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Old 01-15-2013, 18:31   #26
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Originally Posted by Geko45 View Post
In the hopes that some useful discussion can actually come out of this thread (unlikely), I do have a question/problem with the graph. I like the idea overall, but there is a coordinate on this chart that doesn't make sense. Imagine an individual that is 100% on the y-axis (completely gnostic), but also located at exactly zero on the x-axis (midway between theist and atheist). What would that person be 100% certain of exactly?
Very good. You've stumbled on the problem I have with the perpendicular relationship between belief and knowledge.

At best, it is a very slightly oblique relationship, approaching a parallel relationship.

Religious Issues


More accurately, the fact is that none of us know, but we all have belief.
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Old 01-15-2013, 18:36   #27
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Originally Posted by hooligan74 View Post
Ah, thanks! I didn't know there was a genesis (sorry for the religious pun) for this debate - I picked up on it from some of CavDoc's posts in the political forum.

So, it would appear that CD has cemented the fact that he is agnostic, but seems reluctant to answer whether he is an agnostic atheist or agnostic theist.

He further appears to have the mistaken notion that atheism requires an absolute belief of the lack of gods, versus a lack of belief that gods exist. I'll admit it is a nuanced difference, but an important one, IMO.
The difference is that it is reasonably possible for a deity to have existed to me. I consider myself a middle of the road agnostic. I do believe that many people simply lack belief in a deity. But many truly believe that there is no deity. Talk with them long enough, and it becomes evident.

Eh? It's just my opinion. One that I am very comfortable with, much to the chagrin of many around here.

That's OK though. The one thing that we can all know, it is what it is. Very true. The interesting part is deciding what you believe it is.

Have a good one.
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Old 01-15-2013, 22:32   #28
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Originally Posted by Cavalry Doc View Post
Honestly, someone that had no clue that a question had ever been asked or heard any postulation on the subject would be simply ignorant of the question.

My answer would be no to all four, as there is not enough information to answer the question yet. If you find such a person, don't tell him anything, and then let me ask him if he believes a god exists or not. Then I can answer more accurately.

It would be like asking a person from the 1800's whether or not Zithromax is good to use for a cold or not.

You'd have to tell them about antibiotics, viruses, and how antibiotics can cure bacterial illnesses, but are not too effective at killing viruses. Of course, it's much more complicated than that, but that's another week long class.


I would label that person as simply ignorant, not in a bad way either. In order to have an opinion, one should at least consider the question first. If the person spontaneously asked themselves the question and came up with an answer they believed, we'd have to know the question they framed to themselves and the answer they arrived at to know for sure.
I disagree, but appreciate the in depth response.

I know you've already read it, but for everyone else I figure I'll put my thoughts on the hypothetical person whose never heard of a god or religion here.

BTW, can you imagine trying to explain a god to an adult who has never heard of one? They would think you are nuts.


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...
You've said that you've never met anyone that actually knows. So everyone you've ever met is ignorant on the existence of a god. Everyone you've ever met is agnostic because they are ignorant on the existence of a god.

Someone that has never heard of any god or religion is agnostic because they don't know and atheist because they don't believe.

Just like I am agnostic because I don't know and atheist because I don't believe.
...
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:44   #29
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Originally Posted by Syclone538 View Post
I disagree, but appreciate the in depth response.

I know you've already read it, but for everyone else I figure I'll put my thoughts on the hypothetical person whose never heard of a god or religion here.

BTW, can you imagine trying to explain a god to an adult who has never heard of one? They would think you are nuts.
I'm not sure it's possible for some one to not question how they came to be. Humans are very inquisitive by nature. And I wouldn't assume how that hypothetical person would respond, humans are rather unpredictable too.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:05   #30
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The difference is that it is reasonably possible for a deity to have existed to me. I consider myself a middle of the road agnostic. I do believe that many people simply lack belief in a deity. But many truly believe that there is no deity. Talk with them long enough, and it becomes evident.

Eh? It's just my opinion. One that I am very comfortable with, much to the chagrin of many around here.

