Total Posts:16|Showing Posts:1-16
Jump to topic:

Agnosticism v. Atheism

Danielle
Posts: 21,330
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/11/2016 3:36:45 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
I'm repeating this both here and the Philosophy forum for clarity, since many people seem to have forgot.

Agnosticism is a knowledge claim (I don't KNOW whether or not God exists).
Atheism is a belief claim (I don't BELIEVE God exists).

They are not incompatible. In fact you are probably both. You can be a/n

gnostic theist - I believe God exists and I know God exists
gnostic atheist - I don't believe God exists and I know God doesn't exist
agnostic theist - I don't know if God exists but I believe God exists
agnostic atheist - I don't know if God exists but I don't believe God exists
President of DDO
Redfordnutt
Posts: 222
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/11/2016 4:01:31 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/11/2016 3:36:45 PM, Danielle wrote:
I'm repeating this both here and the Philosophy forum for clarity, since many people seem to have forgot.

Agnosticism is a knowledge claim (I don't KNOW whether or not God exists).
Atheism is a belief claim (I don't BELIEVE God exists).

They are not incompatible. In fact you are probably both. You can be a/n

gnostic theist - I believe God exists and I know God exists
gnostic atheist - I don't believe God exists and I know God doesn't exist
agnostic theist - I don't know if God exists but I believe God exists
agnostic atheist - I don't know if God exists but I don't believe God exists

So every theist in the world I'd actually an agnostic theist......
Chaosism
Posts: 2,649
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/11/2016 4:03:15 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/11/2016 3:36:45 PM, Danielle wrote:
I'm repeating this both here and the Philosophy forum for clarity, since many people seem to have forgot.

Agnosticism is a knowledge claim (I don't KNOW whether or not God exists).
Atheism is a belief claim (I don't BELIEVE God exists).

They are not incompatible. In fact you are probably both. You can be a/n

gnostic theist - I believe God exists and I know God exists
gnostic atheist - I don't believe God exists and I know God doesn't exist
agnostic theist - I don't know if God exists but I believe God exists
agnostic atheist - I don't know if God exists but I don't believe God exists

I largely agree, though I think that agnosticism is broader than personal knowledge. It pertains to the overall possibility/availability of the knowledge in question.

The original meaning of the word "agnostic" was coin in 1870 by Huxley: "one who professes that the existence of a First Cause and the essential nature of things are not and cannot be known." (http://www.etymonline.com...)

The spirit of this appears to be largely maintained, today: "Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims - especially metaphysical and religious claims such as whether God, the divine, or the supernatural exist - are unknown and perhaps unknowable." (https://en.wikipedia.org...)
Daedal
Posts: 157
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/11/2016 4:06:14 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
Seems to me that you're trying to class atheism as a religion, subject to irrational beliefs.

Suppose I said that there's a green teapot in orbit around Mars. You might say, no there isn't, and I'd say prove it. You can't. You could stare at the planet with every telescope there is and I'd say you missed it. You would have to say that you're not certain, right? Wrong, you just have to say, it was your assertion, prove it. The default position is that there is no teapot.

It's the same with god; the default position is that he/she doesn't exist and it's up to those who assert the opposite to prove it. Which you can't. Hence atheism merely states the default position and is in no way a belief.
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/11/2016 4:09:28 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/11/2016 4:01:31 PM, Redfordnutt wrote:
So every theist in the world I'd actually an agnostic theist......

Technically, yes. Though some (falsely) believe they can know God exists :P
President of DDO
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/11/2016 4:13:35 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/11/2016 4:06:14 PM, Daedal wrote:
Seems to me that you're trying to class atheism as a religion, subject to irrational beliefs.

Not really. I'm just defining the terms.

It's the same with god; the default position is that he/she doesn't exist and it's up to those who assert the opposite to prove it. Which you can't. Hence atheism merely states the default position and is in no way a belief.

Atheism = lack of belief in gods. I'm not disagreeing that it's the default position since a theist essentially has the BOP. But the definition of atheism (as lack of belief) is still legitimate.
President of DDO
Daedal
Posts: 157
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/11/2016 4:17:48 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/11/2016 4:13:35 PM, Danielle wrote:
At 5/11/2016 4:06:14 PM, Daedal wrote:
Seems to me that you're trying to class atheism as a religion, subject to irrational beliefs.

Not really. I'm just defining the terms.

