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Old 10-04-2011, 04:52 PM
 
Location: OKC
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Ladies and Gentlemen, after spending the first 20 years of my life as a theist, my second 20 years as an atheist, I believe I have now become agnostic.

This has come about because I can't refute the following basic logic:

Each explaination I know of for the existance of everything is illogical and runs counter to what is normally considered consistent with the laws of physics. The putative explainations are:

1. The multiverse always existed.
2. The multiverse suddenly sprang into existance without cause
3. Big sky daddy made everything poof into existence.

The last one certainly doesn't seem logical to me, and runs counter to my notion of the way the world works.

But so do the first two.

While it is certainly possible that we will someday find an explaination that makes the first two possibilities seem more plausable, it is also theoretically possible that we will someday find an explaination for the third possibility to be plausable.

Right now I can't think of a logical argument that would allow me to discount option three that wouldn't also discount options 1 and 2.

Of course I still don't see any evidence for the Abrahamic god, and I think the evidence that he is a work of fiction/mythology is very credible. But I can't eliminate the possibility of a God in general.

Please feel free to refute the above argument so that I don't have to eat 20 years of crow from my agnostic friends Otherwise, I will become Boxcar The Agnostic.

Thanks.
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:38 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis
2,532 posts, read 2,500,940 times
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I went agnostic long ago. While I share much with my atheist friends, we disagree on the ability of the human being to possess any knowledge concerning deities. Aristotle referenced an "unmoved mover", which essentially takes us into an argument of infinite regression. That, is what prevents me from camping with the atheists.

At any rate, I'm quite content accepting my inability to know of such things.
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:43 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
603 posts, read 567,306 times
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Welcome to the club! We welcome anyone willing to admit they aren't all-knowing humans (oxymoron!)
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:18 PM
 
39,220 posts, read 10,895,806 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
Ladies and Gentlemen, after spending the first 20 years of my life as a theist, my second 20 years as an atheist, I believe I have now become agnostic.

This has come about because I can't refute the following basic logic:

Each explaination I know of for the existance of everything is illogical and runs counter to what is normally considered consistent with the laws of physics. The putative explainations are:

1. The multiverse always existed.
2. The multiverse suddenly sprang into existance without cause
3. Big sky daddy made everything poof into existence.

The last one certainly doesn't seem logical to me, and runs counter to my notion of the way the world works.

But so do the first two.

While it is certainly possible that we will someday find an explaination that makes the first two possibilities seem more plausable, it is also theoretically possible that we will someday find an explaination for the third possibility to be plausable.

Right now I can't think of a logical argument that would allow me to discount option three that wouldn't also discount options 1 and 2.

Of course I still don't see any evidence for the Abrahamic god, and I think the evidence that he is a work of fiction/mythology is very credible. But I can't eliminate the possibility of a God in general.

Please feel free to refute the above argument so that I don't have to eat 20 years of crow from my agnostic friends Otherwise, I will become Boxcar The Agnostic.

Thanks.
Join the club! I am Arequipa the agnostic, because I can't refute it either.

I am also Arequipa the atheist because I don't know so I don't believe it's true as well as don't know that it isn't (1). I then give greater credibility to a naturalistic theory (Hypothesis - and there now is one) together with the evidence of no god -input into what we do know. Goddunnit has to rely on magic. Supernatural magic.

There might be something that deserves the title 'god' behind it all. I haven't yet seen any (good/sound/convincing) evidence for it and am willing to not believe -yet - in what hasn't got anything, really, but an argument from ignorance (if you will pardon the expression) going for it.

As for religion and personal gods, I believe the case for that can be demolished and when we say 'there is no God' that's the one we are sure there isn't. The case for religion true or not, is a different, pragmatic, one (though it is really used as an excuse for a Faith with no better case) and my argument against that is a different one also.

What it comes down to is - does the inability to refute a First cause God oblige you to believe that it is true?

P.s . If you are concerned about not being able to make a case for agnostic - based atheism to your agnostic pals I'd be happy to chew it over in PM. At the end of it I would lay good money that any agnostic who wouldn't accept that atheism was the only logical belief - position for an agnostic was really a deconverting theist nicotine - patching.

