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Old 03-10-2013, 08:44 AM
 
39,158 posts, read 10,865,034 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtango View Post
Actually you are an agnostic leaning towards atheism.
Here is what you wrote:

I have no difference of opinion with Arequipa in practice, because my certainty is so great that it amounts to absolute certainty. We are just talking theoretical philosophical points here, but for purposes of daily living, an infinitesimal whiff of uncertainty is no different than zero.

In order to be an atheist you have to get rid of that... infinitesimal whiff of uncertainty.
Wrong. In order to be an atheist one only has to not believe in any gods. An atheist claiming to know to 100% that there are no gods is still an atheist but is going to be at a severe disadvantage in substantiating that claim.

It is a position I would not put myself in as I would not want either myself or atheism to be made to look like a logical dogs' dinner.
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,089,205 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtango View Post
Actually you are an agnostic leaning towards atheism.
Here is what you wrote:

I have no difference of opinion with Arequipa in practice, because my certainty is so great that it amounts to absolute certainty. We are just talking theoretical philosophical points here, but for purposes of daily living, an infinitesimal whiff of uncertainty is no different than zero.

In order to be an atheist you have to get rid of that... infinitesimal whiff of uncertainty.
No, that is a common incorrect definition of atheism that usually comes from theists. Atheism is unbelief in god(s) ... as I've already elucidated, absolute knowledge is not required for that. Only a preponderance of evidence.

I am an agnostic AND an atheist ... the two are not on a continuum as they are not mutually exclusive. They are related and influence each other and we use (a)gnostic as adjectives to sub-classify (a)theists, but they are not separate points on the same analog gauge.

Sometimes I think I waste way too much time explaining this and wonder if it's worth it because everyone is trying not to allow their particular ox to be gored so they are always fighting for a definition that makes their ox safer. Also, the practical reasons that unbelievers apply the labels "agnostic" or "atheist" to themselves differ from the semantic and technical reasons. General society (here in the US at least) is more accepting of the label "agnostic", probably on the basis that there's still some hope to convince them of theism I suppose, so many atheists avoid the "atheist" label to keep the peace in the family or to avoid various subtle and not so subtle forms of harassment or even persecution and how they publicly identify themselves has relatively little to do with what they really think and why they think it.

Indeed, I've begun to realize lately that a lot of people keep the theist label who are what I would call "functional atheists". One of my brothers is this way, he can't bring himself to admit he doesn't believe in the Christian god anymore despite not having bothered to go to church in probably 20 years, which is particularly telling given that he's a graduate of a midwestern Baptist-connected college with significant post grad work at a well known theological seminary. At the very least, he's an agnostic theist, but he lives his life no differently than many agnostic atheists -- he does not have a prayer or devotional life anymore, for example; he's totally indifferent to all that. He is not even new-age or new-thought or "spiritual but not religious"; he makes no pretense to any spirituality.

My point being that your classification of agnosticism on some kind of continuum from theism to atheism is wrong semantically, philosophically, and in real world terms. Not that I blame you; I used to make the same error.

There is, briefly, a tipping point between belief and unbelief where there's room for doubt and wavering, but the thing is, the human psyche cannot stand to remain in such a state for any appreciable length of time. Whether or not a person is willing to take a clear stated stand one way or the other, they have to function on a day to day basis and so how they live their life tells the real story. If a person still prays, consults some holy book, observes dogma and its proscriptions and prescriptions, then they are a theist; if they do not, then they are an atheist -- whether they want to admit it or not. Agnosticism is merely a function of whether or not they want to stir up angst thinking obsessively about all the theist stories in between their ears, and that's really a separate matter. I have heard as many theist ideations in my time as anyone, and I decided some years ago to stop clinging to them as they ill served me. The longer I practiced that, the less plausible they became.