It's the same with god; the default position is that he/she doesn't exist and it's up to those who assert the opposite to prove it. Which you can't. Hence atheism merely states the default position and is in no way a belief.

Atheism = lack of belief in gods. I'm not disagreeing that it's the default position since a theist essentially has the BOP. But the definition of atheism (as lack of belief) is still legitimate.

I understand what you're saying. The word belief does suggest an equivalence to religion which some people would sieze on. I'd prefer to say that atheism denies the existence of a god based on the evidence.
Chaosism
Posts: 2,649
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/11/2016 4:24:01 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/11/2016 3:36:45 PM, Danielle wrote:
I'm repeating this both here and the Philosophy forum for clarity, since many people seem to have forgot.

Agnosticism is a knowledge claim (I don't KNOW whether or not God exists).
Atheism is a belief claim (I don't BELIEVE God exists).

Sorry, I overlooked this part. Atheism is an expression of one's personal stance regarding the claim that there exists a God or gods. Theism reflects acceptance of the truth of this claim while atheism reflects the opposite: not accepting the truth of this claim. Even those that do positively assert that no God exists are still atheists, because they still do not accept the original claim as true.

I call such people "anti-theists", because while the prefix "a-" means "without", the prefix "anti-" means "opposed to" or "opposite".
tejretics
Posts: 6,081
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/11/2016 4:48:54 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/11/2016 3:36:45 PM, Danielle wrote:
I'm repeating this both here and the Philosophy forum for clarity, since many people seem to have forgot.

Agnosticism is a knowledge claim (I don't KNOW whether or not God exists).
Atheism is a belief claim (I don't BELIEVE God exists).

100% agreed.

My decision to identify as "atheist" is a personal one, based on what subjective meaning I give to my life. It's comfortable to be an atheist, and since I'm agnostic, I decide to give my life a meaning I have constructed for myself. And I know many people who choose to believe in God for the same reason that I'm atheist.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/11/2016 5:27:14 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/11/2016 3:36:45 PM, Danielle wrote:
I'm repeating this both here and the Philosophy forum for clarity, since many people seem to have forgot.
Agnosticism is a knowledge claim (I don't KNOW whether or not God exists).
Atheism is a belief claim (I don't BELIEVE God exists).
Actually, Danielle, in its original, 19th century form, agnosticism was stronger than that. It said:

YOU don't know whether a god exists, and shouldn't say you do until you can prove it.

Over time, it has become watered down in common usage to 'I don't know'. But originally it was a broad statement of epistemology and ethics, rather than a personal expression of ignorance and doubt. See for example, Thomas Henry Huxley's essay on the subject. [http://www.gutenberg.org...]

They are not incompatible. In fact you are probably both.
I'm not. I'm someone who holds that the question of God existing is invalid, even as a conjecture, and therefore cannot ever become knowledge. So I'm an atheist for positive epistemological and ethical reasons, rather than negative ones.
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/11/2016 5:51:12 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/11/2016 5:27:14 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
Actually, Danielle, in its original, 19th century form, agnosticism was stronger than that. It said:

YOU don't know whether a god exists, and shouldn't say you do until you can prove it.

I don't disagree on your description and evolution of the term agnosticism. The point of this thread is to distinguish atheism vs. agnosticism.

I'm not. I'm someone who holds that the question of God existing is invalid, even as a conjecture, and therefore cannot ever become knowledge. So I'm an atheist for positive epistemological and ethical reasons, rather than negative ones.

Then you are an agnostic atheist.
President of DDO
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/11/2016 6:00:19 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/11/2016 5:51:12 PM, Danielle wrote:
At 5/11/2016 5:27:14 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
Actually, Danielle, in its original, 19th century form, agnosticism was stronger than that. It said:

YOU don't know whether a god exists, and shouldn't say you do until you can prove it.

I don't disagree on your description and evolution of the term agnosticism. The point of this thread is to distinguish atheism vs. agnosticism.

I'm not. I'm someone who holds that the question of God existing is invalid, even as a conjecture, and therefore cannot ever become knowledge. So I'm an atheist for positive epistemological and ethical reasons, rather than negative ones.

Then you are an agnostic atheist.

No, I'm an empiricist. I don't profess to be agnostic about gods.
Chaosism
Posts: 2,649
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/11/2016 6:19:07 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/11/2016 5:51:12 PM, Danielle wrote:
At 5/11/2016 5:27:14 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
Actually, Danielle, in its original, 19th century form, agnosticism was stronger than that. It said:

YOU don't know whether a god exists, and shouldn't say you do until you can prove it.

