGeo wrote:
"Atheists nowadays tend to use the word "atheist" to describe anyone who doesn't believe in gods."

--This is exactly my point sir. They have taken the philosophical denial of theism and turned it into a biographical description.

We're telling you what the word means. We won't deny that there are other usages, but we're telling you ours.

We're not doing a philosophical move. We're telling you what me mean by a word.

Strong atheism (believing that gods don't exist) needs just as much defense as it ever did.

--But that's not atheism, right?

It's one of the dictionary definitions, and it's what we mean by the word "atheism." So, yes, it's atheism.

That's agnosticism: "I don't believe in gods"

Weak atheism (what you call agnosticism) is not believing gods exist, and also not believing gods don't exist.

why?

"Because I lack knowledge of them"

That's one justification.

Whereas the traditional atheist: "I deny there are gods"

why?

"because there are reasons to not believe in them"

what are the reasons?

"Divine paradox's, incoherence, Evil in the world, etc"

The atheist here, if he were to say "I deny there are gods"

why?

"I don't know" = agnosticism

I don't believe it. Here's what I think you've seen happen:

Joe: "I'm an atheist."
Sara: "That means you think gods don't exist."
Joe: "No it doesn't. It means I don't think gods exist."

Joe may be a strong atheist, one who believes gods don't exist; but the word "atheist" includes the weak atheists, who don't have that belief.

He's not trying to equivocate. If you ask him whether he believes gods don't exist, he'll tell you. If he's a strong atheist, and you ask him why, he'll tell you that too. But he won't concede that, by using the word "atheist" he was claiming to be a strong atheist.

Now I lost the debate because of the resolution was hastily chosen without deep thought. I'm new to debating and the site. Indeed there is a sense in which agnosticism can be conflated with atheism, but I should've said, not without loosing the traditional meaning of atheism, which is not lack of believe, but the belief of a denial.

I'm not even going to grant you that as the traditional definition. Unabridged dictionaries have our definition as well as yours.

My point was simply to show that this is a blatant redefining of atheism to agnosticism so that atheists can wave the banner of denying God and still be able to sit back, intellectually lazy, and criticize arguments without having any of your own. And that IS intellectual laziness. I'm calling a spade a spade there.

I think you're confused. Strong atheists do have arguments. We're happy to share them. We are not happy to let continue confusing conversations by using "agnostic" to describe both weak atheists and people without knowledge.

Now you may not be intellectually lazy, you may stay true to the redefining of atheism, which is agnosticism.

See, you keep muddling it up, so we have to keep correcting you, and you think we're talking about something else.

There is no common system in which "agnosticism" includes all atheists. If you want to equate agnostics (old name) with weak atheists (new name) that's fine. They are the same thing. But atheists (new name) includes more than just agnostics. It includes the strong atheists (those who believe gods don't exist) too.

But the moment you claim, not; "I don't believe God exists," but "I believe God does not exist" and I ask "what makes you believe that?" You cannot consistently say "I don't know."

I think Plantinga would disagree with you, but I sympathize. I just don't believe you have really witnessed people having that conversation.

If I believe gods don't exist, then I ought to have a justification for that belief. (Plantinga might disagree with that too.) I don't need a justification for atheism, because "atheism" includes the weak atheists (agnostics, to you) who don't need justification.

Because then that's saying I'm unaware of any reasons supporting my belief, it's saying "I'm ignorant either way, but I believe it," which is just inconsistent.

An unfounded belief. As in, "Golly, why do I believe that? I don't know. I just always assumed it was true. Maybe I should stop believing it."

Anyway:

The new definition of atheism is not a way of evading responsibility for assertions made. It only seems that way to people who insist on hearing "I believe gods don't exist" when what we've really said is "I don't believe gods exist."

All you have to do to get past that is quit arguing about what the word "atheist" means, and ask, "Do you believe gods don't exist? If so, why do you believe that."

That will put you into a discussion of the justifications of strong atheism, as opposed to a discussion of who means what by the word "atheist."
SuburbiaSurvivor
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4/18/2012 5:29:35 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 5:03:03 PM, wiploc wrote:

Joe: "I'm an atheist."
Sara: "That means you think gods don't exist."
Joe: "No it doesn't. It means I don't think gods exist."

Joe doesn't think gods exist, but he DOESN'T think gods don't exist. How is this not contradictory? And how does this not put one in a neutral position symmetrical to agnosticism?

