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Discussion in 'Religious Issues' started by JBnTX, Dec 30, 2012.
Have you stopped beating your wife yet, yes or no?
Get over it. I already have.
I was raised Methodist. The whole family stopped going to church around or just before my junior high age. I quickly became an atheist, not the evangelical type, just was sure as anything that there was no god(s). That lasted until I really started to understand life (IMHO). So now I am comfortably in the middle of two extremes. Don't know, 99.99% of the time IRL its not an issue at all.
I'm not on a path from theism to agnosticism and stuck on my way to atheism.
I went from theism to atheism and came to rest in what I consider the most logical position, agnosticism. Until proof one way or the other is presented, and I'm convinced, I'll stay here.
Being an agnostic, and comfortable with that, I take a first amendment style tolerant view of other religious beliefs. Religious zealots have a hard time with that. Including evangelical atheists.
I have just broken a firm principle of not even reading any thread started by JBnTX to find that it is an argument about whether CavDoc does or does not believe that there is not or has not been a God. As we are now so close to 666 posts, I feel I should say something!
Can I suggest that although the categories of theist, agnostic and atheist are distinct, a theist believes there is a God, an agnostic cannot believe that there is or has been a God or he would be a theist, and an atheist believes there is not and has not been a God. The difference between the agnostic and the atheist is that the agnostic neither believes nor disbelieves there is or was a God and the atheist believes that there is not and never has been a God.
In no case does belief imply truth of belief. Belief is a practical matter of what an individual is prepared to act on as though it were true. So a theist acts as though there is a God and an atheist acts as though there is not. The agnostic is unable to know how to act in any situation which depends on whether or not there is a God. The agnostic does not meet, or acknowledge this situation very often because he has usually been brought up with a set of moral opinions or values which stand alongside the belief in a religion and so he uses those values to make decisions without thinking about the religious link to his values. The religious background to his values effectively tend to prevent him from trying, or needing, to try to derive values independent of religion.
Under a three-state single variable model, sure. However, I think there are problems with a three-state single variable model that get in the way of discussion. It's not accurate enough, and information gets lost. For instance, a theist who does not claim to know, gets put in the theist bucket because they believe. However, the sole criteria for being in that bucket is believing - so you can no longer determine their position on absolute knowledge merely by noting that someone is in that particular state of the three-state model. The same issue arises for the atheist bucket. Yet, the agnostic bucket provides information on their position of absolute knowledge. That's not a very consistent model with respect to what information is imparted by a particular state. There's also the point that when you know something, you believe it - you can also believe things you don't know. (In fact, I hold the position that we don't actually know very much at all - I don't think we can know anything that makes a statement about an external reality. In all cases where we are attempting to state anything about an external reality, there is some small possibility that we're not even perceiving an external, objective reality. What is commonly referred to as 'knowledge', with respect to reality, is really just a bunch of statements that are judged as very likely to be true, when someone says "I know I am walking down the street" they're really saying "I perceive myself to be walking down the street, and I judge the probability of my having accurate perception as high", or something along those lines)
You going to need an extra variable in any case, if you don't want to lose whether or not a theist or atheist claims absolute knowledge - so why not use the two-variable, strict-dichotomy model in the first place?
The only reason I can think of not to - and the reason I think that at least some people who claim agnostic-only under the three-state model use the three state model to begin with - is that people don't like being labeled 'atheist'. It's a dirty word, basically.
If that's actually the case then maybe the labels should be thrown out in favor of something that doesn't have that baggage. Although I don't know how easy it would be for 'knowist/aknowist'|'believist/abelievist' or something like that to catch on.
This is why I keep hammering the point of inductive reasoning. At the most basic level we are assuming that our own minds are operating rationally and that we are receiving accurate information via our sensory faculties.
The term "proof" is usually thrown around in this forum with the context of definitive deductive evidence and logic, but such proof is illusory. Once you get right down to it, pretty much anything and everything we think we know is actually derived through inductive means.