That's OK though. The one thing that we can all know, it is what it is. Very true. The interesting part is deciding what you believe it is.

Have a good one.
Thanks for taking the time to reply, Doc! I find your posts in this thread to be reasonable and thoughtful.

The primary area where we disagree seem to be that you feel atheism is a belief there is no god/gods whereas I see it as a simple lack of belief. A narrow difference, to be sure, but I believe it's an important one.

So, you think it is reasonable for a god/gods to exist/have existed. I agree. That's makes us both agnostic. However, up to this point in my education and life experience I see no evidence to indicate that it is *likely* that god/gods exist/have existed. Thus, I lack a belief in god/gods, making me an agnostic atheist.

Atheism isn't a belief, it's a lack of a belief. You can't answer "I don't know" to a question on whether you believe something, unless you're stating that you are incapable of discerning your own thoughts on the subject.

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Old 01-16-2013, 08:21   #31
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You can't know there is no God so the distinction is a matter of semantics. They're the same thing.

You mean to tell me you've never met anyone that claims to *know* there is/isn't a god? I wish I could make that claim...
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:22   #32
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Does claiming to know, or thinking you know, count as being gnostic?

Thinking you know would absolutely make you gnostic.

Claiming you know, as long as the claim was sincere, would also make you gnostic, IMO.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:43   #33
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You mean to tell me you've never met anyone that claims to *know* there is/isn't a god? I wish I could make that claim...
No, he's saying the people that claim to know are wrong, that they don't actually know.

I think that is extremely likely to be the case.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:56   #34
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No, he's saying the people that claim to know are wrong, that they don't actually know.

I think that is extremely likely to be the case.
Whether they are right or wrong is beside the point. If they *think* they know, they are gnostic.

Agnostic means "I don't believe but I am open to the idea" or "I do believe but I'm open to the idea that I'm mistaken".

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Old 01-16-2013, 09:00   #35
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Whether they are right or wrong is beside the point. If they *think* they know, they are gnostic.

Agnostic means "I don't believe but I am open to the idea".
Pretty sure I'm an agnostic theist. I choose to believe. I work on my beliefs with the logic that I have. I can not prove that there is a god to anyone or myself. It is my chosen point of view.

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Old 01-16-2013, 09:03   #36
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I can not prove that there is a god to anyone or myself.
.
The proof to me is the relationship that I believe I have.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:09   #37
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Sounds like you're an agnostic theist to me, too, NM. For whatever that's worth.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:27   #38
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Pretty sure I'm an agnostic theist. I choose to believe. I work on my beliefs with the logic that I have. I can not prove that there is a god to anyone or myself. It is my chosen point of view.

.
I think in truth everyone is Agnostic about their Theism or Atheism. The one's who claim to KNOW for sure are delusional I'd imagine.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:29   #39
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You mean to tell me you've never met anyone that claims to *know* there is/isn't a god? I wish I could make that claim...
Non sequitur. That's not even remotely my argument.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:33   #40
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I think in truth everyone is Agnostic about their Theism or Atheism. The one's who claim to KNOW for sure are delusional I'd imagine.
Yes, I do believe that is a correct interpretation. If you plotted people's degree of a/gnosticism, I would think that you would find asymptotes forming at the extremes of the axis. There woulde be some people (like me) that would be 99.999% certain of their position, but if they were being honest with themselves then I don't see how anyone could claim 100% one way or the other.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:59   #41
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Non sequitur. That's not even remotely my argument.

Hence my request for clarification on your stance.

It's not semantic. There is a very real difference between people who feel/believe they *know* they are right and people who openly admit they may be wrong.

The reality of whether they are right or wrong is beside the point.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:06   #42
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Yes, I do believe that is a correct interpretation. If you plotted people's degree of a/gnosticism, I would think that you would find asymptotes forming at the extremes of the axis. There woulde be some people (like me) that would be 99.999% certain of their position, but if they were being honest with themselves then I don't see how anyone could claim 100% one way or the other.