For purely academic / theoretical discussion purposes, I acknowledge the possibility of god(s), orbiting teacups, sentient lampshades, unicorns, leprechauns, etc., but don't make the mistake that I have any functional level of doubt that those things don't exist. At times, having had to go over and over this territory with people for years now, I'm tempted to declare myself a gnostic atheist / strong atheist just to remove myself from the debate. But that would be intellectually dishonest. I do not know everything and have not been in all times, places, and universes. Much of the universe and some inconsequential aspects of my personal experience and a lot in between, I have no explanation for. Some sick, sadistic and/or indifferent being of great godlike power may at times manipulate the reality I live in for all I know; I just have ceased to care and wouldn't want to either know or be known by such a being in any case.

Maybe at the end of the day the thing that defines my response to life is that I'm willing to sit with uncertainty and live within the scope of my true powers of perception (intellectually and sensually). What I don't know or am unsure of is just in its own compartment, awaiting better data, and it can stay there until I die for all I care. That which I am sufficiently certain of defines what I believe and the degree of sufficiency of available evidence defines the amount of curiosity / interest / openness to new or conflicting data. Theists on the other hand tend to find uncertainty intolerable and life unlivable without the certitude they crave, so they look for stories that seem to fit with their experience and ignore the resulting leaky abstractions.

The only things in life that are actionable are the things you're reasonably sure of, and I'm very sure there are no god(s). Not absolutely ironclad positive, but so close as for it not to matter. In particular, I'm so certain there is no personal benevolent loving god who has any interest in me specifically, that I could honestly say I'm positive.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Athens, Greece
526 posts, read 579,649 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
Another fundamental misconception! Simply because the first mention you can find of Russell's Teapot is a hypothetical meat to illustrate a point, doesn't mean it is false. Even Russell didn't believe it do be true, but you can't prove it, you can't know as an epistemological certainty, until you test it. If the claim isn't testable, then we end up in the same position, chuckling that some one believe there is a teapot. I chuckle because someone is jumping to conclusions without evidence, you are chuckling because obviously nothing that began as a hypothetical can ever be true, like gravity, relativity, and particle physics.
Sophistry again!

Russell was not hypothesizing the existence of the teapot, he was mocking believers.
So, anyone who feels he needs to test the information he only has to ask Russell.

Suppose your kid comes to you asking whether there is actually a Dtango-boson moving with the speed of Athens subway. What are you going to tell him? That there are philosophical ways to test all sorts of nonsense for dormant wisdom?
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
" The accepted definition of atheism encompasses both the "strong" or "positive" atheist position (yours) and the "weak" or "negative" position, which is most of the rest of us. Simply sticking your fingers in you ears, and screaming that anyone who does not agree with you is a theist is just childish.
I would not mind if you choose to call yourself a negative or weak atheist, but you are never going to get rid of me as long as you call your self an agnostic atheist.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
Words can and often do have multiple meanings. I assume this is true in your native tongue as well, but you seem to have missed that part in you education. In this case Gnosticism is a sect or offshoot of Christianity. Gnostic can also be used to indicate a knowledge position, and can be applied to much more than religious belief. The term gnostic atheist or gnostic theist is using the term in this sense. Check out the dictionary link, if this has been confusing you.
You are right as regards the followers of Gnosticism because in that case the term should be written with the first letter capital.
However, “gnostic” is a philosophical term and refers to esoteric knowledge. Atheists are not atheists because they possess some kind of esoteric knowledge. Atheists have a distaste for esoteric knowledge [“γνωστικός” (gnostic) does not mean “γνώστης”(knowledgeable) it means Gnostic or otherwise prudent, judicious.]
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
Again, the fact that you find it to be ridiculous nor the fact that people have been making up god-myths since before recorded history doesn't make it false. What makes it false is either being logically self contradictory, or evidentially untrue. If there is no evidence, if it is unfalsifiable, all we can say it that there is no evidence, so we proceed as we do with any unproven hypothesis, we assume it is not true. This is non-belief, this is atheism. It is just an honest assessment of the evidence we have and the predictions made by various God-claims.
We are dealing with no hypothesis at all. To build an hypothesis one needs data. What are the data?
Twenty thousand years of theological nonsense! Those are the data your hypothesis is built upon and you keep treating philosophical idiocy the same you would treat a serious scientific theory.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
The beauty of this position is that is works nicely without having to duck and dodge, even when dealing with deistic gods, or pantheistic gods, or prime movers. We have not painted ourselves in a corner claiming absolute knowledge and then show ourselves unable to deliver on our claims.
You find it difficult to deal with advocates of deistic and pantheistic gods?
With time you’ll come to find out that philosophy is the garbage of the human brain.
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:27 PM
 
