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Hello from NYC
Posted: 15 February 2006 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi Folks,

Glad to get a start on this board. A little background: I did a BA, MA, Ph.D. in Philosophy a few years ago, with emphasis on philosophy of science, and philosophy of religion. Been a ‘skeptic’ for a long while, for which I can thank Carl Sagan’s Cosmos back when I was a kid, as well as long afternoons in my university library reading through back issues of Skeptical Inquirer.

Have to say that it took a course in philosophy of religion with a believing Christian as a professor to make me realize I was an atheist and not just (as I had assumed before) an agnostic ... you know how these things can happen ...  :wink:

Anyhow, I love what the CfI is doing, through magazines like Free Inquiry as well as CSICOP. Really, really important stuff in today’s credulous, theocratically inclined world.

Cheers,

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Posted: 15 February 2006 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hello from NYC

Hi Folks,

Glad to get a start on this board. A little background: I did a BA, MA, Ph.D. in Philosophy a few years ago, with emphasis on philosophy of science, and philosophy of religion. Been a ‘skeptic’ for a long while, for which I can thank Carl Sagan’s Cosmos back when I was a kid, as well as long afternoons in my university library reading through back issues of Skeptical Inquirer.

Have to say that it took a course in philosophy of religion with a believing Christian as a professor to make me realize I was an atheist and not just (as I had assumed before) an agnostic ... you know how these things can happen ...  :wink:

Anyhow, I love what the CfI is doing, through magazines like Free Inquiry as well as CSICOP. Really, really important stuff in today’s credulous, theocratically inclined world.

Cheers,

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Doug

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Posted: 15 February 2006 08:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Re: Hello from NYC

[quote author=“dougsmith”]Hi Folks,

Glad to get a start on this board. A little background I did a BA, MA, Ph.D. in Philosophy a few years ago, with emphasis on philosophy of science, and philosophy of religion. Been a ‘skeptic’ for a long while, for which I can thank Carl Sagan’s Cosmos back when I was a kid, as well as long afternoons in my university library reading through back issues of Skeptical Inquirer.

Have to say that it took a course in philosophy of religion with a believing Christian as a professor to make me realize I was an atheist and not just (as I had assumed before) an agnostic ... you know how these things can happen ...  wink

Anyhow, I love what the CfI is doing, through magazines like Free Inquiry as well as CSICOP. Really, really important stuff in today’s credulous, theocratically inclined world.

Cheers,

Dougsmith

Welcoem!

I’m in NYC also and am new to this forum too.
  I am also an agnostic and an atheist and a secular humanist. I am interested in science, ethics and philosophy.
  I am a member of various CFI communiies in New York and am a former Ethical Culturist.
  I hope we can have some interesting discussions together in this forum.
  Bob

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Posted: 15 February 2006 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’m in NYC also and am new to this forum too.
I am also an agnostic and an atheist and a secular humanist. I am interested in science, ethics and philosophy.
I am a member of various CFI communiies in New York and am a former Ethical Culturist.
I hope we can have some interesting discussions together in this forum.

You bet. Although I wonder how it is possible to be both an agnostic and an atheist ... unless you mean that there are some sorts of gods that you are agnostic about and others you believe don’t exist ...

:wink:

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Posted: 15 February 2006 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]

I’m in NYC also and am new to this forum too.
I am also an agnostic and an atheist and a secular humanist. I am interested in science, ethics and philosophy.
I am a member of various CFI communiies in New York and am a former Ethical Culturist.
I hope we can have some interesting discussions together in this forum.

You bet. Although I wonder how it is possible to be both an agnostic and an atheist ... unless you mean that there are some sorts of gods that you are agnostic about and others you believe don’t exist ...

wink

Doug,
  Being agnostic about God or gods means that you don’t know that they exist. Being an atheist means that you don’t believe God or gods exist. The first is about knowing and the second is about believing or thinking. The first is about what can be known and the second is about what we think is true—which is an opinion.
  I hope that was clear enough.
    Bob

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Posted: 15 February 2006 11:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Doug,
Being agnostic about God or gods means that you don’t know that they exist. Being an atheist means that you don’t believe God or gods exist. The first is about knowing and the second is about believing or thinking. The first is about what can be known and the second is about what we think is true—which is an opinion.
I hope that was clear enough.
Bob

:? Ummm ...

“Knowledge” is just belief that is true and well-founded. So you can’t strictly be withhold belief and disbelieve the same thing at the same time ...

That is, if you’re talking about the same god, you can’t be both agnostic (withholding belief) and atheist (disbelieve) about that god at the same time. If you’re an atheist you are ipso facto not an agnostic ...

... unless I’ve misunderstood you somehow.

8)

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Posted: 15 February 2006 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]

Doug,
Being agnostic about God or gods means that you don’t know that they exist. Being an atheist means that you don’t believe God or gods exist. The first is about knowing and the second is about believing or thinking. The first is about what can be known and the second is about what we think is true—which is an opinion.
I hope that was clear enough.
Bob

? Ummm ...

“Knowledge” is just belief that is true and well-founded. So you can’t strictly be withhold belief and disbelieve the same thing at the same time ...

That is, if you’re talking about the same god, you can’t be both agnostic (withholding belief) and atheist (disbelieve) about that god at the same time. If you’re an atheist you are ipso facto not an agnostic ...

... unless I’ve misunderstood you somehow.

8)


Doug,
As I have come to understand it an agnostic take the position that he does not know whether god(s) exist or not.
An atheist takes the position that there is no God. And a theist takes the position that there is a God.

