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agnostic vs atheist
Posted: 24 April 2010 09:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
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Axegrrl - 23 April 2010 11:00 PM

Well, when some in a group subscribe to a certain ‘conviction’ and some don’t, then that conviction shouldn’t be deemed a characteristic of the entire group, right? 

Methodissed - 24 April 2010 08:06 AM

Conversely, it sounds as though you are an atheist (without god belief) but feel animosity from a subset of that group. Though I appreciate your concern, it sounds strange to hear an atheist criticizing those darn “atheists.” Hence the need for a more accurate descriptor.

Maybe I had a sheltered childhood and did not encounter enough people that regarded themselves as atheists, but I get the impression that the definition of atheist has gotten more confused since the 60s.

So when I hear atheist I think “believes there is no God”.  I do not think “not a theist”.

An agnostic is not a theist just as an atheist is not a theist.

But there is a difference between an atheist and an agnostic.

To me it sounds like some atheists are playing word games to drag the agnostics into their camp and some people who call themselves atheists can’t figure out what an agnostic is.  But of course atheists insist that they are intelligent and rational.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdTOY-giMy4

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Posted: 24 April 2010 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
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psikeyhackr - 24 April 2010 09:06 AM

But there is a difference between an atheist and an agnostic.

To me it sounds like some atheists are playing word games to drag the agnostics into their camp and some people who call themselves atheists can’t figure out what an agnostic is.  But of course atheists insist that they are intelligent and rational.


`
My response to that would be what some have already commented ~ that agnosticism and atheism aren’t mutually exclusive, because one refers to knowledge and the other to belief.  Someone else in the thread described themselves as ‘an agnostic atheist’ and that’s probably the description that seems most appropriate for myself as well.

I’ve been participating in a lot of discussion boards over the last couple of years and i’ve seen/encountered soooooo many other people who describe themselves thusly and use the terms in that way ~ I think you’ll probably see changes in dictionaries over the next few years to reflect that reality.


`

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Posted: 24 April 2010 02:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
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Axegrrl - 24 April 2010 11:11 AM

My response to that would be what some have already commented ~ that agnosticism and atheism aren’t mutually exclusive, because one refers to knowledge and the other to belief.

This brings up another definition problem.  The word BELIEVE.

I have looked that up in a number of different dictionaries.  I make a point of remembering one because I regard it as particularly DUMB.

believe = to accept something as true without absolute proof.

What is the difference between a proof and an absolute proof?  This implies there are DEGREES OF PROOF.  There are degrees of PROBABILITY.  People may have degrees of certainty.  But are there degrees of PROOF?  Something is either proven or it is not therefore absolute proof makes no sense.

So I came up with my own definition of believe.

believe == to accept something as true (or false) without sufficient evidence.  Therefore belief is stupid by definition.  Belief is usually an emotional decision not a logical one. 

There is a thread about there being some great difference between deists and theists.  This brings up that logical versus emotional difference.  Logically deists are just one subset of theists.  But the emotional attitude that deists would have about their paradigm of God could be extremely different from many other theists.  I can agree they could have a very similar philosophy of life to atheists.  But they are still theists.

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Posted: 24 April 2010 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
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These definitions of “believe” and “know” really don’t work.

To “believe” is to take a certain epistemic approach towards something: in short, it’s to think the thing true. To believe X is to think that X is true.

To “know” is to believe AND for that belief to actually be true AND for your belief to have been created in the right way. So you can’t know something that is false, and you can’t know something just by taking a blind guess.

These are, roughly, the way that they are understood in philosophy.

In daily life we do not use the word “know” to refer to beliefs in which we have “absolute proof”. Firstly, what constitutes “absolute proof”? The only thing I can think of is either logic or mathematics. All the rest is just defeasible evidence, not absolute proof. And we talk unproblematically of knowing things on defeasible and even relatively poor evidence all the time, as I’ve discussed before in this thread.

What follows is that it really makes no sense to say that atheism has to do with knowledge and agnosticism with belief, or at least I’ve never heard anyone make a sensible reconstruction of that view once we actually get clear on what belief and knowledge are. In the absence of such a reconstruction, that view is a nonstarter. That’s to say, it appears to be based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the terms involved. (Belief and knowledge).

