Total Posts:19|Showing Posts:1-19
Jump to topic:

Atheism versus Agnosticism

tornshoe92
Posts: 361
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
2/6/2011 10:41:38 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I've heard varied definitions of atheism ranging from "a lack of belief in god" to "a belief that there is no god". My question is if the former is your definition of atheism then how do you define agnosticism?
"Next time I see a little old lady going to church I am going kick her in the ovaries because she is personally responsible for this. Thanks Izbo." -C_N
Cerebral_Narcissist
Posts: 10,806
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
2/6/2011 10:48:15 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/6/2011 10:41:38 PM, tornshoe92 wrote:
I've heard varied definitions of atheism ranging from "a lack of belief in god" to "a belief that there is no god". My question is if the former is your definition of atheism then how do you define agnosticism?

I think both are valid defintitions, neither of them affect the definition of agnosticism which remains a position of uncertainty.

Thus for instance
Bill claims he has a God in his basement.
Susan says "I have no reason to believe that, so I won't". She is a soft atheist.
Jim says "I have no reason to believe that, and quite a few reasons not to believe that, I declare that there is no basement God". He is a hard atheist.
Jebidiah says "Ooh I dont know, maybe there is a basement God, I just can't tell. I am confused, I will reserve judgement.". He is an agnostic.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
tornshoe92
Posts: 361
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
2/6/2011 10:54:11 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/6/2011 10:48:15 PM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
At 2/6/2011 10:41:38 PM, tornshoe92 wrote:
I've heard varied definitions of atheism ranging from "a lack of belief in god" to "a belief that there is no god". My question is if the former is your definition of atheism then how do you define agnosticism?

I think both are valid defintitions, neither of them affect the definition of agnosticism which remains a position of uncertainty.

Thus for instance
Bill claims he has a God in his basement.
Susan says "I have no reason to believe that, so I won't". She is a soft atheist.
Jim says "I have no reason to believe that, and quite a few reasons not to believe that, I declare that there is no basement God". He is a hard atheist.
Jebidiah says "Ooh I dont know, maybe there is a basement God, I just can't tell. I am confused, I will reserve judgement.". He is an agnostic.

So what's the difference between Susan and Jedidiah? They both lack belief and are reserving judgment. The only difference I see is that it sounds like the agnostic is waiting to make a judgment while Susan sounds more apathetic.
"Next time I see a little old lady going to church I am going kick her in the ovaries because she is personally responsible for this. Thanks Izbo." -C_N
annhasle
Posts: 6,657
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
2/6/2011 10:59:05 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Agnosticism is a knowledge claim and not a belief claim.
I'm not back. This idiot just upset me which made me stop lurking.
tornshoe92
Posts: 361
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
2/6/2011 11:01:17 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/6/2011 10:59:05 PM, annhasle wrote:
Agnosticism is a knowledge claim and not a belief claim.

If you don't mind could you elaborate?
"Next time I see a little old lady going to church I am going kick her in the ovaries because she is personally responsible for this. Thanks Izbo." -C_N
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,926
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
2/6/2011 11:03:25 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/6/2011 10:59:05 PM, annhasle wrote:
Agnosticism is a knowledge claim and not a belief claim.

Belief is a necessary condition for knowledge.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
Cerebral_Narcissist
Posts: 10,806
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
2/6/2011 11:07:45 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/6/2011 10:54:11 PM, tornshoe92 wrote:
At 2/6/2011 10:48:15 PM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
At 2/6/2011 10:41:38 PM, tornshoe92 wrote:
I've heard varied definitions of atheism ranging from "a lack of belief in god" to "a belief that there is no god". My question is if the former is your definition of atheism then how do you define agnosticism?

I think both are valid defintitions, neither of them affect the definition of agnosticism which remains a position of uncertainty.

Thus for instance
Bill claims he has a God in his basement.
Susan says "I have no reason to believe that, so I won't". She is a soft atheist.
Jim says "I have no reason to believe that, and quite a few reasons not to believe that, I declare that there is no basement God". He is a hard atheist.
Jebidiah says "Ooh I dont know, maybe there is a basement God, I just can't tell. I am confused, I will reserve judgement.". He is an agnostic.

So what's the difference between Susan and Jedidiah? They both lack belief and are reserving judgment. The only difference I see is that it sounds like the agnostic is waiting to make a judgment while Susan sounds more apathetic.

One is a statement of nonbelief, the other of doubt.
Susan has no reason to believe in something so she does not, Jebidiah does not know what to believe and is in a state of doubt.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
belle
Posts: 4,113
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
2/6/2011 11:10:11 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/6/2011 11:03:25 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 2/6/2011 10:59:05 PM, annhasle wrote:
Agnosticism is a knowledge claim and not a belief claim.