I think you wouldn't have too much trouble finding people who believe they are as certain about their theism/atheism as a person can be about anything.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:11   #43
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I think you wouldn't have too much trouble finding people who believe they are as certain about their theism/atheism as a person can be about anything.
I'm 100% sure that I am theist.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:12   #44
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Hence my request for clarification on your stance.

It's not semantic. There is a very real difference between people who feel/believe they *know* they are right and people who openly admit they may be wrong.

The reality of whether they are right or wrong is beside the point.
Depends on the stance. Mine is that there is no verifiable evidence that there is a God. I am right in this regard as there is no verifiable evidence.

Most Atheists maintain the stance that there is no point in having a belief in God, if there is no verifiable proof of one. The assumption simply doesn't need to be made. And we find more and more everyday that the things man has attributed to God's hand... happened naturally all on their own. And we now know most all ancient religious texts to be false and man made creations based on other ancient myths and legends. So without further evidence of a God... there is simply no point in assuming there is one.

Some actual evidence could change that up however.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:14   #45
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I'm 100% sure that I am theist.

Crap. Poorly worded.

As sure about their beliefs of the existence, or lack thereof, of a god/gods as we can be about anything.

I think that's better? I need some lunch...
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:18   #46
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Depends on the stance. Mine is that there is no verifiable evidence that there is a God. I am right in this regard as there is no verifiable evidence...
That's not what gnostic/agnostic addresses, though. It doesn't address verifiable evidence. It addresses the belief that you know for certain, one way or the other.

If I say: "I know for a fact, beyond all doubt, that God exists because of my personal relationship with him and the experiences in my life." that makes me a gnostic theist, whether I'm right or wrong.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:28   #47
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I think you wouldn't have too much trouble finding people who believe they are as certain about their theism/atheism as a person can be about anything.
I've talked about the problem of induction here before, but don't think you were around then. My point is that we can't actually prove just about anything that we think we know. There is always an assumption somewhere in the chain of logic that we assume to be true (because it has always been observed to be true) that can't actually be proven. We can't even prove that our own perception of what we call reality is what we think it is and if we can't know that then we really can't know anything else. We must always induce a conclusion, we can never actually deduce one.

That is why I find arguments about not being able to prove or disprove the existence of a deity beyond all doubt rather moot and futile. Of course you can't, but that does not mean that we can't reach an inductive (as opposed to decutive) conclusion with a level of certainty sufficient for any practical purpose. I don't see how a deity could exist with a level of confidence adequate for all real world considerations. I can't eliminate all doubt, but then again I can't eliminate all doubt that Santa doesn't exist either. The thing is, I don't need to in order to arrive at a conclusion sufficent to live my life.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:47   #48
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That's not what gnostic/agnostic addresses, though. It doesn't address verifiable evidence. It addresses the belief that you know for certain, one way or the other.

If I say: "I know for a fact, beyond all doubt, that God exists because of my personal relationship with him and the experiences in my life." that makes me a gnostic theist, whether I'm right or wrong.
I am 100% Gnostic that there is no verifiable evidence there is a God.

That position will immediately change once evidence is presented.

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Old 01-16-2013, 11:01   #49
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Hence my request for clarification on your stance.

It's not semantic. There is a very real difference between people who feel/believe they *know* they are right and people who openly admit they may be wrong.

The reality of whether they are right or wrong is beside the point.
My stance it that it doesn't matter what you call yourself or what others call you. What matters is what you think and the facts/logic that support your thinking. Claiming to know there is or is not a God is illogical.

I don't claim to be an atheists or an agnostic. The only title I have ever given myself is recovering Christian.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:07   #50
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That's not what gnostic/agnostic addresses, though. It doesn't address verifiable evidence. It addresses the belief that you know for certain, one way or the other.
You make the same mistake other here make. It's not whether or not you believe something. It's what that belief is based on. Is your belief based on facts and logic, or something else. Believing there is a God without valid proof is different from believing that the absence of proof indicates there is no God.
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