39,158 posts, read 10,865,034 times
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Gnosis is the common Greek noun for knowledge (in the nominative case γνῶσις f.). In the context of the ... Etymology
Gnosis is a feminine Greek noun, which means "knowledge."[Wiki]

if you don't care forWiki

Το λεξικό βρήκε 1 λέξη.
The dictionary found 1 word.
γνώσις η = knowledge
gnosis i

http://www.kypros.org/cgi-bin/lexicon


Care to substantiate your claim that 'Gnosis' means 'prudent. justice'?

And then perhaps explain what in the name of wonder it has anything to do with your "Atheists are not atheists because they possess some kind of esoteric knowledge. Atheists have a distaste for esoteric knowledge" which itself seem to have no relevance to anything we were discussing. You don't at all seem to have been able to understand the point of Russell's teapot as just one example of an entire mindset that is unrelated to any other - theist or atheist, as they are generally taken to be. I don't want to get into mocking but the nearest equivalent seems to be Daniken enthusiasts.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 03-10-2013 at 12:37 PM..
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Old 03-10-2013, 02:20 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
9,616 posts, read 11,375,913 times
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My my, this is one of the more fun and well-thought-out threads ever! The musings of the lot of you above, is truly well done to my mind. Press on, good fellows!

But now as to the now long-gone & seemingly intellectually departed Royalite's variously vacuous posts and claims:
"but I'm being asked for proof of things that to me is as obvious as looking at an elephant and when I point out the elephant, I'm being told the elephant isn't there."

Not hardly, Royalite. Not the same at all, and you know it. Here's how you should proceed: The difference between your position and say, mine, is that if I say "there is an elephant in the next room", you might well disagree simply because you don't want to believe it (because, let's say, your God says elephants don't exist!).

And so I go through the proven and established SM process: to wit: After I hypothesize that there truly is an elephant on the loose in the next room, but then I tell y'all how I'll prove it, and then, I complete the data acquisition by "opening the door" [i.e.: by advanced scientific methodology!]and then taking lots of photos (which you'll claim were all just PhotoShopped™), only then can I make a well-supported conclusion.

For the doubting peer-reviewers, I open the door to that adjoining room and voila, there he is in all his Loxodontian glory. Case more than proven, as is all the stuff that has closed the door on "no proof of Evolution!" or "the geological column is all rubbish!" and "those dino tracks only prove that tamed T-Rexs lived happily amongst the contented villagers. They kept him as a pet for the kids!" After all, Noah did bring them all, every one of the now-known 3000+ species of dinos into the new world, on a leaking old unpowered barge, right? And in reproductively possible numbers as well, uh-huh!

As to Nozz's response to your ideas, Royalite:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nozzferrahhtoo View Post
You say something like "I have to walk away and just agree to disagree" then not moments later are right back doing the exact opposite... it does indeed appear you can not even be true to yourself and your own words.

But this is a debate forum at its core and if you make a claim people are going to ask you to substantiate it. And so we should. So yes... if you think there is a god or want to claim there is one.... I am perfectly likely (and entitled) to enquire if you have any arguments, evidence, data or reasoning to substantiate such a position.

