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uptight atheists….
Posted: 10 May 2009 02:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Okay, but that doesn’t change the fact that “agnostic” is still more descriptive than “atheist” if you, in fact, do not know something. I fit the wikipedia description, so what’s the problem? There’s a word for it for a reason..

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Posted: 10 May 2009 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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domokato - 10 May 2009 02:36 PM

Okay, but that doesn’t change the fact that “agnostic” is still more descriptive than “atheist” if you, in fact, do not know something. I fit the wikipedia description, so what’s the problem? There’s a word for it for a reason..

It’s a personal thing, domokato. If you feel that you don’t, in fact, know whether or not God exists, then call yourself an agnostic.

Personally, I feel that I know that God does not exist, just as much as I know that there are no leprechauns or teapots in orbit around Mars. Of course, to say that I am also defining God quite precisely as the omniscient, omnipotent, perfectly good person who created the universe and listens to prayer. But that is very much the standard theological definition of God.

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Posted: 10 May 2009 04:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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I think that many of you are getting emotional over this, I didn’t
mean most of the things all of you who quoted me said or implied
that I said, so let me repeat:

jump_in_the_pit - 08 May 2009 08:36 PM
chrisq76 - 17 April 2009 07:40 AM

The more threads and articles i read about die hard Atheists the more i see they are like die hard Christians.

I have found that the people who call themselves atheists tend to
have more extreme attitudes. 

Tendency includes many, but not all people of a group.  If you do
not hold extreme atheist ideas, then the statement doesn’t apply
to you, so relax.  grin If you are the good moderate example,
then be proud and happy about it.  grin

jump_in_the_pit - 08 May 2009 08:36 PM

Those who call themselves atheists try to load up that word (atheism has a tiny dictionary meaning)...; but they don’t see the oppositions’ ideas that atheism means Satan worship, wicked (really the oldest meaning in my Merriam-Webster dictionary)... as valid. 

Where’s the evidence?  One person who started this thread made
a complain along those lines, and now I corroborate.  A famous
example is Richard Dawkins, the second part of the “Root of all
Evil?” movie is a fine example of what I’m talking about, a example
claiming that there is no room for moderate secular attitudes.

Meriam-Webster dates the word back to 1546, before the
Enlightenment, obviously coined by someone who preferred religion
over Humanism (why would anyone here want to follow their lead?),
meant as a slur as Doug called it.  If it was meant to denegrate,
that’s fine with me because I don’t care about the word.

The orbiting teapot idea in the end means that we should keep an
open mind, our sensors can’t detect the teapot, so maybe someday
we will see.  There’s no need to hold out hope for a teapot,
building institutions dedicated to promoting the cause of the
orbiting teapot, just simply keep and open mind.  Who knows what
we might find, maybe a round Earth, a Sun centered solar system,
that we are made of star stuff, that H. Polori can live in our
stomachs, the universe is expanding and at an accelerating rate,
and that most of the universe is dark matter and dark energy.

Jackson - 09 May 2009 10:45 AM
jump_in_the_pit - 08 May 2009 08:36 PM

......  And so on.  I am not attracted to the word atheist.

hey it’s just a single word without a lot of nuance.  This topic gets picked up over and over on this forum.  It just means you don’t believe in God.

✂───snip─✂───snip─✂───snip─✂───snip─✂───snip─✂───snip─

Jackson.

I agree atheism is, in fact, a simple word with
some very antagonistic archaic roots.  A word that today simply
subtracts some ideas from the conversation (talk about whatever
you want but “not” about “theism”) and adding no ideas to
the conversation.  So how could I ever relate to and identify
with such a word, one that only subtracts?  I am an agnostic
Secular Humanist, that add many ideas to the conversation,
additional ideas are something to relate to and identify with.
In mind mind, if I could really truly actually meet any god,
I’d LOVE to!  In reality (how I move my body), I pursue secular
ideas and activities, only.  I am pleased and proud to see that
the CFI promotes Secular Humanism, and eupraxophy.