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Posted: 24 April 2010 10:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]
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dougsmith - 24 April 2010 03:16 PM

These definitions of “believe” and “know” really don’t work.

To “believe” is to take a certain epistemic approach towards something: in short, it’s to think the thing true. To believe X is to think that X is true.

To “know” is to believe AND for that belief to actually be true AND for your belief to have been created in the right way. So you can’t know something that is false, and you can’t know something just by taking a blind guess.

These are, roughly, the way that they are understood in philosophy.

Don’t work for who?

How many people KNOW that airliners weighing less than 200 tons can destroy buildings weighing more than 400,000 tons in less than 2 hours?

But how many of those same people don’t KNOW the distribution of steel in those buildings and never asked?

The laws of physics don’t give a damn about anybody’s philosophy?  They are not capable of caring about mathematics either.  The math must conform to the physics because the physics will not conform to anybody’s math. 

So when people say they KNOW but either cannot or will not recognize that they do not then what are other people supposed to do/say?

Ultimately there is no escaping the fact that every individual must think for him/herself.

There is a lot more believing than knowing going on but there is no way to get a lot of believers to admit that.

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Posted: 25 April 2010 10:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]
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psikeyhackr - 24 April 2010 09:06 AM

... I get the impression that the definition of atheist has gotten more confused since the 60s.

So when I hear atheist I think “believes there is no God”.  I do not think “not a theist”.

You’re creating confusion for yourself. As previously noted, atheist simply means without god belief - plain and simple. You’re adding additional parameters to the definition to fit your misguided conception of atheism.

psikeyhackr - 24 April 2010 09:06 AM

To me it sounds like some atheists are playing word games to drag the agnostics into their camp and some people who call themselves atheists can’t figure out what an agnostic is.  But of course atheists insist that they are intelligent and rational.

I’m not dragging agnostics into my camp - I am agnostic. To claim with certainty that there cannot be a god is epistemologically unsound. Therefore I’m unsure.

It sounds like you have developed a strong bias against the word atheist and cannot admit that you misunderstood the definition. As for atheists “insisting that they are intelligent and rational,” you’re lumping roughly 1 billion people on this planet into your narrow and intolerant conception. You’re stereotyping, which in this case is neither intelligent nor rational.

You’re an atheist dude - get over it. Once you accept that, maybe you can stop lumping all atheists into the sub-group of people you so strongly dislike.

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Posted: 25 April 2010 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 67 ]
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Occam - 21 April 2010 09:25 PM

You are absolutely correct, DarronS. 

My vote is with Darron and Occam—

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Posted: 25 April 2010 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 68 ]
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Methodissed - 25 April 2010 10:52 AM

You’re creating confusion for yourself. As previously noted, atheist simply means without god belief - plain and simple. 

Look dude, I didn’t just start thinking about this last week.

I was reading the definition of atheist when I was in grade school.  I decided I was an agnostic at 12.  I’m over 50.

That is the problem with a lot of atheists.  They presume to tell other people waht to think.

Here is a definition of atheist:

Atheism is commonly described as the position that there are no deities. It can also mean the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. A broader meaning is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is distinguished from theism, which in its most general form is belief that at least one deity exists.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism

The bold and the italic are two different states therefore the word is lacking in precision.  I do not recall this degree of vagueness in my teens.

An agnostic lacks belief in god(s) but that does not mean an agnostic claims there is no god.

Like I said, atheists playing word games to draft members. 

Main Entry: athe·ism
Pronunciation: \ˈā-thē-ˌi-zəm\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French athéisme, from athée atheist, from Greek atheos godless, from a- + theos god
Date: 1546

1 archaic : ungodliness, wickedness
2 a : a disbelief in the existence of deity b : the doctrine that there is no deity

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheism

You’re adding additional parameters to the definition to fit your misguided conception of atheism.

I can use a dictionary and select a definition without your assistance, thank you very much.

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Posted: 25 April 2010 02:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 69 ]
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psikeyhackr - 25 April 2010 01:53 PM

I can use a dictionary and select a definition without your assistance, thank you very much.

psik

That’s precisely my point. You’re selectively picking definitions to fit your pre-conceived notions.

Atheist
A = without
Theism - god belief

Duh.