I very much do want to live in a world where people who espouse unsubstantiated claims get called on them... and get called on them remorselessly and frequently.
Well agreed, Nozz. As for me, I am now sitting here and ever-more-impatiently awaiting Royalite's thoughtful, succinct and insightful responses to my rather elementary question: to wit:

√ Which parts of The Scientific Method does he so completely disagree with?

√ How does it's means of acquitting or substantiating evidence falter so very badly?

√ Because if it does not falter, then it must of needs be coming to relatively valid and credible answers to the straightforward questions subjected to testing by it's well-established methods.

Finally, following are some great comments on Grandstander's most excellent post... bravo, GrdStdr, bravo!:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
Thus your assertion that it must be this or that, is a limited perspective which would assume that humans cognition is the end all be all in universal intelligence.

I make no such assumption. I make no absolutist assertions about the nature of the cosmos because I do not know. I do not insist that the answer be something that would make sense to humans. I do not assume that we are so advanced in our intelligence that we know the limits of the possibilities.
My oh my. These two paragraphs should be up in the hallways, science & religion classrooms and Sunday Schools of every public building and church in this country. Their inherent logic literally jumps out as being of the "Never a Truer Phrase..." type.
_________________________________________________

(Btw, since many churchs insist they have the right to post their ideas on billboards or in mall centers, to broadcast their important message to an essentially uninterested world, why then can we not INSIST that such statements as Grandstander made, above, must be posted in the hallways of every church in the land. After all, they benefit from taxpayer support in the form of them paying not one tiny whiff of taxes, so why should we not inherent the right to participate in what they are presenting? Hmmm?

Meantime Royalite, please! Wake up and answer me. The world awaits your Nobelian wisdom!

Last edited by rifleman; 03-10-2013 at 02:37 PM..
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Old 03-10-2013, 02:47 PM
 
Location: Athens, Greece
526 posts, read 579,649 times
Reputation: 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Gnosis is the common Greek noun for knowledge (in the nominative case γνῶσις f.). In the context of the ... Etymology
Gnosis is a feminine Greek noun, which means "knowledge."[Wiki]

if you don't care forWiki

Το λεξικό βρήκε 1 λέξη.
The dictionary found 1 word.
γνώσις η = knowledge
gnosis i

ËÅÎÉʼ - LEXICON: Greek-English-Greek dictionary


Care to substantiate your claim that 'Gnosis' means 'prudent. justice'?
Looks like you are self-taught in Greek as I am self-taught in English, only that you’ve made a late start!!

Did I say that 'Gnosis' means 'prudent. justice'?
I wrote:

[“γνωστικός” (gnostic) does not mean “γνώστης”(knowledgeable) it means Gnostic or otherwise prudent, judicious.
So:
“γνώστης” means knowledgeable.
“γνωστικός” (gnostic) means prudent, judicious.

“γνωστικός” (gnostic) DOES NOT MEAN knowledgeable

The knowledge that the gnostic possesses is esoteric knowledge.

Now read again what you wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
And then perhaps explain what in the name of wonder it has anything to do with your "Atheists are not atheists because they possess some kind of esoteric knowledge. Atheists have a distaste for esoteric knowledge" which itself seem to have no relevance to anything we were discussing. You don't at all seem to have been able to understand the point of Russell's teapot as just one example of an entire mindset that is unrelated to any other - theist or atheist, as they are generally taken to be. I don't want to get into mocking but the nearest equivalent seems to be Daniken enthusiasts.
Do atheists become atheists because of some esoteric knowledge they share? Definitely Not!