I don't disagree on your description and evolution of the term agnosticism. The point of this thread is to distinguish atheism vs. agnosticism.

I'm not. I'm someone who holds that the question of God existing is invalid, even as a conjecture, and therefore cannot ever become knowledge. So I'm an atheist for positive epistemological and ethical reasons, rather than negative ones.

Then you are an agnostic atheist.

I would more readily attribute a label like Ignostic to Ruv, but that might not even be accurate. (https://en.wikipedia.org...)

"Ignosticism is the idea that the question of the existence of God is meaningless, because the term "god" has no unambiguous definition. Ignosticism requires a good, non-controversial definition of god before arguing on its existence."
MagicAintReal
Posts: 591
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/11/2016 6:27:57 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/11/2016 3:36:45 PM, Danielle wrote:
I'm repeating this both here and the Philosophy forum for clarity, since many people seem to have forgot.

Agnosticism is a knowledge claim (I don't KNOW whether or not God exists).
Atheism is a belief claim (I don't BELIEVE God exists).

They are not incompatible. In fact you are probably both. You can be a/n

gnostic theist - I believe God exists and I know God exists
gnostic atheist - I don't believe God exists and I know God doesn't exist
agnostic theist - I don't know if God exists but I believe God exists
agnostic atheist - I don't know if God exists but I don't believe God exists

Yes, thank you for clarifying this!
I've had too many characters wasted in debates on this very subject, because people just don't understand it.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/11/2016 8:55:59 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/11/2016 6:19:07 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 5/11/2016 5:51:12 PM, Danielle wrote:
At 5/11/2016 5:27:14 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
Actually, Danielle, in its original, 19th century form, agnosticism was stronger than that. It said:

YOU don't know whether a god exists, and shouldn't say you do until you can prove it.

I don't disagree on your description and evolution of the term agnosticism. The point of this thread is to distinguish atheism vs. agnosticism.

I'm not. I'm someone who holds that the question of God existing is invalid, even as a conjecture, and therefore cannot ever become knowledge. So I'm an atheist for positive epistemological and ethical reasons, rather than negative ones.

Then you are an agnostic atheist.

I would more readily attribute a label like Ignostic to Ruv, but that might not even be accurate. (https://en.wikipedia.org...)

"Ignosticism is the idea that the question of the existence of God is meaningless, because the term "god" has no unambiguous definition. Ignosticism requires a good, non-controversial definition of god before arguing on its existence."

God isn't epistemologically valid. There are no criteria by which you could recognise that what you observed or apprehended was God, and not something else. You can't even be sure that God is one thing and not several you've mistakenly conflated. So it's not ambiguous -- the term is vacuous. The reason adherents can't agree on what it means isn't that there's more than one legitimate meaning. It's that they're filling epistemological vacuum with whatever they want.
Chaosism
Posts: 2,649
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/11/2016 9:02:23 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/11/2016 8:55:59 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 5/11/2016 6:19:07 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 5/11/2016 5:51:12 PM, Danielle wrote:
At 5/11/2016 5:27:14 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
Actually, Danielle, in its original, 19th century form, agnosticism was stronger than that. It said:

YOU don't know whether a god exists, and shouldn't say you do until you can prove it.

I don't disagree on your description and evolution of the term agnosticism. The point of this thread is to distinguish atheism vs. agnosticism.

I'm not. I'm someone who holds that the question of God existing is invalid, even as a conjecture, and therefore cannot ever become knowledge. So I'm an atheist for positive epistemological and ethical reasons, rather than negative ones.

Then you are an agnostic atheist.

I would more readily attribute a label like Ignostic to Ruv, but that might not even be accurate. (https://en.wikipedia.org...)

"Ignosticism is the idea that the question of the existence of God is meaningless, because the term "god" has no unambiguous definition. Ignosticism requires a good, non-controversial definition of god before arguing on its existence."

God isn't epistemologically valid. There are no criteria by which you could recognise that what you observed or apprehended was God, and not something else. You can't even be sure that God is one thing and not several you've mistakenly conflated. So it's not ambiguous -- the term is vacuous. The reason adherents can't agree on what it means isn't that there's more than one legitimate meaning. It's that they're filling epistemological vacuum with whatever they want.

I hold no disagreements with this.