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The less you know, probably the better.
Posted: 30 January 2013 09:52 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Anonymity is one of the great gifts of the internet. This is why I have ceased to use facebook for the time being. I’ve been listening to Point of Inquiry for the last few weeks and figure I have some time to spend, so why not spend a bit here. Technically I suppose I could be called an agnostic theist, a term coined by my good agnostic atheist friend and co-worker ****** *****.

Still not sure what if any good will come of any contributions I could possibly give here. But if nothing else I suppose I am up for a good internet form style ego-stroking. It’s what the internet is good for, right?

So… any questions?

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Posted: 30 January 2013 09:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Don’t you think an agnostic theist is just an agnostic? wink

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Raise your glass if you’re wrong…. in all the right ways.

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Posted: 31 January 2013 11:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Nope. I do not. Gnosis being the common Greek noun for Knowledge, agnosticism, or a-gnosis, means a lack of knowldege, or in the modern colloquialism, an assertion of ones own lack of knowledge. This being said, in my mind, there being a difference in the spectrum of knowledge and the spectrum of belief, one can place themselves wherever they want on the two spectrum. On the spectrum of belief I claim theism, because I do believe in a God. On the spectrum of knowledge, I claim I know very little of anything with any certainty, hence agnostic. (though in my good friend and my opinion,  when it comes to the spectrum of belief or non belief in God, there are few, if any, who really ever get to cross into gnostic territory.)

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Posted: 31 January 2013 06:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I can appreciate your linguistic precision, T-A, however, if one wishes to communicate effectively, one does have to recognize that using words with a definition not commonly used will obstruct your transfer of ideas.  While the derivation of agnostic you state would seem to apply to every human, it’s far more general than the more specific one most people accept. 

While we “know” only a microscopic part of the reality of the universe,  even essentially all of that which we think we know is only done so at a high probability. 

I have to disagree with your final parenthetical comment.  As you pointed out earlier, they are spectra.  As such, there is a range of belief from complete lack of knowledge to complete certainty.  Most scientists who would say they are atheists would, on careful examination, agree that there is a probability, extremely (maybe ten to the minus 1000th) that a god exists.  In other words, unless one falls at the 100% level of belief the existence or nonexistence of a god, one is agnostic.

Occam

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Posted: 01 February 2013 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Occam. - 31 January 2013 06:17 PM

I can appreciate your linguistic precision, T-A, however, if one wishes to communicate effectively, one does have to recognize that using words with a definition not commonly used will obstruct your transfer of ideas.  While the derivation of agnostic you state would seem to apply to every human, it’s far more general than the more specific one most people accept. 

While we “know” only a microscopic part of the reality of the universe,  even essentially all of that which we think we know is only done so at a high probability. 

I have to disagree with your final parenthetical comment.  As you pointed out earlier, they are spectra.  As such, there is a range of belief from complete lack of knowledge to complete certainty.  Most scientists who would say they are atheists would, on careful examination, agree that there is a probability, extremely (maybe ten to the minus 1000th) that a god exists.  In other words, unless one falls at the 100% level of belief the existence or nonexistence of a god, one is agnostic.

Occam

Occam,

I completely agree with the first paragraph. This is unfortunately one of the complications of being on the internet, you are much more likely to run into communities who use terms in very different ways then your IRL community. It is one of the reasons I am ever hesitant to jump into an online form like this. Trust me when I say I have a thorough understanding of the messy-ness of language. While this knowledge definitely helps me avoid simple struggles like senseless debates on semantics, it does make the concept of communicating through text only with a bunch of strangers a rather daunting task. So forgive me while I struggle to adapt to the lingo of this particular community.

As it still remains, the question was whether or not “I” consider agnostic theists to be the same thing as simply an agnostic. To which I still reply with a resounding, no. But if you prefer I can try to describe myself in other terms. I think that there has been a term thrown around here that might fit a bit better, a deist? Though, this is another interesting trouble of introducing oneself. I am an individual, not really a stereotype. Yet the only words I have to try to describe myself are pretty much stereotyping words. deist doesn’t convey who I am either…

As for your second half… Forgive me, I am confused… I think your last sentence summed up what I meant by agnostic, but I think you were trying to convey that the last sentence is not your view? is this correct? If it is then that is ok, we may simply have two different systems of epistemology. I will try to accommodate.