(1) Better explain the logical position on this. Agnosticism is a knowledge position. Atheism is a belief position. The two are not exclusive. Not believing in what isn't known to be so is not the same as 'disbelieving' - in the sense of claiming that what isn't isn't known is impossible or untrue - which is an illogical position and is actually not the logical position of atheism.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 10-04-2011 at 07:35 PM.. Reason: And a p.s!
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:55 PM
 
Location: OKC
5,426 posts, read 5,733,662 times
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Good points Arequipa. If we talk about what I know, I am agnostic. If we talk about what I believe, I don't believe there is a God.

Yet I also find it hard to believe that everything always existed, or that everything popped into place out of nothing, and since those are the only options I can think of at the moment something I don't believe is true must be true. Still, I don't believe in a God like figure.

Perhaps there is some fourth option that we haven't considered.
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:39 PM
 
9,412 posts, read 11,745,419 times
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Wow, sorry Boxcar

I have utilised my rational brain, my many years of experience as a theist and pure logic and I still come to the conclusion atheism is truth.

I hope you rediscover the truth some day.
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:43 PM
 
3,517 posts, read 5,675,851 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
Good points Arequipa. If we talk about what I know, I am agnostic. If we talk about what I believe, I don't believe there is a God.

Yet I also find it hard to believe that everything always existed, or that everything popped into place out of nothing, and since those are the only options I can think of at the moment something I don't believe is true must be true. Still, I don't believe in a God like figure.

Perhaps there is some fourth option that we haven't considered.
This is all the dream of an autistic child gazing into a snowglobe?

I used to call myself agnostic because I, like every non-theist I've asked, can't claim definitive knowledge of the nature of existence. But I came to realize that how I define agnostic and atheist isn't how the rest of the world defines them.

In my experience, people view agnosticism as a very on-the-fence stance. "Maybe there's a god, maybe there's not, I have no insight into the question" sort of feel. They could easily be swayed either way if presented with a convincing argument and they may claim to be "spiritual" but not religious.

An atheist, though, is simply one who, if asked about their beliefs, would say "I don't believe in god."

It's a fuzzy difference, but this is how outsiders seem to see us. I think, too, that anyone who is interested in your beliefs beyond a lack there of will ask questions and details can be hashed out.
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:22 PM
 
3,404 posts, read 2,253,561 times
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Default Agnostic or Atheist...

I am in a similar boat regarding cosmology. I tried to read some books on this, and even as someone who is reasonably well versed in physics and math, I was totally in over my head. I have had to come to the conclusion that, as best I can tell, the answer to a great many things is, "I don't know". I do know that to date the number of things I have experienced which have a reasonable explanation, rooted in science and repeatable observations are countless, while the things in my life which have a repeatable, testable, yet supernatural origin are in fact zero. I thus far have not needed a diety, or cosmic force to explain my experiences, so I have to assume that I probably will not need one in the future.

I think Arequipa and UnexpectedError have some good points. I am technically an agnostic atheist, but at this point I self-identify as an atheist. I do this because for many people agnostic does not mean someone who holds that a god-knowledge is impossible, it simply means someone who is wishy-washy, and in need of a good witnessing.

An interesting question for me is why I identify as an agnostic atheist. I mean, there are so many related labels (humanist, rationalist, materialist, etc...) that make more of a statement about what I do believe, rather than what I don't believe. For some reason, thought I just haven't gotten comfortable with any of them. I am curious why so many people seem to identify as atheist, as opposed to one of these others. Still trying to work this one out for myself. Who knows, maybe eventually I'll go from NoCapo the Atheist to NoCapo the agnostic-rationalist-secular-materialist-humanist. I think I would need something with a better acronym...

NoCapo
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Old 10-05-2011, 02:23 AM
 
39,220 posts, read 10,895,806 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
Good points Arequipa. If we talk about what I know, I am agnostic. If we talk about what I believe, I don't believe there is a God.

Yet I also find it hard to believe that everything always existed, or that everything popped into place out of nothing, and since those are the only options I can think of at the moment something I don't believe is true must be true. Still, I don't believe in a God like figure.

Perhaps there is some fourth option that we haven't considered.
Absolutely. We really know very little about the cosmos or multiverse and its origins or even what it really is. I can only say that arguments for a god seem more problematical than natural arguments. Though Theists get over this by quoting 'Alpha and Omega' without really thinking about it, a complex something coming to be or having always been there is a bit hard to explain. Also there is the lack of any such being around now (I'm talking of what the evidence suggests to me) which means that the deist -god idea while it's ok, one has to ask, if it made everything and then ceased to get involved - why? The theists have a point is arguing that a god, having created everything for our benefit would want to keep in touch with us.