Belief is a necessary condition for knowledge.

sure, but for a belief to be considered "knowledge" it must meet additional criteria. the distinction between a mere belief and knowledge is a legitimate one.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
tornshoe92
Posts: 361
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
2/6/2011 11:13:28 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/6/2011 11:07:45 PM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
At 2/6/2011 10:54:11 PM, tornshoe92 wrote:
At 2/6/2011 10:48:15 PM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
At 2/6/2011 10:41:38 PM, tornshoe92 wrote:
I've heard varied definitions of atheism ranging from "a lack of belief in god" to "a belief that there is no god". My question is if the former is your definition of atheism then how do you define agnosticism?

I think both are valid defintitions, neither of them affect the definition of agnosticism which remains a position of uncertainty.

Thus for instance
Bill claims he has a God in his basement.
Susan says "I have no reason to believe that, so I won't". She is a soft atheist.
Jim says "I have no reason to believe that, and quite a few reasons not to believe that, I declare that there is no basement God". He is a hard atheist.
Jebidiah says "Ooh I dont know, maybe there is a basement God, I just can't tell. I am confused, I will reserve judgement.". He is an agnostic.

So what's the difference between Susan and Jedidiah? They both lack belief and are reserving judgment. The only difference I see is that it sounds like the agnostic is waiting to make a judgment while Susan sounds more apathetic.

One is a statement of nonbelief, the other of doubt.
Susan has no reason to believe in something so she does not, Jebidiah does not know what to believe and is in a state of doubt.

This may be a fault of understanding on my part but how does Jed have more doubt than Susan. It sounds to me that all he is saying is that he has no evidence to point him one way or the other.
"Next time I see a little old lady going to church I am going kick her in the ovaries because she is personally responsible for this. Thanks Izbo." -C_N
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,926
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
2/6/2011 11:13:56 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/6/2011 11:10:11 PM, belle wrote:
At 2/6/2011 11:03:25 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 2/6/2011 10:59:05 PM, annhasle wrote:
Agnosticism is a knowledge claim and not a belief claim.

Belief is a necessary condition for knowledge.

sure, but for a belief to be considered "knowledge" it must meet additional criteria. the distinction between a mere belief and knowledge is a legitimate one.

My point was that knowledge entails belief, but you're also correct that belief does not entail knowledge. It's an asymmetric relation.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
annhasle
Posts: 6,657
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
2/6/2011 11:14:33 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/6/2011 11:01:17 PM, tornshoe92 wrote:
At 2/6/2011 10:59:05 PM, annhasle wrote:
Agnosticism is a knowledge claim and not a belief claim.

If you don't mind could you elaborate?

Sure. Many people think that agnosticism is like a "third option" to atheism and theism. Well, it isn't. Agnosticism means "without knowledge", so definition wise, an agnostic would hold the position that such proof for either atheism or theism is not sufficient or that the evidence may not even exist. This is different than a belief claim, such as atheism or theism, since those would be justified with the use of 'evidence' or 'proof' to then support the belief or non-belief of a deity.

Here's a good quote:

Obviously, if theism is a belief in a God and atheism is a lack of a belief in a God, no third position or middle ground is possible. A person can either believe or not believe in a God. Therefore, our previous definition of atheism has made an impossibility out of the common usage of agnosticism to mean "neither affirming nor denying a belief in God." Actually, this is no great loss, because the dictionary definition of agnostic is still again different from Huxley's definition. The literal meaning of agnostic is one who holds that some aspect of reality is unknowable. Therefore, an agnostic is not simply someone who suspends judgment on an issue, but rather one who suspends judgment because he feels that the subject is unknowable and therefore no judgment can be made. It is possible, therefore, for someone not to believe in a God (as Huxley did not) and yet still suspend judgment (ie, be an agnostic) about whether it is possible to obtain knowledge of a God. Such a person would be an atheistic agnostic. It is also possible to believe in the existence of a force behind the universe, but to hold (as did Herbert Spencer) that any knowledge of that force was unobtainable. Such a person would be a theistic agnostic.
I'm not back. This idiot just upset me which made me stop lurking.
tornshoe92
Posts: 361
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
2/6/2011 11:26:21 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/6/2011 11:14:33 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 2/6/2011 11:01:17 PM, tornshoe92 wrote:
At 2/6/2011 10:59:05 PM, annhasle wrote:
Agnosticism is a knowledge claim and not a belief claim.

If you don't mind could you elaborate?

Sure. Many people think that agnosticism is like a "third option" to atheism and theism. Well, it isn't. Agnosticism means "without knowledge", so definition wise, an agnostic would hold the position that such proof for either atheism or theism is not sufficient or that the evidence may not even exist. This is different than a belief claim, such as atheism or theism, since those would be justified with the use of 'evidence' or 'proof' to then support the belief or non-belief of a deity.

Here's a good quote:

Obviously, if theism is a belief in a God and atheism is a lack of a belief in a God, no third position or middle ground is possible. A person can either believe or not believe in a God. Therefore, our previous definition of atheism has made an impossibility out of the common usage of agnosticism to mean "neither affirming nor denying a belief in God." Actually, this is no great loss, because the dictionary definition of agnostic is still again different from Huxley's definition. The literal meaning of agnostic is one who holds that some aspect of reality is unknowable. Therefore, an agnostic is not simply someone who suspends judgment on an issue, but rather one who suspends judgment because he feels that the subject is unknowable and therefore no judgment can be made. It is possible, therefore, for someone not to believe in a God (as Huxley did not) and yet still suspend judgment (ie, be an agnostic) about whether it is possible to obtain knowledge of a God. Such a person would be an atheistic agnostic. It is also possible to believe in the existence of a force behind the universe, but to hold (as did Herbert Spencer) that any knowledge of that force was unobtainable. Such a person would be a theistic agnostic.