So what are you complaining for? One way or the other an atheist cannot be called a “gnostic atheist”; it is preposterous.
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Old 03-10-2013, 02:56 PM
 
7,378 posts, read 6,733,417 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtango View Post
One way or the other an atheist cannot be called a “gnostic atheist”; it is preposterous.
I feel that most of us would agree with this statement, though some will claim it, as most theists will claim to be gnostic theists, which is just as preposterous.
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:12 PM
 
3,404 posts, read 2,251,727 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtango View Post

So what are you complaining for? One way or the other an atheist cannot be called a “gnostic atheist”; it is preposterous.
You are right, it is preposterous, but not for the reasons you think. To make a claim that you can have absolutely certain knowledge that a god, a divine being cannot, has not, and will not exist, you must claim esoteric knowledge! How else can you disprove the existence of an esoteric, metaphysical being? So your claim can be correctly classified as gnostic atheism. If you only have natural, materialistic, empirical knowledge, you can only claim that being being who can be measure, tested, verified, falsified or otherwise observed through naturalistic methods does or does not exist. You must withhold judgement on being outside of this realm of knowledge, unless you have some hidden, spiritual, or esoteric knowledge. To do otherwise is mere dogma, a faith based insistence that you must be right because you believe it to be so.

So to sum up, a gnostic atheist is a preposterous stance, but it is precisely the one you are taking. I am glad we can agree on this.

-NoCapo
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:07 AM
 
40,090 posts, read 26,755,929 times
Reputation: 6050
Quote:
Originally Posted by rifleman View Post
My my, this is one of the more fun and well-thought-out threads ever! The musings of the lot of you above, is truly well done to my mind. Press on, good fellows!

But now as to the now long-gone & seemingly intellectually departed Royalite's variously vacuous posts and claims:
"but I'm being asked for proof of things that to me is as obvious as looking at an elephant and when I point out the elephant, I'm being told the elephant isn't there."
This seems reminiscent of a post I made to sanspeur . . . to wit:

"You stand in front of an elephant and claim there is no animal there because it isn't furry, sanspeur. Your "Nature" has all the attributes of God . . . but you prefer "No God" . . . so it isn't there. You have NO basis for your "No God" belief or as your atheist spin doctors seem to prefer . . . no belief in God. I am quite certain I haven't the vaguest idea what the difference is . . . but it seems to comfort you in your beliefs about reality. God exists . . . just not in ways to your liking, apparently. "

You seem to be equally capricious in your stance on the EXISTENCE of God, rifle . . . NOT whether or not God is furry, or Christian, or Hindu, or . . . whatever.
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:45 AM
 
Location: Athens, Greece
526 posts, read 579,649 times
Reputation: 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
You are right, it is preposterous, but not for the reasons you think.
This one post of yours I did really enjoy because it is in line with the sophistry, we Greeks, are taught since the day we are born.
Greece has gone down the sink because of it, so I am a master of it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
To make a claim that you can have absolutely certain knowledge that a god, a divine being cannot, has not, and will not exist, you must claim esoteric knowledge!
Wrong statement!
A god is not necessarily a divine being.
We know of gods who were born in caves, lived normal human lives, and died without ever paying a visit to the heavens. No esoteric knowledge is needed in order to decide whether they existed or not; cause they surely did.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
How else can you disprove the existence of an esoteric, metaphysical being?
Depends on the quality of the particular esoteric knowledge. It can be either fantasies about souls, spirits, after-lives, demons, elves and mermaids or knowledge that has to remain under cover or else will shock the naive scholar and layman alike (please do me the favor of reading the op of the thread The Beasts ).
In the former case it is rather easy to show that fantasies are fantasies and therefore not worth of further investigation and in the latter you have no metaphysical beings left to prove or disprove their existence.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
So your claim can be correctly classified as gnostic atheism.
Well, I guess you can say that but whoever dares to attribute esoteric knowledge to a… gnostic atheist will also have to clarify that his esoteric knowledge is actually… exoteric!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
If you only have natural, materialistic, empirical knowledge, you can only claim that being being who can be measure, tested, verified, falsified or otherwise observed through naturalistic methods does or does not exist.
I never reach the stage where I would have to occupy myself with the Being itself because I can always ridicule the idea and so render its object, the Being, not worth to bother with.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
So to sum up, a gnostic atheist is a preposterous stance, but it is precisely the one you are taking. I am glad we can agree on this.
Agreed... as long as you do not forget the eXoteric knowledge!
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