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Posted: 25 April 2010 03:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 70 ]
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psikeyhackr - 25 April 2010 01:53 PM

An agnostic lacks belief in god(s) but that does not mean an agnostic claims there is no god.
...

{Most} Atheists would believe in God if they were given convincing evidence, but they know of no such evidence and are at least pragmatically certain than none will turn up. 

{Most}Agnostics agree there is no such evidence, and would also, like atheists, believe in God if they were given convincing evidence.  However, they position themselves as less certain that no evidence will ever turn up.

If you agree that given new and convincing evidence, pragmatic atheists would change their ‘vote’ and agree God exists (in spite of now calling themselves “atheists”),  there really really isn’t a lot of difference, since agnostics and atheists both agree there is not currently any evidence nor any plausible likelihood of convincing evidence showing up.

So it’s a matter of style or emphasis.

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Posted: 25 April 2010 04:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 71 ]
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Methodissed - 25 April 2010 02:14 PM
psikeyhackr - 25 April 2010 01:53 PM

I can use a dictionary and select a definition without your assistance, thank you very much.

psik

That’s precisely my point. You’re selectively picking definitions to fit your pre-conceived notions.

Atheist
A = without
Theism - god belief

Duh.

So tell the people that wrote the definitions.  Before you were born possibly?  I may have decided I was an agnostic before you were born.

DUH

How would my selecting your definition be any different?  Other than my being really dumb in that case of course.  Oh yeah, I must be dumb if I don’t let you tell me what to think.

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Posted: 25 April 2010 04:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 72 ]
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psikeyhackr - 25 April 2010 04:00 PM

So tell the people that wrote the definitions.  Before you were born possibly?  I may have decided I was an agnostic before you were born.

DUH

How would my selecting your definition be any different?  Other than my being really dumb in that case of course.  Oh yeah, I must be dumb if I don’t let you tell me what to think.

psik

Dictionary definitions reflect common usage, which is why a word such as atheist has multiple conflicting definitions. When those definitions were written or our respective ages are irrelevant to this discussion.

Unlike you, I’m not selecting a preferred definition. Rather, I’m breaking down the components of the word to expose its core meaning.

Finally, I’m also challenging your irrational statements and questioning your rationale. That’s not the same thing as calling you dumb or telling you what to think.

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Posted: 25 April 2010 04:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 73 ]
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{Most} Atheists would believe in God if they were given convincing evidence, but they know of no such evidence and are at least pragmatically certain than none will turn up. 

{Most}Agnostics agree there is no such evidence, and would also, like atheists, believe in God if they were given convincing evidence.  However, they position themselves as less certain that no evidence will ever turn up.

If you agree that given new and convincing evidence, pragmatic atheists would change their ‘vote’ and agree God exists (in spite of now calling themselves “atheists”),  there really really isn’t a lot of difference, since agnostics and atheists both agree there is not currently any evidence nor any plausible likelihood of convincing evidence showing up.

So it’s a matter of style or emphasis.

Precisely!

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Posted: 25 April 2010 04:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 74 ]
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psikeyhackr - 25 April 2010 01:53 PM

An agnostic lacks belief in god(s)......


`
You do realize that there are self-described agnostics who would object to that description, yes?

(don’t ask me to try to support/explain that reaction, but I know it’s out there)


This is always what happens when we get into the issue of ‘self-labelling’ :)

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Posted: 25 April 2010 04:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 75 ]
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mckenzievmd - 25 April 2010 04:41 PM

{Most} Atheists would believe in God if they were given convincing evidence, but they know of no such evidence and are at least pragmatically certain than none will turn up. 

{Most}Agnostics agree there is no such evidence, and would also, like atheists, believe in God if they were given convincing evidence.  However, they position themselves as less certain that no evidence will ever turn up.

If you agree that given new and convincing evidence, pragmatic atheists would change their ‘vote’ and agree God exists (in spite of now calling themselves “atheists”),  there really really isn’t a lot of difference, since agnostics and atheists both agree there is not currently any evidence nor any plausible likelihood of convincing evidence showing up.

So it’s a matter of style or emphasis.

Precisely!

wait a minute—now I agree with you AND Occam/Darron—- oops.

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