Ok I think I'm starting to understand. Agnosticism is more of a specifier than entirely different category.
"Next time I see a little old lady going to church I am going kick her in the ovaries because she is personally responsible for this. Thanks Izbo." -C_N
Cerebral_Narcissist
Posts: 10,806
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
2/6/2011 11:39:26 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/6/2011 11:13:28 PM, tornshoe92 wrote:
This may be a fault of understanding on my part but how does Jed have more doubt than Susan. It sounds to me that all he is saying is that he has no evidence to point him one way or the other.

I don't really get you don't get what I am saying, maybe my example was crap. I'll try again.

Susan does not believe in the basement God because she has no evidence for God.
Jebidiah is uncertain as to whether or not he believes in the basement God.

Or to try another example,
If you are charged and brought before a court, the court officially begins it proceedings assuming that you are innocent until proven guilty. When the trial starts the court does not believe you to be a rapist because there is no evidence that you are. It is a soft core atheist on the subject.

Mrs Higgens at number 87 reckons you are a little shifty, but you did do her grocery shopping for her when she broke her ankle a few years ago. She does not know what to make of the charge, she is an agnostic on the subject.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
tornshoe92
Posts: 361
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
2/6/2011 11:44:49 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/6/2011 11:39:26 PM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
At 2/6/2011 11:13:28 PM, tornshoe92 wrote:
This may be a fault of understanding on my part but how does Jed have more doubt than Susan. It sounds to me that all he is saying is that he has no evidence to point him one way or the other.

I don't really get you don't get what I am saying, maybe my example was crap. I'll try again.

Susan does not believe in the basement God because she has no evidence for God.
Jebidiah is uncertain as to whether or not he believes in the basement God.

Or to try another example,
If you are charged and brought before a court, the court officially begins it proceedings assuming that you are innocent until proven guilty. When the trial starts the court does not believe you to be a rapist because there is no evidence that you are. It is a soft core atheist on the subject.

Mrs Higgens at number 87 reckons you are a little shifty, but you did do her grocery shopping for her when she broke her ankle a few years ago. She does not know what to make of the charge, she is an agnostic on the subject.

Yeah I get what you're saying now. The court example made it more clear. Thanks.
"Next time I see a little old lady going to church I am going kick her in the ovaries because she is personally responsible for this. Thanks Izbo." -C_N
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
2/7/2011 12:28:19 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
First of all, there's no such thing as a "Hard Atheist."

Secondly, the definition of "Atheism" doesn't affect the definition of Agnosticism. Agnosticism is merely the claim that you don't know whether God exists or not, but you can still choose to believe or disbelieve in God making you either an Agnostic Theist or an Agnostic Atheist.
"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
Cerebral_Narcissist
Posts: 10,806
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
2/7/2011 6:13:44 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/7/2011 12:28:19 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
First of all, there's no such thing as a "Hard Atheist."

If I call a hamster a quertyflip and get a bunch of people to agree with me, then quertyflip means something.

Secondly, the definition of "Atheism" doesn't affect the definition of Agnosticism. Agnosticism is merely the claim that you don't know whether God exists or not, but you can still choose to believe or disbelieve in God making you either an Agnostic Theist or an Agnostic Atheist.

No, that is retarded.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
Sangers
Posts: 419
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
2/7/2011 6:18:10 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I'm Agnostic as in I claim I cannot be certain on the existence of a deity, while atheistic as in I assume that there's no afterlife.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
2/8/2011 8:03:53 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
I think annhassle has it right. All agnostics are atheists, because agnostics do not believe in a god or gods. The agnostic designation has to do with why belief is lacking.

One may not believe in gods because they have pondered all the evidence and concluded that it is impossible to answer the question. That's an agnostic. However, the lack of belief may be the result of having never thought of the god question or of refusing to consider the question.

The classic example is the Buddha, who took the stance, "It is unwise to consider the question of whether or not god exists." The reason being "If you were shot with a poison arrow, would you refuse to remove it until you knew who shot it?" In other words, moral questions are extremely difficult, but they can be resolved without answering the god question, so don't waste time pondering the existence of god. Get on with the important stuff.

Accordingly, the Buddha was an atheist who was not sure whether or not God exists, but he was not an agnostic.

Keep in mind that people mean different things by "atheist." The "anyone who does not believe" definition is, I think prevalent among atheists, at least debater-type atheists and among philosophers and theologians. However, believers tend to take "believes god does not exist" -- the strong atheist position -- as the definition. The city of Philadelphia refused to put any of the works of Jefferson in its libraries until 1840, on the grounds he was an atheist. They meant he was a Deist, not a Christian.