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Posted: 10 May 2009 04:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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This question is one of the few areas where Doug and I disagree. We can wallow pointlessly in semantics here (what degree of probability is needed to say you “know” or “don’t know” and so on), but in general I prefer agnostic to atheist in that it seems an appropriate recognition of the limits of human understanding and knowledge. Sure, I live my life as if there is no God because I don’t find any of the stories told about such a being at all convincing. But that’s different from unequivocally ruling out the possibility of something. That degree of certainty about what we can/do know or cannot/do not know strikes me as the cause of so much trouble that I don’t think those of us dedicated to science, reason, and skepticism benefit from absolutist uncompomising terminology. Now, I don’t go around lecturing people who identify as atheists on the limits of human understanding, so I appreciate it when they return the favor and don’t lecture me on how intellectually weak and spineless an agnostic stand is. Sadly, those who prefer the term seem more inclined as a rule to lecture than those of us who prefer agnostic. Wonder what that means? grin

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Posted: 10 May 2009 04:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Occam - 10 May 2009 01:31 PM

To amplify Doug’s point, domo, are you an agnostic concerning, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, all of the Greek gods?  If, in conversations with friends, you clearly indicate that you neither believe nor disbelieve in any of them, then you are a true, consistent agnostic.  If not, how do you decide which of those beings for which you have no physical evidence to reject, and which to decide as possible, but unknown?

Just as an evangelical christian or Moslem is absolutely certain by faith that god exists, I, as a strong atheist, disbelieve in the existence of any god, also by faith.  There exists no proof that I’m aware of, but the concept seems quite unreasonable and irrational to me.

Occam

This is the best way to put it right here. I looked for this in Doug’s posts, but it was Occam’s. This is Granite:
” Are you agnostic concerning Santa Clause, The Tooth Fairy, Zeus, leprechauns?” 
I highly doubt anyone is agnostic over these items. One is agnostic over “god” due to social conditioning. Period!!

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Posted: 10 May 2009 04:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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domokato - 10 May 2009 12:28 PM

I simply don’t understand how atheists can know that God doesn’t exist. To me the correct, scientifically objective position would be agnosticism:

“S: (n) agnosticism, skepticism, scepticism (the disbelief in any claims of ultimate knowledge)” link

But maybe I’m missing something?

Sorry for the delay in responding—a lot of other good comments make this redundant in one or more spots:

Obviously the label is a matter of individual taste. But as others noted you may be a de facto atheist as far as Jews, Christians, and Muslims are concerned,  and you might be parsing the words “know” and “God” with unnecessary care.

If by “God” we mean an omnipotent omniscient being who for His own reasons lets the natural world run its course (i.e. sort of a Deist idea) without interacting, then sure you can be an agnostic.  I also agree that I’m an agnostic in this sense.

However if you don’t believe in the claims of the established religions of Jews, Christians, Muslims, etc.,  it seems like you are an atheist for practical purposes.

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Posted: 10 May 2009 05:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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This is Granite:
“ Are you agnostic concerning Santa Clause, The Tooth Fairy, Zeus, leprechauns?“ 
I highly doubt anyone is agnostic over these items. One is agnostic over “god” due to social conditioning. Period!!

No, this is your opinon. The only thing “granite” is your unshakeable certainty that you’re right. Sure, some people may choose “agnostic” over “atheist” purely because it is less confrontational and socially problematic, but that is not the only reason for doing so.

As Jackson pointed out, it matters what one is agnostic about. If one defines God as an inscrutable and ultimately mysterious power capable of creating the universe and exempt from the rules we’ve puzzled out that govern natural phenomena, then it is irrational to claim one can understand such a thing or make unequivocal statements about the probability of its existence. Theists are mistaken to think they can truly comprehend its will, and hence their mythologies display an intellectual arrogance that we rightly criticize. The problem is that the same arrogance is involved in statements such as VYAZMA’s just quoted, and they do secularism as a movement no good at all. I am indeed, to again cite Jackson, “an atheist for practical purposes,” but I simply disagree with many who take on the label of atheist and claim that the question of epistemology and the limits of human understanding is irrelevant.

I’ve always liked a quote by Einstein on the subject:

“I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist…I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and our own being.”

As skeptics, we are always reminding people who belive in God, the paranormal, alternative medicine, and so on about the unreliability of their intuitions and evaluations. Books like “Mistakes Were Made: But not by me,” “Don’t Believe Everything You Think,” “Why People Believe Weird Things,” “How We Decide,” “On Being Certain: Believing you’re right even when you’re not,” “Snake Oil Science,” “Trick or Treatment” and on and on are sources of voluminous and powerful data and arguments against credulity and certainty and excessive confidence in our own understanding. And then someone in our ranks has the temerity to suggest that maybe we can’t have the absolute last word on the existence of God, and we pounce on them like Puritans on a witch, making all the same claims about the certainty and intuitve obviousness of our beliefs as those we argue with the rest of the time. FWIW, I’m trying not to chuck any stones around in my own glass house!