Bob

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Posted: 16 February 2006 01:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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As I have come to understand it an agnostic take the position that he does not know whether god(s) exist or not.
An atheist takes the position that there is no God. And a theist takes the position that there is a God.

I suppose you could define “agnostic” that way ... but then, out of curiosity, given you don’t believe in God, which other god(s) are you unsure of?

8)

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Posted: 16 February 2006 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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How can you be unsure and disbelief?

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Fighting the evil belief that there is a god(s).

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Posted: 16 February 2006 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Doug wrote

“I suppose you could define “agnostic” that way ... but then, out of curiosity, given you don’t believe in God, which other god(s) are you unsure of?”

Doug,
I don’t believe there are any gods. In my opinion there are no gods. Of course that is just my opinion (what I believe).
Bob

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Posted: 16 February 2006 05:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I don’t believe there are any gods. In my opinion there are no gods. Of course that is just my opinion (what I believe).

Great, that’s what I thought. But then it doesn’t sound like you’re an agnostic. You’re an atheist pure and simple!

:wink:

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Posted: 16 February 2006 07:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Agnostics and Atheists

[quote author=“dougsmith”]

I don’t believe there are any gods. In my opinion there are no gods. Of course that is just my opinion (what I believe).

Doug replied
“Great, that’s what I thought. But then it doesn’t sound like you’re an agnostic. You’re an atheist pure and simple!”

Doug,
I know it does but that is not the case. It took me a long time to understand the differnce between being an atheist and being an agnostic. The key to understanding the difference is that agnosticism has to do with what can be known It is part of the area of philosophy that is called epistomology. Certain things can be known and other things cannot be known. In my case I don’t know whether or not a God or gods exist—that makes me an agostics as far as gods are concerned. However, I have an opinion about whether they exist or not. My opinion is that they do not exist—that makes me an atheist. If my opinion was that they do exist I would be a theist. So therefore, I don’t know if any gods exist but I think (believe) that they do not.
There are people who claim to know that God exists and they have all sorts of logical proof to back them up. And there are also people who say that they do not know God exist but they think he does or they feel he does, or they were told he does by their parents—and their parents nover lied to them. It’s a matter of faith—having faith in someone who tells them that there is a God.

I hope I have made myself clear. When I first became interested in secular humanism it was difficult for me to understand how a person could be both an agnostic and an atheist. But after reading some articles by secular humanists I came to understand how someone could be both.

Bob

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Posted: 17 February 2006 01:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Doug,
I know it does but that is not the case. It took me a long time to understand the differnce between being an atheist and being an agnostic. The key to understanding the difference is that agnosticism has to do with what can be known It is part of the area of philosophy that is called epistomology. Certain things can be known and other things cannot be known. In my case I don’t know whether or not a God or gods exist—that makes me an agostics as far as gods are concerned. However, I have an opinion about whether they exist or not. My opinion is that they do not exist—that makes me an atheist. If my opinion was that they do exist I would be a theist. So therefore, I don’t know if any gods exist but I think (believe) that they do not.
There are people who claim to know that God exists and they have all sorts of logical proof to back them up. And there are also people who say that they do not know God exist but they think he does or they feel he does, or they were told he does by their parents—and their parents nover lied to them. It’s a matter of faith—having faith in someone who tells them that there is a God.

I hope I have made myself clear. When I first became interested in secular humanism it was difficult for me to understand how a person could be both an agnostic and an atheist. But after reading some articles by secular humanists I came to understand how someone could be both.

Well, I am quite familiar with epistemology ... I did a Ph.D. in philosophy after all.  :wink:

But we come back to the same issue as before, and I think the problem is that you don’t have a good handle on what constitutes “knowledge”. As I said before, knowledge is just true, well-founded belief. So if you believe that it’s raining, and that belief is founded on good evidence, you know that it’s raining.

Neither “atheism” nor “agnosticism” has anything whatever to do with knowledge. They are both about belief.

Atheism: the belief that god doesn’t exist.

Agnosticism: the withholding of belief or disbelief that god exists.

You cannot be consistently atheist AND agnostic about the same thing at the same time.

Hope that clears things up.

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Posted: 17 February 2006 09:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Atheism & Agnosticism

Doug wrote “Well, I am quite familiar with epistemology ... I did a Ph.D. in philosophy after all.  wink

But we come back to the same issue as before, and I think the problem is that you don’t have a good handle on what constitutes “knowledge”. As I said before, knowledge is just true, well-founded belief. So if you believe that it’s raining, and that belief is founded on good evidence, you know that it’s raining.

Neither “atheism” nor “agnosticism” has anything whatever to do with knowledge. They are both about belief.”


Doug,
I distinguish between “knowing and believing. If a person knows something he/she is certain that it is true. If a person believes something he/she is not certain that it is true.
  If someone were to say, “I believe it is raining.” it indicates that the he/she isn’t sure that it’s raining. If someone says, “It’s raining.” it means that he/she is sure that it is raining,, If a person is sure about something he/she is certain that something is true. The difference between knowing and believing is certainty or the lack of it.

Bob

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Posted: 20 February 2006 02:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Hey, Dougsmith!  Since you have training in philosophy, do me a favor and stroll over to the Religion and Secularism section.  There’s a guy there named Ram whom I’ve been arguing with (two threads called “Nope” and “Let’s discus this question”), but he is over my head in the philosophy department.  Thanks.

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Posted: 20 February 2006 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Hi there

Dougsmith:

What are you doing now?  Using your degree?  If so, how so?

Wes

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Fairness is Justice

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