Danda, Welcome. Yeah, you could say that this is like a movie where someone hires a killer. You hang around me long enough and you will find I politely shred your views down to minute parts for examination… It can sometimes be a frustrating and unpleasant experience tongue wink

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Posted: 01 February 2013 07:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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To clarify, I’m a scientist who will readily say, if asked, that I’m an atheist, however, if one tries to pin me down by demanding that I offer incontestable proof for my position, I’ll drop back to the agnostic position, however, with the ten to the minus 1000h level of uncertainty.  Sticking with the theism area rather than introducing the complications of general knowledge in other areas, I can understand and accept anyone who declares him/herself a theist at any level of certainty, and who may wish to define the difference between that level and absolute certainty as agnosticism.  smile

Make sense?

Occam

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Posted: 01 February 2013 07:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I think I got it.

So am I still confusing when I say agnostic leaning theist/atheist? Or do you think I would be better off staying away from such terms for clarity sake?

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Posted: 01 February 2013 07:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I’m happy with that based on our discussion, however, you may find that you need to do a bit more explaining when you use that description for the first time to someone new.

Occam

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Posted: 01 February 2013 07:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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That seems to be the usual. I have an odd use of vocabulary for most people. But I’ve gotten used to explaining myself.

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Posted: 21 May 2013 11:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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TheAudience - 01 February 2013 07:23 PM

I think I got it.

So am I still confusing when I say agnostic leaning theist/atheist? Or do you think I would be better off staying away from such terms for clarity sake?

Since agnosticism is a position on knowledge and theism and atheism are positions on belief in a god, you can be an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist. Agnosticism is not a third position between theism and atheism, as some try to imply.  They are words describing completely different concepts.

Answering a question about your belief in god with “I’m an agnostic” is as responsive as answering it with “I’m a vegetarian.” And before you ask, Yes, you can be an agnostic vegetarian, an atheist vegetarian or a theistic vegetarian.  What you can’t be is a theistic atheist.

If clarity is your intention, you should make up your mind as to whether you believe a god exists or not and stop wasting your time trying to find a euphemism for atheism. Meanwhile “vegetarian” is as unresponsive an answer as “agnostic,” so why not use it and add some levity to the situation?

Lois

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Posted: 22 May 2013 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Am I an agnostic omnivore, since I doubt that eating everything that I want is good for me?

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 22 May 2013 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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So does being an agnostic theist mean that you have some level of doubt that there is a God, but proceed with your view of life as if there is a God?

...and being an agnostic atheist mean that you have some level of doubt that there is no God, but proceed with your view of life as if there is no God?

If so, at what level of doubt, would the agnostic theist become an agnostic atheist?  Would it be at the point in which they proceed with their view of life as if there is or as if there is not a God?

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 22 May 2013 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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If we could assume that anyone who is an atheist has a life view that predominately there is no God, and anyone who is a theist has a life view that predominately there is a God… then could we dispense with the term “agnostic” and its undefined middle ground (level of doubt)?  Anyone wishing to claim they have no doubt, in either camp, could simply add the adjective “absolute”, i.e., “I am an absolute atheist.” or, “I am an absolute theist.”

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 22 May 2013 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Anyway, welcome, Audience. 

I am reading your posts, and everything is quite cogent until I come to your last sentences in post #4, where you say

“Danda, Welcome. Yeah, you could say that this is like a movie where someone hires a killer. You hang around me long enough and you will find I politely shred your views down to minute parts for examination… It can sometimes be a frustrating and unpleasant experience.”

That seemed to come from out of left field.  I can’t figure out how this statement relates to what you or anyone else was saying.

My question is where did that statement come from and who is Danda?

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 22 May 2013 05:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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TimB - 22 May 2013 12:30 PM

Am I an agnostic omnivore, since I doubt that eating everything that I want is good for me?

Ha, I like it! Is that something like an omnivorous agnostic (someone who eats everything but doesn’t want to know what it is.)
.

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Posted: 22 May 2013 06:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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One of the problems with responding to threads that have been inactive for a while is that the starter may no longer be around.  For example, if you check TheAudience’s profile you’ll see he joined on Jan 30 and was last here on Feb 2. 

Occam

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