If I say "George, I don't think I like you, but I don't think I don't like you", then my position is absolutely neutral. I don't see how your definition of atheism is any different then agnosticism other then the fact that you're calling it atheism.
"I'm going to tell you something that you're never going to forget, SuburbiaSurvivor. Women... Are just human beings"
WxGeo
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4/18/2012 6:57:52 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 4:31:07 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 4/18/2012 4:21:20 PM, WxGeo wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:39:51 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:06:31 PM, FREEDO wrote:
There is no knowledge. Only belief.

There is only knowledge. No belief.

"All views are wrong views. There is only reality"
-- Thich Nhat Hanh (Zen Master)

Oh just how self-refuting is that?

Demonstrate how it is self-refuting.



.
.

The view that all views are wrong is a view.
WxGeo
WxGeo
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4/18/2012 6:58:30 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 4:35:58 PM, SuburbiaSurvivor wrote:
At 4/18/2012 4:22:38 PM, WxGeo wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:20:43 PM, SuburbiaSurvivor wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:06:31 PM, FREEDO wrote:
There is no knowledge. Only belief.

No, there is only knowledge. I know what I believe, because I know that I believe it. Therefore I know it.

Quite circular.

But circles are perfect, therefore if my argument is quite circular it is quite perfect.

I'm not talking to you anymore.
WxGeo
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4/18/2012 7:07:55 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 6:58:30 PM, WxGeo wrote:
At 4/18/2012 4:35:58 PM, SuburbiaSurvivor wrote:
At 4/18/2012 4:22:38 PM, WxGeo wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:20:43 PM, SuburbiaSurvivor wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:06:31 PM, FREEDO wrote:
There is no knowledge. Only belief.

No, there is only knowledge. I know what I believe, because I know that I believe it. Therefore I know it.

Quite circular.

But circles are perfect, therefore if my argument is quite circular it is quite perfect.

I'm not talking to you anymore.

But I love you!
"I'm going to tell you something that you're never going to forget, SuburbiaSurvivor. Women... Are just human beings"
wiploc
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4/18/2012 8:27:45 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 5:29:35 PM, SuburbiaSurvivor wrote:
At 4/18/2012 5:03:03 PM, wiploc wrote:

Joe: "I'm an atheist."
Sara: "That means you think gods don't exist."
Joe: "No it doesn't. It means I don't think gods exist."

Joe doesn't think gods exist, but he DOESN'T think gods don't exist. How is this not contradictory?

He may not have an opinion either way. That's not a contradiction, no more than your example below, where you don't like someone but don't dislike him either.

And how does this not put one in a neutral position symmetrical to agnosticism?

Well, he could be a strong atheist (one who believes that gods don't exist) or he could be a weak atheist (probably the same as what you're calling "agnostic"). All we know for sure is that he's not a theist.

If I say "George, I don't think I like you, but I don't think I don't like you", then my position is absolutely neutral.

Agreed.

I don't see how your definition of atheism is any different then agnosticism other then the fact that you're calling it atheism.

Atheism includes what you call agnosticism, but it also includes the strong atheists like me, who are definitely not neutral.
WxGeo
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4/18/2012 9:19:47 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/18/2012 5:03:03 PM, wiploc wrote:
At 4/18/2012 3:44:24 PM, WxGeo wrote:
"Atheists nowadays tend to use the word "atheist" to describe anyone who doesn't believe in gods."

--This is exactly my point sir. They have taken the philosophical denial of theism and turned it into a biographical description.

We're telling you what the word means. We won't deny that there are other usages, but we're telling you ours.

We're not doing a philosophical move. We're telling you what me mean by a word.

Strong atheism (believing that gods don't exist) needs just as much defense as it ever did.


--But that's not atheism, right?

It's one of the dictionary definitions, and it's what we mean by the word "atheism." So, yes, it's atheism.

That's agnosticism: "I don't believe in gods"

Weak atheism (what you call agnosticism) is not believing gods exist, and also not believing gods don't exist.

why?

"Because I lack knowledge of them"

That's one justification.

Whereas the traditional atheist: "I deny there are gods"

why?

"because there are reasons to not believe in them"

what are the reasons?

"Divine paradox's, incoherence, Evil in the world, etc"

The atheist here, if he were to say "I deny there are gods"

why?

"I don't know" = agnosticism

I don't believe it. Here's what I think you've seen happen:

Joe: "I'm an atheist."
Sara: "That means you think gods don't exist."
Joe: "No it doesn't. It means I don't think gods exist."