This is the main reason why I have no problem saying that there is no god or deity as it is as easy for me to be certain on that topic as it is for me to be certain that there is no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny. Santa could still possibly be real, but you would be foolish to truly believe such as an adult or even assess it as an equally likely possibility.
That puts me as one of the more gnostic atheists in this forum and ties back to the main point of your post that a single variable system is insufficient in that it doesn't allow for the differentation of positions between my own and some of the more agnostic atheists here.
Agreed, void. Personally I like a 4 option model much more.
Gnostic theist - someone who claims knowledge that God/gods exist.
Gnostic atheist - someone who claims knowledge that God/gods do NOT exist.
Agnostic theist - someone who believes in God/gods, but doesn't claim certainty.
Agnostic atheist - someone who lacks belief in God/gods, but doesn't claim certainty.
I was hoping to distinguish between knowing and believing. Like void, I don't believe we know very much. What we do know is what has been proved to be false. Many claim to know other things and they fall into the two categories of falsifiable and afalsifiable. The afalsifiable includes religions. The falsifiable includes the gas laws relating the pressure, volume, and temperature of a given mass of gas. Most religious people claim to know that their religion is generally correct. Most scientists and many others believe that the gas laws are correct and would say that their belief was so strong that it amounted to certainty or knowledge. They would never the less say that something might be found to show that the gas laws were not perfectly correct and that their practical certainty of correctness did not amount to knowledge of correctness.
On this basis, it matters not a jot that many people claim to know that there is a God. It is merely a belief that does not have any real supporting evidence. A belief in the falsifiable category can have a mass of supporting evidence and, as yet, no contrary evidence, but since we are unable to predict the future we can never be sure that a contrary fact will never be discovered and so we can never know that the belief is true. That is, it is not knowledge.
Hence I believe that the three state model of theistic belief, rather than knowledge, is valid.
Like Geko45, I have no more difficulty in denying the reality of God than of denying the existence of Santa Claus. This does not mean that I know neither exists but just that I believe it to be so utterly improbably that I am prepared to act as though neither exists.
The three state model does not take knowledge out of the equation, though. It would if the practical application of it were simply based on belief, and the definition of the three state model you give actually meets that.
However, as a practical matter, people do not break it down like that, and in common practical application the main differentiation for being an agnostic is just answering 'I don't know'. Well, as a matter using a strict definition of 'know' being absolute certainty, neither does anyone else, really, whether they believe or not, and whether they *think* they know or not - but that doesn't mean people don't let that get in the way (take the accusations to self-identified atheists that they claim to know, for instance) - and the three-state single-variable model imho encourages that, while the two-state, two-variable model allows you to show that this is not actually the case directly in the model.
This wife you may or may not be beating, do you believe she exists?
And yet you keep bringing it up.
Claiming to be an agnostic isn't a middle ground between theism and atheism...
Very good U Tube.
"Have you stopped beating your wife" has an unproven assertion, just like your now locked thread. It's not the same thing.
It is a very good video. I've watched several of Qualisoup's videos, and they were all good.
Exactly right, AG. It seems like CavDoc seems to simply be unwilling to answer the question honestly, hence my decision to not engage him on this forum any more. It's frustrating and, ultimately, a waste of time.
Oh, well. Nothing I can do about it.
Of the atheists in this thread, how many of us are *certain* that no gods exist or have ever existed? Not me.
What's funny is that he heard that from me just a day or two ago when I provided an example of what a true complex question fallacy was because he was using it wrong.
Im certain, the same way Im certain Santa Claus, Thor, Zeus and the Easter Bunny dont exist and have never existed.
Thats not to say that beings with more intelligence or longer lives than humans or technology that wed see as almost magical dont exist or have never existed. Thats possible. But if so, theyd be subject to the same laws of physics that govern the rest of the universe. They wouldnt have supernatural powers and therefore wouldnt be gods.
A lot of unproven things are held as valid opinions. The longer I hanged around here, the more I was sure that, for many, atheism is a religion. It's not only the definitions, but the fervor of their faith demonstrated by intolerance of other faiths, describing other beliefs as a scourge, the admitted trolling and stalking of threads not discussing whether or not a deity exists, and the never ending proselytizing.