Then there is the something from nothing idea. While I found it a bit hard to swallow, the nature of atoms made me wonder..how hard can it be? Hawkings has apparently now worked it out - in theory and there was suggestion that mathematical potential (which could be always there) combined with nothing could be the 'nothings with rotation/power' that is needed to make atoms/matter from nothing.

All very speculative but you know it sounds to me more probable than an invisible uncreated being. It was rather like my musings on the edge of the universe as a kid when I should have been learning to add up. I couldn't imagine a universe going on for ever, but I could imagine nothing gong on for ever. So I thought it more likely that the universe did end somewhere. The invisible potential to produce matter could be called 'something' but even that I would resist calling 'god' because that implies pre - existing intelligence and forward planning. ID, in fact. and again there is no sound evidence for it and no mechanism to explain it, though Mystic Philosopher's arguments are the best I have seen to construct a philosophic theory linked with personal ecstatic feelings and the hard question. It could have something in it. But it has to await validation before it deserves belief. There are still too many other possible explanations.

All that of course is academic speculation as is a god at the other end of the multiverse. What concerns us is a personal interactive god here on earth and I would bet large sums (if I had them) that there ain't one.

As I have said before, while I will argue furiously over this idea, it isn't what I am militant about. I am atheistically militant about the way god -belief manifests in organized religion and requirements to believe in what is not supported by the evidence and to even tries to debunk the corpus of evidence so as to prop up these beliefs.

P.s (love 'em) there's another thing I might mention. Theist apologists sometimes claim that the observer influences the experiments (thus hinting that science only produces the results we want) and this is the discovery that protons fired at speed seem to go in two different directions at once, but only when they are not being observed. The idea that reality is only what is observed by us was nicely expressed by Ronald Knox kidding Bishop Berkeley's doctrine that things exist only when observed:

There once was a man who said: "God Must think it exceedingly odd If he finds that this tree Continues to be, When there's no one about in the Quad." (derived from Einstein's comment to Bohr re quantum to the effect that did he really think the moon wasn't there if we didn't look at it?)

The reply being

"Dear sir, your confusion is odd
I am always about in the quad
and that's why this tree
will continue to be
Since observed by, yours faithfully, God."

This is a good enough answer, or it was, because with this experiment, if there is a universal mind and it is observing all the time, the effect is always observed (by God) and so should never happen. So it looks to me in my clumsy 'common sense' (thanks Mystic) way that it is a bit of evidence that the only observers here are us humans, which is what all the other historical and scientific evidence was also telling me, anyway.

Pee pee ess.." If we talk about what I believe, I don't believe there is a God." Then you are a-theist, no matter what title you may adopt, atheist is what you are.

This I what I tell many 'agnostics' - that logically they are atheist but just don't seem to be able to take that step. Possibly because they think it requires a hard - line rejection of any possibility of a god. That really isn't the case at all.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 10-05-2011 at 03:32 AM..
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Old 10-05-2011, 03:15 AM
 
39,220 posts, read 10,895,806 times
Reputation: 5098
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnexpectedError View Post
This is all the dream of an autistic child gazing into a snowglobe?

I used to call myself agnostic because I, like every non-theist I've asked, can't claim definitive knowledge of the nature of existence. But I came to realize that how I define agnostic and atheist isn't how the rest of the world defines them.

In my experience, people view agnosticism as a very on-the-fence stance. "Maybe there's a god, maybe there's not, I have no insight into the question" sort of feel. They could easily be swayed either way if presented with a convincing argument and they may claim to be "spiritual" but not religious.

An atheist, though, is simply one who, if asked about their beliefs, would say "I don't believe in god."

It's a fuzzy difference, but this is how outsiders seem to see us. I think, too, that anyone who is interested in your beliefs beyond a lack there of will ask questions and details can be hashed out.
Quite so. That was a definition I shared - that an atheist was definite that there was no God and an agnostic was a bit doubtful. So of course agnosticism seemed a more reasonable and indeed rational position than atheism which illogically claimed to 'know' there was no god, when it hadn't looked everywhere in the universe.

In fact, as I hope I explained the logical stance is atheism (non - belief) and agnostic belief is actually illogical. I'm willing to discuss all kinds of arguments for agnosticism or definitions of it, but it essentially comes down to the same thing - agnostic theism is believing as probable or likely a god - claim which is logically and evidentially unsound.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 10-05-2011 at 03:36 AM..
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