Joe may be a strong atheist, one who believes gods don't exist; but the word "atheist" includes the weak atheists, who don't have that belief.

He's not trying to equivocate. If you ask him whether he believes gods don't exist, he'll tell you. If he's a strong atheist, and you ask him why, he'll tell you that too. But he won't concede that, by using the word "atheist" he was claiming to be a strong atheist.


Now I lost the debate because of the resolution was hastily chosen without deep thought. I'm new to debating and the site. Indeed there is a sense in which agnosticism can be conflated with atheism, but I should've said, not without loosing the traditional meaning of atheism, which is not lack of believe, but the belief of a denial.

I'm not even going to grant you that as the traditional definition. Unabridged dictionaries have our definition as well as yours.


My point was simply to show that this is a blatant redefining of atheism to agnosticism so that atheists can wave the banner of denying God and still be able to sit back, intellectually lazy, and criticize arguments without having any of your own. And that IS intellectual laziness. I'm calling a spade a spade there.

I think you're confused. Strong atheists do have arguments. We're happy to share them. We are not happy to let continue confusing conversations by using "agnostic" to describe both weak atheists and people without knowledge.


Now you may not be intellectually lazy, you may stay true to the redefining of atheism, which is agnosticism.

See, you keep muddling it up, so we have to keep correcting you, and you think we're talking about something else.

There is no common system in which "agnosticism" includes all atheists. If you want to equate agnostics (old name) with weak atheists (new name) that's fine. They are the same thing. But atheists (new name) includes more than just agnostics. It includes the strong atheists (those who believe gods don't exist) too.



But the moment you claim, not; "I don't believe God exists," but "I believe God does not exist" and I ask "what makes you believe that?" You cannot consistently say "I don't know."

I think Plantinga would disagree with you, but I sympathize. I just don't believe you have really witnessed people having that conversation.

If I believe gods don't exist, then I ought to have a justification for that belief. (Plantinga might disagree with that too.) I don't need a justification for atheism, because "atheism" includes the weak atheists (agnostics, to you) who don't need justification.

Because then that's saying I'm unaware of any reasons supporting my belief, it's saying "I'm ignorant either way, but I believe it," which is just inconsistent.

An unfounded belief. As in, "Golly, why do I believe that? I don't know. I just always assumed it was true. Maybe I should stop believing it."

Anyway:

The new definition of atheism is not a way of evading responsibility for assertions made. It only seems that way to people who insist on hearing "I believe gods don't exist" when what we've really said is "I don't believe gods exist."

All you have to do to get past that is quit arguing about what the word "atheist" means, and ask, "Do you believe gods don't exist? If so, why do you believe that."

That will put you into a discussion of the justifications of strong atheism, as opposed to a discussion of who means what by the word "atheist."

I've already conceded that there is a sense in which atheism is conflated, which is why I lost the debate. That's fine.

Fine I guess you can say strong atheism is what I took atheism to mean. Weak atheism is just the same as saying agnosticism. This sort of equivocation is the fault of any anyone "muddling" it up as you put it.

My goal in debating was to bring to light the "presumption of atheism" which claims that in the absence of evidence for the existence of God, we should presume that God does not exist: a sort of default position, leaving the theist to bear a special burden of proof.

I wanted to show that this presumption is clearly mistaken. Asserting that "There is no God" is just as much a claim to knowledge as is the assertion that "There is a God." Therefore, the former assertion requires justification just as the latter does.

It is the agnostic-weak atheist who makes no knowledge claim at all with respect to God's existence. It's fun to nit pick on many uses of the different word. But ultimately that's where we're left. Atheist's equivocating and blaming theists for muddling it up. It's really laughable. Now accept my debate challenge wiploc so I can kick your old muddled butt on something that actually matters.
WxGeo
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4/18/2012 9:39:50 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
You call agnostics... 'weak atheists' ??? That is quite egocentric
But we try to pretend, you see, that the external world exists altogether independently of us.
- - - Watts
The moralist is the person who tells people that they ought to be unselfish, when they still feel like egos, and his efforts are always and invariably futile.
- - - Watts
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4/18/2012 9:40:54 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
That's like calling them weak theists.
But we try to pretend, you see, that the external world exists altogether independently of us.
- - - Watts
The moralist is the person who tells people that they ought to be unselfish, when they still feel like egos, and his efforts are always and invariably futile.
- - - Watts