Again, if you feel the sense of certainty to justify it, or if you feel it’s the right political strategy, by all means tell people you’re an atheist. You’ll get no argument from me. But those who ride their righteous atheist high horse into town and starts slamming anyone who prefers agnostic as disingenuous or confused or hamstrung by “social conditioning” and so on isn’t really all that different from the zealots in the pews on the “other side.”

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Posted: 10 May 2009 05:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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I believe all of this discussion doesn’t really accomplish much.  We each use a word to describe ourselves that we feel comfortable with.  Brennen and donokato are happy to call themselves agnostics, and I wouldn’t be reasonable if I were to try to argue with them about what they are or call themselves.  Similarly, Doug, Vyazma and I call ourselves atheists.  I really don’t care if someone thinks I’m using the wrong accolade on myself, and if they try to change me, I would probably think they have a control problem. 

Occam

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Posted: 10 May 2009 06:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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I often think about the fact that I cannot possibly know for for certain how or when the universe began to exist or even why it may exist (if indeed there is a “why”). But I still consider myself an atheist because I find it very improbable that god (a sentient being) could be the one responsible for any of this. I disagree with Jakson and Brennen that it matters what one is agnostic about. Multiverse (or any other such a phenomenon) may very well be responsible for the existence of our universe, but I would never refer to it as god.

I also disagree with Robert Burton in On Being Certain that we cannot know if god exists because we can never be fully objective about anything. It reminds me of the philosopher who had a dream that he was a butterfly and when he woke up he wasn’t sure if he was a philosopher who just had a dream about being a butterfly, or if he was a butterfly who was now dreaming about being a philosopher. Are you agnostic, Brennen, about being a butterfly? The chances that you are a butterfly who is dreaming about being a vet don’t seem to me any less plausible than the existence of a sentient god. And, once again, any other “higher power” such as the multiverse for example, should not, IMO, be referred to as god.

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Posted: 10 May 2009 06:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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I call myself atheist because I don’t believe ANY ‘god’ exists. I am, however open to changing my mind if someone can prove the existence of Vishnu, Zeus, Ra or any other deity. I have not seen any irrefutable proof and I do not expect to see any, meanwhile, I do not proselytize and expect the same from theists. The answer that “god is a mystery” just doesn’t cut it for me.
(I forgot to add: Just keep it out of government!!!)

[ Edited: 10 May 2009 07:13 PM by asanta ]
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Posted: 10 May 2009 07:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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Ra?  *Mriana points to the sun*  There you go.  LOL

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Posted: 10 May 2009 07:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Mriana - 10 May 2009 07:05 PM

Ra?  *Mriana points to the sun*  There you go.  LOL

LOL Try again!!! I can rename ‘Sun’, ‘Ra’, but that doesn’t make it a deity!!!!

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Posted: 10 May 2009 07:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Well, I tried.  No new sun worshiping converts today. LOL

[ Edited: 10 May 2009 07:22 PM by Mriana ]
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Posted: 10 May 2009 07:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Mriana - 10 May 2009 07:19 PM

Well, I tried.  No new sun worshiping converts today. LOL

Nah, don’t want to risk skin cancer!!! LOL If Bob Marley could get it…so can I!!

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Posted: 10 May 2009 07:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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mckenzievmd - 10 May 2009 04:24 PM

This question is one of the few areas where Doug and I disagree. We can wallow pointlessly in semantics here (what degree of probability is needed to say you “know” or “don’t know” and so on), but in general I prefer agnostic to atheist in that it seems an appropriate recognition of the limits of human understanding and knowledge. Sure, I live my life as if there is no God because I don’t find any of the stories told about such a being at all convincing. But that’s different from unequivocally ruling out the possibility of something. That degree of certainty about what we can/do know or cannot/do not know strikes me as the cause of so much trouble that I don’t think those of us dedicated to science, reason, and skepticism benefit from absolutist uncompomising terminology. Now, I don’t go around lecturing people who identify as atheists on the limits of human understanding, so I appreciate it when they return the favor and don’t lecture me on how intellectually weak and spineless an agnostic stand is. Sadly, those who prefer the term seem more inclined as a rule to lecture than those of us who prefer agnostic. Wonder what that means? grin

Stole the words out of my mouth. smile

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