If you'll forgive the term, it's not just literally true, but true in spirit also.
Now, that being said, there are some atheistic agnostics that don't have a firm belief that there is and has been no deity, and if you are one of those, and have not been taking part in religious intolerance, you're not included in the evangelical atheist bucket in my opinion, so take a breath and relax, I'm not talking about you.
And if you do fall in the evangelical atheist (religious) bucket for me, just remember, it's only my opinion. It does you no harm whatsoever. I'm just this guy posting on the Internet, I'm not going to make you get up early on Sundays to go to atheist church or anything else. For most of the guys I consider evangelical atheists, they really don't care much for me anyway, so there is really nothing to get upset about.
There are going to be different opinions. It happens.
Back to the topic, if someone had asked me if I had stopped beating my wife yet, and demanded a yes or no answer, I simply would not comply with their demand and answer the question honestly, that I never started beating her. Any man (including me) that knew her and thought beating Mrs. Cavalry Doc was a good option, is a guy with no interest in self preservation.
Now around here, you are chastised for avoiding the question for not slamming your foot into the bear trap, which is cute and all, but I'd rather be honest in my answer. A week ago, several of the same guys insinuating that I am really an atheist were claiming that I was a theist in disguise. Also humorous.
You all can have an opinion too. If you want to think of me as an atheist, a theist, religious etc, it does me no harm, and I'll just politely disagree. I think that's fair. Variety is a good thing in opinions.
That, sir, is complete and utter B.S. You were sure "atheism is a religion" before you even started posting in this forum.
So don't act like you've been all reasonable about it and just getting more and more sure the more you hang around here - because people remember things, you know? Before you started http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1282322 , you posted in here very little, if at all, and you certainly appear to be sure in that thread.
Enthusiasm for something, rejection of other things, proselytizing in its favour and even evangelical activity for it are not determinants of religion. It is common for an individual to be enthusiastic about Microsoft windows and reject Linux. Given the opportunity it is quite normal for such an individual to proselytize quite passionately in favour of Microsoft. I doubt that such a person would go from door to door trying to persuade people to join his support of Microsoft. That would be strange, but then, I doubt that any atheists here, or possibly at all, would engage in such an evangelical activity. It is a very natural thing to argue in favour of your opinions, but that does not mean that all such opinions or beliefs are religious. The fact that the religious talk of their "belief" does not imply that all belief is of a religious nature. To believe otherwise is no more than becoming entangled in a trivial linguistic trap.
All religions are based on some kind of supernatural concept. In most cases that is some kind of God or gods. In the case of the Buddhists it is the wheel of existence and re-incarnation. In the case of the Communists and Socialists, it is the perfectibility of man and the eventual withering away of the state. To the later can be added the idea that the virtue of mankind is located in the workers. These Marxist ideas are not supernatural in the sense of gods but are supernatural in the sense that they can never happen and are simply silly - they are not a part of the natural world and cannot become so. It is sad and enormously harmful that so many can be inspired by such supernatural nonsense to commit so much evil, but we must accept that this is the tendency of much of mankind. That is an idea that is worth arguing for with passion since it has profound effects on all of us.
Further to that, it occurred to me that I have gone through my life since the age of about eight thinking about atheism and its implications to how I lived my life. I have brought up my children as free of religion as possible but where I have failed, and where I think atheists as a whole have failed, is in passing on those ideas about living as an atheist. My children, now adult, are delightful and well educated individuals, yet in a sense they live in a kind of partial moral vacuum. The inherit their morality via a kind of osmosis from a generally kind and considerate peer group, but they have never needed to think about why those morals are good or, in some cases, bad. In general they suffer from an excess of compassion which blocks their view of reality. What this all means, and of course there is much more, is that atheists need to be more like religious groups in the sense that they need to think and communicate more about the nature and basis of morality in an entirely real way,rather than one descended from the supernatural way of religions. That still will not make atheism a religion.